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JUBILATION GALORE! - As trainee-nurses receive restored allowances

General News

Wild jubilation greeted the official launch of the restoration of Nurse/Midwife trainees’ allowance which took place yesterday at the Nursing & Midwifery Training School in Sunyani.

Wild jubilation greeted the official launch of the restoration of Nurse/Midwife trainees’ allowance which took place yesterday at the Nursing & Midwifery Training School in Sunyani.

 

The jubilation even became more intense when the trainee nurses received text messages on their mobile phones just a few seconds after the arrival of the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his entourage at the ceremony.

This development took the celebration into another level as the nurse/midwife trainees present began singing “asem papa bi a m’ate”, a popular choral song by the Remission Choir, and followed it up with drumming and dancing to the delight of all.

The re-introduction of the allowance is in fulfillment of one of the commitments made to Ghanaians by the NPP during the 2016 electioneering period.

It was scrapped by the erstwhile NDC government in 2014 despite concerns raised by Ghanaians about the dire consequences of such a decision on the development of manpower for effective health delivery in the country.

President Nana Akufo-Addo said the decision he took, in run up to the 2016 elections, to restore the allowances if he won the election was not mere political rhetoric deceive nursing trainees for their votes.

“It was much more than that. We believed, and still believe, that Ghana needs all the nurses and healthcare workers she can get, if the nation is to have a solid, world class healthcare system, and we think it necessary to provide the relevant incentives to make that possible,” he stressed.

Bemoaning the cancellation of the allowances, in 2014, by the government of the former President John Dramani Mahama, the president noted that this singular action brought untold hardships to the thousands of nurses and midwives in the country, who depended on it for their studies and for their welfare.

The cancellation, according to the President, left many trainee nurses demotivated and demoralised.

“The New Patriotic Party and I heard your cry, and assured you of the restoration of these allowances, if we won the election. By the grace of God, and by the generosity and trust of the Ghanaian people, I am here, today, as President of the Republic, ready to fulfill the pledge we made to you,” he said, to a rousing applause from the packed auditorium of the school.

To this end, President Akufo-Addo stated that, for the 2017/2018 academic year, effective September, 2017, fifty eight thousand health trainees, comprising nurses and midwives, would be paid their allowance of GH¢400.00 per person, for each of the ten months of the academic year.

“This means government will be spending a total of GH¢232,000,000 for this academic year. The E-Zwich platform will be used to effect payment, as it will ensure convenience, prompt payment, and accountability,” he said.

The President continued, “To the professional cynics and skeptics, those who have made an industry out of constantly asking ‘is this policy sustainable?’, I wish to assure them that, with the proper management of our public finances, the nation’s budget can accommodate such an amount.”

The implementation of the Free SHS policy, he added, should be an indicator of the fact that leadership is about choices.

“I have chosen to invest in the education and in the future of our young men and women, and I will use the blessings the Almighty has so amply bestowed on us to this end,” he added.

The payment of the allowances, the President noted, would also not have been possible without the prudent management of the economy, stressing: “We are going to make our public finances robust again, so we can pay our way in the world, like any self-respecting nation should.”

It is the judicious application of resources, he explained, that was heralding the revival of the National Insurance Scheme, which had led to the payment of GH¢560 million out of the GH¢1.2 billion debt inherited from the Mahama administration, which was strangling the NHIS.

He said his Government was committed to paying the balance within the next 12 months, indicating that “in the meantime, payments to service providers in the NHIS are now current, with no arrears being built up.”

The President revealed that, within the short space of 9 months, Government had employed some 16,000 qualified young nurses and midwives and other health professionals, who, though qualified, had not found employment over the last few years.

Before the year ends, he assured further that additional nurses and midwives will be employed.

“Next year, we plan to employ even more healthcare workers. To your colleagues in private nursing and midwifery training institutions, who have been at home for a number of years, next year our healthcare institutions will begin recruiting them,” he added.

The aim of his government, he stressed, “is to banish the spectre of nurses, midwives and health assistants who are not posted after completion of their courses.”