Wednesday, 8 December 2021—-On 6 December 2021 at 22:00 GMT, I got the news notification from one of Ghana’s supposedly credible news portals myjoyonline.com with the caption “Government must reconsider paying teacher and nursing training allowances – NUGS General Secretary”, which takes aim to discredit the restoration/payment of the Nursing and Teacher Trainee Allowances.
In regards to the teacher trainees, I wouldn’t place much emphasis on them but the least I could show leadership from the forefront for the Nursing Trainees and as a beneficiary of the allowance is to innocuously enlighten the owner of the said article on the importance and indispensableness of the allowance to the ordinary trainee who is a taxpayer of this country.
Just glancing through the article, you don’t need the brains of Von Braun to discern that it is a precisely calibrated political statement that seeks to subtly derail the preeminence of the one-saving grace policy of trainees.
However, it is not jolting in considering the provenance of the article to be from a politically card-carrying member who has shamefully decided to capitalize on the largesse as an executive of NUGS for avarice expediency. It is not worth disputing that for the functioning of democracy, he has the prerogative to express his opinion but not in a thoughtfully abstracted manner.
Let me at this point squarely face the issue. I am very disappointed in the multimedia group of companies (myjoyonline.com), for even accepting to publish such an opinion that has no essential basis and as a matter of fact, without foundation.
You know as well as we do that the Nursing Training Allowance has been the life support for many trainees and their parents. For such a news portal to recognize this story, you should have at least considered the actuality and conceptuality from those who are beneficiaries of these allowances. Not someone who has never benefited from it.
All his hypotheses as to why the government should scrap the allowance and channel it for something else is an undercurrent and subliminal. When the erstwhile NDC government canceled the allowance on the feeble motive of increasing the enrollment of trainees and allocating the funds for infrastructure development, we saw how trainees expressed their disenchantment through various demonstrations and also the excruciating situation parents went through to send their children to Nursing Training Colleges.
I suppose asking, ahead of the 2016 elections, was it not this same NDC government who made a u-turn to pay the allowance? If it wasn’t necessary to pay trainee allowances, why did they eat back their words? This should be a simple premise and guidance whenever we seek to have any discussion about the Nursing Training allowance.
If he(the owner of the article) doesn’t have any reasonable idea as to why the government should pay trainees allowance, he should take it upon himself and visit all the nursing training institutions in Ghana and seek for their consent to present a petition to the president to abolish or reconsider the payment of the allowance. If he can do that and achieve a positive result, he can then be fit and of good standing to share his opinion with regards to the nursing training allowance.
Does he know how many semesters we have in the nursing academic calendar? Does he have any idea the amount of money/fees we pay in each semester within a year? Does he know the handouts we buy within each semester? Does he even know how trainees manage to go for clinicals when they are home? The answer is a big “NO”. If he knows all these, he wouldn’t for once have the thought of intuitively making such a statement.
It is worth mentioning and expatiating that, irrespective of the inconsistency in the payment of the allowance to which we are diligently engaging the Ministry for a lasting solution, it is by far and maximally satisfactorily than it been scrapped. Nursing education in Ghana has undeniably become quite expensive and the allowances are seemingly subsidizing the cost involved. Arguably, most trainees were able to successfully complete their training because of the allowance.
It will be premature for me to end without establishing some facts for public discernment. On records, comparatively, during the NDC regime where the allowance was canceled to be channeled for other things, there was no meaningful impact in the health sector. Trainees were suffering to pay their fees, graduates were left unemployed which led to several picketing and other debilitating situations. But since the restoration and payment of the allowances by the NPP government in 2017, Trainees now get something to support their education. The backlog of unemployed nurses has been cleared with the hope of nurses getting employed right after service.
If a system of “No” Trainees allowance couldn’t invest the money sufficiently in trainees, and now a system of “Yes” Nursing Training allowance is unprecedently recruiting nurses and assisting trainees, then clearly, it affirms that any government can perform to satisfaction without abolishing the Nursing Training allowance.
To the NPP government, you promised us the restoration of the allowance and you’ve delivered, we are always grateful. We appreciate the Minister for Finance for allocating about GHC 231.2m in the 2022 Budget Statement for the payment of the allowance.
However, the perpetual inconsistency in the payment together with the plaintive accumulated arrears for some students should be looked at with all seriousness for the well-being of the policy. We wish to also call on all other well-meaning stakeholders in the health sector to collectively collaborate with the government to ensure the payment of the allowance is made a national policy to deter successive governments from abolishing it.
H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, trainees are eagerly awaiting the next alert of “Dear Trainee” to spice up our Christmas celebration. As for those who wish for it to be canceled, we know you won’t give credence to that.
“Nursing Education and Nursing Training Allowance are indispensable”.
Long Live the Nursing Profession
Long Live Allawa
Nimoh Jesus, National GNMTA PRO,