GHANA: Mahama Beats Retreat … On Trainee Nurses Allowances

July 2016 theChronicle; Government has rescinded its ‘unpopular’ decision to scrap the nursing trainee allowances as the November 7 polls draw closer to court some ‘cheap’ votes.

In 2013, the National Democratic Congress [NDC] administration of John DramaniMahama declared the abolishment of the trainee nurses allowance, cheekily explaining that it was to ensure the removal of some restrictions on admission to the various training institutions.

Government further explained that scrapping the allowances would grant more students the opportunity to gain admissions into the institutions.

But the abolishing of the said allowances and the silver-tongued explanations offered by the Mahama government was viciously rejected with mass protests and statements from the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association [GRNMA], the Ghana Nurses and Midwives Trainees Association [GNMTA], including the New Patriotic Party [NPP].

The GRNMA, repudiating the government’s decision in 2013 said the move could unleash negative implication for healthcare delivery in the country as it would result in shortage of nurses and midwives.

“Providing care for the sick even in the traditional way is not easy, so if you take that responsibility then you must be committed and commitment stems on the motivation you get.

“The money for the students has been a great motivation and has also subsidized their fees. Now that the government wants to scrap it, only the rich can afford Nursing training and that would have effect on personnel adequacy,” said the GRNMA then.

Joining critics of the abolishing of the allowances, the NPP described the Mahama administration as insensitive and that deserved not to be re-elected.

The Party’s running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia in  March, this year, said the NPP saw the restoration of the allowances as non-negotiable, explaining that they’re critical to the developing the quality human resource Ghana needed to blossom in the competitive global community.

“…We will restore the teacher and nursing training allowances – for us, it is non-negotiable. Every nation must prioritize certain sectors at every point in time and invest the necessary resources to reap maximum benefits.

“For the NPP, Ghana today needs to invest every necessary resource in education to give us the quality human resource we need to win the globally competitive economic battle,” he said.

Also, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo earlier this month pledged to get the abolished allowances restored when given the nod in the November 7 polls.

Addressing chiefs of Adanse Fomena, the NPP flag bearer said: “If Ghanaians vote us back into power by the grace of God, we will restore Nursing training and teacher training allowances.”

Such rhetoric from the NPP leadership is gaining support from the aggrieved trainee nurses nationwide, threatening the re-electability of President Mahama in the upcoming polls, thus the need for the government to, as a matter of necessity; devise a plan to counter the NPP message.

As a result, the government said in a statement yesterday (Thursday) that it has rescinded its resolve to continue with the abolishing of the nursing trainee allowances.

According to the statement signed by Alex Segbefia, Minister of Health, a technical committee set up by the “President to review allowances for nursing trainees has recommended payment of an abated allowance with a possibility to migrate them onto the Students Loan Scheme.

“…The payment amount would serve as a bridging mechanism pending the amendment of the Students Loan Trust Act, to enable students in non-tertiary health training institutions access loans to support education.”

The statement added that, the payment would amount to about GHS150 a month, aimed at supporting 34,500 students currently pursuing various levels health professional training across the country.

 

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