Just as the nation is on the verge of winning the war against COVID-19, it is quite a setback for nurses to strike at such a crucial time.
Nurses and midwives across the country commenced a strike action on Monday over poor conditions of service. The Director of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma Aboagye, has sent a passionate appeal for the nurses to come back to work in the midst of COVID-19.
This is in spite of an interlocutory injunction application by the National Labour Commission and granted by an Accra High Court last Friday.
While all this is going on, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has called on the National Labour Commission (NLC) to apologise to the striking nurses and midwives over the decision to block their industrial action in court.
The NLC’s move has a tendency to provoke the health workers, the GMA argues. Leadership of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) remain stoic, since they claim all efforts at getting government to address their concerns have proven futile.
Scores of patients have been left stranded in hospitals across the country, and that is our major concern. Pregnant women at the Chuchuliga Health Centre in the Builsa North district of the Upper East Region were on Monday turned away following the industrial-strike action.
The Greater Accra Regional Hospital has also suffered its fair share of the strike action, and Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra has seen patients left in a hapless situation. Several persons who reported at the Ridge Hospital for medical care were also left stranded as a result of the ongoing strike.
Since the issue is one that has a propensity to exacerbate the already weakened public health system in the country, as a result of the toll the pandemic has had on it, we urge duty-bearers – particularly the Minister of Health, Mr. Agyeman-Manu, the GMA and all stakeholders in the health – to immediately convene an emergency meeting to resolve all outstanding issues, so that the Ghanaian populace is not unduly affected by the industrial action.
We believe with the right attitude and commitment to reach an amicable resolution, government can impress on the nurses and midwives to return to work while their concerns are worked on. It is particularly disheartening to watch pregnant women and the aged suffer unduly as a result of the strike action embarked on by the GRNMA.