The Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) has bemoaned the rate at which some of its members are contracting the novel coronavirus in their line of duty; some have succumbed to the disease, officials say.
The association says, so far, up to fifteen of its members, including nurses and midwives have contracted the disease while at work, urging the government to consider raking in all health professionals into the definition of who a “frontline” worker is.
peaking in an interview with Kumasi-based Angel FM ahead of the associations 60th Anniversary Celebration and International Nurses Day on Monday, the chairman of the GRNMA in the Ashanti region, Mr Jones Afriyie-Anto decried the frustrations of nurses and midwives in their daily activities and called for urgent action to correct the anomalies, including nurse-patient ratio and access to basic working equipment.
“I can assure you that, those who fall within the so-called frontline among the infected are a few, but all of them contracted the disease in the course of attending to patients, so I call on the government to take a second look at the definition of frontline because recognition is necessary in everything”, Mr Afriyie-Anto said.
The chairman of the association indicated further that, “since the outbreak of the COVID, I’m not sure any frontline worker has died who was not a nurse; I tell you there is a death in Ghana who was a nurse, but I won’t say where it happened because of confidentiality issues and I think that as the lab results continue to come out, many more are bound to happen”.
” It is time for us to take advantage of and better the lot of nurses and midwives; the issue is if you don’t take good care of the nurse, the work in the health sector will not be successful because the success of even the doctors depend on the nurses, so I plead with government to use the occasion of our International Nurses Day to make the “year of the nurse and midwife” as declared by the WHO for 2020, meaningful for the Ghanaian nurse and midwife”, he advocated
The International Nurses Day is an annual celebration of the crucial work and role of nurses around the world.
It is especially important in 2020 as nursing professionals continue to lead the frontline charge against the coronavirus pandemic.
The annual event, which was first marked in 1965, was created by the International Council of Nurses to mark the hard work of nursing staff around the world.
Since January 1974, the global celebrations have traditionally been held on 12 May.
This is to mark the anniversary of the birth of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale.
In the wake of the COVID-19, the Government of Ghana outlined what many Ghanaians believed to be a juicy offer for all health professionals working on the frontline against the disease in April
President Akufo-Addo in a televised address on Sunday April 6, announced packages that have been lined up to cater for those risking their lives on the frontline even as the nation determines to conquer the disease by the earliest time and best means possible.
“An insurance package, with an assured sum of three hundred and fifty thousand cedis (GH¢350,000) for each health personnel and allied professional at the forefront of the fight, has been put in place, with a daily allowance of one hundred and fifty cedis (GH¢150) being paid to contact tracers.
Government has also decided that all health workers will not pay taxes on their emoluments for the next three months, i.e. April, May and June.
Furthermore, all frontline health workers will receive an additional allowance of fifty percent (50%) of their basic salary per month, i.e. for March, April, May and June.
The March allowance will be paid alongside that of April. The Ministry of Transport is also making available, for free, ‘Aayalolo’ buses to convey health workers in Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Kasoa to and from work, along specific routes, for the entire duration of the restrictions”, the President said.
But the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) in the Ashanti region says, government could still do better.