KATH doctors, nurses withdraw services

Doctors and nurses of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) have withdrawn their services, following attacks on some of their colleagues at the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department of the hospital last Thursday.

They have resolved not to return to work until security at the hospital has been improved.

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Eric Opoku, who is also the head of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), has assured the doctors and the nurses that adequate security measures had been put in place for them to work without any fear.

It is yet to be seen whether or not the doctors and nurses will go back to work in view of the assurances by the regional minister.

At a joint press conference in Kumasi yesterday after a REGSEC meeting, the Chief Executive Officer of KATH, Professor Ohene Adjei, registered his profound displeasure at the unwarranted assault on some staff of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department of the hospital.

He said the withdrawal of services by the doctors and nurses, who constituted the backbone of the hospital’s service delivery, was a big blow to the operations of KATH. Attacks

He condemned the attacks on the health workers by a group of people.

Before the REGSEC meeting, Mr Opoku had held a meeting with the leaders of the doctors on Saturday and with those of the nurses on Sunday morning to prevail on them to go back to work in view of the security arrangements put in place to ensure their safety. Background

About 50 young men and women last Thursday stormed the Maternity Ward (Ward A1) of KATH and assaulted nurses and doctors on duty, demanding the body of a baby believed to have been stillborn.

The police arrested three of them when they went to the hospital to restore law and order.

The baby was stillborn to Madam Swabia Abdul-Mumin on Wednesday, February 5, this year. 

However, the body, which was supposed to have been sent to the mortuary by the mortuary attendant, was rather picked up by a cleaner who had gone to tidy up the ward on that day. 

Not satisfied with the explanation given by the hospital officials, the youth of the Zongo community stormed the ward, chanting slogans such as “Ye pe yen funu”, meaning “We want our body”.

They beat the medical staff and vandalised tables, chairs and files of patients at the ward, a development which brought operations at the ward to a standstill. 

The medical staff on duty had to run for their lives, with some of them having to take refuge under some of the beds at the ward.

It took the swift intervention of the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) of the Ashanti Regional Police Command to prevent the violent attack from degenerating further. Denials

Prof Adjei denied any baby theft at the hospital, as alleged by the baby’s family and a section of the media.

According to him, the baby under reference had been stillborn and the mother had duly attested to the fact by thumb-printing against the entries on the incident in the Still Birth Record book of the Labour Ward and also in her own patient’s folder.

He also dismissed suggestions that the baby had been burnt, saying, “This is because the hospital’s incinerator where the baby was allegedly taken to by the orderly had not been used for five days prior to the alleged incident.”

The CEO reassured the public and especially the mother and the family of the stillborn child that the management was fully committed to getting to the bottom of the matter and would not shield anybody who might have a question to answer.

 Mr Opoku assured the doctors and the nurses that adequate security measures had been put in place to prevent the occurrence of such attacks on them.

He said the REGSEC would not shirk its responsibility of maintaining peace, security and order for people to go about their activities without any fear.

He warned that the REGSEC would not countenance individuals or groups who would take the law into their hands to create disaffection, fear and panic to disturb the public peace.

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