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14.07.2004 Regional News

GRNA appeals to government to expedite payment of allowances

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Tamale, July 14, GNA - The Northern Regional branch of the Ghana Registered Nurses' Association (GRNA) has appealed to the government to expedite action on the payment of the Additional Duty Hour Allowance (ADHA) to health workers including nurses in the region.

A press statement issued in Tamale on Wednesday and signed by Mr Abdul-Ganiyu Imoro, Chairman of the Northern Regional branch of the GRNA, called on the government to embrace the report by the technical committee set up by the Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service on the ADHA for health workers.

The statement urged the government to act on the recommendation "without further delay as there is a growing tension in the region on the mal-distribution and undue delay in the payment of the ADHA to health workers".

The Association said it had found the ADHA as a disincentive considering the hours allotted to nurses compared with other health professionals, who enjoyed 200 hours irrespective of the number of hours they clock and their staff strength.

It said the setting of ceilings for the health institutions instead of the actual hours done should be reviewed and adequate funds allocated to these institutions to enable them to pay the ADHA as an incentive "for the few nurses who are patriotic to the state by not joining their colleagues to leave the profession. ".

The statement warned that, currently, there is a heightened agitation among nurses in the region adding, "the executives would not be able to contain it if these disparities in the disbursement of the ADHA are not properly addressed".

The statement noted that although nurses constitute the largest health care workforce in the country, yet they are being marginalized by the government and health administrators and not seen "as important factors in influencing policy and decision making..."

It said, for instance, the role of the Chief Nursing Officer had been "limited to providing only advice on nursing issues to the sector Minister while the Regional Deputy Directors of Nursing have been reduced to figure heads and impotent on nursing matters".

The statement complained that during the numerous workshops organised on the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in the Northern Region, their members were not involved.

The association called on the government to expedite action on the rehabilitation of the Tamale Teaching Hospital, saying, "The health facility is currently a death trap for health workers, particularly nurses who work in this dilapidated structure".

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