The government of Ghana launched a policy yesterday known as the Nation’s Builders Corps which I wrote about HERE a couple of days ago.
It will seem from all indications that the government is seeking for cheap labor and cheap labor for the health sector is deadly. When one looks at the policy and its functionalities, there is a huge flaw and unless that is fixed, this policy will bring more problems than it intends to solve.The government claims there are no jobs/vacancies in these module areas and is greatly disturbed by the number of unemployed graduate sitting at home with no jobs?
Now to solve this the government have resorted to this pseudo-employment system with a fix salary of Gh¢ 700 irrespective of the kind of services being offered. Is it to suppose that the workers under these modules would be doing less work than normal workers? Or perhaps they will just bear the name and take that monthly allowance for hanging around the premises of where they are posted?
Let’s do some serious analysis here, when a graduate nurse who is a beneficiary of NABCO get posted to a hospital, they will work the same hours/week, perform the same responsibilities and are exposed to the same hazardous working conditions and health risks as a fellow government employed nurse because they all have the same qualification and expertise.
At the end of the day the NABCO beneficiary goes to take Gh¢ 700 whiles the normal staff goes to take Gh¢ 1700+ as monthly benefits is that a fair deal?
Can we look at self-image and self-esteem contributing to rate of productivity and commitment to work especial in a sensitive area such as health?
Can we look at the situation where an employee is subjective to a promotion after three years and the NABCO beneficiary does not get a promotion but the government employee does resulting in an increase in rank/grade?
It is very obvious that this is not a fair deal to any health worker but the government want to play on the suffering of these graduate to force them into joining the program.
Some people have to borrow money in order to get their certificates and after completion they sit back home doing nothing and now this comes along. They do not want to join but may be compelled and this will reflect in their level of productivity at work. Let’s remind ourselves for a second that human lives are involved here. A disgruntled health worker is likely to make so many errors and an error at the hospital almost always lead to a lost of live.
I am not saying “NO” to NABCO as there very great reasons for its establishment as mention on the official website but I believe the government of Ghana can make it better than it is currently. Graduates of the health sector do not need any sympathetic gestures but pragmatic solution to our crying woes.
If the government wants to sympathies with the graduates and there are no vacancies for them as full blown staff then they can go ahead and pay the Gh¢ 700 allowance while they stay in the comfort of their homes especially with regards to the health sector. It is better this way than to have them work full time for this meager amount as this is damaging not only to the confidence of these young professionals but to the lives of the people they are trying to heal.
Cheap labor is not going to serve anyone, it is neither serving the beneficiary nor the services being rendered, it is just going to be another waste of resources and much of this will even end in the pockets of the already high earning politicians anyways.
NABCO could be a great initiative judging from the current state of unemployment in the country but it has to be more sensitive than how plain it is at the moment. It is like a senior national service, why not just make national service 4 years so everyone knows they are serving their nation?
MLS Otoo E. Donald is a contributor to this article