1.Prez Kuffuor’s approach to RESOLVING the problem of inadequate supply of nurses in the system was to bring back a two year Enrolled Nursing program now christened Health Assistant Clinical (HAC) which had been abandoned 20 years back in accordance with International Nursing education standards. He also encouraged the mushrooming of private nursing schools. The nursing fraternity fiercely but unsuccessfully fought Prez Kuffuor and his government for this move.
My interest in this piece is not in the quality and level of training for these Enrolled Nurses vis-a-vis their ability to save lives. My interest is in the fact that despite one or two advantages of this decision by Prez Kuffuor, he essentially lowed the status of nurses and saturated the nursing profession with non-registered nurses. Once there are too many nurses than the market can absorb, the bargaining power of nurses reduces. Today nurses can be posted to any place in this country without their power to assert their bargaining rights. Some have also become victims of wicked foreign job deals.
2.President Mahama has tried to correct this situation neither by frustrating the HAC program nor by reducing nursing students intake. He has done so by opening more government Nursing and Midwifery Schools and also expanding infrastructure such as libraries, computer laboratories, skills laboratories and classrooms. This led to the upgrading of most of the schools to run the diploma program, and at the same time many more student applicants have been absorbed. Today some of the nursing schools are gearing up to run degree programs. The University of Health and Allied Sciences established by the Mills-Mahama government, and the KNUST have also started programs to upgrade the Enrolled Nurses to diploma status. STRATEGIC SMART THINKING PRESIDENT
3. In order to ensure job availability and security for the many nurses from the schools, Prez Mahama is building many hospitals, health centres and CHPS compounds across the country. The University of Ghana Teaching Hospital alone is ready to absorb at least 5000 nurses. In fact, between September last year and June this year, more than 8000 nurses (3000 and 5000+ respectively) have been employed into the public health sector. Financial clearance is currently ongoing for the batch of students that finished their National Service early this year, and it will be ready in a matter of weeks. RESULTS ORIENTED SMART THINKING.
4. Prez Mahama has given nurses and other health workers their first ever Conditions of Service document (Collective Bargaining Agreement). This protects nurses and properly defines their relationship with the government. CARING MIND, SMART THINKING.
5. Prez Mahama achieved all these beautiful THINGS among others in just 3 years. In the process, he needed to make difficult choices, one of which was the curtailment of the Trainee Allowances to give him the financial space since money was not easily available. His attempt was to replace the allowance with the SSNIT students loan, but the current law does not recognize students from Nursing Schools. He is just about amending the law, and so in the meantime, he has restored an abated allowance for the students. COURAGEOUS, SMART THINKING
6. However, some politicians think the students are gullible and therefore cannot decipher truth from deceit. They had gone on superficial promises to restore the allowances if they win the 2016 elections. They also incited some of the students to demand the restoration of the allowance with ugly demonstrations only for the same politicians to turn round saying that the President has restored the allowance to deceive the students for votes because it’s four months to elections. I guess to them the Prez should not do anything right from January because it’s an election year. To them the students should waste their time demonstrating and not expecting the Prez. to listen so they could take political advantage. What a piece of logic!
The same politicians are also shifting the argument to high cost of admission fees forgetting that in the days of limited admission opportunities, most of these students would have paid those amounts in bribes to con men and wicked Principals without any guarantee for admission. That situation is almost a thing of the past now.
Don’t be deceived by superficial promises from disorganized politicians.
# ChooseJM # Changinglives