As Minister of Health Sherry Hanny Ayittey continues to give assurances that there is no course for alarm over the strike action of medical doctors in government hospitals, more people are at risk with two deaths reported at the Ridge Hospital in Accra.
Reports say more deaths have been recorded in other health facilities across the country.
Two people are reported to have lost their lives at the hospital on Tuesday as a result of the strike embarked by doctors.
The situation appears threatening as doctors at the Hospital seem to have reneged on terms of their strike action to handle emergency and in-patient cases.
According to TV3 News, nurses are attending to patients at the hospital but the situation may get worse for patients on admission.
Ms Ayittey who has been touring health facilities in Accra said her ministry was working around the clock to mitigate the impact of the strike by providing alternatives for sick people who need medical attention.
She said the ministry is in the process of providing the security hospitals, namely the Police Hospital and the 37 Military Hospital which are attending to out-patients with additional logistics to cater for the expected inflow of patients who would be coming to the facilities for medical attention.
She also noted that the ministry has asked the regional health directors and senior doctors of the ministry in the various regions to be at post to contain the situation as plans were being made to address the situation.
“We at the ministry will work out a programme basically on logistics for the regions, districts and the policlinics,” she said.
The minister therefore urged the public not to panic, as some health facilities and pharmacists across the country are working, while government, the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) and the National Labour Commission (NLC) together with the concerned groups negotiated their salaries.
“We want to assure you to feel free to come to the 37 Military Hospital, Police Hospital and Ridge Regional Hospital; the doctors here are willing to take care of you,” she said.
Ms Ayittey made this statement when she paid a working visit to the Ridge Regional Hospital and the 37 Military Hospital to ascertain how work was progressing after the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and the Government Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA) withdrew their services on Monday in demand for full payment of their salaries and allowances.
The minister visited the children’s ward, emergency ward, the out-patient department and the labour ward of the Ridge Regional Hospital as well as the accident and trauma centre of the 37 Military Hospital where she interacted with patients and health workers on duty.
Addressing the media, Ms Ayittey expressed her satisfaction on the work being done by health professionals of the hospitals and said that the ministry would provide the needed logistics to ensure that patients are well cared for when they come for medical treatment.
She said, “We will come and do things like bring an additional air conditioner to the children’s room where the incubators are and also construct a shed so that the patients sitting on the veranda will have a place to sit while waiting for the doctors to attend to them.
The ministry on its part will also bring some few supports to ensure that service will be at 100 percent. We will have to beef up the supply of drugs in case of emergency and then we will also provide extra beds to cater for overflows from the wards.”
The medical director of the Ridge Regional Hospital, Dr. Obeng Apori, said doctors at the hospital are attending to emergency cases and seeing children and pregnant mothers as well as attending to holders of the National Health Insurance Card.
Brigadier General Paul Yaw Kponyoh, Commander of the 37 Military Hospital said the hospital has recalled personnel who were on leave to work in response to the strike action by the doctors.
“We are fully in control of patient inflow to the hospital; there is no cause for alarm and we are working tirelessly around the clock with the support from the Ministry of Health and also from other ministries,” he said.