Sick patients face hardship in Ghana as doctors and medical staff enter their fourth week of protest.
Members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) have been on strike for the past three weeks, demanding that their conditions of service from the federal government improve.
The doctors had threatened to resign en mass if their demands for improved working conditions and pay are not met. With close to four weeks, out patient services at government hospitals have been closed down because of the ongoing strike.
The situation is becoming worse as GMA has announced that its strike will be extended another two weeks. The decision was reached after a General Assembly meeting of the GMA, held at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, the capital of Ghana, last Friday.
Dr. Frank Serebour, the General Secretary of the GMA, told SaharaReporters that members would continue their strike by withdrawing emergency and outpatient services and maintaining their status quo.
“Our members have given a further two weeks so that this matter could be resolved at once. We all know that government has not treated us well over the years,” he said in part to our SaharaReporters correspondent in Ghana.
Already, our SaharaReporters correspondent gathered that the 37th Military Hospital, which has been tending to the sick and injured since the strike began, as been struggling with the pressure and rising number of sick under their care.
It was also learned that the hospital’s facilities, especially the Accident and Emergency Centre, Trauma, and Surgical wards are filled to capacity. Many patients were found sitting on plastic and metals chairs, waiting to receive medical attention.
“Some patients have to sit on the bare floor waiting to receive medical care from the nurse. Right now the management of the hospital is using anything available to attend to their [patients] needs,” a source told SaharaReporters.
A nurse, who spoke on the condition anonymity, told SaharaReporters that the 37th Military Hospital is running out of provisions as it had already cut short of requisite medical equipment.
“We are already running out of provisions. As I speak, the hospital has a limited supply of disposable gloves to work with in the operation department. This is short of supply. Definitely, the need to attend to patients might get reduced as from this week,” she said.
Worse still, the matron in charge of the Emergency, Trauma, and Surgical wards, Lieutenant Col. Owusu Akorful, told SaharaReporters on Sunday evening that the management of the hospitals plan to reduce the number of days its doctors would tend to patients.
“We have to decongest patients from the accident and emergency center too, to accommodate more people,” Mr. Akorful said.