If there was ever any critical problem within the nursing profession in Ghana, it is decidedly the problem of the relative overproduction of these first responders of our institutionally and functionally decrepit national healthcare system. So, when I recently chanced across a news story captioned “Ghana Struggles to Manage Exodus of Nurses Leaving for Jobs Abroad” (Modernghana.com 11/14/23), I knew right off the bat that somebody higher up in our healthcare system or the Ministry of Health was not telling the members of our global community the Honest-to-God Truth. To be certain, even as I write, and this critical observation can be promptly and readily verified, there are graduate nurses who have not been recruited to serve in their fields and subfields of professional training or expertise for nearly five years now, if not much more.
Consequently, any loose talk by such highly placed healthcare professionals and administrators like Dr. David Tenkorang-Twum, described by the media as General-Secretary of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA), and Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Ghana’s Health Minister, is just that, plain and simple loose talk! You see, the real problem here is that the country is overburdened with far too many thievish and grossly incompetent ministerial appointees who have been blindly milking the financial resources of the taxpaying citizenry and making it extremely difficult for the government to effectively manage and provide the necessary resources for the significant upgrade of the quality of life of the overwhelming majority of the citizenry.
Else, it would not have taken the Health Minister nearly seven years to come to the rather politically untenable, desperate and the inexcusably sobering realization that Ghana needs to go the same direction as the much more intelligent and socioeconomically constructive way of the former US Colony of The Philippines, whereby the massive production of nurses and other essential paramedical professionals and the prompt and profitable deployment of the same abroad on intergovernmental contracts redounds to both the long- and the short-term benefit of that nation of vast agglomeration of more than one-thousand islands. Maybe this vista of economic bonanza, euphemistically characterized by Mr. Agyeman-Manu as “brain gain from international deployment,” is the wave of the future for Ghana. It is a shame that none of our bedroom-banking ministers-of-state never thought about such a progressive development policy for so unbearably long.
Yes, in Ghana, we have ministers-of-state who prefer to keep caches of ill-gotten wealth in their bedroom closets, to the tune of millions of dollars and an innumerable variety of hard foreign currency notes, far more than most upper-middle-class neighborhood banks have in their vaults across the country, than wisely and patriotically invest the same in the socioeconomic development of our beloved nation. The striking case of Ms. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, the recently resigned Akufo-Addo-appointed Sanitation and Water Resources Minister, pretty much objectively reflects the morally and professionally abject caliber of the overwhelming majority of cabinet, executive and ministerial appointees in the country, irrespective of which of our two major political parties constitutes the government in power. It also tells the global community a lot about the imperative need for a radical paradigmatic revolution vis-à-vis the caliber of leadership a serious Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana ought to be doggedly in pursuit of.
In the criminally inexcusable case of Mrs. Cecilia Osei-Kuffuor, as the former Sanitation Minister is also conjugally known, at least by media accounts, the man who appointed the latter can simply not smugly and cavalierly exculpate himself from the criminal complicity that such a morally and legally prohibitive appointment inescapably implies, especially when the mantra of “jealously safeguarding the national purse” had also been among the foremost planks of the national development policy agenda of then-Candidate Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for three, consecutive electoral seasons. You see, the former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice can simply not claim to be “personally incorruptible,” when all reality grimly points to the fact of a significant percentage of his handpicked appointees being thoroughgoing political shakedown artists and pathological kleptocrats.
In nutritional science, the doctors tell us that we are, each and every one of us, what we eat. By inescapable logical implication, Nana Akufo-Addo can also absolutely in no way credibly claim to be personally any better than kleptocratic key ministerial appointees like Ms. Cecilia Abena Dapaah whose renowned architect husband, Mr. Daniel Osei-Kuffuor, is also rumored to be a blood relative of former President John “The Gentle Giant” Agyekum-Kufuor. At any rate, it was absolutely nothing short of unquestionably emulative and exquisitely exemplary to learn that the Cecilia Dapaah house helps, criminally indicted for stealing from their immitigably vindictive and greedy employer, had even more wisely and profitably invested most of their pelf in the construction of houses and the creation of gainful employment facilities for both themselves as well as some of their relatives and friends.
Ultimately, what the massive exodus of Ghanaian nurses and midwives for the proverbial greener pastures abroad means is that a serendipitous opportunity has, at least, been created for the opportune employment of those graduate nurses who have hitherto virtually become unbearable economic burdens on their families, relatives and some of their benevolent friends and associates. It is also an inexcusable shame that nearly three generations after Ghana reasserted her sovereign status from British colonial rule, the leadership of the first indigenous African country to do so has yet to learn how to effectively manage our beloved nation’s affairs. That the gross incapacity of the government to fully employ most of our taxpayer-educated graduate nurses is further compounded by abjectly poor conditions of service, is all the more to be lamented. It goes without saying that Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah could not have been more wrong to so smugly suppose that: “The Blackman [and the Black woman, as well] [was] ready to fully take charge of his own affairs” some 60-odd years ago. What a nation of practical political pranksters and clinical jokers!
*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
Professor Emeritus, Department of English
SUNY-Nassau Community College
Garden City, New York
November 15, 2023
E-mail: [email protected]