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Doctors Meet Empty Wards
 
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28-Oct-2011  
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General attendance in most public hospitals in the country was unusually low a day after the doctor’s decision to resume work, after almost three weeks of strike.

A visit by The Chronicle reporter, Daniel Nonor, to some hospitals in the City of Accra, indicates that medical officers were at post, except that some of the hospitals were almost empty.
At the Kaneshie Polyclinic in Accra, the Deputy Director Nursing Services, Mrs. Alexandrina Addo, told The Chronicle all doctors for the morning shift reported to work.

According to records obtained at the Out Patients Department (OPD), 78 patients had visited the clinic that morning. The Chronicle was informed the hospital usually records over a hundred patients in the mornings.

The low turnout at the hospital was believed be the late announcement of end of the doctor’s strike. At the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, the situation was not different. The Out Patients Department had only few patients.

The Chronicle was told all the doctors reported to work. Some patients who had already seen their doctors told The Chronicle that they were happy they had called off the strike. “When I was coming from the house this morning, I doubted the doctors will come. But, I was surprised there was a doctor when I got in. I am glad they have come,” one of the patients told the Chronicle.

A medical officer at the OPD told The Chronicle they had registered about 300 patients as at 1:00 p.m. when The Chronicle got there. He said the hospital normally registers between 1,000 and 1,500 patients a day. The reason for the low turnout was not different from what pertained in the other hospitals.

From Kumasi, Issah Alhassan also reports that doctors and medical personnel at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) yesterday resumed duty to a relatively low patients’ attendance, following the announcement of the suspension of the almost 20 days nationwide strike action by members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA).
The usual busy and congested atmosphere, which often characterizes activities at the hospital, was not the case when The Chronicle visited the place yesterday to ascertain the situation a day after resumption of duty.

The atmosphere at the main entrance of the hospital opposite the Bantama roundabout, which is habitually filled with people whose relatives are on admission, was enough to signal a by-passer about the nature of activities going on.
But, the entrance was relatively calm, compared to a sight that one would behold before the commencement of the strike action by medical personnel.

The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital has an average daily attendance of about 120 patients, but attendance at the hospital was far less.
The often busy old block A & B, the main Polyclinic and the Accident & Emergency wards, which are usually saddled with swamps of patients, were relatively calm, with only handful of people sitting at the out patients departments to receive medical attention, while the main foyer of the Accident & Emergency ward, where patients are often screened before being dispatched to the various wards, was also less busy.

A staff at the hospital, who pleaded anonymity, told the paper that he was very sure that the public had not adequately received news of the suspension of the nationwide strike, as attendance at the hospital yesterday was unusual. “I believe many people are not aware that we have resumed work, otherwise you wouldn’t come on any day, not even Sunday, to come and see this place so dry,” he stressed.
Similar situations also prevailed at the Tafo Government Hospital, the Suntreso Hospital, and the Agogo Government Hospital, where monitored reports revealed that the number of patients was comparatively small.

Isaac Akwetey-Okunor also reports from Koforidua that his investigations into the operations of the Eastern Regional Hospital at Koforidua revealed that the health facility lost a whopping GH¢72,000 during the period the medical doctors were on strike.
The amount is internally generated funds that should have accrued to the hospital. Available information indicates that the hospital generates GH¢24,000 every week from patients who attend the hospital.
The Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr. Daniel Asare, confirmed the story when The Chronicle contacted him to find out if the doctors who called of their nationwide strike the previous day were at work.

Dr. Asare was hopeful that the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) resolves their grievances with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC). He was however, not happy with some of the comments made by the public, as if doctors were not sympathetic to their patients. According to him, even though they were trained to save lives, the government also had the responsibility of offering them good conditions of service.

The President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr. Adom Winful, on Wednesday, announced the doctors’ decision to suspend their 19-day strike.

Dr. Adom Winful said the National Executive Council of the Ghana Medial Association decided to call of the nationwide withdrawal of services, due to the numerous appeals by well-meaning Ghanaians and civil society groups, both in an out of the country.

They also said their decision was in cognizance of the compulsory arbitration, and rules governing the process, and the current flood situation in Accra, with its attendant humanitarian crisis.
The GMA said considering the many appeals, it was not worth continuing with the strike action, and urged all doctors to return to duty, as their leaders continue negotiations with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.
 
 
 
Source: The Chronicle
 
 

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