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Building a Resilient Future: HSWU Conferences Empower Young and Women Healthcare Workers in Ghana 


Building a Resilient Future: HSWU Conferences Empower Young and Women Healthcare Workers in Ghana 

The Health Services Workers Union (HSWU), of TUC Ghana, held a series of conferences focused on building a sustainable care economy in the African nation. The gatherings received support from UNI Global Union and USAID’s Together We Care activity.  

From June 3 to 14, 2024, well over 800 healthcare workers representing 42,000 of their colleagues travelled from all regions of Ghana to Tema and Kasoa for the HSWU’s 4th National Youth Delegate’s Conference, the 8th National Women’s Delegates Conference and the union’s 13th National Quadrennial Conference. The theme unifying the events was “Rising Together to Build Resilient Health Systems Through Innovative Organizing.” 

HSWU’s General Secretary, Franklin Owusu Ansah said, “The Together We Care project is a vehicle to support women’s empowerment in HSWU of TUC Ghana. It is an avenue to secure and provide a voice for the voiceless health care workers in the private health care space in Ghana through innovative organizing.” 

 A key outcome of the Women’s Conference was the development of a Women’s Charter. This charter outlines demands and action plans for:

  • Improved collective power for women healthcare workers;
  • Gender-sensitive workplace health and safety;
  • Increased women’s representation in decision-making and leadership;
  • Ratification of ILO Convention 190 in Ghana to eliminate violence and harassment, especially gender-based violence.

HSWU Deputy General Secretary Patricia Tweneboah Ofosua highlighted the importance of the meetings, saying: “Organizing and mentoring women and youth for union power is a heritage for the whole trade union movement. Together we care.” 

The meetings incorporated TWC workshops such as “Organizing, Leadership and Women’s Rights in the Workplace.” These sessions helped give young and women healthcare workers tools to build their leadership skills, boost their confidence and learn innovative union organizing strategies – skills crucial for strengthening collective representation, improving economic security and ensuring safe work environments in Ghana’s healthcare system. 

Ruby Yahaya, HSWU Youth Delegate, and Health Promotion Officer, says, “This training has been very motivating for me. The Together We Care Project will enable us to provide even better healthcare services to adolescent girls in my region to be able to fight teenage pregnancies and early marriages. I will be able to use some of the things I have learned here to also empower the young girls to become peer support service providers in their communities.”  

The conferences also addressed the disproportionate burdens on women in the care economy. Participants committed to championing a gender-equitable health system that prioritizes worker resilience and well-being. 

“For a health system to be resilient, it needs to be just and equitable. This improves outcomes for those receiving care and the quality of life for those giving it,” said Keith Jacobs, Regional Secretary for UNI Africa. “We are proud that we can stand with HSWU in paving a way for a stronger health system in Ghana, something that will reverberate throughout the continent.” 



UNI Africa