Medical Laboratory Workers' strike biting hard on health service delivery in Wa

  Sat, 22 Jun 2024
Health Medical Laboratory Workers' strike biting hard on health service delivery in Wa

Some patients and clients visiting health facilities in Wa have appealed to the Medical Laboratory Professional Workers Union (MELPWU) to show love to the vulnerable people in the country and the region in specific by calling off the strike and go to the negotiation table with the government.

They said the strike action is hitting hard on them and pleaded with the government to attend to the demands of the striking workers as soon as possible for them to resume work to improve healthcare delivery.

In an interaction with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Wa, some clients at the Wa Municipal Hospital expressed worry about the exorbitant prices they were paying for laboratory services from some private facilities.

Mr. Bismark Saabele, a caregiver at that hospital, told the GNA that he had to pay GHȻ450.00 for a lab test at a private facility in Wa.

Mr. Sei Ndusaar, another caregiver, said he also paid GHȻ240.00 for lab test at a private facility in Wa.

The clients said they would not have paid such an amount for the lab test if the services were provided by public health facilities.

The situation could be worse in some district capitals and parts of the region without private medical laboratories.

Mr. Sampson Abu, the Administrator of the Wa Municipal Hospital, said the strike action by MELPWU is adversely affecting quality healthcare service delivery at the facility.

“To provide quality health service to our clients is bordered on diagnosis and for you to get a true and accurate diagnosis then you must go into lab investigations because it is that results that would complement the complaint from the client.

So, if the lab workers are on strike and saying that they are not going to work then definitely we as, facility cannot also operate or provide that quality care that we are supposed to give to our clients,” he lamented.

Mr. Abu indicated that the strike would also put much stress on patients and their caregivers as they would be compelled to go in search of private laboratories to conduct tests and might end up paying exorbitant prices for those services.

“So, by extension the hospital is also losing because revenues that we would have mobilised from this investigation that we carry out in the hospital are sent outside,” he added.

He urged the government to see the strike action as a public emergency and urgently meet with the leadership of the Union to resolve their challenges to enable them to return to work.

The Hospital Administrator also appealed to the striking staff to cooperate with the government and to accept returning to work if their requests were met halfway since their services were critical in health service delivery and saving lives.

“If they are given something considerable, something that will meet them halfway, their demand, they should accept it as it is and look at the vulnerable, that is the clients that we have, that sympathy and empathy should be there, that it could even be your own relative,” Mr Abu explained.

Meanwhile, Mr. Jarris Bayor, the Administrator of Kaara Diagnostics Services, a private medical laboratory in Wa, told the GNA that the facility had not recorded a significant increase in clients visit despite the MELPWU strike.

The Union began a nationwide strike on June 17, demanding better and improved conditions of service, saying negotiations had been delayed since 2022.

The devastating impact of the strike action on quality healthcare service delivery in the Wa Municipality cannot be underestimated.

Patients visiting public health facilities in the Municipality were compelled to seek medical laboratory services from private medical laboratories.

However, access to private medical laboratory services in some parts of the municipality and the region was almost non-existent apart from the cost associated with such services from private facilities.


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