A former Health Minister, Alex Sebgefia is skeptical about government’s decision to restore allowances to trainee nurses.
According to him the decision which has compelled government to also re-introduce the quota system for nursing training institutions is ill-informed and will only “create difficulties” for the government.
“I think that they are creating difficulties for themselves because the allowance is not something that should be brought back at this stage,” he said on Eyewitness News on Wednesday.
Government on Wednesday announced the re-introduction of the quota system which was scrapped by the Mahama government together with the trainee allowances.
Mr. Segbefia explained that they scrapped the allowances and tried introducing the trainees to the student loan scheme to boost admissions into the health institutions.
He however said the laws at the time prevented trainees from accessing the loan scheme but said they were in the process of formulating the necessary policies to make that possible before they were kicked out of office.
The former minister insisted that they had good intentions for the trainee nurses including exporting them to other countries for foreign exchange.
“We had said by this time that we will pay them 150GHc but we were hoping to change the law if we had come back to power and the student loan was available, we would not have gone back to dealing with the allowances we would have said that this is the student loan, apply for it like anybody else and go to work. And when you finish what we will give you as a guarantee is that we will try and employ you even on a staggered basis but we will make sure that we employ you because we need all the nurses.”
“We were looking as part of our long term programme was that just the same way we were employing doctors from Cuba we thought that if were able to get fully qualified nurses we had a few African countries which had shown interest in us exporting full time nurses to them if they required it so we were not worried about the number of nurses coming out we were worried about the quantity and quality in particular areas,” he added.
Mr. Segbefia further said the current quota system could only create shortage of nurses in the country since “less nurses will be trained” and advised government to review the decision.
Health Ministry defends trainee nurses quota system
In a related development, the Health Ministry has defended government’s decision to introduce the quota system saying it is aimed at improving quality of the nurses in the country.
The Ministry explained that the move will allow training institutions to produce nurses to meet the demands of the health sector, thus reducing unemployment.