President Akufo-Addo lauds nurses for hard work, sacrifices
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has commended nurses for their hard work and sacrifices towards the improvement of healthcare in the country.
He said nurses were critical for the building of a robust healthcare system and national development, and as such they needed to be commended.
Launching this year’s International Nurses Day in Accra yesterday, the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, said the President was particularly impressed by the sacrificial spirit they displayed nationwide, putting themselves up as frontline workers in the fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
“Indeed, you deserve the presidential honour for distinguished service given to all health workers nationwide as part of the country’s 66th Independence Day celebration,” she said.
The global theme for the commemoration is “Our nurses, our future” while the local commemoration was held on the theme “our nurses and midwives our future.”
Marked around the world every May 12, the day is to celebrate and honour nurses for their immense service to humanity while reflecting on their challenges for redress.
It is also to celebrate the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
Mrs Osei-Opare said indeed a healthy population drove productivity, and that commemoration was an opportunity to reflect on the roles and needs of nurses and midwives.
She said research showed that the global nursing shortage was declining, however, WHO data showed that in the case of Ghana, more nurses and midwives were needed due to the high attrition rate, mostly caused by the search for greener pastures, among others.
“In line with this worrying trend, a more strategic approach towards training and maintaining nurses would help to prepare adequately for any potential pandemic.
“I therefore task the association to urgently sensitise and re-orient it members to the need to remain committed to serving Ghanaians.
“It is an established fact that the wealth of a nation is dependent on the health of its citizens, government is therefore, committed to expanding healthcare infrastructure locally and also to providing the needed resources for the needed output,” she said.
The President of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association, Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, said in celebrating nurses and midwives, their challenges should also be looked at urgently.
She said logistical challenge was a major challenge to delivering quality healthcare services.
She said, locally, nurses lacked modern equipment to care for patients adequately, adding that the continuous use of obsolete equipment and limited supply of medicines and other consumables put the lives of patients at risk.
Mrs Ofori-Ampofo mentioned other challenges to include poor working conditions for nurses, low salaries, allowances in arrears and unemployed newly qualified nurses as the other challenges.
She said two and half years on, the book and research allowances of nurse educators had not been implemented.
She appealed to the ministry to fastrack the implementation because the association had presented a detailed data on nurse educators who qualified for that allowance.
She also mentioned that nurses had challenges with study leave and promotion.
“For example, the post-basic nurses who have specialised in ophthalmic nursing; ear, nose and throat (ENT) and others have complained over the period about their inability to progress because of the excuse that there needed to be vacancies before they could be promoted and so on.
“I think that at any point in time, there can be only one head of nursing services but they can still receive that promotion to facilitate an improvement in their conditions of service to make life easier for professionals.
The Chairperson for the occasion, the Omanhene of Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia, said nurses played a tremendous role in the lives of humans, and that every true nurse was not daunted by challenges.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, applauded nurses and midwives for their role in helping to abate COVID-19 locally and globally.
That is an indication that their challenges need to be looked at critically.