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23.04.2006 Health

Work at Korle-Bu At standstill

Work at Korle-Bu At standstill

he Strike action by Nurses, Pharmacists, Radiologists and other para-medicals has paralysed work at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital giving doctors additional work to theirs. The strike action, which started on Thursday in some hospitals, has rendered most of the hospitals' Out Patients Department (OPD) almost empty.

A Ghana News Agency (GNA) visit to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital saw the resident doctors and housemen assisted by medical student doctors attending to in-patients and selected new cases outside the consulting rooms in an open place where tables have been mounted for them because the rooms were locked up.

Speaking to the GNA in an interview, Dr Albert Akpaloo, a medical consultant leading the "under the tree OPD medical team", said as at 1045 hours the team had attended to 80 patients. Some of them reported with stroke, pneumonia, hypertension and other non-communicable diseases.

He said most of the cases attended to were follow-up cases; inpatients and emergency cases were given first aid and referred to other private hospitals.

He said the student doctors were assisting in taking the pressure of patients, giving medications to patients in the wards and other duties, which should have been done by the Nurses adding: "It has been extremely difficult working without them and has virtually brought work to a standstill."

Dr Opoku Adamu Asante, a Resident Doctor, told the GNA that they shared the sentiments of the Nurses but "the patients' health should be paramount and the Government should come to a compromise".

He said salaries of health workers in Ghana were nothing to write home about and one must have great love for the country before a sacrifice of such nature could be offered and appealed to the Government to intervene and solve the matter once and for all.

At the Maternity Block, an emergency case involving a pregnant woman, who was brought in a taxi bleeding soiling the OPD floor, was sent away with the excuse that Nurses were on strike.

Some mothers, who had come for their post-natal and antenatal clinics were seen sleeping on the benches and others breastfeeding their babies.

At the Children Block, Victor Etwire of the First Floor Surgical of the Children's Ward said some senior nursing officers were on duty assisting.

A mother, who had her baby on admission said some Nurses had come round in mufti to attend to them and they were most grateful to them. "Though they are on strike they have been here to assist and to attend to our babies but we will miss them since they will not be with us throughout the day", she said.

Mr Mustapha Salifu, the Hospital's Public Relations Officer, when contacted told the GNA that no official of the Hospital's Management had received any official letter by from the Nurses and those on strike. He said it had also been noticed that some hospital staff like the mortuary attendants, security and those working at the utility services that were being paid by the Hospitals' Internally Generated Funds, had joined those on strike.

"Management is asking such staff as a matter of urgency to return to work immediately before the close of work today, Friday April 21, 2006. Any one, who fails to comply with this directive, should consider himself or herself dismissed and those willing to work should re-apply", he said.

Dr Ben Annan, Acting Chief Executive of the Hospital, said the Korle-Bu employees could have had their case negotiated with the Management, as had been the case over the years rather than joining the other group to embark on a strike action. A GNA visit to Mamprobi Polyclinic saw the place virtually empty with only two security men at the entrance to keep watch over the place.