3000 Nurses, midwives leave Ghana for greener pastures
About 3,000 nurses and midwives have left the country this year alone to seek greener pastures abroad, according to the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA).
The association says if working conditions are not improved, the numbers could further go up and that would hamper the effective and efficient delivery of health service as many of the experienced hands were among those leaving.
The chairman of the Volta Region branch of GRNMA, Moses Robertson Anyigba, who disclosed this, said there were clear indications that the exodus would soar beyond control sooner than later.
“But for the COVID-19 restrictions, the figure would have been much higher,” said Mr Anyigba.
He made the disclosure during the closing ceremony of the North Tongu District GRNMA Week celebration at Battor last Tuesday.
The celebration was on the theme: Nurses and Midwives – A voice to Lead - Invest in Nurses and Respect Nurses’ Rights to secure Global Health.
It is held each year to take stock as well as honour and recognise members whose works have made impact in their areas of operation within the year.
Among the award winners at the district level were the nurses from the Battor Cervical Cancer Prevention and Training Centre (CCPTC), Ethel Tekpor, Mrs Comfort Mawusi Wormenor, Eadbertha Shiela Appiah (Torgorme Health Centre) and Regina Ansah (Fakpoe CHPS).
Cause of exodus
Mr Anyigba, who is a lecturer at the Nursing and Midwifery College in Hohoe, blamed the trend partly on the deplorable and unsafe conditions in which nurses work, saying it was time the working environment of nurses and midwives were improved to acceptable levels.
For instance, he cited cracked walls and shaky chairs and table at some health facilities and said nurses not having the right ambience that supported their safety and ethical practice to work in, as well as working in places without the requisite tools.
Mr Anyigba pointed out that critical nursing and midwifery workforce shortages hindered the delivery of quality care and threatened the safety of nurses and patients.
He highlighted the need for the government to invest in the nursing workforce, especially in the education of nurses and midwives, leadership, and occupational safety of nurses to strengthen the health system to ensure health equity in the country.
That would also accelerate the progress towards achieving SDG 3, which focused on healthy lives and wellbeing for all and sundry, Mr Anyigba added.
He also stressed that the right of nurses to negotiate their condition of service, in all practice settings, must be respected always.
Earlier, the North Tongu District Chairman of the GRNMA, Jonathan Edro, said the health facilities in some rural communities were not secured.
He said physical attacks on health workers, including nurses and midwives by some patients and members of the public were rampant in some of the communities.
Mr Edro entreated clients at the health facilities to accord all healthcare providers their due respect to ensure a smooth service delivery at the facilities.
The Paramount Chief of Battor, Togbe Patamia Dzekley VII, in a speech read on his behalf, said every investment in the capacity of nurses and midwives would produce great results for the nation as the knowledge acquired from the investment would contribute to quality human resources and improved health care.
“There should be effective upgrading of skills and techniques to meet global technological changes, with the appropriate tools for the job,” he said.