The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), has resolved to embark on strike action to demand the settlement of all outstanding issues and related arrears payable to its members.
The resolution was contained in a Communique issued by the GMA at the end of its Fourth National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Accra and signed by Dr Frank Ankobea, the President, Ghana Medical Association and Dr Justice Yankson, the General Secretary.
The NEC called for the complete settlement of the grievances at both the National and facility levels by the Government before September 30, 2021, failure to which road maps including; the suspension of Outpatient-services (OPD) for a week effective Friday, October 01, 2021, would start.
Other actions to follow are the withdrawal of all in-patient services effective Friday, October 08, 202, if all the issues were still not completely resolved, and continue from October 15, 2021, with a complete withdrawal of all services, it said.
“The GMA hereby serves notice of this resolution to Central Government, the Ministry of Health and its Agencies, Ministry of Finance and all other stakeholders,” it said.
The Association further noted with concern the sharp increases in COVID-19 cases in the last couple of weeks, resulting in a third wave of the pandemic in the country, which was largely driven by the Delta and Alpha variants.
It attributed the sharp spread of the virus directly to the total disregard for, and the lack of enforcement of COVID-19 preventive protocols throughout the country, and importation of cases from other countries via travellers arriving at the country’s point of entry.
The GMA’s meeting which deliberated on pertinent issues concerning the health sector in particular and the country at large, described the situation as alarming ad dire at the moment, especially with the rapid spread of the Delta variant among communities.
It said the risk of exponential rises in the number of COVID-19 cases and its attendant strain on the country’s already over-stretched and fragile health system, and the national economy could not be discounted.
The GMA stated that the various major health facilities, especially those in the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions involved in the management of moderate, severe and critically ill COVID-19 patients continued to see increasing numbers of infections and related deaths.
It called for urgent scale-up of free and enhanced COVID-19 Testing in communities, especially for those identified as hot-spots, Contact Tracing as well as strict isolation and management of all infected persons at designated centres, together with strict adherence and enforcement of all the preventive protocols to help break the chain of transmission.
The GMA, however, acknowledged the effort made by Government in securing COVID-19 vaccines and encouraged it too fast track the process, to enable Ghanaians to get the needed vaccination before the third wave of the pandemic went out of hand.
It said vaccine acquisition and deployment for the benefit of all eligible persons must be the topmost priority of the Government to battle COVID-19, and government must work hard to achieve that since vaccination could no longer be delayed.