Jobless Nurses Sleep Outside Health Minister’s Office

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Members of the Coalition of Unemployed Bonded Diploma Nurses numbering in the hundreds on Monday, spent the night at the Health Ministry, to press home their demand for appointment. They had travelled across the country to the Ministry to be employed.

They were left out by the Akufo-Addo government, which had reviewed an earlier clearance given by the Mahama government, increased the number and politically skewed it to favour those perceived as supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The Nana Akufo-Addo government upon assumption of office in January this year, stopped the recruitment of more than 8,600 nurses, although the Mahama government, had authorized their employment by the Ghana Health Service (GHS).

The jobless and desperate nurses, therefore stormed the Health Ministry on Monday, stayed late into the night, wearing night clothes in preparation to pass the night at the forecourt of the ministry, despite the heavy presence of mosquitoes.

The frustrated nurses, woke up yesterday morning to resume their push for jobs in line with the plan to stage a three-day demo to demand employment.

Some of them, had been home for years. It was not clear, whether the number of females among them, had water to bath and brush their teeth before continuing with the protest.

They had grown more agitated after government recently provided financial clearance for some 11,000 nurses.

But they appear to have been left out in the slash on the force of unemployed health professionals, and have threatened to March to the Flagstaff House, if they are not given clearance to work at the various health institutions in the country.

According to them, they will carry out the threat if their 3-day protest at the Ministry of Health fails to yield any positive result.

Speaking to media, one of the aggrieved nurses, Padmore Agyekum, noted that the Health Minister, has failed to heed their demands and therefore they will call on President Akufo-Addo for urgent action.

“We want to have a feel of the clearance before we leave this place. We will be here for three days and on the fourth day we will go to our father, the president and complain to him. We know that he is a man of his words and he will listen to us. So on the fourth day we will go to the president and plead with him.”

The protest by the Nurses began on Monday. They are demanding clearance and positing from the Finance Ministry, two years after they completed their programme at the various nursing training colleges.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has described as ignorant, the call by the nurses for his sack.

The Minister said this in response to a press statement and demonstration organised by the disgruntled nurses, who said they are frustrated at the feet dragging attitude of the Minister about their posting.

The disgruntled Nurses, following an initial consultation with the Minister, expected that they would be posted to their various stations of work, so that they can start working and earn a living.

But they said, they were disappointed at the hide and seek attitude of the Minister, which has led to most of them been penniless and without places to lay their heads.

They therefore issued a statement, calling for their immediate posting and the removal of the Minister, describing the Minister in very unsavoury terms, they also claim he “is not a man of his word and is also exhibiting gross incompetence at his ministry.”

These descriptions have attracted an equally scathing response from a livid Minister, who could not understand why the Nurses, could not respect his office and “mind their language”.

He reminded the Nurses that, if they don’t cease with the attacks, he would do worse than call them ignorant.

It is clear that, this back and forth between the Minister and the Nurses, is yet to peak.

In February this year, the Minority in Parliament condemned the Akufo-Addo government for what it described as ‘unreasonable decision’ to halt the recruitment of more than 8,600 nurses.

At a press conference, Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu ,said these nurses had obtained the necessary financial clearance from the Ministry of Finance to be added to the public payroll and were awaiting the final step to land a job.

But government, despite promising jobs, has betrayed the ‘honest belief’ of these nurses many of whom may have bought into the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) campaign promises, Mr. Iddrisu said.

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