Scrapping of student nurses allowance suggestion is right —Dr Nuertey
The Volta Regional Director of Ghana Health Services (GHS), Dr Joseph Teye Nuertey, has backed the call for allowances paid to student nurses to be scrapped.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Dr Nuertey argued that the country needed money to equip health facilities and could not continue giving allowances to trainee nurses.
He said the Ministry of Health was spending between 85 and 90 per cent of its budget on personnel emoluments and that the call for scraping the allowances was in the ‘right direction.’
However, the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Health, Mr Tony Goodman, explained that ‘these allowances help to retain and motivate nurses in the country,’ and added that the trainee nurses were always on the field and did not go home while in school and, therefore, needed the allowances.
The Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, Dr John Koku Awoonor-Williams, started the debate when he suggested that allowances paid to student nurses should be scrapped.
But the Nurse/Midwife Trainees Association of Ghana has described calls for the scrapping of trainee allowances as ‘preposterous, unwarranted and miscalculated.’
A statement issued by the association said Dr Awoonor’s statement that the investment of state funds in the education of nurses was a waste could not be taken lightly.
The statement argued that for a country that was striving to attain the Millennium Development Goals of maternal and child health, investment in the training of nurses and midwives was a lifeline.
‘The United Kingdom which has one of the finest health care systems in the world and has an almost perfect nurse-patient ratio still sponsors their nursing students through the National Health Service so they don’t pay any school fees whatsoever and further receive extra allowances for their upkeep,’ it added.
The statement reminded Dr Awoonor that the Ministry of Education scrapped the teacher trainee allowance in line with the upgrading of teacher training institutions to colleges of education.
It called on the Nurses and Midwives Council of Ghana to hold Dr Awoonor to the rule for claiming that the state’s nursing is not rising to the test although it is the ‘most favoured.’
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