Governance

Ghana Midwife Trainees Attack Gov’t In Kumasi Over Unpaid Allowance

GHANA NURSE-MIDWIFE TRAINEE ASSOCIATION (GNMTA) PRESS CONFERENCE AT LIZ-GATS’S HOTEL TECH- ODUOM WITH THE MEDIA DATED 13TH JULY, 2022

“ Today marks an important initial step of a sequence to ground the rights and privilege of the Venerable health intern( nurses and midwives ) I must commend and acknowledge our gallant ladies and gentlemen of the media, offering us your life wing coverage, your commitment and skill-set are invaluable in promoting the rights of students and Ghanaians at large, the entrenchment of true and practical Democrat, and focusing the illuminating light on issues that affect the very people who defend the dynasty of Ghana.

Warm felicitation to the swelling army of the nurses and midwives, who still stand unshaken, forthright, and optimistic, despite all the dismantling forces, conditions, and influencers hitting them, your tensile strength and matured patience are just admirable, this is a sharp highlight of your proclivity and ability to defend this noble course you have decided to embark on, no matter what the season.

It’s quite heart-wrenching to come to terms with the fact that, continuing students have been off allowances for almost close to a year (11 months), and graduates of 2021 had threshed through the finishing lines with 4 months in arrears, at a moment, it could be termed as life-saving and not a dime for the fresh entry students who are done with their first semester, after all, it cost for admission, parents and guardians have been dealt a devastating blow by this presentation, is not out of place to say, guardians of nurses and midwifery students are all sucked out and demoralized by the unsustainable trajectory their financial responsibility is taking, they are directly under the immense heat of total financial dependency, the government promised to alleviate.

As an association we sympathize with will all guardians in these hard economic times.

The hardworking GNMTA executives, who have shown strong leadership in these testing times, being witness to able students being prevented from taking examinations, as a result of non-payment or half-paid fees our data suggest over 1000 students Nationwide have suffered that fate, a number of them deferred in the process, pathetic isn’t it, how students are able to fulfill their clinical practicum for a year without any stipend, to us is a punishment, clearly complimenting the understaffed nurses in our hospitals nationwide, risking it all for this gross disregard, obviously, the Local leaders have seen it all, the containers of the patience of our constituents over the brim.

With the well-expounded narrative above, GNMTA, the true and only mouthpiece of the over 60,000 interns all over the country, sees this media interaction as an emergency step to inform the Ghanaian citizenry’ who have always sympathized with us and to resuscitate ourselves for other actions to follow if our stipends are not released.

The government of the country, as well as the relevant stakeholders; N&MC, MOH, COHHETI, and Ministry of Finance, have clearly toyed with Commitment to good faith and our love for subtle dialogue, this release is to suggest that, this time around we are tired.

The issue of payment of allowances to trainee nurses and midwives in the various public health training institutions has been one of the most widely discussed topics since time immemorial, with some factions of the public calling for its revocation unjustifiably, whereas others insist on its maintenance, unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of time to get into that brouhaha, as an association we have reiterated times without number, that this stipend for the trainees is non-negotiable, looking at the economic times we find ourselves in.

The Executives of GNMTA have addressed the relevant stakeholders in writing, on several occasions but all efforts to have this issue resolved have so far proven forlorn, so far we have shown good faith in dialogue.

We strongly believe in dialogue as a means of redressing our plight and have employed that on multiple occasions, if not countless. Our faith in dialogue has been paid with gross disregard, distrust, and deception.

At this point, we deem it fully necessary to toe this line of action by calling this press conference to have the good people of Ghana, the government, and relevant stakeholders know that enough is enough!

This charade of scarce resources and care is sickening. It’s about time we let the cat out of the box. 11 months of unpaid allowance is unacceptable, if we are not mistaken, no cohort is facing this financial injustice.

Trainee nurses and midwives play a crux role in healthcare delivery in this country and a strong foundation for productivity in that sense. And per recent research conducted by our mother association (GHANA REGISTERED NURSES AND MIDWIVES ASSOCIATION) in 2020, laid bare that trainee nurses and midwives contribute to 40% of the nation’s healthcare delivery.

Not all the nurses or midwives you come across in the hospitals or clinics are full band nurses/midwives, a chunk of the health labour force are mostly trainees rendering lifesaving services and mitigating the pressure on the inadequate staff available, manning our health centers.

We are students but equally submerged in the labour force, sacrificing and risking! We risk our lives and that of our families like any regular nurse/midwife whenever we go out on clinical practicums. Don’t you think we deserve some remuneration for the work we do?

Ladies and gentlemen, our relevance in this noble sector cannot be undermined, not after all the pandemic has taught and the highlight of our relevance as a labor force in nation-building.

How you treat the fingerlings, advertently determines the kind of fish they grow into. we are merely trying to get you to understand our relevance in the health sector as well as the reasons why we deserve the cushioning of trainee allowances more than anything.

To call a spade a spade, we as Executives as well as students, feel sidelined, deceived, and manipulated.

This incumbent government, before coming to power, emphasized their commitment to this course, and still does by words, but far away from reflecting on the grounds.

The erstwhile government who had then boldly refused to pay the allowances but insisted on introducing student loans, felt the wrath and disagreement of all trainee nurses and midwives when they marched united and demonstrated their franchise against them during the presidential election which saw the birth of this new government.

The road to a stable flow of allowance has been nothing to write home about, with periods where the trainee nurse wonders whether the system is in place at all, and periods where they actually give up any flare of hope of ever receiving the allowance they were once promised.

We believe we did not put words into the mouth of this current government, nor did we force them to make those promises to us, however, we had faith in the breeze of change that was nigh and we embraced it hoping that we would enjoy our share of the national cake. Unfortunately, this has not been the case at all. As we speak, continuing students are owed eleven (11) months arrears of allowance and the newly admitted students are owed four (4) months. Rotational nurses are owed nine months, and the 2021 batch is owed five months.

This is a shame and nothing to write home about. It does not in any way depict the enthusiasm and passion with which the promise was made to pay these allowances. Meanwhile, trainee nurses continue to wallow in pain silently, waiting for that day when their allowances will be paid.

The immense contribution of student nurses and midwives cannot be underscored; they augment the working force by adding to their numbers during intra-semester and inter-semester practicums. It will interest the good people of Ghana to know that parents and guardians whose wards are in the health training institutions are under the impression that government pays the monthly allowance to trainees and so have withheld financial assistance to their wards. If I may ask these students who are left to depend solemnly on the allowance and have not been paid for eleven (11) good months, how has life been with these students for these eleven months? Students have suffered all forms of intimidation, right from emotional, psychological, and physical states.
More painful is the false reassurance the concerned stakeholder associations continually give us, much to the deception of the populace by creating false impressions. As an association, we believe in the philosophy of dialoguing and non-violence, but after several weeks of dialoguing and writing to the relevant stakeholders to no avail, we now find this course of action appropriate if that is what will draw their attention to address our needs. With sore-red eyes, we wish to categorically state that if the outstanding arrears are not paid, and the payment of the allowance fully restored by the end of July 2022, we as student nurses and midwives will picket massively against this government and boycott all intra-semester and inter-semester practicums indefinitely. We do not wish to issue this statement as a threat but as a viable course of action if the necessary steps are not taken by relevant stakeholders to address our needs. For too long we have been taken for granted, for too long our needs have been left unattended, and for too long our pleas have been swept under the carpet.
As an association, we are abreast with developments in the country, and we are well aware of the engagement of the government with the International Monetary fund (IMF). We also understand that government has a proposal to be vetted by the fund for economic growth. We will like to indicate that we aren’t expecting that our allowances will be affected in any way, and they can be no reason for such a thing, looking at the philosophy of the fund, interested in cushioning those who need help, we believe strongly they won’t be against cushioning student nurses to survive. Any attempt to cancel the allowance in the quest for the bailout from IMF will face the fiercest resistance of all trainee nurses and midwives

The time to rise is now. We pray our needs are attended to as soon as possible. Long live Ghana, long live GNMTA!!!

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