Coalition of Concerned University Nursing Students of Ghana (CCUNSG), a group that has emerged in the interest of nursing trainees in Universities across the country, has decried the NPP government’s recent restoration of nursing trainee allowances as discriminatory.
In a statement, it commended the government for the restoration of the allowances but the group believes that the government was not fair in the reinstatement of the allowances because it discriminated against trainees in the universities.
A statement signed by Convener of the group, Nana-Kyei said: “We believe that the recent decision by government to re-introduce trainee allowance for nurses is a laudable idea and we commend government for that. However, we, concerned nursing students across various universities in the country, feel cheated by the decision to leave students in the universities behind, especially when we are all undertaking same programme and even ours is more loaded and tedious compared to training institutions who get their certificates from the same universities.
“We are aware that the initial decision by past governments to pay allowance to students in various training institutions was to motivate and incentivize students to promote entry, but looking at the current status of those institutions, that initial decision has outlived its policy usefulness, considering the level of competition in the admission process. So whatever being the reasons for the recent restoration should be done in good faith, which should include all nurses undergoing training, irrespective of whether the fellow is in public university or training college.
“The President recently reiterated his commitment to ensuring all nurses receive all that is required for their training; so if it is just about commitment as the President posited it, then we should also be beneficiaries, especially knowing very well that students from training institutions work under us after school. Therefore our training should as well be of paramount priority to government!”
It added: “The university programme is structured in a way that we go through rigorous activities by taking so many risks in the course of our training. We as well undergo long periods of clinical training during vacations and school periods. We pay huge sums of money as fees and accommodation fees, of which feeding and books, handouts are not included. In fact, going through a four year training course at the university is not a joke, and considering the fact we are pursuing such a tedious training programme to be of service to our beloved country, we should as well be given some incentives.
“We are calling on government and the Ghana Health Service to roll out a comprehensive policy statement on allowance for health trainees, which should be backed by law, because the current trends looks like government is handing a reparation package to training institutions in fulfillment of a campaign promise. Again, we also believe national policies on nursing trainees should be holistic and fair.
“The policies of government do not favour us at all. After completion, you are left to your fate to battle your stars for employment but our junior in colleges who are all affiliated to our universities and are undertaking 3years programme get automatic entry into the job market which is facilitated by government and the GHS. So if the government is committed and the allowance restoration isn’t about amassing political capital to maximise the electoral prospects of the ruling government, then that commitment should be extended to cover all nursing students in public universities. Government should either pay allowance to university nursing students in public universities or scrap the fees we pay as school fees. We are of the view that if university students are excluded then all public universities should withdraw the affiliation agreements with the colleges. Government should roll out a comprehensive policy plan on employment of graduate nurses after their internship/national service.”