21.09.2004 General News

Eastern Region Nurses embark on sit-down strike

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Koforidua, Sept. 21, GNA - Nurses in the Eastern Region on Monday embarked on a sit-down strike to back their demand for a minimum of 170 hours per month Additional Duty Hour Allowance (ADHA) cross-board for all nurses.

Nurses who reported for work at the Koforidua Regional Hospital for duty deserted their posts and gathered in one of the conference rooms of the hospital, leaving their work for the rest of the hospital's staff. One of the nurses, who agreed to speak to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on condition of anonymity, said the strike action was a national action being taken by nurses in the country to back their demand for equity in the sharing of the ADHA.

She claimed that at the Koforidua Regional Hospital, the nurses receive an average of 67-hour ADHA per month, while nurses in other health facilities in the Eastern Region receive less ADHA per month. She said, however that, the same category of nurses doing the same work claim between 120 to 150 hours in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions, saying "all efforts to get the issue resolved had not been heeded to by the Ministry of Health."

The nurse said the strike would continue until the Ministry of Health instituted measures to bring equity in the sharing of the ADHA among nurses of the country.

The Medical Superintendent of the Hospital, Dr Obeng Apori, when contacted, said the hospital administration was not given any prior notice of the action of the nurses but it had put in place measures to handle the situation.

He said patients on admission, who had recovered and could go home and come for periodic reviews were being discharged, while efforts were also being made to get the ward assistants to help the medical officers to take care of the very sick people on admission until their relations could arrange to take them to some private hospitals.

Dr Apori said the hospital administration was monitoring the situation carefully to take the necessary action if the strike would continue for more days.

When he took the GNA round the wards, it was observed that at almost all the wards, the medical officers on duty were working with the ward assistants to care of the patients.

At the Labour Ward, two medical officers were being assisted by a ward assistant to help a woman in labour, while at the Children's Ward, there were four in-mates with a Community Health Nurse and a ward assistant to take care of them.

At the Out-Patients Department (OPD), some of the patients were in a queque to go into consulting rooms in turns to see the medical officers.

Speaking with the GNA on telephone, Dr. Joseph Opare, Kwahu South District Director of Health, said nurses at the Atibie Government Hospital also embarked on the sit-down strike on Monday morning. He said his administration had held two meetings with the nurses to discuss measures to handle the situation so that the patients would not suffer unduly.

Dr Opare said the nurses working at the Nkawkaw Holy Family Hospital have also given notice that they would start their sit down strike on Tuesday. Sept. 21, 04

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