Thirty-two Nurses and Midwives have tested positive for the COVID-19 in Ghana, official figures from the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives’ Association (GRNMA) reveal.
The president of the GRNMA, Mrs Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, also disclosed that 250 of her members have been quarantined, awaiting their test results.
The West African country has so far confirmed 5,127 coronavirus cases resulting in 22 deaths and over 400 recoveries.
Speaking during the 60th anniversary celebration of the Nurses Week in Accra, the president said per analysis, the Association found out that those infected were Nurses and Midwives not working at the COVID-19 treatment centres but rather, other units.
“It, therefore, stands to reason that, nurses and midwives everywhere especially those working outside the designated treatment centres are heavily exposed to contracting the virus,” Mrs. Ofori-Ampofo said.
Many of the Association’s members, she said worked in fear of the unknown, hence, the leadership was giving them psychological support and working with the government to fulfill its promise of incentive packages so they could work in confidence.
The Association said COVID-19 has shown the weakness of the Ghana healthcare system and hence forced Nurses and Midwives to work under physical and psychological strain.
She believed health systems would not have been so unprepared for the pandemic if it had been adequately resourced.
She, however, commended the government for its efforts to control the respiratory disease and the incentive packages put in place for health workers.
Dr Bernard Okoe-Boye, the Deputy Minister of Health, said the deficit of Nurses and Midwives in the global space was nine million, and Ghana was no exception.
Government, therefore, provided financial clearance to recruit 36,000 of them last year, he said and gave an assurance that it was committed to providing additional financial clearance for at least 20,000 Nurses and Midwives this year.
Behind every successful health system, the Deputy Minister said there was a Nurse or Midwife; therefore government prioritised their welfare and was going to ensure that all promised made to them in this COVID-19 period was fulfilled.
Professor Lydia Aziato, Dean of School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Ghana, advised members of the Association not to lose their value and skills as well as empathy and diligence as those were the key necessities for making a desirable impact.
She also entreated them to maintain the value of self-respect and respect for others and always try to gain the confidence of patients in their line of duty especially during the COVID-19 period.
“Also learn to use communication at the level of clients, especially by using more of local languages, so that patients can well understand you,” she advised.
Prof. Aziato advised all Nurses and Midwives to integrate the core values and ethics of the profession like integrity, honesty, social justice into practice.
The healthcare system could not function without the work of Nurses and Midwives, therefore, any attempt to neglect or ignore them would be suicidal or detrimental to society, she said.
The Association as part of the celebration, collaborated with Stanbic Bank to launch a ‘Welfare Products’ package for members of the Association to own cars, acquire a mortgage, and further their education among others.
It also launched “thenursemall.com”, an online purchasing platform, for members to purchase assorted items from electronics to furniture and more at their convenience without instant cash payment.
Other activities undertaken at the celebration was the launch of the ‘Ruth Ama Eshun Memorial Education Fund’ to honour the late Ruth Ama Eshun, a nurse who was murdered by unknown assailants on February 3, 2020, on her way from duty at Ayuom near Sewua in the Bosomtwe District of the Ashanti Region.