The Ministry of Health has ordered an immediate payment of salary arrears for nurses in the country.
Dr. George Sipa-Adjah Yankey, the Minister of Health, said it was pathetic that some nurses and other health workers had not received their salaries for the past five years.
Addressing the opening of the sixth national delegates’ conference of the General Nurses Group (GNG) on Thursday, he
appealed to nurses and midwives to exercise patience and discharge their duties in honesty and with humility.
The conference is under the theme “the role of the clinical nurse in comprehensive abortion” in Sunyani.
He said the ministry had set-up a committee to work out modalities for an improvement in the conditions of service for health workers, especially nurses and midwives to help stem the current brain drain phenomenon.
Dr. Yankey said the government was making available resources for the completion of abandoned and stalled projects at various health facilities.
“I have instructed the capital projects unit of the ministry to work with the district estate officers to identify those (projects) that are critical to allow us to prioritize them for immediate action”, he said.
Touching on the theme for the conference, Dr. Yankey said a significant number of women were hospitalized with abortion related complications in the public health system each year.
“Some estimates put the figure at about 20,000 and some of us believe that this number could be higher considering the number of abortions that occur in the country every year”, he added.
The Minister said the pervasive denial of the reality of unsafe abortion was taking a huge toll on the health and lives of women and girls as well as the public health system.
“Comprehensive abortion requires that as we take these unfortunate women out of their predicament, we should prepare them to face the future better prepared so that they do not fall victim again”, Dr. Yankey said.
He said the government was prepared and determined to make maternal health services available and more convenient for all Ghanaians.
Dr. Yankey said the ministry had resolved to work with other ministries, departments and agencies to address the special needs of the youth for comprehensive reproductive-health information and services and to improve family planning services including those available to women who had undergone abortion.
He stressed the need for the nurses to educate women about existing provisions for legal abortion so they could avail themselves of safe legal abortion.
Mrs. Cecilia Kalitsi, Deputy Registrar of the Nurses and Midwives Council in charge of indexing and registration, said there was public outcry about the way patients and clients were treated by nurses and midwives.
“Some of the concerns have to do with the impolite way patients or clients are welcomed to the health facility, the insults rained on them when they are unable to provide vital information and the impatient manner in which prescriptions are explained”, she said.
Mrs. Kalitsi said statistics indicated that 20 to 30 percent of maternal deaths in the country were as a result of unsafe abortions.
Mrs. Georgina Nortey, chairperson of GNG, said statistics showed that 4.5 million adolescent women underwent unsafe abortion every year globally.
In Africa 38,000 women die as a result of unsafe abortion every year, she stated.
Mrs. Nortey called for the liberalization of abortion law and a more comprehensive abortion care services to help stem illegal abortion and its consequential implications.
She appealed to the government to restructure the nursing division of the Ministry of Health and also provide money for nursing units for petty purchases.