The President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr. Kwabena Opoku-Adusei has advised President John Mahama to stop appealing to them to call off their strike action and meet their demands.
President Mahama on Thursday practically begged the Doctors to discontinue their strike and save lives.
Speaking to Citi News, Dr. Opoku-Adusei said the President must show commitment in addressing the grievances.
“In one breath, the President is appealing to us. In another breath, he has instructed their agents to take us to court so which one do we take first? …their Ministers are just insulting us and insulting us. Somebody is appealing and somebody is insulting us.”
According to him, the members of the GMA have been very reasonable, only that “the pay master also doesn’t want to be reasonable. I think it’s a simple issue.”
The Doctors have been on strike for three weeks to press home their demand for the payment of the 2012 market premium arrears.
President Mahama had called on the doctors to reconsider their decision and return to work while their grievances are resolved.
In his first public statement on the doctors’ strike at a Special Congregation of the University for Development Studies in Tamale, Mr. Mahama reminded the doctors that they could not allow the persons whose taxes pay them to suffer.
He also noted that their concerns, including the issue of conversion difference, were not peculiar to them but to other health workers.
“Let me add my voice to our respected citizen, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and once again appeal to our doctors to return to work while their grievances are attended to. We cannot continue to allow our people whose taxes pay our salaries to suffer in this way. Let us do away with entrenched positions,” President Mahama stated.
The President referred to the valedictory speech of the graduating medical doctors and urged them to remember it at all times.
“I heard the young doctor say in the valedictory address, ‘I see every blessed day as a chance to save a life’. Very instructive, especially at this time. As you take your hippocratic oaths, it is my hope that you will remember and abide by it forever and ever.”
President Mahama also urged the newly inducted medical doctors to take advantage of upcoming opportunities in the security services for young medical doctors and apply.
Forty-eight graduates of the University for Development Studies Medical School were inducted as medical doctors by the Chairman of the Medical and Dental Council.
The Special Congregation also saw the conferring of an honorary doctorate degree on former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
The GMA dared government to bring in Cuban doctors to man public hospitals, as it has been suggested by the National Women’s Organiser for the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Anita Desooso.
Madam Desooso on Tuesday expressed her frustration on Adom FM at the continuous resolve of the doctors to stay away from the consulting rooms, despite pleas from both government and the public.
The NDC Women’s Organiser therefore urged government to snub the GMA and recruit doctors from Cuba to replace the striking doctors. She said irrespective of the cost of flying in the doctors, it was necessary to prevent the citizens from dying.
But the General Secretary of the GMA, Dr. Frank Siribour said the quality of service provided by some Cuban doctors practicing in Ghana could not be matched to that which was delivered by Ghanaian doctors.
Dr. Siribuour claimed there were reports of people accusing the Cuban doctors of using their patients as “guinea pigs”.
“If Government wish, they should bring in the Cuban doctors and see what will happen; that’s all,” he said. The GMA General Secretary noted that already, there is discrimination against Ghanaian doctors in terms of conditions of service.
He defended the position of the doctors, insisting that the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission was rather holding the nation at ransom by failing to adhere to the agreement it entered with them [doctors].
Doctors have withdrawn emergency and out-patient services to patients, in demand for better conditions of service with regard to the Single Spine Salary Structure.
The strike has brought enormous pressure on some private hospitals due to the huge number of patients turning up in the hospitals, creating congestion.
At least one person has been confirmed dead in Kumasi due to the strike. Authorities at the SDA Mission Hospital in Kumasi explained that the hypertensive patient died after he visited the facility was attended to and asked to go home due to unavailability of space to admit him.
His condition worsened at home and they rushed him back to the hospital but he was dead on arrival, Medical Director at the Hospital, Dr. Agyeman Boateng said.