Lawmakers in Ghana have joined the campaign to demand the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators involved in the murder of a community health nurse in the Ashanti Region.
The MPs have thus appealed to the Speaker of Parliament to invite the Minister for Interior to brief the house on security arrangements being made to protect health workers at their duty posts, especially for those in deprived communities.
The deceased, 37-year-old, Ruth Ama Eshun — a staff of the Sawua Health Center— was murdered by unknown assailants at Ayuom in the Bosomtwe District last week.
Reading a statement on the floor of Parliament on the unfortunate incident, chairman of the Health Committee and MP for Berekum East, Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah condemned the incident and charged the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators for prosecution.
He said “one of the main challenges the country faces in her quest to achieve Universal Health Coverage has been the difficulty in getting qualified health workers to accept postings to deprived areas where their services are badly needed. As such, for a person who decided to work in a deprived area to suffer this ordeal will obviously worsen this challenge”.
Dr. Nuamah said the only way the state can assuage the fears of the health workers and even prospective ones that their security is a concern to it, is for the perpetrators of this heinous crime to be apprehended quickly and made to face the full force of the law.
“Furthermore, adequate security arrangements especially for those who work in deprived areas must be spelt out,” he added.
Find Ruth Eshun’s killers in 7 days or we’ll demonstrate — Community Health Workers
The Community Health Nurses Association of Ghana has already issued a seven-day ultimatum to government to find the killers of their colleague.
At a press conference in Kumasi, Public Relations Officer of the Community Health Nurses Association of Ghana Appiah Kubi maintained that only a strike will put pressure on the appropriate authorities to apprehend the perpetrators of the heinous crime.
“We are telling the government that if justice does not prevail in our sister’s murder, we will put our tools down. That is the caution. We are also giving an ultimatum of one week. If we do not see anything, we will boycott all upcoming activities. We are the major people contributing to health service in Ghana but they don’t care about us. If we don’t get justice as a security guarantee for our people, then all CHPS compounds will be closed down. Our people are working without any security, therefore, justice, in this case, will give us the assurance that we will get security”, he said.
Meanwhile, workers at the Sawua Health Center, where the deceased worked has threatened to boycott night shifts duties following growing insecurity in the area.
The grief-stricken workers made this known when leadership of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives’ Association (GRNMA) visited the Sewua Health Center to commiserate with the health workers there.
The health workers told the delegation on Monday, February 10, 2020 that they will be compelled to embark on that action if authorities fail to prioritize their security and safety.
“It is heartbreaking for our hardworking colleague to be murdered in cold blood. We are demoralized. We feel unsafe in this community. If authorities don’t come to our aid the best for us is to boycott night shift and this will affect health delivery”, a teary-eyed nurse told the delegation.
“We don’t even have a police post here. We have been exposed to criminals. Nurses in this community feel targeted and that is adversely affecting output”, another said while appreciating the work done by the Association and security agencies.
Leader of the delegation and Second National Vice Chairman of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives’ Association, Daniel Attah Tuffour urged the workers to remain calm while police pursue the suspects.
“We have given them series of assurances… and what we suggested to the police is that they provide provide patrols around the place. Because those who are coming on night duties may set off and arrive deep in the night and this is very dangerous for them. As you can look around anybody can enter here because the place is too opened. We are comfortable with police investigations but we want to speed up with the process”, he told reporters.
By Jonathan Ofori, Daily Mail GH