Dr Mahamudu Bawumia (inset) addressing participants in the event. Picture: EDNA  SALVO-KOTEY
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia (inset) addressing participants in the event. Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY

More nurses to be recruited, trainees to receive allowance - Dr Bawumia assures

The government is to recruit the backlog of nurses and midwives by August this year, after clearance by the Finance Ministry.

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The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who announced this in Accra yesterday, said: “I have confirmed with the Ministry of Finance that steps are being taken to clear the backlog of unemployed nurses and midwives within this shortest possible time.”

“By August this year, clearance will be granted for the hiring and the recruitment of the nurses, notwithstanding the backlog,” he added. The Vice-President also gave an assurance that GH¢177 million would be released to the Ministry of Health within the week for payment of allowances of nursing trainees.

Dr Bawumia was speaking at the launch of the 2024 International Nurses Day celebration at the secretariat of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA).

Event

The event is used to highlight the contribution of members to healthcare delivery in the country and challenges they face in the profession. The event was on the theme: "Our nurses and midwives, our future: The economic power of care."

It also emphasised the indispensable role of nurses and midwives in shaping the future of health care and the economy.

Importance

The Vice-President said the role of nurses and midwives was crucial to the healthcare system, hence the investment in their education and training. “Nurses and midwives are not just healthcare providers; they are highly skilled professionals who offer evidence-based care to patients and families.

“Their expertise, empathy and dedication to help enhance health outcomes is relevant,” he said, adding “they serve as the first line of assistance for patients, offering guidance and treatment”.

Dr Bawumia said it was for this that the government had initiated interventions to help nurses, doctors and midwives carry out their duties effectively. He mentioned the One-constituency, One-ambulance and the introduction of medical drones as some of the initiatives, as well as digitalisation to facilitate healthcare delivery.

Dr Bawumia said the government had also networked all hospitals so that data of patients could be accessed by health facilities. “We have completed the networking of the teaching hospitals, the regional hospitals, and the district hospitals so that when you are transferred you don't need to carry your folder where your ID number and all your data can be seen,” he said.

Investment

The President of GRNMA, Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, said the nurses and midwives formed up to 70 per cent of the total health workforce of the country, hence the need to invest and direct policies that would ensure their physical, mental and social well-being.

She said despite low salaries and other challenges they were confronted with, nursing remained attractive to the youth, who after graduation, found it difficult to get jobs. “Over 1,000 nurses, especially the 2020 and 2021 batches, remain unemployed and their skills continue to deplete day after day,” the president added.

Mrs Ofori-Ampofo further called for pension unification and better benefits for nurses, saying there was also the need for review of their salary structure and conditions of service, as well as vehicle tax waivers for health professionals in the country.

An Associate Professor of Nursing Administration, Valley View University, Stella Appiah, also said the government should strategically invest in nursing and midwifery education and continuous professional development in order to meet future healthcare demands.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Health designate, Dr Bernard Okoe-Boye, commended nurses and midwives for their dedication to duty, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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