Opinions Thu, 6 Aug 2015

Long term solution to doctor's strike

CEO of Aspire, Kwame Antwi-Frempong has stated that the president's leadership skills is a contributing factor to the recent labour unrest in the country.

Speaking with Kofi Nyarko on The Hague's based Ghana Today FM he said "The president is responsible for this strike action by the government because he hires and fires people who manage situations like this."

"the executive arm of government which is headed by the president has failed in the management of the strike by the doctors"

".... as a leader, the way you handle an issue determines whether you are a good leader or otherwise"

While maintaining that the government and its communication were responsible for the Ghana Medical Association's (GMA) decision to resign en bloc, he feels their demands were simply unrealistic.

"When I saw the leaked document of the doctors demand, I was shocked because between you and me, we know their demands are simply unreasonable" he said

He again said that the doctors were not solely wrong because if the issue is put into perspective you would realize that the doctor's demands are triggered by events going on in the country.

"But you can't blame the doctors very much because if you look at the lavish spending by this government you can deduce that this is the reason why they are making this demand"

He went ahead to propose both short and long term ways in which this government and successive government can employ to deal with this situation.

"In the short term the government has to admit that it is broke, which we all know"

"The govern also has to show leaders by example by cutting its expenses -- they may slash down their salary or stop taking business class when traveling etc -- they simply have to cut the size of government then the doctors can also sympathize"

He again decried the way and manner the current administration was using to solve this issue and prophesized that it just wont work because insults has never and will never solve an issue.

"The government's 'soviet tactics' was in a bad taste, it was wrong to leak the demands of the doctors"

"This was disrespect -- just because someone puts you in a hard spot doesn't mean you should disrespect them"

"The solution to this crisis is not insults so I strongly believe both Dr. Serebuor and the NDC communicator both erred in their pronouncement"

He stated that in the long term, the government should outsource the employment of doctors to the public hospitals themselves.

"In the long run,the government needs to stop being the employer for especially doctors and outsource that function to the hospital themselves"

He said that as long as majority of doctors were employed by the government this agitations were bound to happen

"90% of the doctors are managed by the Ministry of Health and this gives room for the government to be (always) taken hostage and an example is what is happening now."

"For example, if Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital were given the autonomy to hire and fire doctors, they can be able to design their own benefit scheme to keep the doctors they employ."

"Hence doctors in KATH are angry at their administration, it doesn't affect doctors (per say) in Obuasi or Ejura."

Doctors in Ghana are currently on strike over conditions and services. In a leakage document, it has been discovered that doctors are asking for benefits like "Professional allowance", "100 gallons of fuel" among others.
Columnist: Antwi-Frempong, Kwame