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The lamentations of a doctor in a district hospital

Tue, 11 Aug 2015 Source: Dr. Leslie Issa Adam-Zakariah

So this government is taking doctors for a ride? Or taking doctors for granted?

1. We demand conditions of service (COS), you don't think we deserve it so you immaturely make a big deal out of proposals for negotiations and finally you tell us (in our face) that we do not deserve anything other than 10% on call extra Duty facilitation allowance.

OMG. I am beginning to regret all the sleepless nights, starvation, one-man station 'donkey' work I had to endure all in the name selfless service delivery.

Even though, I don't ask to be paid extra for doing the work of four doctors, I believe it is my right to have a documentation of decent conditions of service. Is this asking for too much????

2. Government and some of its myopic communicators think the 37 military hospital and police hospital in Accra can absorb the shocks of a non-functional Korle bu Teaching Hospital and Ridge Hospital. They must really be joking!!!!!!!

3. The contingency measures of using Physician assistants, Cuban doctors, retired doctors etc do not stand a chance, in replacing us. 4. Some government communicators think the GMA is working for the NPP. This is a very shameful and erroneous assertion especially when I was personally present at the general assembly meeting of the GMA during which a non-executive member raised the issue of COS after he had been humiliated in a theatre he works in. He was operated upon in that theatre and he was asked to pay his bills before he could be discharged. This was a very shameful and regrettable story.

The executives of the GMA have been given a mandate by our general assembly. It is completely absurd for anybody to assume that an individual executive of the association of doctors can hold the whole association to ransom because of his/her political colours. It's most unfair and childish to say the least.

5. Its unfortunate how nobody wants to actively appreciate the plight of the 'ordinary ' doctor who has no means of controlling expenditure/spending. In fact, no policy anywhere in Ghana recommends that doctors should have access to free medical care.

(When doctors announce a withdrawal of services and some doctors in very deprived areas still go to work, it is not because those doctors working do not support the withdrawal of service, it is done out of a benevolent heart to help minimise the negative impact of the withdrawal of service and the fact that some members of the GMA still work is well known to the leadership of the association. So for some arrogant and ignorant government communicators to assume and allege that, those doctors still at post are defying the directive of the leadership of the association is counterproductive and would ultimately lead to unnecessary loss of lives).

Unfortunately, most lives that might be lost in all this mess are those in rural Ghana where the luxury of private facilities is non-existent. At an overwhelming ratio of 1 doctor : 175,000 population, the consequences of my absence in the district 'unfortunately' cannot be ameliorated by 37MH or Police hospital.

Can you fathom the possible outcomes of a withdrawal of services by the Doctors working in the Christian Health Association of Ghana, CHAG hospitals, doctors doing locum in private hospitals and a possible closure of some private facilities (in solidarity of colleagues in the public service)?

Fortunately for doctors, this particular withdrawal of service was originated, championed and executed by a well-motivated majority of junior doctors who now attend general assembly meetings religiously.

These are the doctors whose only comfort in their various facilities solely demands on the benevolence of their bosses. This unfairness must stop somewhere.

For this group of doctors, conditions of service are as fundamental as a bodyguard to a President of a country. Once government has decided not to honour our demand for COS, doctors might be forced to go back to work unhappy. This would really be painful and disappointing.

NB:

Negotiations cannot go on forever.

We have reached our elastic limit.

There is no option of turning back.

We will follow through to the end.

We believe this absence of COS must stop NOW.

Unfortunately, we have also become dead goats.

(Like father, like son).

Sadly and passionately,

IT IS NOW OR NEVER.

(To those who have ears, let them hear).

Dr. Leslie Issa Adam-Zakariah

Medical Officer

Prestea Government Hospital.

Columnist: Dr. Leslie Issa Adam-Zakariah