The Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA) is demanding that the government’s stimulus package to frontline health personnel in the Coronavirus fight covers all nurses and midwives across the country.
President Akufo-Addo in a nationwide television address announced that effective April 2020, all frontline health workers in the pandemic fight will among other things receive and an additional allowance of 50% of the basic salary per month for the next three months as well as a three month tax holiday because of their contribution.
In a Citi News interview however, President of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo expressed gratitude to the President for the initiative but quickly added that all health workers are exposed- therefore, the stimulus package should not be restricted to frontline personnel only.
“The initiative is good and we are grateful. But it goes beyond these people. Every nurse or midwife everywhere is exposed. Even to the basic unit which is the CHPS compound, everyone is exposed. So for the stimulus packages that were announced, we are thankful for the tax waivers which we believe will cover all of us. But the bit of allowances is what we wish should cover every one of us because we are all exposed in doing our bits in helping the nation identify to contain and manage [the virus]. We are also grateful for the availability of buses. As a union, we are also helping to assist in this direction.”
President Nana Akufo-Addo made the announcement during his fifth national address on Sunday, April 5, 2020, when he updated Ghanaians on the fight against the spread of the novel Coronavirus disease in the country.
“Government has decided that all health workers will not pay taxes on their emoluments for the next three months, i.e. April, May, and June,” the President said.
He also disclosed that “all frontline health workers will receive an additional allowance of fifty percent (50%) of their basic salary per month, i.e April, May, and June. The March allowance will be paid alongside that of April.”
President Akufo-Addo also stated that in a bid to protect the lives of the frontline health workers, the government had procured some essentials needed by health workers to enable them to discharge off their duties.
“That is why the Government is placing a high priority on the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for them. Thus far, three hundred and fifty thousand (350,000) masks, five hundred and fifty-eight thousand, six hundred and fifty (558,650) examination gloves, one thousand (1,000) reusable goggles, twenty thousand (20,000) cover-alls, seven thousand (7,000) N-95 respirators, five hundred (500) waterproof gumboots, two thousand (2,000) reusable face shields, two thousand (2,000) gallons of hand sanitizers, ten thousand (10,000) 100ml pieces of hand sanitizers, and five hundred (500) shoe covers have been sent to the regional health directorates, for onward distribution to the district health directorates for use by our health workers in all the districts.”
Korle-Bu doctors threaten to withdraw services
Doctors at the Department of Accident and Emergency at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital threatened to lay down their tools over the supposed lack of COVID-19 preparedness by the hospital.
“We write to express our general dissatisfaction with the preparedness or lack thereof of the department to combat the current COVID-19 pandemic. We also wish to express our displeasure with the events surrounding the hospital’s first confirmed case,” a memo the doctors sent to their Head of Department stated.
Two staff of the Korle-Bu hospital have been reported to be tested positive for COVID-19.