Pregnant women turned away as nurses and midwives strike bite
Pregnant women and nursing mothers who turned up for antenatal and post-natal services on Monday at the Chuchuliga Health Centre in the Builsa North District of the Upper East Region were left disappointed.
They have turned away following the strike declared by the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA).
They grumbled as they walked away from the deserted facility after some nurses and midwives told them about the strike action from their nearby quarters.
As usual, they had formed queues hoping to be attended to, the GNA reported.
It appears many were unaware of the strike as nurses and midwives hang their medical gowns and tools in demand for better conditions of service.
Gifty Anigi, a pregnant woman, said she was not aware of the strike action.
“Because I don’t want to join a long queue, I was here very early only to be told that the nurses are on strike. I came from a far place, now I have to walk back without any care.”
“Nurses on strike, then we will die, I had no idea they were on strike, I was scheduled for ANC today, so when will they resume?” another expectant mother, Madam Patricia Amabe asked, disappointed as she walked away.
About 10 pregnant women were seen walking away when the GNA arrived at the facility at 11.40 am.
A nurse at the facility, Gibilida Atanga, told the GNA that the Out-Patient Department was full as of 6 am.
“We had to inform them that we are on strike and can’t attend to them, so they had to go.
“Today is Monday most of them are here for wound dressing, ANC and Postnatal services, but we had to return them. We can’t render services. It is sad because some of the wounds had not been dressed for the past three days.”
He said the pregnant women needed proper care, but the nurses could not help and advised them to visit private health facilities for health care services.
While at the facility, a woman rushed to the premises of the health centre, with her child of about five years tied to her back with the complaint of a cat bite, but was also turned away without any care.
The Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association Physician Assistants and Certified Registered Anaesthetics working in public health facilities across the country withdrew their services from Monday, September 21, to press home demands for better conditions of service.
This comes after a series of negotiation meetings, which they insisted failed to yield desired results.
The healthcare professional defied an interlocutory injunction the National Labour Commission obtained against the strike.
The Injunction is to restrain the Association from embarking on their proposed strike action, beginning Monday.
The High Court, Labour Division, presided over by Justice Frank Aboagye Rockson, said the injunction was for 10 days and upon its expiration, the Commission was to come back to court on notice.
Meanwhile, the government on Monday described strike intentions by some members of the GRNMA as a clear violation to the principle of good faith that must govern every negotiation as provided for in Section 97 of the Labour Act, (2003) Act 651.
Per the Rules of Engagement signed at the inception of the negotiation process, parties agree that they will refrain from going to the press while negotiations are ongoing.
While the parties in the course of the negotiations have not declared a deadlock, members of the GRNMA have resorted to the media declaring their intention to go on strike beginning 21st September.
Election year strikes
It is not the first time healthcare professionals are going on strike in an election year.
In February 2016, the Coalition of Unpaid Nurses and Midwives embarked on an indefinite strike over unpaid salaries and arrears.
According to the group, numbering around 7000, in spite of ’round table discussions, promises and reassurances’ by the Ministry of Employment and Labour relations to have all of them paid by December 2015, only 30 percent of its members had been paid.
In March 2012, surgeons and junior doctors at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) embarked on an indefinite strike to protest against the “poor state of affairs” at the facility.
They had complains about irregular power and water supply, lack of drugs, broken down equipment especially at the Accident and Emergency Centre and general congestion were making it difficult for them to operate effectively.