The jobless nurses and health professionals who hit the streets of Accra in protest of their delayed financial clearance for employment are angry at the Deputy Minister of Health, Tina Naa Ayeley Mensah for what they have described as disrespect to them.
Speaking on the Morning Xpress on Radio XYZ 93.1MHZ on Tuesday, Director of Operations for the unemployed private nurses, Richmond Asomanin Marfo disclosed that when they were handing the petition to the minister yesterday, she “used her left hand to collect the petition” and refused to address them.
“After taking [the petition], at least she should have told us something little but she took it and left. Our members were not happy about that,” he told Neil Armstrong Mortagbe, the host of the show.
“We voted them into power yet she disrespected us. Some of us are married with kids…some are even pastors,” stated Richmond.
However, the health professionals which include Ghana Nurse-Midwife Trainees Association, the National Health Students Association of Ghana, unemployed nurses and other graduates of allied health institutions have said despite the disrespect from the minister, their two-week ultimatum to government to respond accordingly to their petition still holds.
The groups that hit the streets of Accra on Monday, May 7, 2018 under heavy police presence want government to rescind the decision of employing them onto the Heal Ghana module under the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo).
The aggrieved health professionals numbering more than 500 who also kicked against government’s decision to employ them onto the Heal Ghana module under the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo), say the minister who received their petition on behalf of the vice president, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, disrespected them.
They are also demanding financial clearance to pave way for their posting after many promises.
Chanting their own rendition of popular Dancehall musician, Shatta Wale’s ‘Guy Guy’ song, the protesters in one accord shouted “2020 we go show Nana” indicating that the president, Nana Akufo-Addo has failed to live up to his promise for which reason they will vote him out in the 2020 elections.
Speaking to XYZ News‘ Kenneth Awotwe Darko at the Accra Hearts of Oak Park after the Deputy Health Minister had ‘snubbed’ them, one of the demonstrators said “The government cares less about our plights. We go show Nana in 2020. He has lied to us…See what the minister did to us. She should remember we voted them into power. They should remember the ‘Kalyppo Craze’ where we all drank the Kalyppo together. They should remember that we are their children.”
Another visibly infuriated nurse said “…The government has lied to us. The government promised us financial clearance in May and not NaBCo. NaBCo is a stranger to us. It came all of a sudden and we are even shocked I don’t think anybody understands it,” he said, rubbishing the employment of health professionals under a programme some of his colleagues had described as Youth employment.
Some of the protestors who spoke to XYZ News insisted government cannot classify them and absorb them onto the Heal Ghana module under NaBCo, after several years of rigorous professional training.
“It is not in the interest of the health professionals. we are not against NaBCo but we want government to suspend rolling us onto the Heal Ghana Module. This module is not in the interest of all professionals and the health profession is one aspect. It is going to make health professionals bitter because our colleagues employed into the Ghana Health Service will be taking more than us,” said Richard Osei Yeboah, the National health students Association of Ghana.
He said working under Heal Ghana means they will not have access to promotion and study leave, and therefore, pleaded with government to rescind the decision and post them as has been promised them.
Enrolling nurses under NaBCo dangerous
NaBCo has received more than 40,000 applications in less than a week after its launch in Kumasi by President Nana Akufo-Addo, says Dr Anyars Ibrahim, its National Coordinator.
Deputy Information Minister, Perry Kwabla Okudzeto has also said among the applications received, the Heal Ghana module has more applicants than the other 6.
However, Austin Gamey, a labour expert has described the recruiting of nurses under the Nation Builders’ Corps as very dangerous.
Mr Gamey believes the act could lead to the loss of precious human lives if government goes on to get unposted nurses onto the programme, adding, a major profession like nursing should not be contemplated to be a temporary one.
“…The character and nature of the job (nursing) is such that if you know that you are being employed for a certain period of time and that will be the end of it, your mentality, actions and inactions can cause peoples’ lives.
“…We really have to be mindful about all these things,” Mr Gamey said while he admonished government to rescind the decision of recruiting nurses under a transient policy.
NaBCo was launched by president Nana Akufo-Addo on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. The new employment module is to tackle graduate unemployment in Ghana.
NaBCo is expected to employ about a hundred thousand (100,000) graduates with Diploma and Degree, under seven modules.