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06.09.2005 General News

Ghanaians continue to die but Doctors remain adamant


Accra, Sept. 6, GNA - The nationwide strike action by Medical Officers in public health institutions to back their demand for payment of Additional Duty Hour Allowance continues to cause the death of a number of people across the country.

The sick that are rushed to public health institutions are turned away leading to their death.

At the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, an 84 year-old woman, Madam Akua Obiyaa, who was rushed there on Saturday, was turned away leading to her death.

Although the action by the medical personnel had been condemned by the public and described as unnecessary, the Doctors have still not returned to post.

When the GNA visited the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital on Monday morning the situation remained unchanged as some patients wandered in the precincts of the major blocks while the nurses attended to others. The Principal Nursing Officer in charge of the Children's Ward, Mrs S. Owusu-Boakye, said the nurses were doing their best to "keep the momentum" until the seeming stalemate between the doctors and the government was resolved.

At the accidents unit, Mr Edmund Amarteyfio, a patient, told the today, they came and examined us thoroughly".

A doctor, who spoke on the basis of anonymity, said they were only attending to persons already on admission at the hospital. "There is no way we'll attend to any new patient admitted by the hospital until our demand is met," he threatened. Members of the Ghana Medical Association embarked on the strike action last Friday after an extraordinary meeting of their National Executive Committee.

However, the National Labour Commission described the doctors' action as "illegal", saying it was in contravention of the Labour Act. The Commission said it was taking steps to resolve the impasse. At the Ridge Hospital, the GNA found some doctors and nurses attending to patients in the wards but were not admitting new cases. The Out-Patient Department (OPD) was empty because there were no doctors to attend to patients.

Mr. Michael Agyekum, a Paramedic at the hospital told the GNA that, there was no need for the nurses and other para-medical staff to admit more patients when there were no doctors on duty.

He said the nurses were only attending to patients who reported to the hospital before the doctors went on strike. Mr. Agyekum appealed to the government to resolve the problem with the arrears from the Additional Duty Hour Allowance (ADHA) to enable the doctors resume work.

He said even though most nurses and paramedics were working, not much could be achieved if the doctors did not come back on time to assist.

The GNA was informed that the Supervising Medical Director of the Hospital was attending a meeting.