The Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) has called for calm among its members amidst agitations over the lack of incentives and protective equipment in their efforts to play their part in fighting COVID-19.
It had earlier asked its members to leave isolation units if they were not supplied Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by the government.
But the Association, on behalf of other groups of health workers, has asked its members to “continue discharging their duties diligently and professionally to help curtail the pandemic”.
This comes after President Nana Akufo-Addo extended his appreciation to “GRNMA and its allied associations fighting COVID-19” and requested for them to keep up the good work.
In a statement, the Association further asked its members to note that “the definition of frontline covers all health care professionals” and that the government will soon provide them with incentives based on “proposals made by various health unions and associations and may possibly be graduated for health care workers”.
Health workers appreciated
The President had extended the appreciation of the nation to all health workers across the country for the continued sacrifices they are making in caring for those infected with the Coronavirus, and in caring for the sick in general.
Speaking at a meeting with the leadership of the Ghana Medical Association on Tuesday, 7th April, 2020, at the Jubilee House, the President acknowledged that after 63 years of Ghana's independence, the country has not done well in making readily available all the facilities required for the health workers to function.
He, nonetheless, assured that “on my part and on the part of government, we will continue to see what we can do to meet you halfway, ease the issues that you have. I think you heard my broadcast the other day. I indicated the measures that we want to put in place to support you in the work that you are doing.”
On the definition of who which group constituted “Frontline Health Workers”, President Akufo-Addo stated that “effort is being made on the part of government, to arrive at an acceptable definition, and I think your input will be very necessary and required, so that we get a definition that makes sense for everybody and which addresses the issue of people who are also in the frontline, as it were, of dealing with this disease.”
Association calls for allowances for all staff
President Akufo-Addo in a nationwide television address announced that effective April 2020, all frontline health workers in the pandemic fight will among other things receive an additional allowance of 50% of the basic salary per month for the next three months as well as a three month tax holiday because of their contribution towards the COVID-19 battle.
This, though appreciated, sparked up calls for the government's stimulus package to frontline health personnel to also cover all nurses and midwives across the country.
The Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives’ Association demanded that all health workers are exposed to the disease and therefore, the allowances should not be restricted to frontline personnel only.
“The initiative is good and we are grateful. But it goes beyond these people. Every nurse or midwife everywhere is exposed. Even to the basic unit which is the CHPS compound, everyone is exposed. So for the stimulus packages that were announced, we are thankful for the tax waivers which we believe will cover all of us. But the bit of allowances is what we wish should cover every one of us because we are all exposed in doing our bits in helping the nation identify to contain and manage [the virus]. We are also grateful for the availability of buses. As a union, we are also helping to assist in this direction,” said the President of the GRNMA.