Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has announced the restoration of the allowances of trainee nurses and midwives in the various public nursing training schools across the country.
The restoration of allowances, which will officially start at a ceremony in Sunyani on 10th October 2017, will see over 58,000 trainee nurses and midwives in various public nursing and midwifery schools receive a little over GH¢400 every month while in school.
In addition, nurses going for their clinicals will also receive additional two-month allowances to enable them to buy consumables for use in the hospitals.
The Minister, who spoke at the 7th induction and oath-swearing ceremony for allied health professional in Accra on Saturday, said the registration of beneficiary nurses has already started and expected to be completed today for the smooth rollout of the policy.
“So the nurses will get their allowances before or on the day of the ceremony in Sunyani,” he said.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, during the 2016 campaign season, promised to restore the allowances of trainee nurses and midwives cancelled by the erstwhile Mahama-led administration.
The announcement comes as a relief to student nurses who depend on the allowances to enhance their academic work.
It also follows the implementation of the free Senior High School (SHS) policy.
Mr Agyeman-Manu, who addressed over 400 graduates that have completed various allied health professional programmes, said the policy of bonding has been cancelled and that government would no longer employ health professionals after their training.
This means that once the nurses and midwives complete their training and national service, they can apply to any health institution for employment themselves.
“For us, the bonding was creating some discrimination against those in the private sector school and if we encourage people to work, we will give them accreditation and they train, I do not think it is fair to leave them out of employment opportunity.
We single out those in the public schools and give them jobs because they are bonded and leave the rest with no jobs, as I speak some students, who graduated from private schools, have sat at home since 2013 and we don’t think that is fair. We believe in creating equal opportunities for all of them to have jobs,” he said.
Mr Agyeman-Manu further noted that the ministry has started looking at how many healthcare professionals can employ in the next budget, adding that from next year the discrimination against private schools when it comes to employment of nurses will be a thing of the past.
“We are hoping that the demanding budget to the Ministry of Finance will go through and if it does we would not see the backlog of young people who have been trained and sitting home after years of completing their training,” he said.
He said the Ministry has so far posted 16,000 nurses, hoping that by the end of the year those from the private training institutions would be cleared as well.
Discipline in schools
He said in consultation with the heads of the nursing training school, the ministry will advocate the banning of the use of mobile phones and other digital gadgets in schools and hospitals.
“I will talk to your lectures and professors to insist that we cannot use phones in the lecture halls, this one is non-negotiable and it is for your own good and I think it would do us a lot of good,” he said.
Digitizing Health Sector
He said the new way in treating patients at hospitals and clinics was through the digitization of health care services, adding that the ministry is currently undertaking a pilot project in Cape Coast University and six other health facilities.
“Once the feedback is positive and implementation cost is reasonable, the programme will be rolled out throughout the country.
“So all patients’ folders will be electronic and synchronised with other hospitals across the country so whichever hospital a doctor is, he can access a patient’s folder,” he added.
He further encouraged the graduates to accept postings to areas where their expertise would be needed by citizens, adding that issues related logistics for the council would also be addressed soon.
Story: Daniel Kaku