MoH rolls out contingency measures to contain doctor's strike

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Sherry Ayittey, Health MinisterThe Ministry of Health has rolled out a contingency plan to reduce the impact of the doctors’ strike on healthcare delivery.

As part of the plan, the ministry is providing beds and medicines for the 37 Military and the Ridge hospitals to take care of the influx of patients to the two health facilities.

The Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayittey, made this known when she paid a visit to the 37 Military and the Ridge hospitals to assess how they were coping with healthcare following the strike by doctors and pharmacists.

She asked the public not to panic, since the 37 Military Hospital was taking care of regular cases, while the Ridge Hospital was attending to emergency cases.

Additionally, the ministry has asked regional health directors to be available during the period of the strike.

She expressed the hope that the dialogue between the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) and the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) would be successful for the doctors to return to work.

At the Ridge Hospital, Ms Ayittey said  that the ministry would provide air-conditioners for the Children’s Ward and also provide a shed for pregnant women who attended the hospital for post-natal and anti-natal care.

Ms Ayittey assured health personnel in the various hospitals of the ministry’s support to enable them to discharge their duties.

About 3,000 doctors in public health institutions went on strike on Monday, April 8 to protest delays in the payment of their market premium arrears for 2012.

The GMA and the Government Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHPA) have withdrawn all outpatient services at the health institutions, attending to only emergencies and in-patient cases.

However, the doctors have indicated that if their grievances are not immediately addressed, they will, eventually, suspend all emergency services on April 15.

The Commander of the 37 Military Hospital, Brigadier General Tao Kponyoh, told the media that the hospital had put in place measures to contain the influx of patients, adding that the authorities at the hospital were in control of the situation.

As part of the measures put in place, he said, it had called most of its health personnel on leave to return to work to help manage the situation.

At the Ridge Hospital, the Medical Director, Dr Obeng Apori, expressed gratitude to the minister for the visit and assured her that the hospital would support the patients.

Story: Salomey Appiah