The proposal by the Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Anthony Nsiah Asare, that government, would discontinue the automatic posting of health professionals to various health institutions, has been shot down by unemployed nurses.
The nurses say, the policy by the government to throw them into the job market, where they are to apply for vacancies at state-owned health institutions, is not the solution to government’s inability to post them, but “..a medium that is going to worsen the case” of health professionals.
According to the jobless nurses, the new policy will rather create avenue for an abuse the system suggesting, extortion, nepotism and favoritism will be the order of the day.
Speaking at the 2018 Annual Conference of the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) on Wednesday in the Brong Ahafo Regional capital Sunyani, Dr. Nsiah Asare, is reported to have said that, to ensure equitable distribution of health professionals, government will henceforth not post them.
In place of the current system, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), said government would in a new policy periodically announce availability of vacancies at the various hospitals across the country, so that the professionals will apply at both regional and district levels, go through interview sessions and get employed if qualified.
This appears to be in line of Deputy Health Minister, Tina Mensah’s ealier position that the government has decided not to bond health professionals again, but allow them look for jobs in health institutions of their choice.
But, reacting to this plan by government, President of Ghana Nurse-Midwife Trainee’s Association, Batiah Semi-Ulah-Santi, said in the view of the Association, the policy is much ado about nothing.
He said, they are opposed to the policy and directed that it will be in the interest of both government and health professionals, if it introduces sustainable policies that can stand the test of time.
According to Semi-Ulah-Santi, the policy will not be achieved its aim because, but only make way for the privileged few, to exploit it, while those willing and committed, will be denied the opportunity.
He said, the claim by some governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament (MP) that they used their influence to get some of their constituents into the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo) programme, is a clear indication that, the process will not be fair to all.
“NaBco is a clear indication for us. That is not advisable; what haven’t we seen? Just recently, with respect to NaBCo, MPs publicly announced that, they have been able to secure this number of slot for their people.
At the end of the day, we are going to make the issue complicated, where people are going to go by protocol and so what you want to achieve, will not be achieved. If you put people at the district, within the district, people will still not go to the villages”, he said.
Semi-Ulah-Santi, was doubtful about the successful implementation of the policy saying in the past, policies that were seen as solutions to reoccurring problems could not be properly implemented.
“There is something that we have come to realize in the heath sector, and in our country at large. It is always different how policy appears on document and how they are implemented.
If you issue clearance and you say that we should apply, there is the possibility that this clearance is not even going to cover the total number of people who completed. It is going to be a competition and at the end of the day, they will resort to people they know”.
The Association questioned why the government would disregard the mandate of the Nurse-Midwifery Council, which is responsible for the examination and licensing of graduate nurses and think of starting a completely different policy.
“What criteria are they going to use to give someone employment when we all have the same qualification and license?
This interview cannot be more than the licensing examination we write. Unless, the core mandate of the Council is at state”, he said.
He said, the current policy could be sustained if government will be “strict” and ensure that professionals posted to hinterland “are not pampered”.
He also said, government should instead of posting professionals with their names, should do so with numbers so that, in the event that they do not report, others can take those positions.
In his view, if government was not happy with the current system, it should adopt “The train and retain” policy, where nurses are posted specifically to region or district they are trained.