Hundreds of nursing and midwifery trainees across the country on Thursday descended on Accra to protest what they say are the high school fees among other charges as well as the withdrawal of their monthly allowance.
They say government has for years, failed to address issues concerning trainees in the respective nursing and midwifery colleges in the country, hence the protest march to register their displeasure and push government to address their concerns.
They have meanwhile threatened not to vote in this year’s December 7 general elections if the government does not restore in full their trainee allowance. Carrying placards some of which read “No allowance no vote”, “Our fees are too high”, “Mahama Where is our paper” and “Nurses deserve better,” the trainees marched through some streets of Accra to the Arts Centre where the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, is expected to receive a petition on their grievances. According to the trainees, times are hard for them at the moment, especially in the face of the withdrawal of the allowance in 2014, noting some principals of their colleges are charging “exorbitant school fees”. Currently, they say those pursuing nursing at the university are paying between GHC12,000 and GHC13,000 yearly as school fees while those in the nursing colleges are paying twice the amount in a year. “Within just four months a semester we are paying between GHC2,400 and GHC 3,000,” they claimed, adding their clinical charges are equally high.
The trainees in their petition also claimed the government has failed to absorb qualified nurses and midwives into the job market after graduation. Further, they allege trainee nurses and midwives are unable to access the Student Loan Scheme, which the government say is the option for them following the scrap of their allowances. According to them, the abated allowance of GHC150 announced by the government in July this year, which they say is not enough, has yet to be paid to them. “The 150 Ghana is not enough we want the government to increase it and tell us the mode of payment.
We want it paid at the start of each semester,” they claimed, noting they are not sure whether the money will be paid through a biometric process or what they termed table top (over the counter) at their respective schools. “We are saddened by the way the Government has treated us. We are no longer going to sit down on these aforementioned issues,” they said.