By Kadrie Koroma
A three-day stakeholders workshop to discuss a draft document on Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) for Nurses and Midwives in Sierra Leone ended on Thursday September 26, 2019 at the J&E Resort at Koribondo Highway in Bo district, targeting senior cadre of the Nursing and Midwifery profession.
Organized by the Directorate of Nursing and Midwifery Services, the workshop attracted Hospital Matrons, District Health Sisters from the different District Health Management Team and the Sierra Leone Nurses and Midwives Association with support from the World Bank.
The Grievance Redress Mechanism for Nurses and Midwives aims at providing clear and transparent framework to deal with concerns, problems or complaint raised by nurses in matters affecting them and their relationship with other employees. The primary objective is to achieve a fair and prompt resolution to individual grievance, provide reasonable opportunity to the affected nurses to express grievances and have them redressed in a fair manner, and to promote effective working relationships and environment in which nurses will be able to raise work-related issues with their supervisors.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Matron Mary Fullah underscored the importance of the workshop, describing participants as leaders and implementers of the documents
She disclosed that the Directorate worked together with IHPAU to access the World Bank funding to develop the framework on Grievance Redress Mechanism for Nurses and Midwives in Sierra Leone. She furthered that the framework has been developed and now in Bo to ensure that nursing and midwifery leadership is aware of the framework and be able to implement in their different units within their hospitals and districts as a whole.
Matron Mary Fullah reiterated that the Grievance Redress Mechanism is to harmonize the nursing and midwifery workforce in Sierra Leone so that they will maximize the reduction of effective and quality nursing and midwifery services for their clients and patients within their areas.
She reminded participants that the Redress Mechanism will be established in every district and hospital in the country to ensure that grievances from all levels of service delivery beginning with the lower cadre of nurses to the national level, dealing with horizontal conflict grievances on to vertical grievances. She noted that the horizontal grievances are between the service delivery nurses at the same level and the vertical will be grievances between the lower cadre and the higher cadres of nursing and midwifery.
The Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer called on nurses and midwives to work together in harmony and to speak as one within their units, adding that patients will benefit from the services they deliver, so that at the end, they would have a healthy nation that will be of great importance to the development of the country.
Consultant, Mahmoud Idriss informed participants that the Directorate of Nursing and Midwifery Services is trying to put together a clear transparent and a very predictable system through which nurses can report their grievances at the place of work.
He told participants that the background is that nurses deals with people’s life by providing health care, but when they have an aggrieved or disgruntle nurse, then they are risking the life of the patient.
Mahmoud Idriss stated that the whole essence of the Grievance Redress Mechanism for Nurses and Midwives is to have a clear process that staff and nurses can report issues they are not happy about or that is happening at the work place, so that it can be resolved.
He admonished all that the document is a properly laid out process that has been design for nurses and midwives, adding that the plan is to have the awareness raising system at the level of the facilities, the general membership of nurses and midwives, and down the line Community Health Officers as well can go on and the level of peace and harmony can also be better.
The Project Management Specialist, Integrated Health Project Administration Unit (IHPAU), Cyrus Sheriff described nurses and midwives as “the pilot and chief maker of change” in the health care system, adding that if they do not get the right knowledge, then they will not be able to transfer it to others.
He commended the Directorate of Nursing and Midwifery Services for the bold step in developing the Grievance Redress Mechanism document, stating that IHPAU will support them through the World Bank funding to ensure that the intended objective of GRM process is achieved.
Cyrus Sheriff informed participants that talks are on-going with the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the process to be roll out to the doctors and other health care providers so that health facilities will be grievance-free.
Highlights of the workshop include presentations of GRM draft report, GRM forms, participants’ quiz on GR Mechanism for nurses and midwives and group work on GRM process.