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Community Nurses Strike GHS asks nurses to call off strike; says concerns are 'beyond their remit'

President of the Association Esther Bamfo had earlier explained that they are unhappy with the change of name from Community Health Nursing to Nurse Assistant Prevention. She further stated that though the name has been changed the certificate awarded has remained unchanged.

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Community health nurses on strike play

Community health nurses on strike

(GNA)

The Ghana Health Service has pleaded with striking community health nurses to return to work as it works assiduously to address their concerns.

Over thirteen thousand community health nurses have laid down their tools over what they say is the Ministry of Health's failure to address their concerns.

RELATED: Strike by nurses not necessary - Health Ministry

President of the Association Esther Bamfo explained that they are unhappy with the change of name from Community Health Nursing to Nurse Assistant Prevention.

She further stated that though the name has been changed the certificate awarded has remained unchanged.

She also questioned why the then SRN nurses are being awarded diplomas after the change of name to RGN.

But a statement signed by the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira explained that “the solution to most of the issues raised are beyond the remit of the GHS, involving many agencies for which the GHS is playing a facilitation role.”

“The Nursing and Midwifery Council (which is the regulatory body for Nurses and Midwives) issues two types of certificate (Nurse and Nurse Assistants) based on classification prescribed by its law.

“Series of meetings at the MOH involving the relevant bodies Nurses and Midwifery Council (NMC), Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA), Community Health Nursing Group (CHNG), Ghana Health Service (GHS) have taken place and the GHS Council at its last meeting held on 31 May, 2016 requested the Ministry of Health to speed up the process of resolving the issue.

“The GHS which employs majority of the CHNs will however maintain the name Community Health Nurse, same as the name Enrolled Nurse who undergoes similar training.”

Below is the full statement:

BACKGROUD

The Ghana Health Service acknowledges with gratitude the good work and contribution of Community Health Nurses in the health development of this country. As frontline workers in the community, they provide the much needed health promotion, preventive and curative services, even in the remotest part of the country and have over the years been able to endear themselves to all.

The GHS wishes to assure them of our unwavering support to fulfill their mandate. We therefore find the strike action most unfortunate as the solution to most of the issues raised are beyond the remit of the GHS, involving many agencies for which the GHS is playing a facilitation role.

CHANGE OF NAME

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (which is the regulatory body for Nurses and Midwives) issues two types of certificate (Nurse and Nurse Assistants) based on classification prescribed by its law.

Series of meetings at the MOH involving the relevant bodies Nurses and Midwifery Council (NMC), Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA), Community Health Nursing Group (CHNG), Ghana Health Service (GHS) ) have taken place and the GHS Council at its last meeting held on 31 May, 2016 requested the Ministry of Health to speed up the process of resolving the issue.

The GHS which employs majority of the CHNs will however maintain the name Community Health Nurse, same as the name Enrolled Nurse who undergoes similar training.

AWARD OF DIPLOMA FOR POST BASIC TRAINING IN MIDWIFERY INSTEAD OF CERTIFICATE

The MOH is in the process of upgrading all its CHN and post basic certificate Midwifery Centres to diploma awarding institutions.

The award of diploma is done by the Universities for candidates undergoing a required course of study at the university or an affiliated institution accredited by the National Accreditation Board.

The KNUST will provide diploma certificates to staff who successfully undertake ‘access upgrading course’ and subsequently the midwifery programme. This arrangement put in place by the MOH, NMC, the University and GHS is to ensure that CHNs have opportunity to upgrade themselves without going to take the WASSCE again.

The limiting factor has been the slowness by some of the Health Training Schools achieving the accreditation requirements of the National Accreditation Board.

LIMITATION OF NUMBERS OF STAFF WISHING TO UPGRADE THEMSELVES

Any staff who has served the number of years required is permitted to undertake study leave if he or she so wishes. However the Service operates a regional quota system for study leave with pay (according to the staff category required) to ensure staff are available to provide service. It also ensures that the wage bill provided by the Ministry of Finance is not exceeded, since upgraded staffs invariably apply for promotion. The Service also operates a staffing norm and hence promotion may only be in accordance with approved establishment level. (Distant learning, leave without pay, etc are also available).

CONCLUSION

The CHN Group Executives have had the opportunity to discuss these with the GHS as well as the MOH leadership at different times. The Service wishes to entreat the CHN Group to have confidence with the Service in our quest to mutually resolve their concerns.

I therefore call upon the leadership of the CHNG to call off the strike as their concerns are being handled. The solutions are not a onetime decision but a process involving multiple partners. I invite them once more to assist develop the Road map in addressing these concerns. Your Clients need you!!

SIGNED ON ORIGINAL

DR. EBENEZER APPIAH-DENKYIRA

DIRECTOR GENERAL

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