The demonstrating student nurses with their placards yesterday
Over 800 students of the Ghana Nurses and Midwives Trainees Association (GNMTA) yesterday embarked on a massive demonstration in Accra to protest against government’s failure to pay their accumulated allowances.
The association also announced an indefinite strike until government releases the clearance letters and pays the allowances.
According to the students, government had not paid them the book and research, clinical as well as transportation allowances due them for the past two years.
The over 800 students who were in red hand bands, began the protest about 10:00 am at the Obra Spot, Kwame Nkrumah Circle, and marched through Farisco, TUC and ended at the Hearts Park.
Some of the placards they carried read, ‘Student nurses abrÉ›’, ‘We are dying, we don’t want sanitary pads’, ‘No more assurances’, ‘Mr. President, we need our money now!’ and ‘A hungry nurse is a potential killer.’
Upon reaching the Hearts Park, the leaders of the association refused to hand over their petition to the Deputy Minister of Health, Mr. Sugri Tia, who represented the Minister of Health, Ms. Sherry Ayittey.
According to the group, the Health Minister promised to take the petition herself and then brief them on the progress made so far with regards to their request.
They threatened to wait at the premises of the Ministry until they were addressed by the sector Minister herself, or would march to the Flagstaff House if their demands were not met.
However, the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry, Tony Goodman, managed to get the students to rescind their decision and subsequently submitted the petition to the Deputy Minister.
Mr. Emmanuel Geyevo, National President of the association, said the delay in the payment of the allowances had ignited anxiety and confusion among the students.
He said several attempts to resolve the issue with government had proved futile hence, the protest stating, ‘We will only rescind our decision when government addresses our concerns’.
The Minister of Health, Sherry Ayittey, reacting to the action, said the Ministry and the leadership of the group had been discussing the issue for some time now.
‘They have to exercise tolerance because we have been discussing with them; and they have seen how far we have come by raising some money to pay them part of the outstanding allowances,’ she said.
Meanwhile, in a release copied to the DAILY GUIDE, the Registered General Nursing (RGN), Registered Mental Nursing (RMN), Registered Community Nursing (RCN) and the Registered Midwifery (RM) examinations would proceed in spite of the strike action.
By Cephas Larbi & Jamila Akweley Okertchiri
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