President of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA), Mrs Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, has urged jobless nurses and midwives to explore opportunities outside Ghana due to a freeze on public sector employment.
“Looking at how things are going, maybe that is when most of them will have to focus their energies on and see how they can move outside the country,” She advised.
According to her, GRNMA is very disappointed in the government for failing to address the issue of public sector workers, especially with the implementation of the freeze policy.
Speaking at the Dr Docia Kisseih Memorial Lecture on November 25, 2022, Mrs Ofori-Ampofo indicated that over 10,000 nurses and midwives are yet to be recruited, and there are fewer health professionals in the field as of this moment.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta stated in the 2023 budget that there would be “a hiring freeze for civil and public servants” as one of the measures to cut expenditures.
Mrs Ofori-Ampofo explained that if the government had even intended to implement such a freeze in the public service, “that should not affect the health sector”.
“Looking at professional nurses and midwives in the sector, they are only about 46,000 or 45,000 and the Controller General Department in May 2022 indicated that there are about 44,450 nurses and midwives, and the population in the country is about 32 million. Meaning these only health professionals are to cater for them all?” she questioned.
Again, she alleged that the hiring freeze at the public service is a directive based on the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Brain drain has been an issue for the Health Ministry due to the number of workers resigning from their posts to travel overseas.
The 2022 American Visa Lottery data also indicated that the majority of the applicants were health professionals who aimed to seek greener pastures abroad to be able to cater for their families.