Nurses in the Greater Accra Region have resolved to stay away from work until their demand for an equitable disbursement of the additional duty hours allowance(ADHA) is addressed.The nurses claimed that there were disparities in the disbursement of the ADHA, which highly favoured doctors and demanded that the allowance should be paid across board. The ADHA ranges from 84, 150, 170 and 200 hours and information gathered indicated that even among the nurses there were disparities in the allowance paid to them at their various institutions.They complained that nurses at health facilities in the urban areas received higher allowances than their counterparts in rural areas and that was a dis-incentive for accepting postings to rural areas.
The decision to stay out of work, started on Monday and the nurses have resolved to instead hold meetings everyday until their demands were met.At one of such meetings held at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital yesterday, the nurses expressed disgust at certain “unpalatable” comments allegedly made by the Minister of Health, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, on an Accra FM station.
The minister was alleged to have said that some of the nurses received more than ¢6 million as monthly salary and that the least paid nurse received about ¢2.5 million. He was also accused of saying that the action by the nurses was politically motivated.“I have worked for 35 years but I receive less than ¢2 million a month,” one of the nurses said, while another, who said she had worked for 28 years produced her pay slip, which showed a net monthly salary of a little more than ¢900,000.
The nurses accused Dr Afriyie of showing gross disrespect to them over the years and pointed out that his alleged comments on the FM station were misleading. They, therefore, asked the minister to retract those comments and render an unqualified apology to them. At the time of the visit, the regional executive of the Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA) were holding consultations behind closed door, while the rank and file, wearing red bands, sang and chanted in front of the In-Service Education Unit where the meeting took place.
The consultations, which lasted about two hours, were in anticipation of a meeting with the minister but word went round later that the minister was not turning up for fear of being intimidated by the infuriated nurses.Not even the presence of the Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, and the Deputy Minister of Lands and Forestry, Mrs Theresa Tagoe, could calm and soften the stance of the nurses.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng and Mrs Tagoe, had a brief meeting with the regional executives after which it was decided that the regional executives should meet with Dr Afriyie at the ministry to discuss the issue.However, the nurses asked their executive not to go anywhere, demanding that “we want the minister here.”
The Greater Accra Regional chairperson of the GRNA, Mrs Mary-Ann Sackeyfio, told journalists later that the exodus of nurses had put enormous pressure on them due to increased in work load.She said with the coming into force of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the work load would be heavier and that she noted, required appropriate remuneration.
When the Graphic called the office of Dr Afriyie to clarify the issue about the ADHA and some of the accusations levelled against him by the nurses, he was said to be in a meeting.This reporter was directed to talk to Mr Kofi Amponsah Bediako, Government Spokesman on social services but his office phone rang several times without any response.