Health workers in Ghana have embarked on strike over poor working conditions, an action that has left many patients stranded at hospitals.
The workers started the strike on Monday after negotiations with the government ended in a stalemate.
The health workers on strike include nurses, midwives and other service providers such as Physicians Assistants and Registered Anaesthetists.
Ghana’s national labour commission had told the health workers not to embark on the strike describing it as illegal.
It asked the workers to return to the negotiation table to push further for their demands to be met.
But the workers refused and insist that their demand for improved working conditions be met before calling off the strike.
In a statement the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association said “having reconvened in the meetings held on 15th and 16th September 2020 the posture of the Employer changed for the better but did not meet the expectation of the majority of Nurses, Midwives, Physician Assistants and Certified Registered Anaesthetists in Ghana.”
It asked its members to only return to work when outstanding issues are addressed with the government.
At various health centres across Ghana, there have been reports of patients being stranded without healthcare.
One relative of a patient told local news outlet Citi FM that “I came here with a pregnant woman but there are no nurses here to take care of her.
I have been sitting here for almost two hours and I don’t know what to do. She is complaining of stomach pains but the nurses say they are on strike, so they are not attending to us”.
Another news outlet Joy FM also quoted a relative of a patient as saying that “They are telling us that because they are on strike we should take our patients away. But my question is where to.”
There are implications of the strike on Ghana’s health care system amid the current outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
During the pandemic, health workers complained about lack of adequate personal protective equipment to avoid infections.
Over 2000 health workers have been infected with the virus with some dying as a result of Covid-19.