The leadership of the Coalition of Graduate Unemployed Allied Health Professionals (COAHP) 2017 and 2018 would like to commend Government on the stringent measures adopted to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
This group of unemployed graduates comprises of Health Information Officers, Medical Laboratory Technicians, Disease Control Officers, Health Promotion and Education Officers, Nutrition Officers, Field Technicians, Medical Records Officers, Physiotherapy Technicians, Prosthetics and Orthotics Assistants, and Registered Dental Health Assistants. Members of this group have completed their mandatory national service, have written and passed their Allied Health Exams and are duly certified by law to practice.
We were the first batch to witness the scrapping of the student’s allowance. All efforts to get the then Government to rescind that decision proved futile. The current Government promised us that, 100 days to their assumption of office, the students allowance will be restored and we will receive all our arrears (from 2014) with immediate employment after completion of school. After the restoration of the students allowance, we were deemed unqualified to receive the allowance for no reasons. The immediate employment as promised has not materialized since 2017.
During our national service, we patiently waited for seven months and had to threaten a demonstration before we received our national service allowance from MOH and MOF. As we speak, 30% of our members have been fraudulently denied their 2017 national service allowance arrears (6 months arrears) in a sum of Four Thousand, Six hundred and Eighty Six Ghana Cedis (GHC 4,686.00) for each person.
Members of this group have been unemployed for three (3) years now. Some of our members are engaged in menial jobs such as “Kayayei”, truck pushing, and selling of recharge cards in traffic etc. All this have had psychological trauma on our members as they go through public ridicule. Negotiations for employment started in 2017 and it has been one story to the other. Our list was submitted to the Ministry of Finance with that of the diploma nurses and as we speak, the nurses have been recruited leaving out our members who have gone through years of training to fight pandemics such as COVID-19.
Upon the emergence of COVID-19, identifying that we are the backbone of public health, we heeded to calls from our mother associations to involve in contact tracing, sample taking and testing on voluntary bases as plans were far advanced to secure our financial clearance. We acknowledge the President’s public address, which he stated that, Health Professionals would be recruited immediately to aid in the fight against coronavirus. A letter was submitted by Ministry Of Health to Ministry Of Finance to consider our recruitment under Certificate Of Emergency. All these efforts have not materialized.
It has become a norm that, Health Professionals must always demonstrate against authorities before they are given financial clearance. This unfair treatment has the tendency of weaponising our health professionals in this country.
Members have decided to demonstrate peaceful against the unfair and dehumanizing treatment meted out by Government. Unemployment is a more dangerous killer than Corona Virus. Further directives will be issued when negotiations are finalized with the Ghana Police Service. We call on all Health Professionals to speak out in solidarity as we go through these trying times.
We would like to assure the public that, our upcoming demonstration will be organized taking into consideration the COVID-19 protocols and directives.
We are COAHP, “Trained to serve humanity”.
Signed: Vincent A. Gyamfi (General Secretary)
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
MINISTRY OF FINANCE
PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE ON HEALTH
ALLIED HEALTH PROFESSIONS COUNCIL
FEDERATION OF ALLIED HEALTH PROFESSIONS
GHANA ASSOCIATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH TECHNICAL OFFICERS