Ghanaian Doctors’ Strike: 3 die at 37 Military Hospital … Strike senseless and illegal – President Mahama.

Three persons are reported to have died
before they could be attended to at the
emergency unit of the 37 Military Hospital in
the last 24 hours.
Health officials there are reeling under
intense pressure and are unable to handle
the number of cases being brought to the
facility as a result of the ongoing strike by
the Ghana Medical Association.
Doctors in public health facilities across the
country are on strike to back their demand
for conditions of service.
Hospital authorities at 37 told Joy News they
are overwhelmed by the number of patients
that have trooped to the hospital.
Principal nursing officer at the hospital, Mary
Doe, told Joy News’ Francis Abban the
emergency unit has only 20 beds but had 68
patients to care for at the time of the visit.
Some of the patients have been forced to lie
on stretchers as the hospital tries
desperately to care for the sick persons.
Mary Doe said they need beds and medical
supplies to sustain healthcare delivery.
She confirmed about three patients lost
their lives even before they could be
attended to.
She suspects they must have been turned
away from other health facilities before
making their way to the 37 Military Hospital.
Meanwhile, the Health Minister Alex Segbefia
has been touring some health facilities in
the capital to see at first hand the impact of
the doctors’ strike.
He visited Korle Bu, Police and 37 Military
hospitals on Wednesday from where Joy
News’ Matilda Wemegah reported that
officials are breaking their backs to see the
increasing number of patients who have
trooped to the 37 and Police Hospitals.
The Minister advised patients to visit
alternative health facilities like the Cocoa
Clinic, Legon Clinic etc in order to reduce the
pressure.
Meanwhile, President John Dramani Mahama
has insisted that the decision by aggrieved
doctors to strike is “illegal” and “does not
make sense.”
According to him, the strike must be called
off because “we’re paying doctors their
salaries and allowances as negotiated on
single spine, but instead conditions of
service.”
“The labour law states that nobody must
negotiate under duress. Even before
negotiations begun they declared a strike.
Nobody must die as a result of an illegal
strike. The doctors strike is illegal… The
doctors must go back to work while
negotiations continue in good faith,” he
added.
The President made the comment today to
commemorate the World Youth Day in an
interview on Uniiq FM on Wednesday.
Members of the GMA have insisted that they
will not return to work unless government
provides them with conditions of service.
Meanwhile, the salaries of striking doctors
are likely to be frozen by government.
A statement from the Ministry of
Employment and Labour Relations reminded
the doctors and all other striking public
sectors workers that under the provisions
of the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651), a worker
on strike, “may forfeit his/her remuneration
in respect of the period during which he/
she is engaged in the illegal strike.”
On the freeze on employment, President
Mahama explained that the move was to
reduce pressure on government’s wage bill.
He said the wage bill continues to take a toll
on government revenue adding that, “we
want to bring the wages and compensation
bill down. In 2013, wages took 73% of total
tax revenue.”
In 2010, the government placed a ban on
the recruitment of employees in the public
sector to reduce the increasing wage bill.
Some Ghanaian workers had complained
that the embargo over the years has
increased the rate of unemployment in the
country.
But Mahama said government has been able
to reduce the wage bill from 73% to 49% of
tax revenues, adding that such monies are
being channeled into development.

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