Farmers march to demand respect from health workers

Over 600 Peasant Farmers in Gushiegu, Kariga, Garu-Tempani, Tumu and Bullu in the three Northern Regions have petitioned health authorities there to give them improved healthcare services.

The farmers matched through the principal streets of the districts to garner support for their petition.

They presented copies of their petition to officials of the National Health Insurance Scheme, District Health Directorate and the District Assemblies to demand for improvement in the services of health staff and NHIS to Small Holder Farmers.

The farmers argue they can only produce and feed the nation better when they are in good health.

They said health service providers and the National Insurance Scheme must stop treating farmers who go to health facilities for healthcare services with scant regard.

They also called on the District Assemblies to provide infrastructure such as good roads to health centres, community clinics and CHPs Compounds closer to the farmers.

The District Coordinating Director of Garu Abu Saccau Musah who received the petition on behalf of the District Chief Executive (DCE) promised to discuss the demands of the farmers with key stakeholders in the district and find a way of meeting them.

The Paramount Chief of Tumu Traditional area, Richard Babini Kanton, lauded the farmers for standing up for their rights.

He promised to use his powers as a traditional ruler to promote and defend their rights.

He also advised the farmers to always renew their NHIS cards to access unhindered medical care and not wait till their cards expire before making efforts to renew them.

The Health Director in the Sissala East District, Alex Bapula, who also received the petition promised to quickly organise tailored customer relationship training for health workers in the district to ensure farmers are properly treated when they seek health care there.

He added that the district has already earmarked funds for the construction of nine CHIPS compounds to bring healthcare services closer to many in the district.

Charles Nyaaba, the Programme Officer of Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) explained that the street marches is one of the approaches the PFAG is using to sensitize its members in the districts on their right to respectful treatment from health workers and the operations of NHIS.

“The farmers are being encouraged to assert their rights and demand respect to which they are entitled,” he said.

The marches, which were sponsored by STAR-GHANA and implemented by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana would work towards reforms to ensure cordial relationships exist between health workers and farmers in health care delivery.

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