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Opinions of Saturday, 4 May 2013

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Get Even, Not Mad!

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

The decision by the Mahama government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to enter into an agreement in which the Cuban government will be exporting 300 medical doctors as labor scabs to break the resolve of striking Ghanaian doctors, is tantamount to an effective declaration of war against both the professional and economic survival of Ghanaian doctors. In the long haul, this patently unwise decision is likely to significantly regress the development of the country's healthcare system, while conversely giving a boost to the economic development of the Cuban medical system, at least in terms of employment (See "GMA Fumes Over Cuban Doctors" 5/1/13).

In a rather shockingly lame response to the Mahama government's clearly nihilistic and systematic attempt to destroying the country's medical profession and our healthcare system, the Deputy General-Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr. Justice Yankson, was quoted as saying that the cost of the importation of 300 Cuban medical doctors would place a much heavier economic burden on the Ghanaian taxpayer than having adequately remunerated Ghanaian doctors perform the same duties on a familiar terrain and milieu.

Actually, what the GMA executives and the membership ought to be arguing before the largely sympathetic court of Ghanaian public opinion is the fact that the NDC government, since the tenure of the former Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, has made a resolute, albeit culturally regressive, political agenda of playing Cuban doctors against their Ghanaian counterparts, by ignobly and unwisely privileging Cuban doctors over their Ghanaian counterparts, rather than staunchly supporting Ghanaian doctors, both materially and morally, to give off their best.

The other equally significant factor that needs to be highlighted is the fact that the Cuban doctors are neither familiar, for the most part, with Ghanaian cultures or languages; couple the preceding with the fact that Spanish is the native and official language of Cuba, and it becomes obvious that regardless of how well trained these Latin-American doctors may be, they are seriously handicapped in terms of lacking the integral cultural and linguistic components of the profession which are indispensable to the effective and/or best practice of their trade.

In practical terms, however, since the Mahama government has decided to rather hire foreign medical practitioners to experiment with innocent and vulnerable Ghanaian lives, even while callously denying our own taxpayer-trained local doctors a decent livelihood, it is incumbent upon the striking GMA doctors to ensure that the Cuban doctors do not get to practice their trade on Ghanaian soil under governable circumstances.

In sum, if the Mahama government and its Havana counterpart have absolutely no remarkable regard for the human right of the Ghanaian doctor to a decent livelihood, then every means necessary must be appropriated to ensure that these alien industrial scabs do not get to practice medicine in Ghana. At least not under present circumstances.


*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Department of English

Nassau Community College of SUNY

Garden City, New York

May 1, 2013