CRISIS IN HEALTH SECTOR DEEPENS; As Strike By Medical Laboratory Scientists Bites Hard

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Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Minister of Health

The crisis in the health sector has deepened with the nation-wide strike announced by workers of Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) most of who are employed at the Blood Banks and the laboratories.

Even though the strike was reportedly called off late yesterday evening, as at the time of going to press yesterday, there were deeply disturbing reports from across the country of how doctors have had to abandon patients to their fate because lab reports needed for surgeries and other emergency procedures were not forthcoming due to the strike by the laboratory scientists.

This paper gathered that scheduled surgeries have been cancelled and doctors are also unable to do proper diagnosis as many patients are referred to private hospitals.

One of the victims of the strike action who gave the name as Gloria told The Insight that in the Ho Metropolis of the Volta Region, doctors at post were saddened by the development as they appeared helpless in prescribing medication due to nonexistent lab reports that will aid their operations.

George Mensah, a nurse in one of the health facilities also expressed concern about the situation and called on the government to resolve the issue for the striking laboratory scientists to return to work as most patients appear to be at the receiving end.

This worrying developments come at a time when the National Labour Commission (NLC) has already directed members of the Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists to call off their strike action.

“The union should call off the ongoing strike and/or any further intended action immediately,” a press release signed by the Executive Secretary of the NLC, Ofosu Asamoah said last Thursday.

The statement also said the NLC has invited the aggrieved parties to appear before it on Wednesday, 2 June 2021 at 1:30 pm.

“In view of the COVID-19 protocols, the representation by each side is restricted to maximum of two persons”, the statement directed.

Lab scientists at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) initially declared a full-blown indefinite strike in demand for the removal of some two doctors posted to the hospital’s haematology unit to superintend the work of lab scientists.

After a meeting by the KATH chapter of the Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) on Wednesday, 26 May 2021, the lab scientists said they took the decision to escalate their week-long sit-down strike following the expiration of their earlier ultimatum.

The full-blown strike has also been joined by all laboratory scientists across the country, hence the current situation being witnessed with lab scientists across the other 15 regions all supporting their colleagues in the Ashanti region.