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By: Norvisi Eyiram Mawunyegah
Midwife Trainees’ Association and the Ghana nurses, is threatening to go on a national protest if government fails to pay eight months of allowance arrears owed its members. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) in government settled the allowances after the then National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration paid not on the basis that it had endured its usefulness and that the students could access student loans just like other tertiary students. The National Secretary of the Ghana Nurses and Midwife Trainees’ Association, Lambert Nsobilla, said attempts to get the Health Ministry to pay them have yielded no results.
“We are at the peak of writing exams and a lot of our members depend on the allowances to pay their school fees and their inability to do that will stop them from writing exams. The allowance was one of the promises this government made to us in the lead up to the 2016 election, and they did their best to fulfil it, to some extent. The last payment was made in November 2020, but they were the payments for March, April, and May 2020. So since May 2020, Allowances have come to a halt. The government promised us monthly allowance payments but hasn’t fulfilled them. Also, before the payments were halted there was no defined method. Sometimes they pay after three, four or five months.”
“We are not only going to say that this will be the last resort. If it will take conferences or walking on the streets to cry to government for the over GHS56, 000 we are owed [to be paid], we will do just that,” he stated.
Trainee nurses and midwives have, in the past, complained about the non-payment of their allowances by the government, despite assurances that the allowances which were scrapped in the erstwhile National Democratic Congress administration had been restored.
In 2018, trainee nurses threatened to shun lectures over the same issue. This pushed the government to release GHS33 million to clear the arrears. Other health student groups who were also promised the restoration of their allowances, including students in the various schools of hygiene had to protest at the Ministry of Health before their concerns were addressed.