The Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwifes’ Association (GRNMA) on Wednesday held its 4th Dr. Docia Kisseih memorial lectures with a call on nurses to actively get involved in politics.
Colonel Vida Otoo (Rtd) who made the call in Accra, said nurses needed to be politically active because politics was a means for them to advocate for patients as well as shape the care environment.
She observed that nurses had over the years failed to address the political issues that affected their work due to the lack of appreciation of politics and the legislative processes.
She said the political skills of nurses and midwives’ must be brought to bear on health reforms and advocacy.
“We need power and the courage that will enable us as individuals or groups to realize our will even against opposition. It is time for nurses and midwives to lead the way in redesigning the healthcare system,” she said.
Commenting on the theme for the Dr Docia memorial lecture: ‘Policy, Politics and the Nursing and Midwifery Professions in Ghana; A Need for Change,” Col Otoo said nurses must dare to influence and lead policy processes in their interest.
The late Dr Docia Naki Kisseih was a leading Ghanaian nurse, midwife and educator. She was the first Ghanaian to be a Chief Nursing Officer in independent Ghana.
She was influential in pioneering development in nursing and nursing education. In her fifties, she began university lecturing while striving to become the first nurse in Ghana with a doctorate degree.
Col Otoo stated that nurses and midwives were being frustrated by policies affecting nursing practices particularly, when the policies were written by individuals with limited healthcare knowledge and experiences related to their profession.
“If nurses do not stand up to issues that are important to them, those with competing interest in healthcare may be the only voices that would be heard,” she said.
She called on managers of the GRNMA to advocate for a review in structures of nursing to enable them to increase their representation at all levels.
Col Otoo stressed the need for the School of Nursing and Midwifery to incorporate political education into its curriculum on a grand scale with emphasis on policy development and methods that influenced political processes.
She urged nurses and midwives to do more research in their field of work, saying research was not for journals alone, “we must continue to document and broadcast who we are, what we do and why it matters to patients, policymakers and the delivery of meaningful healthcare to all.”
Mrs. Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, President of the GRNMA, said the lecture was part of the Association’s 60th anniversary celebration.
She said the theme for the 4th Dr Docia Memorial lecture was informed by many calls on the union to address issues of portraits of people in nurses’ uniforms who were non-nurses splashed on billboards of political parties, student nurses and midwives purported to joining political rallies among others.
She said negotiations for better conditions of service for members were over and signed off. What is left is for the leadership of the Association to ensure its implementation by the 1st of January 2021.
Mrs Ofori-Ampofo said the GRNMA would by January 2021 go paperless to ensure that its members’ application were submitted online
“The COVID-19 pandemic has not spared us even as health professionals, as at July 2020, over 800 of our members have been infected, out of which three lost their lives,” she said
She said the coronavirus was around hence the need for all to be mindful of their hygiene protocols and wear mask at all time.
The GRNMA president also called on political parties, traditional leaders and all Ghanaians to espouse peace in the upcoming elections.