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14.06.2002 Feature Article

Not Nurses Alone

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How will you feel when you hear that mother Ghana has lost all her beloved noble professionals? The Ghanaian Chronicle published last week that the numerical strength of nurses has dropped. I want to make it clear that the reduction in the numerical strength of nurses applies to almost all professionals in the country, notable among are doctors (MD), and teachers. There is no doubt about the fact that the development of every country depends to a large extent on the human resources available to the country in question, and how best that country is utilizing the said resources. Apart from the fact that Ghana is endowed with natural resources, which we are almost deprived of, we are, also, blessed with quality human resources who are imbued with all the experience, knowledge, and skills required of their professions. Now, the question is, what effort are we making to retain these professionals in Ghana? When his Excellency, president J.A Kuffour and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) came into power, salaries have been increased several times, which many of us appreciate very much. But, it is glaringly factual that due the increase in tariffs (electricity and water) and landladies and landlords, also, taking high rents, the salaries cannot ease the pressure to the satisfaction of the majority. In order to make ends meet these professionals travel abroad mostly to the United Kingdom (UK) where they are mostly needed and, as such are easily given work permit, and at times to the United States of America (USA). Dr Ken Sagoe is 100% right that there are agents in Ghana who are moving from house to house looking for nurses to offer them tempting working packages in the UK and facilitate them in visa acquisition. In the US the hottest professionals in the job market are doctors (MD), nurses, and teachers and their working packages are very attractive. For instance, in New York State many of the teachers who were recruited during last November were sponsored to do their Masters free of charge. One of the most attractive motivations. Isn't it? And, as far as better packages await these noble professional in the western world they will go because everybody would like to enjoy the best in life. It is real that Ghana cannot compare herself to the UK or USA in terms of motivations for workers because they are far ahead of us. The government is trying very much but there is still room for improvement. We must bear in mind that these professionals are needed almost everywhere in the world and as such; we should try to give them the best motivation they deserve to make them feel at home. The Ministry of Education (MOE), the Ministry of Health (MOH), and the government in general should have a serious look at the working packages of our noble professionals before something dangerous happens. Please, don't think of strike actions, because there have been series of unfruitful strike actions in Ghana. Now, they are leaving the nation. Fellow countrymen, our government is unable to meet the demands of our noble professionals because we are poor and heavily indebted. So, should we just look on while they leave? Now, there is the annual best teachers' award, and Otumfour Osei Tutu II, Asante Hene has, also, instituted annual best teachers' award for teachers in Ashanti region. Are these prizes enough to motivate our professionals? If not, what are we (you and I) doing to help solve some of the problems? We have traveled abroad as doctors (MD), nurses, teachers, technicians, students etc, and I am very much aware that by God's grace many of us are making it big. Each one of us comes from a traditional area in Ghana. We must try in our efforts to create an enabling environment vibrant enough to address the cause and symptoms of our professionals leaving Ghana for other countries. Let us look back and offer the little that we can so that our beloved citizens at home can also get the best from these professionals. Many committed people are doing their best to help Ghana. Mr. Emmanuel Ofori who is the president of Pan-African Foundation is one of those committed persons. He is doing marvelously well for mother Ghana and Africa as a whole. You can visit their web site at www.panafricanfoundation.org/new/index.html. Please, do not hesitate to contact him on any contact address you will get from the web site for serious talk about Ghana. I know there are other organizations or groups helping their communities in Ghana. I would suggest we try to focus on some motivational factors that will encourage the remaining professionals to give out their best and entice the younger generations to join them. Brethren, let us put every anger and political affiliation aside and do the best for ourselves. Let us not look at the past of our politicians, even if it happened yesterday. We should focus on how to sustain our country's human resources. We can be a source of motivation for our professionals. Mother Ghana needs our help and this is the time we should offer that help. Let us not deny her, her wishes. 398 East 152nd Street Apt. 2D Bronx, NY 10455 Views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Ghanaweb.

Kwame Wiredu-Mensah
Kwame Wiredu-Mensah, © 2002

The author has 7 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: KwameWireduMensah

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