The Ministry of Health appears to have abandoned the Bolgatanga Nurses’ Training College in the Upper East Region three months after the college was temporary closed down following allegations of financial misappropriation and mismanagement by the Principal, Awalu Bawa.
It would be recalled that on October 10, 2017, tutors of the college locked up the office of the principal, Mr. Awalu, after they had accused him of misappropriating the college’s development funds to the tune of over Gh₵ 80,000 and also managing the college as though it was a family business.
The principal’s alleged misconduct, according to the tutors led to poor and dangerous lighting systems in the college, broken down tables and chairs for tutors and students, dilapidated lecture halls, congested boarding facilities, poor sanitary condition and many others.
Before their action, the tutors had reported their concerns to the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service and the Regional Minister, Mr. Rockson Ayine Bukari. Subsequently, the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) and the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) launched full scale investigations into the matter.
Amidst their investigations, the BNI at a point picked up the principal, detained him and interrogated him before granting him bail. He was also made to report to the two institutions on daily basis until the investigations were over.
Though TopNews Ghana has gathered that the two investigative bodies have since submitted their findings to the Ministry of Health and the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Ghana and the principal has started refunding the money he allegedly squandered. They were also said to have started arrangements to transfer the principal to a different institution but all qualified candidates contacted to replace him have declined because they feared taking over an institution the tutors said was now running on empty accounts.
The money at the center of the scandalous allegations accrued from development fees students paid since the regime of the past principal to provide infrastructure for the college. Though the college has produced great nurses for the past decades, its infrastructural status as a tertiary institution was nothing to write home about.
Meanwhile, this news portal has also gathered that administrators of the ministry of health and the midwifery and nursing council have blamed the tutors the aggrieved tutors as they accused them of ‘popping their nose into administrative issues.’
Since his office was locked up by the tutors on October 10, 2017, Mr. Awalu only resurfaced in office on December 27, 2017. Our sources have revealed he wrote a letter to the Minister for Health this year informing the minister of his intention to reopen the school. This he did without prior involvement of his management staff.
It was against this background that when he later scheduled to meet with the tutors on January 10, 2018, they declined because he had sidelined them when he wrote to the minister without informing them in his decision to recall the students who were sent home at a time he had abandoned the school and left them with no option than for them to close down.
Our checks also revealed that after the tutors turned down his request to meet them, Mr. Awalu held a meeting with the supporting staff and informed them about his decision to recall the students. He assured them of better conditions and called for their support.
Unsatisfied with his decision to meet with the supporting staff and the discussions he had with them, the tutors again reported the principal to the Ministry of Health to stop him from further misconducting himself and sidelining them since the matter was yet to be resolved.
In spite of these unresolved issues, the Ministry of Health and the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Ghana – the bodies mandated to ensure smooth running of all public Nurses’ Training Colleges in the country have refused to visit the school to try and find lasting solutions. Rather, they earlier invited some management staff of the school to Accra and after listening to them, condemned them for involving themselves in matters that did not concern them.
For the tutors who have sacrificed their time and energy to ensure high academic performance was maintained by giving up their best under the current circumstances, the lukewarm attitude put up by the Ministry of Health and the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Ghana was a clear sign of total abandonment of the college.
One of them who did not want to be named told TopNews Ghana: “In some other places, we would have been hailed [for our action] but in Ghana and Africa in particular, they are treating us as if we have committed a crime.”
Because the students were sent home one month before their vacation time, they could not and till now, have not taken part in their mandatory practical placement and clinical examinations.
Meanwhile, their counterparts at Zuarungu NTC who undertook all these activities were back to school with serious academic work.