Treat Health Workers fairly as you treat Military, Police–Dr Sandare urges Govt

Dr Sebastian Sandaare, MP DBI

Dr Sebastian Ngmenenso Sandaare, Member of Parliament (MP) for Daffiama/Bussie/Issa, has urged government to give special attention to health workers, especially Doctors and Nurses as it gives to security services in the country.

According to him, health workers are the backbone of any health system and that their needs and demands ought to be given equal preference just as the Military and the Police Services.

Dr Sandaare, a member of the Health Select Committee of Parliament made the comments following a demonstration embarked by unemployed Nurses Association in Accra last Monday May 7,2018.

During the demonstration, the nurses and other health professionals threatened to vote out the New Patriotic Party government in 2020 it fails to review some terms and conditions governing the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo).

“He (President Nana Akufo-Addo) shouldn’t worry. 2020 is coming. We voted him in and we will vote him out,” some nurses stated, as they marched in protest against the Heal Ghana module under NaBCo.

The nurses, who belong to the Ghana Nurse-Midwife Trainees Association and the National Health Students Association of Ghana, wanted an amendments made to the Heal Ghana module under NaBCo.
They were  also demanding financial clearance which has not been forthcoming for many months, to pave way for their employment.

“The reason why we are against this policy is that this policy is just detrimental to our lives. This policy is something that is not going to help us. This policy has no future for the nurses.”

“We feel like the government has lied to us. The government promised us financial clearance in May; 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,” some of the protesting nurses were heard.
Despite their complaints, the government has explained that unemployed nurses who sign unto the corps would still be posted when they eventually receive financial clearance from the Finance Ministry.

However, speaking to THE REPUBLIC in parliament on the matter, Dr Sandaare  called on government not to toy with the health needs of Ghanaians.

He said nurses are part of the essential workforces of the country and that their services to the nation should not be taken for granted.

Sounding very passionate about the plight of the health needs of Ghanaians, especially the rural folks, the MP said there are shortage of nurses in the rural communities and that everything should be done to give them the opportunity to serve the health needs of the citizenry.
“Some of us who have worked in the health sector  are very disturbed by what appears to be the inability of the Ministry of Health and by extension government inability to get financial clearance to employ these nurses.”
“Currently, we still have a big gap in terms of population ratio to health workers in the country, thus the population of general nurses and midwifery to the citizenry in provision of health care is still a big gap and we must not toy with that,” Dr Sandaare stated.
He observed that, as at 2016, the Nurse ratio to population stood at 1: 834, while the midwifery ration stood at 1:942 , adding that, in terms of regional gap, the Northern Regions is the highly affected with a nurse of 1:1,032 , while the Upper East had the least of 1:500 as against a ratio of about 1:20 commended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

He chastised the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for reneging on its responsibility as a government to make health provision available and accessible to the citizens.

Dr Sandaare said, under the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government effort were made with provision of health infrastructures across the country to absorb trained nurses as part of measures to make healthcare affordable.

But upon assumption of office, he said, the NPP government neglected the health sector by failing to continue with projects commenced by the NDC government, especially CHIP compounds in the rural communities.

The DBI lawmaker said, the NDC government introduced policies for every district assembly to construct one or two CHIP compound every year as part of measures to help reduce the health facilities gaps in the country.

In addition to that, the NDC government built other major hospitals to help employ nurses and other health professional but some of the projects have since been abandoned, hence the lack of facilities to employ the trained graduated nurses.

He expressed his support to the protesting nurses on grounds that, they deserve better treatment.

He therefore called on government to give similar treatment given to military and police services to the nurses and other health professional, stating,  “if the Military and the Police will not be on NABCO, then why nurses?”

The MP pointed out that, the biggest and most prolonged challenges facing our nurses are not limited to lack of professional pay for professional work, unsafe nurse to patient ratios, but also the lack of resources and support by stakeholders.

Sources: Engsalige Nyaaba

The Republic News Online

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