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Nurses Strike Grinds OPD Operations to a Halt

Patients who have been denied treatment at the out-patients department (OPD) of public hospitals are appealing to the health professionals to return to work.

The patients said owing to the strike, the doctors and nurses who are supposed to take their vitals and process their folders at the OPDs have failed to do so.

“We cannot see the doctors because no one is here to even take our folders for us,” Mable Mensah, a woman who had brought her sister to the Adabraka Polyclinic, said.

“We want the nurses to come back to work,” she added.

At the Ridge Regional Hospital and Korle-Bu Polyclinic, hospital patients who had been turned away expressed the same sentiments.

“They said we should come back when the nurses resume but we are praying they call off the strike soon,” Enyoman Akatsi, a lady who had brought her sick father to the Ridge Regional Hospital, said.

The Ghana Registered Nurses & Midwives’ Association (GRNMA) on Monday began the roadmap for an industrial action on November 14 to press home their demands for better training and working conditions.

The association indicated that government has failed to address pertinent issues of unpaid salary arrears, posting of graduate nurses and midwives, charging of promotional fees, sale of upgrading forms, inadequate logistics to government health facilities, allowances of student nurses and midwives, among others.

The GRNMA said the situation was counter-productive to quality nursing care in the whole health sector, therefore, the strike action.

Going by the roadmap, the association from November 1 to 6 wore red bands to work and proceed with the withdrawal of OPD, as government is yet to come to a mutual agreement with the association.

“If after this we still do not get any results, we will begin our full industrial action by withdrawing all services, only in-patients will be cared for,” Kwaku Asante-Krobea, President of GRNMA, said.

The nurses were, however, at post at the various wards attending to patients. The nurse in-charge at the Adabraka maternity wards, Matron Helen Deletsu, was at post with her health officers attending in patients.

“As you can see, we are here taking care of our patients in the wards. We have discharged patients and others are still here,” she added.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Registered Midwives, Ghana (NARM-GH) has called on its members to go back to work at the various OPDs.

According to the group, even though they support the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives’ Association’s roadmap to demand better working conditions, they cannot abandon their clients, majority of who are pregnant mothers, nursing mothers and their babies.

“We appeal to our midwives to continue to work in uniform while supporting our colleagues to get the problem solved amicably,” the statement signed by Ridhwana Hawa Amoako-Agyei, National President of NARM-GH, read.

The NARM-GH urged their members to abide by the vow they took in January 2007 not to embark on any industrial action that would affect women who are expected to go through ante-natal, supervisory delivery, post-natal care and other obstetric and gynaecological management.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri

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