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08.06.2004 General News

No Brakes On Nurses Exodus

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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THERE SEEMS to be no antidote to the exodus of nurses and other health professionals. The reason is simply that working conditions in the hospitals are the same.

About eight nurses are reported to leave the shores of Ghana to seek greener pastures outside the country every other month.

At the Komfo Anokye teaching Hospital (KATH) alone 11 nurses are said to resign within two months.

Health institutions are facing acute shortage of tools and equipment besides transportation and housing for nurses.

According to Mr. Kwame Adinkra, Ashanti regional chairman of the Ghana Registered Nurses Association the situation has posed serious challenges to health workers making it impossible for them to resist temptations to seek better conditions elsewhere.

Adinkra raised these concerns at he inauguration of a seven-member executive of the local branch of the association, which coincided, with the celebration of the Nurses' week at Konongo.

The theme for the celebration was "Nurses working with the poor against poverty".

Chairman Adinkra mentioned other challenges facing the association transportation and housing for nurses, delays in the promotion.

He criticized the mode of disbursement of the Additional Duty Allowance (ADHA) which was instituted to provide financial support to deserving health workers but which had come to favour a few top officials of the Ministry of Health.

According to Adinkra the delays and disparities in the disbursement had gone to contribute to the exodus of nurses.

He explained that young and energetic nurses receive meager sums of money under the ADHA because low hours are constantly used in calculating their allowance hence many of them continue to seek greener pastures outside the country.

Adinkra also referred to a seeming discrimination in the provision of cars to doctors and other health professionals who qualify for it instead of all qualified health professionals.

"The very criteria used to select qualified professionals do no favour nurses" he noted and suggested that other policies such as housing scheme for health workers and soft loans should be instituted to induce them to stay back home.

Notwithstanding the tempting conditions, the GRNA chairman appealed to colleague nurses to accept the challenges and stay back in the country to build a better Ghana worth living in.

The District Chief Executive, Mr. George Kwame Frimpong appealed to nurses to be committed and work with zeal to uplift the image of the nursing profession to higher standards in line with those set by the Mother of Nursing, Florence Nightingale.

Frimpong announced the commitment of the Asante Akim North District Assembly to the promotion of quality healthcare delivery in he district.

The Assembly, according to DCE Frimpong, has constructed a number of nurses' quarters for some health institutions.

It has also supported the first phase of 2004 National Immunization exercise with ¢10 million and assured a continued support to health care delivery.