Pantang Hospital workers resume work today
Workers of the Pantang Mental Hospital have resolved to resume work following an assurance from the Ministry of Health to resolve the problem of the encroachment on the hospital’s lands by private developers.
According to the leader of the Health Service Workers Union, Mr Abraham Laryea, the workers had agreed to adhere to the directive by the ministry to resume work but asked the government to speed up processes to take control over the issue in order to prevent the staff from taking the issue into their own hands.
He was, however, quick to add that all patients would be attended to and, therefore, entreated the public to visit the hospital.
Briefing journalists on the issue, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu, explained that the ministry had met with one Nana Kwame Ofutu Quainoo who claimed to have the power of attorney over the lands and in charge of the projects ongoing at the site near the hospital.
He said during the engagement with Mr Quainoo, he provided all documentation to claim ownership of the land and also to undertake those projects.
However, he was pleased to state that the developer had agreed to cooperate with the government and adhere to whatever decision that would be taken to solve the issue.
“I would engage the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Local Government to see how best we could bring this whole matter to a halt,” he said.
He said the government had interest in the area and would, therefore, take pragmatic steps to acquire the land so the hospital could have the right to develop the area itself.
He said the ministry intervened because of the inability of the management of the hospital to settle the problem.
“We observed that the issue was beyond the level of the management and, therefore, the ministry decided to visit the site and assess the situation,” he said.
Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu
Before the address by the minister, the workers had organised a demonstration to warn the authorities and management of the hospital that they would embark on a sit-down strike to express their displeasure at the rate at which people were encroaching on the hospital’s lands.
They also gave the government and authorities a few days to stop encroachers who had started constructing on the hospital’s lands else they would go on strike.
On Wednesday, workers and students escalated their sit-down strike to a full-blown strike when they declined to attend to patients and rather staged a demonstration to give more meaning to their protest.
They marched from the hospital to the Adenta Barrier and back to express their sentiments about the matter.
Some of the placards they carried read, “Resist encroachment on Pantang Hospital land”, Halt development on Pantang Hospital land now”, MOH, GHS, MHA, PIS, what are you doing?”, “Honourable Boniface, please wake up”.
As a result of the strike, patients at the hospital became stranded as there were no nurses and other health workers to attend to them.
Parents who had sent their relatives for treatment added their voices to the nurses and students to call on the government to find an early resolution to the matter.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Vice Chairman of the Local Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association and a Mental Health Nurse, Mr Seth Boakye, said although the court ruled that the land was not for the hospital, the development posed security threats to patients and workers.
The hospital staff and students of two training schools, the Pantang Nurses Training College and the Pantang Nursing and Midwifery Training College, had expressed concern over the total takeover of the frontage of the Pantang Hospital by private developers.
They had engaged the hospital management and relevant agencies including the Ghana Mental Authority, the Ministry of Health, the Lands Commission, the National Security, the Municipal Directorate, the Adenta Police Station, the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council as far back as 2015 to solve the issue.