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Nurses and midwives in Upper East work in red bands

Members of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) in public health facilities of the Upper East Region have worn red bands as first action among planned activities to embark on industrial strike action.

The leadership of the association in a notice of action, jointly signed by its President, Mrs Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo and Dr David Tenkorang-Twum, the General Secretary, demanded a review of what it described as ‘astronomical increment’ in the verification fee paid by nurses and midwives to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) of Ghana for verification of licenses.

The leadership said although it officially communicated its discontentment about the 445.5 per cent increment in the verification fee and requested for review of the amount to an acceptable level, it had not received any response.

According to leadership, for more than a week, the institutions involved, the Parliament of Ghana, the Ministry of Health and the NMC, were yet to ‘even acknowledge receipt of our letters and to
make any effort towards having the GHS3,000 reviewed.’

The GRNMA said, ‘considering the current economic challenges and the fact that our salaries are not the best, nurses and midwives of Ghana can only contain a maximum of 25 per cent increment which in our view can be borne by all grades of nurses and midwives.’

The Association in a planned series of actions said from March 22 to 27, 2024, members would wear red bands across all health facilities and everywhere nurses and midwives’ work.

It said leadership would hold what she called a ‘major press conference,’ on March 27, 2024, and if no action were taken to address the issue.

They would withdraw Out-Patient Department (OPD) services from March 28 to April 2, 2024, and subsequently withdraw OPD and in-patient and other services on April 3, 2024.

‘All nurses and midwives are expected to fully participate in the above stated action because it is their right to do so and therefore, under no circumstance should they be threatened or coerced,’ leadership s
aid in its directive to members across the country.

Following the directive, the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Bolgatanga visited some public health facilities to ascertain if nurses and midwives adhered to the roadmap.

At the Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga, nurses and midwives at the OPD, maternity ward and other units, tired red bands on their heads and arms as they rendered services to patients.

The situation was not different at the Sandema Hospital and the Chuchuliga Health Centre both in the Builsa North Municipality of the Region when the GNA visited.

Mr Francis Wuni, the Regional Secretary of the GRNMA, in an interview with the GNA, said until their demand was addressed, they would follow the planned roadmap to the end.

He said nurses and midwives had the right to migrate to any country of choice if they so desired and emphasized that if the employer did not want the exodus of nurses and midwives from the country, it should provide them with better conditions of service.

‘Our position is clear; we
want a review of the verification fee of GHS3,000.00. From GHS500.00 to GHS3,000.00 is astronomical. How much is our salary? Per our meager salary, we cannot contain anything more than 25per cent increment,’ Mr Wuni said.

Some nurses and midwives in red bands at the facilities visited, told the GNA that they were in full support of the directive by the leadership, and said they would adhere to it to the latter.

Mrs Sylvia Antwi Boasiako Frimpong, a Senior Nursing Officer at the OPD of the Regional Hospital, said: ‘If the employer does not want us to leave the country for greener pastures, our conditions of service should be improved so that we stay comfortably and work.’

Source: Ghana News Agency