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General News of Friday, 24 June 2011

Source: GNA

Minister calls for harmonized migration policy

Accra, June 24, GNA-Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Minister of Health (MoH), on Thursday called for a coordinated migration policy framework that allows for contractual agreement for secondments and bilateral arrangements. He said improved data collection on migration flows was essential to monitor the attrition rate, migration flows and returning migrants to infor= m planning and management of both internal and external migration flows. Mr Yieleh Chireh was speaking at the closing session of a three-day workshop and the launching of the Ghana Report on International Migration o= f Women in Health and Social Care sectors in Accra.

The seminar organized by the Public Services International (PSI) in collaboration with the Ghana Health Services Workers Union (GHWU) and Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA), was aimed at providing the needed support towards the implementation of the key recommendations in the Ghana Report on international migration. He explained that nurses, midwives and migrant workers also needed to be sensitized and empowered with adequate information on their rights to dignity at work and decent work as well as labour and contractual condition= s existing in countries of destination.

Mr Yieleh Chireh also said dialogue with the relevant stakeholders suc= h as government, senior management in the health sector and trade unions is very critical if they are to come up with workable strategies to address challenges of health and social sector migrant workers. He said social dialogue also serves as a useful channel for advocacy for the creation of economic and social conditions necessary to retain trained and highly skilled health care staff and in the promotion of greate= r equality, equity and decent work. He said government had initiated measures to expand the human resource= s base of his ministry to ensure adequate numbers and mix of well motivated health professionals. The Health Minister said some of the measures include the expansion of existing health training institutions, establishment of new training institutions, enhancement of salary and incentive schemes for health worker= s and increasing the middle level cadres.

Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, stressed governments' commitment to pursue a national development agenda that prioritizes the realization of citizens' rights and entitlements that enhances their development. He said promoting decent work and enhancing social protection schemes wa= s very high on the development agenda of President Mills. "As a government that believes in social democracy, social protection for working people is core focus for us", he said. According to Mr Mensah, the government is committed to the initiation of measures to strengthen and enhance the role and outcomes of the social dialogue in Ghana. He said social dialogue in the health sector was one of the most important ways in addressing the migration of health workers, funding and development of the health sector, human resources for health and measures t= o retain and enhance the working conditions and pay of health workers. Mr Mensah further announced that Ghana is to benefit from technical assistance as a result of the country's inclusion in a pilot programme to= be established by the Standards Department of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to assist selected members states in standards. He said his ministry would continue to build the capacity of the labour department and staff as well as strengthen the communication section of the ministry.

Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), charged the government to do more to achieve significant improvemen= t in the health status of the people especially children under five years and also protect people from the HIV/AIDS disease. He said despite the poor working conditions and salary, health professionals have the responsibility and onerous task of delivering health services to children, workers and their parents who took care of them when they were too young to take of themselves. "The value of health services rendered directly to the people of Gha= na is worth much more than the money health professionals may earn from elsewhere", he added. Meanwhile the HSWU has received this year's PSI Quality Public Servi= ces award at a ceremony in Accra.

The union received a plaque with a citation and a digital video valued camera at 2,100 Cedis.