Veterinary graduates picket at MoFA for jobs

Some of the Vetenary Technicians pickiting at the Agric Ministry.At least 80 unemployed veterinary technicians (nurses) yesterday besieged the premises of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in Accra, in demand of financial clearance and employment.

They are part of 579 veterinary nurses who completed the only Veterinary College in the country; the Animal Health Production College in Pong-Tamale, from 2011 to 2016 but have not been employed.

Wearing white laboratory coats and red arm and wrist bands, the nurses who arrived from their various destinations across the country chanted “jama” songs and vowed not to leave until their demands were met.

Speaking to The Ghanaian Times, the president of the Coalition of Unemployed Veterinary Technicians (CUVET), Francis Naakuntii said picketing at the ministry was their only option since meetings with the MoFA and follow up correspondents had not yielded the desired results.

He queried why financial clearance was given to many general nurses and midwives, year in and year out, but government could not do same for just 579 of them.

He said all of them had completed national service but were still at post serving for free and that they were tired of assurances from the ministry that efforts were being done to employ them.

He said they were prepared to sleep at the ministry until their demands were met.

Later a meeting was held between leadership of the coalition, the Deputy Minister of MoFA in charge of crops, Mr William Agyapong Quaitoo, chief director of the ministry during which they were asked to exercise restraint, but the technicians would not budge when they were briefed.

When contacted, the public relations officer of the MoFA, Bagbana Tanko said the ministry acknowledged the importance of their work to the country and was therefore doing its best to get the financial clearance.

He said the ministry had submitted a budget for financial clearance for the employment of 640 experts in the animal husbandry sector including the veterinary technicians, doctors and other staff.

He said the sector minister would attend a cabinet meeting and would make a strong case for the unemployed technicians, adding that the ministry could not give a timeline for their employment.

The Animal Health Production College, Pong-Tamale was established in 1922 and is currently the only veterinary college in the country, it trains at least 150 veterinary para-professionals commonly referred to as veterinary nurses, each year.

Among their job description, are examining and treating animals and birds and the checking of animals that enter the country’s borders to prevent the spread of diseases such as bird flu.

 

By Jonathan Donkor and Rita Appah

 

 

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