Accra, Sept. 2, GNA - Members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) on Friday justified their strike action, which began on Friday saying it was a legitimate demand on the Government to respond to their plight.
A visit by the GNA to some out patient departments showed that they were virtually deserted because patients had been turned away. In an interview with the GNA, GMA President, Professor Yaw Adu-Gyamfi said they were not happy with their action "knowing the repercussions... but the public should bear with us while the problem of Additional Duty Allowance (ADHA) is resolved".
Their action, Prof. Adu-Gyamfi said, had been necessitated by failure of the Government to meet their legitimate demands after the August 31 deadline for payment of the ADHA arrears based on the new salary levels.
He said there was the need to streamline the management of the ADHA and the inconsistencies associated with it adding that arrears in payment were a contravention of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) governing the implementation of the ADHA, which stipulated that the payment would be in arrears of one month. Prof. Adu-Gyamfi noted that since the inception of ADHA in 1999, it had been tied to the basic salary yet since March 2005 when the new salary level took effect the ADHA had not seen the corresponding upward adjustment.
This had brought about a delay in the payment of ADHA to health professionals in some institutions and regions since March this year. Prof. Adu-Gyamfi said if the inconsistencies were not addressed once and for all the Government could no longer sustain it due to the huge increment it incurred every year.
He said although the Ministry of Health had been forthright there had not been a definite solution after meetings with the various key stakeholders. The GMA President said although they had withdrawn their services in-patient care would continue while a solution was being found.