The Upper West regional branch of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) has sent a strong warning to representatives of its employer to desist from trying to intimidate nurses and midwives as they discharge their duties. According to the Association, its members are still faced with threats from employer representatives, a development they vow to continually resist.
Speaking at the 2021 edition of the Upper West GRNMA Best Nurse/Midwife Awards Ceremony held Thursday, January 20, 2022, at the regional secretariat in Wa, the Regional Chairman for the GRNMA-UWR, Mr. Lawrence Bagrmwin said they will no longer tolerate any ill-treatment by government representatives. “Many employer representatives continue to intimidate our members with threats and unfair treatment, in many of the instances, against the employer’s own policies”. He stated, adding that, “as a region, we have declared zero tolerance for unfair treatment for our members”.
Mr. Bagrmwin also lamented the death of some of their colleagues in the year under review with some occurring in the line of duty. He bemoaned the lack of information on “the causes of death of these fallen heroes”, adding that they “have no idea if the employer has put in any measures towards eliminating such deaths”.
The chairman reminded government of its commitment to absorb 50% of the cost of treatment not covered by the national health insurance scheme (NHIS) for sick nurses and midwives. “We are still receiving countless applications for support for sick members for conditions outside the remit of the NHIS. We are yet to hear from these applicants, the employer’s commitment of 50% support agreed in the bargaining agreement.” He demanded from the employer to do better than donating coffins for the burial of fallen nurses and midwives.
Speaking to the theme of the ceremony, “Rediscovering the Ethics of Nursing, a Step to Nursing the People of Upper West Region to Health”, the District Director of Health Services in the Nadowli/Kaleo District, Phoebe Balaguyetumeh identified poor quality pre-training, erratic flow of funds, poor remuneration and politicisation and polarisation of nursing as some of the causes accounting for the lost in ethics.
While calling on government to provide the necessary material and human resources for pre-training and the necessary logistics for health facilities, Madam Phoebe charged midwives and nurses to be professional and take the code of ethics for nursing as their bible in the delivery of services. She said to be able to rediscover the lost ethics, nurses must first appreciate the uniqueness of the people of the Upper West region; their cultural and religious beliefs, and not compare them to others elsewhere.
The Nadowli/Kaleo DDHS cautioned nurses to be mindful of their dress code as it is an important professional identity and a major component of the ethics. She advised them to wear the prescribed dress to work as that will not only make them look decent but also protect them from contracting diseases.
Ms Balaguyetumeh further underscored the need for nurses, in the discharge of their duties, to strengthen communication with patients/clients and respect their dignity and rights. She urged them to “avoid being used by politicians because tomorrow they will not be there, but you will remain a nurse”.
Madam Phoebe concluded by calling on the nurses to have a “paradigm shift from altruistic to business model where the client is seen as a customer” in order to improve the image of nursing in the Upper West Region.
The awards ceremony, the second edition, recognised seventy (70) midwives and nurses from the various districts/municipalities for their tremendous efforts in the year 2021, with the overall regional best emerging from the Wa East district. In addition to this, thirteen (13) honorary and union leadership awards were given to various individuals for their contribution to healthcare delivery in the region and their dedicated services to the GRNMA.
The awards were categorised into specialties, districts, and regional awards with awardees going home with various items including citations, gas cylinders, burners and television sets.