Doctors in Ghana’s state-run hospitals have threatened to withdraw services over pay, as the country faces a third wave of coronavirus.
This was contained in a communiqué issued by the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), given the government up to September 30 to settle outstanding arrears.
The strike would begin on October 1 with the suspension of Out-patient services, the document issued by the National Executive Council of the GMA read.
“Withdrawal of all in-patient services will begin the following week (effective Friday 8th October 2021) if all the issues are still not completely resolved,” the communiqué explained further.
The complete withdrawal of services would then begin from October 15.
General Secretary of the GMA, Dr. Justice Yankson, said his side has been “more than magnanimous enough and the government should be able to honour its commitment.”
He told Citi FM that the association’s demands are based on conditions of service documents agreed upon that took off in January 2021.
“Now, the implementation of that documentation has been fraught with problems. We have done our ultimate best to get this resolved behind the scenes. We’ve had countless numbers of meetings.”
Dr. Yankson, who described the strike threat as a last resort, expressed hope that government would respond positively.
“We’ve done our utmost best under the circumstances to get the matters resolved. We have had to take this direction because that probably seems to be our last resort.”
“Even that, we still have given the government ample time, and we expect that in good faith, they should be able to discharge their obligations towards us,” he added.
Doctors have long complained of a lack of beds and drugs in hospitals as well as inadequate protective equipment. Other demands include, a pay rise and payment of unsettled wages.
The doctors union has previously called work stoppages on similar issues, grounding activities in government hospitals before calling them off.
The union called off the strike which started in February, 2020. Health services and activities were paralysed before it was suspended.
Authorities fear any reduction in capacity this time could harm the country’s ability to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, including a programme to administer vaccines.
SOURCE: DAILY MAIL GH