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NPP Abandoned Unemployed Health Professionals

Feb 21, 2018 | Dauda Assibid
NPP Abandoned Unemployed Health Professionals

The unfortunate treatment of protesting unemployed nurses by the deceptive Akuffo Addo administration is condemnable and pathetic. I cannot believe this happened under the watch of a self-acclaimed human rights lawyer.

Ghana currently has a very poor doctor-to-patient ratio as well as that of a nurse -to-patient ratio record. Innocent people are dying as a result of this misfortune.

Shouldn't any serious government prioritize that? After all, what is more significant than a government being committed to the Health and well being of its citizens?

The pharisees in Ghana are seeing things different; well, pearls are actually not meant for the swine and holy things must not be thrown to the dogs.

I will tell you why. Statistics available at the MoH indicate that over 21,000 nurses are waiting for clearance to put their skills and knowledge to work. The breakdown is as follows: 4,745 community health nurses, 7,229 enrolled nurses, 1,037 registered community health nurses, 437 registered mental health nurses, 3,108 registered midwives, 7,217 registered general nurses and over 2,000 medical doctors of various categories. In the abundance of water my people are dying of thirst.

Mr. President, it appears you do not appreciate the implications to the achievement of SDG 3, of getting these people engaged. That is why your government would prefer, instead, to use that money to pay fruitless allowances which have even stalled. Engaging these professionals will go a long way to reduce the workload on the existing nurses and doctors; it will allow you to operationalize facilities completed by the previous government; and the end results will be improved access and reduced inequities.

Is the problem a lack of money? No, Mr. President! Money is not the problem. What you need to do is to prioritize. With the GH¢149 million spent on trainee nurses in 2017, you could have catered for a year’s wages and salaries of 14,243 enrolled nurses or 9,189 staff nurses on a gross salary of GH¢871.75 and Gh¢1,351 respectively. Couldn’t this have improved productivity? Or, perhaps, you do not have health economists to advise you? Or could it be old age? Or your mathematics is actually very poor?

I have seen in the 2018 budget another misapplied GH¢312 million earmarked for trainee nurses’ allowances. This is really incredulous! Meanwhile the two-paragraph statement in the budget dedicated to health does not state how much will be spent to engage the over 21,000 health professionals wasting away at home.

Mr. President, with GH¢312 million, you could engage for a year all the unemployed nurses in Ghana and about a 1,000 newly qualified nurses. What is so difficult about this that you can't see?

The NPP 2016 manifesto also promised to improve upon the emergency services delivery system. For the past one year we have not seen even a blueprint to give an idea of what the Ministry intends to do to achieve this goal. Let me borrow someone’s phrase: ‘This President is too slow in learning’. Almighty NADMO is no more crawling on its knees but is actually lying prostrate on its belly, while the National Ambulance Service is grinding to a halt with only 55 functional ambulances from the 165 handed over to you. Training of emergency professionals (emergency physicians and nurses, trauma and orthopedic surgeons) has not received any attention from you. So, tell me, do you really care about the Health of the Ghanaian citizens?

At this juncture, I wish to know whether Mr. President and his ailing Health Minister really have any competence in handling the health sector challenges. So much noise has been made about the men NPP have to solve every problem. But now we are being confronted with gross incompetence by the self-acclaimed competent. Until your wife is diagnosed of fibroid, you go about boasting foolishly of potent. Competent men indeed!

Common sense is free but some people really need to buy some from the market. The unemployed nurses are really suffering and crying so much under a President who promised them heaven?

_What has changed? Ain't they your priority anymore? Mr. Akuffo Addo, employ our unemployed Health Professionals now!_

The assessment of the one-year NPP government so far is not good at all for the health sector. Accessibility has become difficult because the NHIS they promised to ‘revive’ is diving nose down; they presumably cannot find the money they claim existed to settle providers. The disparity in healthcare delivery is widening up because they have refused to operationalize several facilities after they have been completed by the previous government, awaiting the Minister to introduce some reforms.

If Ridge Hospital was running well as envisaged, there would not have been the need to fly our Vice President to the UK with all the related expenditure. Healthcare has become less affordable because we have many patients chasing after few professionals. And while the unemployment rate among health professionals is on the rise, government is busy spending the little money we have on fulfilling a silly campaign promise of ‘re-introducing trainee nurses’ allowances. Where is the sense in training them with allowances to become jobless?

Is it also true that there is shortage of syringes in the public hospitals? I will be watching too.

On health alert,
Assibid Dauda
*The Binduri Youth Activist*

Dauda Assibid
Dauda Assibid

The author has authored 40 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author's column: DaudaAssibid

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dauda Assibid and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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