KATH clears outstanding allowances of striking doctors

Authorities at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi say they are coping with challenges brought on by the absence of junior doctors on strike for unpaid fuel allowances.

The Chief Executive Officer of KATH, Dr. Nsiah Asare, told Joy FM that all the fuel allowances for the junior doctors, outstanding for about 13 months, have been paid, and he expects them to resume work in the course of Wednesday.

The striking doctors were scheduled to meet at 2pm Wednesday to decide their next line of action.

In their absence, Dr. Nsiah Asare told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show host, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, that regular doctors and some of the junior doctors who defied the call to strike, have been managing the huge numbers of patients turning up for medicare.

The CEO said the large number of patients turning up at the hospital is not surprising, citing KATH’s status as the only major referral hospital in the whole of the northern Ghana.

He said while the outstanding fuel allowance was peculiar to KATH and which explains why only some of the hospital’s affected junior doctors embarked on the strike, general salary negotiations for health sector workers nationwide were ongoing and appealed to the striking doctors to return to work while their leadership attended to the negotiations.

“As I speak to you, we were given an ultimatum and I am happy to say that by the end of Monday we were able to clear all the arrears, that is November to December 2006 arrears,… January to October 2007 and then the last quarter of 2008 and then we’ve paid from January to April 2009 and so as I speak to you now we don’t owe any doctor fuel allowance.”

Dr. Nsiah Asare said the negotiating teams of the bodies concerned were to meet with the Ghana Medical Association over salary negotiations and expressed hope of an amicable solution.

He appealed to the striking doctors to return to work to help save lives, explaining that the strike action, if prolonged, could result in turning patients who need attention away and thereby worsen their situations.

“What worries me is not the patients who have come to the hospital, it’s people especially from the radio stations who are talking and telling everybody that there is a problem here, there is a problem there, so somebody who is really sick, will not even come to the hospital, he will wait until the strike is over and by that time, it would be very bad so we want everyone to feel free and come to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.”

[Listen to Dr. Nsiah Asare in the attached audio.]

Story by Isaac Yeboah/Myjoyonline.com