PRESS RELEASE – COALITION OF CONCERNED NURSES AND MIDWIVES
RECRUITING NURSES UNDER NaBCO IS A MISPLACED PRIORITY BY THE GOVERNMENT
We the Coalition of Concerned Nurses and Midwives condemn Government‟s intention to recruit nurses under the “Heal Ghana” module of the Nation Builders‟ Corps (NaBCO). We note for the record that the move does not only undermine the role of the nursing profession in Ghana, but is also a symptom of misplaced priority in respect of health care delivery to the ordinary Ghanaian citizen. Clearly, the move is an aggravation of the already harrowing experiences the ordinary nurse and midwife are subjected to by successive governments in the bid to secure employment.
Sadly, the popular adage within the spheres of healthcare that “Nursing is a calling” has now been altered by the politician to mean “Nursing is a curse”. Indeed, Nursing has become a curse in contemporary Ghana. After successful completion of their training, nurses today have to endure the ordeal of writing petitions, picketing, sleeping at the forecourt of the Ministry of Health, all in a bid to persuade the government to employ them.
Ironically, the hospitals and other health facilities across the country in which they ought to have been employed and working continue to languish in need of their services; yet government continues to fail to see the need to engage them to save lives.
As if to worsen the predicaments they already go through each year, nurses are now being pushed under NaBCO‟s Heal Ghana program to suffer 3 more years of employment-related ordeal when they could have been employed to where they are needed most.
Coalition of Concerned Nurses and Midwives believes strongly that nurses’ inclusion in the NaBCO agenda is yet another bait crafted by the politician to lure nurses into to the unknown as similar events have been recorded at the emergence and proliferation of the certificate nursing programme in the country. We are compelled to believe that recruiting nurses under NaBCO is a plain excuse by the government, like the proverbial ostrich mentality, to hide under Heal Ghana module to the neglect of employing nurses properly.
Government needs to be reminded at this critical point of the saying that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. If this statement is anything to go by, nurses play a pivotal and inseparable role in this endeavour and should not be tossed with political dice. The nurse to patient ratio in Ghana currently stands at one nurse to about 22 patients as against the recommended 1:4 nurse-patient ratio by the World Health Organisation.
This means that more nurses are needed to bridge the gap to ensure quality healthcare delivery; but because the government does not prioritise its health sector, nurses are being neglected after training. One cannot come to terms with why our governments continue to denigrate the services of nurses when they are supposed to be held in high esteem as essential service providers. For once, nurses deserve some iota of respect in this country.
Recruiting essential personnel like nurses under NaBCO is a misplaced priority to the highest degree. Nurses do not need a 3-year contract work under any government policy. They need to be fully employed to work in the hospitals and health facilities across the country where their services are most needed, not by political appointment. In any case, is it not the same hospitals and other health facilities NaBCO-recruited nurses are going to be working? So why change the terms of engagement?
Even the national service nurses‟ pay is more than the amount these trained innocent nurses are going to be paid under the Heal Ghana module and interestingly, proponents of NaBCO argue that the amount is better than them sitting at home. Why must nurses in the first place sit at home after training?
Has government considered the psychological effects of NaBCO on employee nurses who may join because they have no other alternatives? Imagine the psychological trauma that comes with underemployment, lack of job satisfaction, low pay and waste of their nursing skills as they are engaged under this scheme. We cannot pretend to be ignorant of the fact that the psychological effect of having to work with their own colleagues who underwent same training and being paid twice or more of what they take under NaBCO will compromise the quality of healthcare they would render.
If the government of Ghana cares about the safety and health of its citizens, then perhaps it must be prepared to heed caution that it is better to engage satisfied nurses than aggrieved ones who have to accept underemployment for lack of alternatives.
(1st vice President)
Theophilus Kwadwo Doh
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