Saturday, 13 April

3,600 nurses've fled Ghana since 2020

Health News
This exodus encompasses both professional and critical caregivers


Over the past three years, the Ghana Health Service has disclosed that a total of 3,688 health personnel have departed the country in pursuit of better opportunities abroad.

This exodus encompasses both professional and critical caregivers.

Some health professionals attribute their departure to subpar working conditions in Ghana, prompting them to seek more favourable environments overseas.

To reverse the trend, the Ghana Health Service, in 2021, revised and doubled study leave for unprofessional nurses, with the expectation that a significant number of these nurses will have qualified to address the resulting workforce gap by the middle of the next year.

However, during discussions on the Health Ministry's 2024 budget, the Majority Leader in Parliament, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, advocated a strategic approach to address the trend.

He emphasised the need for a thorough examination of remuneration for nurses, suggesting that an increment could be a crucial factor in tackling the departure of healthcare professionals.

"Mr. Speaker, I think that we should look at the remuneration. If we look at the compensation, it was over and above what was allocated, and if people have left, the compensation should then climb up. We should do a proper audit of the nurses who have left to know the deficit and should be able to employ to replace those who have exited," he stated during the parliamentary debate.

By the first half of this year, some 10,209 nurses had sought clearance from the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) Secretariat to leave the country for greener pastures. 

Out of that number, about 4,000 were cleared and have travelled to work outside as nurses. 

Dr David Tenkorang-Twum, General Secretary of GRNMA, made the revelation in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA).  

He said rampant exit was affecting the healthcare system because many of those leaving were experienced nurses, who were supposed to mentor the younger ones. 

“Nursing care is a continuum, and if people who are to relieve you have travelled out, it tells one to put in a little more hours, which will create issues of work overload. Somebody who has practised for several years has considerable competencies and experience that we have to count on”, he said. 

“There’s going to be a gap between the newly-qualified and the very old because those who have served up to 10 years are leaving, so who is there to mentor the new ones that are coming?” 

He attributed the situation to the harsh economic conditions in the country, saying: “The only thing that can resolve this matter is to improve the service condition of nurses and what comes to mind is our premium …” 

The General Secretary stated that the delay in employing fresh graduates was another issue of concern, adding that fresh graduates would be tempted to migrate or find other profitable jobs when not given clearance and immediate employment. 

“If we employ them as quickly as possible and engage them as soon as they complete their course or service, that temptation to migrate will be minimised. Even if some will leave, only a few people will leave,” he explained.