Govt, doctors must resolve

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Entrenched positions must give way to compromises if healthcare delivery is not to grind to a halt pretty soon.

Doctors and pharmacists in public health institutions have, for more than two weeks now, deserted  the hospitals. While the doctors have laid down their stethoscopes, the pharmacists have abandoned their pestles and mortars.

Not too long ago, mission hospitals shut down in protest against non-payment for services they rendered under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Frankly speaking, health service is in a coma following the strike by these two critical professional groups that provide services in our hospitals.

We are at the crossroads with all kinds of labour agitation arising out of the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP). As of now, nurses have also served notice to desert the hospitals if their concerns are not met.

The challenges of our time should compel us to put our heads together to find an immediate solution to the issues. It may require that we think outside the box.

It is unfortunate that, as usual, discussions of the issues are mired in the bi-partisan approach to the development dilemma that confronts us.  Anytime a strike by doctors and pharmacists is being discussed, there are elements in our society who take positions, depending on their political persuasions.

We weep for our country if every issue is now looked at with political lenses, instead of considering the hard facts on the ground.

The Daily Graphic thinks that our country will make no headway with this approach to public discourse on national issues.

We know that multi-party democracy makes room for choices, but the successful democracies have always adopted a bi-partisan approach to national issues.

The strike bites everybody, no matter which side of the political divide the person belongs.

The Daily Graphic thinks the time has come for all voices to be raised against the ongoing strike by a section of health workers to save the health system from collapse.

Health care is very critical in maintaining a strong and healthy nation capable of helping to increase productivity for the growth of the economy. Since the sages say that a sound mind is in a healthy body, every effort must be made to keep an efficient and effective health delivery service that can be accessed by all.

It is against this background that the Daily Graphic reminds the government and doctors of the appeal by the former Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Mr Kofi Annan, to the two striking entities to get back to the negotiation table to resolve issues between them.

We maintain  that social dialogue holds the key to the resolution of the present impasse between the government and striking doctors.

We also urge all key sections of our society, including politicians, traditional and religious leaders, to add their voices to appeals to the doctors to return to work, while the government also keeps to the road map to resolve all issues in order to avoid needless deaths.