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Health News of Saturday, 29 October 2016


Nurses threaten national strike

The Ghana Registered Nurses' & Midwives' Association (GRNMA) has joined the labour agitation in the health sector, calling on government to immediately resolve all issues related to the conditions of service of nurses and midwives or face an industrial action.

The association disclosed that government has failed to address pertinent issues of unpaid salary arrears, posting of graduate nurses and midwives, charging of promotional fees, sale of upgrading forms, inadequate logistics to government health facilities and allowances of student nurses and midwives, among others.

The GRNMA said the situation is counter-productive to quality nursing care in the whole health sector.

Giving a roadmap to their intended nationwide action which has the potential of bringing the activities of the healthcare sector to a halt, the association said should government refuse to address their issues, “we will wear red bands from the 1st to 6th November, 2016.”

They further indicated that if nothing is heard from authorities concerning the issues raised, the association will withdraw all out-patients department (OPD) services from November 7 to 13, 2016 and care for only emergency and maternity cases.

“If after this we still do not get any results, we will begin our full industrial action by withdrawing all services, only in-patients will be cared for,” Kwaku Asante-Krobea, President of GRNMA, said.

Addressing a press conference on the issues affecting the nurses, he mentioned that the association has found it imperative to speak out on the current state of affairs in the practice of nursing.

He said nurses and midwives are the only healthcare professionals found at the remotest hard-to-reach areas taking up multi-faceted roles that would have been performed by other health professionals, however, issues concerning their conditions of service are treated with no urgency.

Unpaid Salary Arrears
He said over 2,000 members of the association employed as far back as in 2014 were yet to receive salaries, although checks at the Health Ministry indicated their forms have been validated.

Mr Asante-Krobea disclosed that government's policy of payment of three months' salary arrears has made life more difficult for new entrants who get promoted.

He, therefore, called for the abolishing of the policy, asking the Ministries of Health and Finance and their agencies to revert to the old policy where all salary arrears were paid at a go.

Mr Asante-Krobea stated that government continues to ignore the association's calls to engage unemployed graduate nurses to the dismay of the mother association.

Student Nurses' & Midwives' Allowance
The GRNMA president, addressing the issue of the back-and-forth surrounding payment of allowance to student nurses, indicated that the issue is the first to be experienced in the history of the health training institutions management.

He said although government pronounced that the training allowance of the nurses will be restored, they have not seen any action.

Mr Asante-Krobea, therefore, called on the government to do due diligence to its promise as a matter of urgency because, “we did not receive the promise that these allowances will be paid during the second term of his Excellency the president.”

He said the deplorable conditions at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital and the challenges the psychiatric nurses are going through to ensure that reasonable care is given to patients should not be tolerated, calling on government and all it stakeholders to resource the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, to, as a matter of urgency, prevent the relapse of patients and endangerment of the lives of nurses.