About 100 unemployed graduate nurses from different government-accredited private nursing training colleges in the country yesterday pitched camp at the Ministry of Health (MoH), demanding their immediate postings.
The group, with a population of over 5,000 nurses, claims government has refused to engage them since they completed their training within the last four years.
The nurses, with qualifications such as health assistant clinical and diploma in nursing, opined they have been handed a raw deal by the MoH.
“They assured us that when we finish we will be employed by government like the public nurses. We write the same exams and have the same pin as the public nurses but they are being employed and we have been left out,” they bemoaned.
According to them, they have to renew their pin every year at their own cost although they are unemployed.
“Before you renew your pin, you have to attend a training workshop at your own cost and get a certification before you go and pay GH¢50 at the bank for your pin to be renewed. If you do not renew your pin you will be removed from the list so we have a pin we are renewing every year without a job,” they revealed.
Rexford Ofori, SRC President, School of Nursing, Adenta, disclosed that the government, particularly the MoH’s inability to ensure their clearance from the Ministry of Finance (MoF) for their onward posting was putting a lot of financial strain on them.
“We have our certificates but we are home as liabilities to our parents after they have paid our fees. All we want is our postings,” he said.
Rexford Ofori added that meetings with the ministry have not turned out well, as their petition has been treated with a pinch of salt.
“He (Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Mensah) told us that we should be patient but we have run out of that, for how long do they want us to keep waiting?” the nurses yelled from behind the locked gate of the ministry.
The nurses, clad in red bands holding placards with inscriptions such as ‘why, are we not Ghanaians?’ we voted for change’, ‘post private nurses now’, were initially prevented from entering the ministry’s premises, a situation which led to increased chants from the nurses.
They reiterated that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government assured them of their posting during the 2016 election campaign, but are yet to fulfill that promise.
The ministry security had to call for police intervention before the nurses could be calmed and allowed into the premises of the Ministry of Health.
Robert Cudjoe, Head of the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry of Health, explained that the leadership had been engaged by the ministry on countless occasions to exercise patience for the process to go through.
“We have been having this discussion with them, when the government came to power there was a process that had already started and there were some clearance that was pending.
We have spoken with them and given them all the assurances that we have to give them we have gone a step further by requesting finance to give us the go-ahead to employ them. The minister has met them, the deputy minister has also met them we have assured them on daily basis,” he explained.
He said the ministry has written to the Ministry of Finance for the go-ahead to employ the private nurses.
“The government does not want a situation where for the next one or two years they will be working without salaries, the government is saying that everybody who will be employed should be one whose clearance has been given and that the salary will be paid as soon as the process is ended,” he pointed out.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri & Abigail Owiredu Boateng