Physician assistants begin sit down strike over colleague in prison custody

BY: Rebecca Quaicoe Duho

Over 1,800 physician assistants (PAs) in various health facilities across the country have begun a sit down strike in solidarity with their colleague who is currently in prison custody.

Dubbed ‘Operation Free Mr Simon Takrama Now’, the PAs are demanding the release of their colleague, who is being held in custody following the death of three patients who were injected with Benzathine Penicillin by a retired Field Technician, Mr James Yeboah, at the New Senchi Health Centre in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region.

As a result of the deaths, Mr Takrama, a Physician Assistant, who was not directly involved in the injection of the patients, is currently on remand at the Akuse Prison.

A press statement issued by the leadership of the Ghana Physician Assistants Association (GPAA) said the sit down strike is nationwide.

It called on PAs, including interns, in all health centres, polyclinics, district/municipal and regional hospitals nationwide to strictly adhere to the instructions regarding the sit down strike.

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The release which was signed by Alhaji Chief Imoro Bandana II, President of the association, Mr Peter Eyram Kuenyefu, the acting General Secretary and Mr Philip Quarshie, the National Public Relations Officer (PRO), however, expressed appreciation for the efforts being made by the Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) for the release of Mr Takrama from prison.

The leadership indicated that it was awaiting the bail application hearing scheduled to come off today, at the Koforidua High Court in the Eastern Region.

The association further called for an investigation into the activities of Mr Yeboah, who though retired, continued to work at the public health facility for the past six years, and also to ensure that those who aided his activites were brought to justice.


Some members of the GPAA, who spoke to the Daily Graphic, said they were adhering to the instructions from the leadership and were, therefore, not attending to patients.

Mr Kofi Adjei Ntiri, a senior PA at the Amasaman Municipal Hospital in Ga West, said although he was the only medical practitioner at the facility, he had no other choice but to adhere to the instructions.

A PA at the Dunkwa-on-Offin Municipal Hospital, in the Central Region, Mr Robert Kormla Awudey, said all the 150 PA’s in the region had embarked on the sit-down strike.

Mr Awudey, who is also the Central Regional Chairman of the association, said they did not expect other supporting staff at the various facilities where they work to operate as they were expected to work under their supervision.