The La General Hospital laboratory is under lock and key following the nationwide indefinite strike of the Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists.
The leadership of the Association directed its members to withdraw all laboratory services effective Monday, May 28,2018 in a statement jointly signed by the President of the Association, Dr. Ignatius A. N Awinibuno, and the General Secretary, Michael Amo Omari over the weekend.
The statement indicated that the action was triggered by threats from some Medical Superintendents and directors within the health service instead of calling on the appropriate authorities to attend to their concerns.
The laboratory technicians had over the weeks been asking government to correct salary discrepancies detected in 2012 after the introduction of a new equitable public pay policy among other grievances, which led to a sit-down strike over what the group described as government’s inability to address their conditions of service concerns.
During the sit-down strike, the association planned to progressively work on their demands bearing in mind the need to save lives, but the leadership have accused some medical superintendents of threatening their lives hence the need to withdraw all their services.
The association also alleged the Medical Superintendents and directors disrespected their profession by contracting non-professionals to do their work in their absence, an act they deem risky.
“They have also called for illegalities to be perpetuated by asking unlicensed personnel to operate laboratories in our absence as a way of ridiculing our noble profession while subjecting the general public to serious health risks”, the statement added.
On Monday morning, XYZ News‘ Wisdom Hededzome who visited some hospitals in the Accra Metropolis reported that the strike was yet to gain momentum as some hospital laboratories had workers present at the facilities.
The situation was different when he got to the La General Hospital in the afternoon where some patients were waiting to be served.
“The laboratory has been locked and the place is quiet,” reported Wisdom.
He said the laboratory of the Children’s Hospital was also locked when he visited the facility.
Health Ministry Begs
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is appealing to the striking Medical Laboratory Scientists to reconsider their decision and return to work while negotiations continue.
This is after the Medical Laboratory Scientists withdrew all laboratory services including blood banking, surveys, surveillance and monthly returns into DHIMS 2.
Speaking to XYZ News, the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Health, Robert Cudjoe said the leadership of the group had been meeting the Minister of Health over their concerns to manage the laboratories as well as their salary issues.
He said despite how complex the issue is, the ministry is ready to help tackle the matter.
“…We will first and foremost appeal with them to end their strike and come to the negotiation table…we will appeal to them to go back and work. We all know how important their work is,” Mr Cudjoe said.
He further revealed there would be a meeting with the leadership to see how best the issue can be resolved.