Gov’t Sends Police To Crush Jobless Nurses

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From Health Ministry Awaiting Akufo-Addo’s Promised Employment

Government on Monday, ordered Police personnel to forcibly evict unemployed graduate nurses who pitched camp at the Health Ministry, demanding jobs promised them by President Nana Akufo-Addo, September last year.

They passed the night at the car park of Kanda-based TV3 and returned to the Ministry to continue yesterday’s picketing at the mercy of the rain.

The nurses, numbering about two hundred are a fraction of about eight thousand nurses and midwives hundred who besieged the Health Ministry to demand posting, and threatened to pass the night there if their concerns were not addressed.

They claimed that several appeals to the Ministry for employment after they completed school in 2016, had not yielded results.

Last year during encounter with the president, the leadership of the nurses were promised immediate employment. President Akufo-Addo tasked the Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu to ensure their posting. But till date, the health professionals including midwives are still at home. They have petition Parliament to intervene but they are yet to hear from the August House.

The Accra Regional Operations Officer of the Ghana Police Service, Chief Superintendent Kwesi Fori, who was at the scene, said they would ensure the students do not return.

“I have spoken to them about the Public Order law. I have spoken to them that in a democracy you cannot misconduct yourself – that borders on public decency. The Police are taking this decision within the ambit of the law so they should go home and use proper procedural means to address their situation.

“We cannot allow them to sleep here and if they engage in acts of lawlessness, we will use every appropriate means within democratic policing to get them out of here.”

A graduate nurse who did not take this directive lightly accused the Police and the Health Minister of being insensitive to their plight.

“The Police sacked us but they did not put measures in place to tell the Minister to attend to us,” he complained.

In response to the Nurses’ demands, a Deputy Minister of Health, Tina Mensah, attributed government’s inability to post them to inadequate funds.

She indicated that the nurses would be posted as soon as they get clearance from the Finance Ministry.

“We never had the clearance. When there is clearance in payment then you have to introduce the people, alert them and push them to do whatever they have to do. When the money is available you can clear them.”

Last week, another group of bonded unemployed nurses and midwives staged a protest at the Ministry of Health to demand posting.

They said they had been idling at home for the past two years after successfully leaving school and completing their mandatory national service.

Picketing at the Health Ministry to demand employment has become a common phenomenon for various health professionals in the country especially in the last three (3) years.

The government has consistently given assurances that it will address their demands, but that has often happened after series of protests.

Late in 2017, a group of unemployed nurses spent two days at the Ministry demanding their posting, and had their issues resolved after that.

This appears to have set a precedent that has seen many other unemployed nurses picket at the Ministry’s premises.

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