GMA Condemns Health Ministry’s "Military Orders"

The Ghana Medical Association has raised a strong objection to Health Ministry’s directive asking a doctor and a nurse at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital to proceed on leave in the wake of the baby theft saga.

According to the President of the Association, Kwabena Adusei Poku, the sector Minister Madam Sherry Ayittey disregarded structures at the hospital in taking that “unfortunate” decision.

He told Joy FM’s Top Story Friday that the GMA does “not condone wrong doing”, but sanctions must be done within the law.

“We live in a democratic dispensation with rules and regulation,” and expected the Minister to have discussed the ministry’s findings with management of the facility.

The Minister’s action was “as if we are in a military regime”, he pointed out.

Following the minister’s directive, doctors at the KATH have vowed to work according to international standards which require that each doctor attends to only three patients a day. The action is creating concern for health delivery there.

But Dr. Adusei Poku said the action was not to “punish patients”.

He enumerated sacrifices made by doctors including paying bills of patients and donating their own blood to save lives, but all these have “not been appreciated”. For instance doctors do not take their full leave otherwise there would be “total chaos”, he said.

But the Universal Access to Healthcare Campaign Coalition says it “totally disagrees” with the approach being adopted by the doctors.

National Coordinator of the coalition, Sidua Hor told Top Story the doctors are just “trying to avoid accountability”.

He believes the doctors could have sat down with the ministry to let them know that they disapprove of the proceed on leave order.

Though he conceded that doctors are “working their hearts out”, refusing to attend to more patients, he noted, smacks of “irresponsible leadership”.

The hospital has a total of 450 doctors but only 200 doctors are on duty at a given day. Also, about 1900 patients, both in patients and OPD, seek healthcare at KATH daily. With the latest development – attending to only three patients a day per a doctor – would mean that about 70% of patients who troop to the facility daily in search of healthcare would not get it.