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Opinions of Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Columnist: Agyemang, Stephen

Doctors are Making Indirect Sika Duro (Blood Money)

Once somebody was asked to define the term “Blood Money” which we locally call “Sika Duro” on BBC Africa. The person defined it as, “The process of sacrificing somebody‘s life or part of your body in order to earn more money from what you have been doing for survival through a fetish priest which is morally unaccepted”. Linking this clearly exposed definition of the term sika duro (blood money) to what our tax-educated doctors have been doing for the past two weeks by going on a strike for many patients to lose their lives undoubtedly shows that they (doctors) are making sika duro.

Sadly, I also watched a Ghanaian movie entitled “Sika Hey” whereby a certain pretty Ghanaian woman decided to sacrifice her blessed husband and son for sika duro (blood money) through a fetish priest. Indeed, both the husband and the son died and eventually the woman became superfluously rich by buying many cars, houses and businesses. Fortunately or unfortunately, some months later, the ghosts of the husband and the son started hunting this woman by giving her absolute nightmares. When the woman realized she couldn’t resist to that, she then unavoidably decided to commit suicide.

From the above summary of the movie and what the doctors have been deliberately doing for the past two weeks, there is no difference. The only difference is that, the woman in the movie decided to use her family members for the sika duro through a fetish priest while our doctors are not using their family members rather they are wickedly using fellow Ghanaians especially patients to make the sika duro through our government. They (doctors) have put in mind that the more patients are dying because of their strike action the more government will seriously intervene to migrate them onto the SSSS for more money to be received as salaries. If their attitude in this context is not a sika duro tactic, I stand by for anyone to condemn me.

From economic perspective, Ghana is a developing nation meaning the level of economic development and growth in the country is below international standard as compared to some European and North American countries. Therefore the salaries paid by the rich nations to their doctors cannot be equal as the tirelessly salaries paid by our poor nation to our doctors. This is the crucial time for nothing, but for our striking doctors to know that our country called Ghana is a poor nation and cannot afford to pay them as high as their counterparts in other countries.

Look at this comparison meticulously and conclude if what our striking doctors have been doing is right or not. Mr. Lyon is a trained German doctor seriously working in Germany to pay the government back for what was spent on him during his training in the various educational institutions through German taxpayers’ money. Every month Mr. Lyon receives 2145 euros which is approximately 5000 Ghana cedis as a salary including all allowances, of this Mr. Lyon spends 500 euros (1250 cedis) on diet for the family, he pays school fees of 1000 euros (2500 cedis) for the children, he spends 100 euros (250 cedis) on fuel, and he pays a rent of 400 euros (1000 cedis) per month. After all the expenses, Mr. Lyon is able to save 145 euros (362.5 cedis). On the other hand, Mr. Appiah is a trained Ghanaian doctor working in Korle-Bu teaching hospital, he receives 2000 cedis as a salary every month, of this amount Mr Appiah spends 150 cedis on diet, he spends 200 cedis on school fees because some of his children are under government scholarship, he spends 100 cedis on fuel and he (Mr. Appiah) doesn’t pay any rent because he has been given a bungalow next to the hospital at the expense of Ghanaian taxpayers. After all the expenses, Mr. Appiah is left with 1700 cedis (680 euros) to save. Now from the above comparison who is better off? Surely, the Ghanaian doctor. The fact that doctors in Europe and other developed countries receive higher salaries as compared to Ghanaian doctors doesn’t necessary make them richer than Ghanaian doctors because the cost of living in Europe is very high, talking about rents, food, clothing, school fees and domestic bills.

Besides the above comparison, I even wonder why our doctors so-called Christians and Muslims in the country try to envy the salaries received by our MPs, ministers and also their counterparts in other countries because if you read the Holy Bible and Quran, both state categorically that never envy your neighbour’s wealth. Especially if you consider the bible which spells out the Ten Commandments, the tenth or the last commandment says never envy your neighbour’s wife or wealth. The doctors should come out to tell all Ghanaians why are they envious of MPs, ministers and their counterparts in other countries’ salaries whilst every Friday and Sunday they go to mosques and churches respectively for worship? As indicated earlier on, Ghana is a poor nation and the small revenue received by the government to establish industries and construct more infrastructures for every Ghanaian including the future generations to benefit and they (doctors) want the government to give everything to them, they must go on their knees so that they will not be hunted by those who have died as a result of their barbaric strike action.

Moreover, if they travel to other countries by not helping the nation, Ghana, to be built as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah did his part, the future generations will blame them and that will be a big shame. As one philosopher said and I quote, “It is better to die in poverty by leaving an important legacy than to die in richness and leave a bad legacy.”

The doctors must re-think of their action of the way patients are dying as a result of their strike and compare to how sika duro (blood money) is obtained, if there is any difference.