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Regional News Sat, 31 May 2003

Volta Region nurses demonstrate over non-payment of allowances

The Volta Region branch of the Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA) has called on the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to pay approved Additional Duty Hours Allowance (ADHA) to its members to prevent them from leaving the region to where the allowances are "on a higher side."

It blamed the shortage of nurses in the region on the slashing of additional duty hours.

This was contained in a statement signed by Mr Samuel MacCarthy, the Regional Secretary of the association, during a demonstration by the nurses on the premises of the Regional Directorate of the GHS and the Regional Co-ordinating Council RCC) on Friday.

The statement said a nurse in the region, by the terms of the ADHA, is entitled to 200 addition hours but only 50 hours are paid to her.

The association requested that it is represented on all committees for the disbursement of the ADHA at the regional, district, sub-district.

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It also requested that the differences in allowances paid to its members in March for ADHA should be reconsidered and paid back to them.

''Nurses in the region should be paid 200 ADHA without asking them to fill forms as applied to other health workers.''

Dr McDamien Dedzo, Acting Volta Regional Director of the GHS, said at a meeting between the Volta Regional Minister, Mr Owusu-Yeboa, Regional Executives of the GRNA and officials of the regional health directorate of the GHS that a report by a committee on the ADHA had been completed and would soon be presented to the sector Minister.

He said while doctors were entitled to a fixed 200 ADHA by virtue of being on call 24 hours, nurses on the other hand, needed to have their additional hours authorised, earned and documented because they run shifts.

Dr Dedzo said since 2001, the region's allocation for the payment of the allowances had been slashed by 40 percent.

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He said that not withstanding, doctors had insisted that they were paid the full 200 ADHA.

Dr Dedzo said those who were wrongly paid the allowances while on leave or transfer from the region, had what they were paid deducted from their salaries.

Mr Owusu-Yeboa said though nurses have the right to demonstrate, their action might not be necessary if the executives had exhausted all avenues for consultation on the grievances.

He said the exercise of decorum was important in the conduct of public affairs and that the sudden invasion of the RCC by the nurses in his absence due to lack of sufficient notification to his office, had created the wrong impression that he refused to meet them as expected.

The nurses wearing large pieces of red scarves and placards one of which read, "Nurses can help improve GHS if they are properly motivated", besieged the second floor of the RCC offices where the Regional Minister's office is located.

Source: gna