Nurses On Probation Are Not Slaves!


    If I remember accurately, this same Rojo Mettle-Nunoo was involved in the infamous case of the Colombian cocaine-pushing cartel mogul who used to hide out in the East-Legon area of Accra awhile ago, under the “able watch” of the self-righteous Mr. Rawlings.
    And in that matter, if memory serves me accurately, the guy was named as having served in some dubious advisory capacity to the South-American fugitive. Perhaps Rojo was even one of the impudent pimps alleged to have regularly supplied that cocaine-head with a steady stream of fetching Ghanaian woman.
    And so in quite a plausible sense, I can fathom him calling striking junior nursing staff at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital by such uncouth street phrases as “stupid, unwarranted and nonsense” in that order, of course. Rojo’s beef appears to have been that in deciding to lay down the tools of their venerable trade, these “probationary” nurses were causing needless deaths to innocent citizens. Perhaps somebody ought to have reminded the card-board deputy Health minister that in refusing to pay the salaries, wages and allowances due these frontline health workers, the Government was flagrantly complicit in the negligent treatment of the patients.
    Then again, maybe he would better and properly appreciate Ghanaian nurses if Mr. Mettle-Nunoo tried to put himself through nursing school one of these days, and then graduated and started receiving the same piddling and professionally insulting wages being paid these first responders to our existential crisis. Which is not exactly to imply that, somehow, nurses on strike make such a laudably fascinating tableau.
    What actually got my horse, as it were, was the news report that the deputy Health minister was especially miffed because the striking nurses were on probation, prior to being permanently engaged by the Ministry of Health. And it is precisely because of his slave-driver’s attitude towards the nurses that Mr. Mettle-Nunoo ought not to have been hired by President Atta-Mills. For really, who does the former think that he is but a veritable hireling like those for whom he seems to publicly harbor such insufferable and abject contempt.
    And here, the ready temptation would be for the liberal reader to blame the apparent Bukom-background of the deputy Health minister, until one quickly comes to the sobering realization that, indeed, there are hundreds of thousands of enviably behaved denizens from that metropolitan -hub district of Accra. And actually quite a slew who are far, far better qualified than this sorry-ass Rojo guy for the at once sensitive and respectable job of deputy Health minister.
    Anyway, the very idea that nurses on professional probation have absolutely no right to protest sub-standard conditions of service is rather retarded, not to mention downright psychotic. And it would have been nothing short of intriguing to have had Mr. Mettle-Nunoo terminate the appointments of these “probationary” nurses and see whether any vacuum thus created could be readily filled by the members of his own family.
    Maybe a more levelheaded person needs to point out to the evidently portfolio-challenged deputy Health minister that a junior registered nurse “on probation” is still a fully qualified professional with all the requisite attributes. And with hotheaded second-banana bosses like Mr. Mettle-Nunoo, is there any surprise that Ghanaian health workers would be foremost among the ranks of professionals in search of the proverbial greener pastures?
    And believe me, almost invariably, Ghanaian registered nurses and other well-trained health workers who left the country ended up with better salaries and conditions of service. And most significantly, they have not had to put up with clowns like Rojo Mettle-Nunoo disguised as Health ministers.
    What also amused me almost to no end was the fact that when confronted with his derogatory on-air remarks at the striking “probationary” nurses, rather than promptly regret his gross display of professional indecency, Mr. Mettle-Nunoo asked to be allowed to review his taped voice before issuing an apology (See “I didn’t know I was on-air when I said ‘stupid’ – Rojo” 10/6/10).
    If this isn’t the stereotypical picture of an arrant fool and/or an arrogant buffoon, I don’t know what else is!
    Anyway, on a more sobering side note, I must admit my general respect for quite a number of people who go by the surname of “Mettle-Nunoo.” Indeed, as I vividly recall, about twenty years ago, while a media student at the City College of the City University of New York and writing for the New York Amsterdam News, I had the delightful privilege of reviewing the esthetic genius of a Mettle-Nunoo at either an art gallery or museum on Riverside Drive. That Mettle-Nunoo was quite mature and at once urbane and staid in his demeanor; and so I take the liberty in presuming that the other Mettle-Nunoo was probably either the uncle or some such relative of the Rojo guy.
    And by the latter observation, what I simply want to suggest, in the perennially sagacious words of Nigerian novelist and thinker Chinua Achebe, is that: “It is still morning yet on Creation Day.” In other words, it is not too late for Mr. Rojo Mettle-Nunoo to brush up on his sense of etiquette, off- or on-air.
    Source: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.