Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association(GRNMA), has bemoaned the unattractive conditions of service including low remuneration and poor work environment.
According to GRNMA due to the poor state of infrastructure of some hospitals and health centers that members had to grapple with in their bid to provide health care service to Ghanaians.
It also cited a lack of logistics including some essential medications, vaccines, and equipment, and underdevelopment of many sub-district communities resulting in poor housing, bad roads, and lack of social amenities amongst other perennial factors that impede their work.
Mrs. Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, the President of GRNMA, said “We seem to be far away from changing this narrative within the next few years and it is a source of worry as a number of our colleagues continue to immigrate to the USA, Canada, United Kingdom and other high-income earning countries.
It may be clearly evident that we will not attain the targets of SDG3 or Universal Health Coverage by the year 2030.
But we must not relent in our efforts to ensure we have a more robust and resilient health system with well-motivated nurses and midwives. It therefore came as a surprise when the Hon. Minister of Finance mentioned something about the Vehicle Import Tax Waiver in the budget and mentioned that the government would continue engaging the Ghana Medical Association on the same.
Meaning the waiver would be given to Medical Doctors? It is surprising because the New Patriotic Party(NPP) government under Former President Kuffour instituted it as a motivation for health workers and as a silent measure to stem the emigration of health professionals.
It was taken off by the National Democratic Congress government under the leadership of Ex-President Atta Mills.
So if today the NPP government under President Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo is re-instituting it, then it should cover all health professionals including our nurses and midwives but this time around with stringent measures that would curb the abuse experienced in the past.
Maybe I did not hear or read what was communicated clearly but obviously, this is one incentive that cannot be given to any one particular professional grouping.
It must apply to our dear nurses and midwives and so must the 13th month allowance. An allowance that is paid from the internally generated funds of a facility, that is generated by all staff mostly from the services rendered by nurses and midwives.
And yet Heads of some facilities are ready to pay it and leave their nurses and midwives behind on the premise that it has not been granted to them yet.
We consider it a discriminatory and unfair labour practice and demand that our nurses and midwives are paid the same even before we begin our own negotiations.
In fact, we submitted our proposal for negotiations in August 2023 and it contained all these allowances we are still waiting for the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) and the government team to invite us for the negotiations.
The more they delay the more we lose out on what can be rightfully ours. I therefore call on the FWSC to act on this as soon as possible.
It is worth noting that, our Book and Research Allowance has still not been paid after three solid years because of interpretation differences in the agreement. When will our lamentations be over? Only God knows when.”
Speaking 16th Quadrennial National Delegates Congress of GRNMA in Accra, she said, what members needed was improvement in their basic salaries, full medical insurance during service and retirement, prompt payment of its category 2 & 3 allowances, and other allowances as contained in its collective agreement.
Mrs Ofori-Ampofo also stated that members need support in the acquisition of affordable housing and personal vehicles.
She said, “That was the more reason why we need the vehicle import tax waiver. As an Association with the welfare of members at heart, we have instituted a number of welfare packages to make life easier for our members.
It includes a loan scheme, health fund support – a non-refundable financial aid to members with severe health challenges and accidents especially those that are not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme, flood and fire disaster support, and land and housing schemes.
All GRNMA regional branches in the country have ongoing litigation-free land sales and mortgage arrangements on offer to members. Free annual souvenirs for members.
GRNMA has over the years distributed free branded diaries, notepads, pens, calendars, 60th-anniversary cloth, and other items to all members of the association, payment of annual PIN and AIN renewal fees to the NMC for members, annual national dinner and awards night, negotiations for Nurses and Midwives.
Negotiations which cover salaries, allowances, other conditions of service and work policies, legal support for members where Medico-Legal issues arise, payment of death benefit on spousal death and death of member, and access to GRNMA Guest Houses and hotels.
Members are entitled to enjoy a 50% price cut for standard rooms at all GRNMA Guest Houses and hotels, personal and auto loan arrangements with Calbank and Stanbic Bank, representation of nurses and midwives at the international International Council of Nurses, Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation (CNMF), Public Services International, West African Health Sector Unions Network ( WAHSUN) amongst others.”
Other important issues like climate change and taxation, she said, had direct effects on health and the work they do as nurses and midwives and it was the reason why GRNMA had incorporated a session on tax and health in one of its plenary sessions of this congress.
The President of GRNMA said “We have had some activities on climate change and health in the course of this year and will continue to discuss these in the coming months. As the world counts down to COP 28 taking place in Dubai from 30th November, with fossil fuels and finance dominating the agenda, we hope that our world leaders will do more to reduce fossil fuel emissions and improve the financing of renewable energy.
Sometimes, we feel these issues are very far away from us but the truth is Africa and Ghana for that matter are at the receiving end. We bear the brunt of fossil fuel emissions through extreme heat, excess rain raised sea levels, and other phenomena that destroy homes, farms, and other properties.
Meanwhile, our economies are not strong enough to fully compensate those affected or for us to rebuild in the shortest possible time.
With the abundance of sunlight throughout the year, we need to leverage the technology available incorporate renewable energy in our real estates, and work towards having corporate organizations harness solar energy for their operations.
I had the opportunity to participate in a World Health Organization Scoping meeting for the selection of indicators to monitor the impact of extreme heat on maternal, newborn, and child health in April this year and it was interesting to listen to the meteorologist, physicists, and others and how their work intersperses with what we do as health professionals in terms of the data they generate.
The Scooping report is available and I will forward it to the National Public Relations Officer to share on our platforms.
We join our global partners namely, Public Services International, International Council of Nurses, and others to call on the government to build a climate-resilient health system with research as the backbone, develop low-carbon sustainable health systems, and help raise the voice of health professionals as advocates for a much stronger ambition on climate.
I wish on behalf of the General Assembly and the entire membership to assure all stakeholders that the GRNMA is well positioned to partner with you all on issues related to health with the vision of building a resilient health system in Ghana and developing a well-motivated nursing and midwifery workforce to improve health service delivery.”
In a speech read on behalf of the Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, he said tax waiver for vehicles concerns for nurses would be addressed, noting that the government would ensure that more professional nurses are trained as a result of the exodus of nurses to European countries.
He said the Government was committed to expanding health infrastructure in the country through the construction of Agenda 11 hospitals and the completion of health facilities started by the previous government.
The congress was themed, “Investing In Nursing Midwifery: A Strategic Response To The Right To Health.”
Capitalnewsonline.Com has gathered that the biennial and quadrennial conferences always served as a platform for making critical decisions that guide GRNMA operations as a Professional Association and Trade Union.
Source: Adovor Nutifafa