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Opinions of Thursday, 20 October 2011

Columnist: Republic Newspaper

The Lingering Doctors Strike… It Is A Shame!!

I was sad, especially, this morning, when I listened to the various stakeholders comments on the recent strike action, by our dear brothers and sisters in the medical fraternity: the strike action is very sad and unfortunate.
A couple of years ago, during the happenings of the unfortunate genocide in Rwanda, I had the privilege, educative but unfortunate opportunity to watch a video coverage of the murder of someone in a field that looked like a farm. The coverage was by courtesy of either CNN or BBC (I can’t remember vividly). The scene showed a man wielding a machete, and angrily hacking a man, until the victim fell on the ground. The attacker continued hacking the man until he laid still, assumed dead. There was no way I could find out the offence of the victim, to deserve such a helpless and painful death. All I knew was that nobody deserved to die like that – no – not even my worst enemy. The victim, of course, had my sympathy, not because I was privy to his guilt or innocence, but because the very act being perpetuated was ungodly, ghastly and inhuman – period.
This kind of scene NORMALLY inspires the sympathy of every one, with a conscience and is expected to override partisan, tribal, religious, economic and other boundaries and social compartments we normally find ourselves in.
There is something wrong, with supporting the strike action of doctors whatever the reasons are and I want to present some of the reasons.
1. The Government takes the demands of labor seriously, only when extreme measures are taken by the later.
2. The Government never keeps the promises it makes, especially promises that have to do with wages and salaries.
3. Politicians only make flowery promises on campaign platforms and yet when they have the mandate and the advantage of being in Government, they either fail to deliver or deliver partially.
4. Etc
Everyone will agree to a large extent that, these and other reasons are valid concerns that can be raised about any government anywhere in the world.
This is the kind of situation that should not be discussed along partisan lines. The opposition parties and any other persons or groupings who are not sympathetic to the ideologies of the NDC government will end up losing moral mileage if they stand on this unfortunate strike to gain political advantage. We must all agree with the doctor’s right to fight for the further improvement of their lot and services, but also distance themselves from any act that might result in the avoidable loss of lives this is morally unacceptable and highly unpardonable.
The Holy Scriptures agree with anyone that believes that they have the right to due remuneration when they work. (Romans 4:4 - Now if a man earns his pay by his work, it is not counted to him as a favor, but it is paid him as a debt (Montgomery’s New Testament). Mere mortals cannot disagree with this. However, anything that we deserve as a matter of right is a matter that must be governed by law. The recourse of the doctors, given the fact that they provide a service that affects life, is by law and not by “going for the jugular”.
It is a total shame when an asthma patient, who had been rushed to the hospital because his normal medication couldn’t help him, died. NOT because there were no trained doctors available, but because the trained doctors were using human lives as a bargaining chip to FURTHER improve their lot (which is their due).
It is a big shame when an 80-year old teacher, who has sacrificed most of his life teaching the good people of this country, gets involved in an accident and ends up either disabled or dead because his former pupils who have become the present day health care experts have used him as a bargaining chip.
Let’s consider the effect of inaction from the notable parties in this standoff - The Government, The Fair Wages Commission.
The worst case scenario, if the Government fails to offer what Doctors are asking for, is that the Government will become unpopular. Assuming that these action leads to the losing of power by the sitting government, how does that remove the scar of death or bring back dead bodies to life, what a shame.
The worst case scenario if the Ghana Medical Association, GMA fails to offer its services is, DEATH OF HUMAN beings.
These two effects are incomparable.
The action of our dear Doctors amounts to “going for the joggle” which is only done with the intention of killing something or someone off. The question is what is being killed off? The Government? No! The workers at the Fair Wages Commission? Not really! The Labor Commission? No. The NDC party? NO!!!!! The usually faceless, unknown Ghanaian, who is just trying to make it in life, like any other citizen of any nation in this world
Maybe emotions are so high that the GMA and its membership have lost sight of the fact that death is not a curable occurrence. It is final and irreversible.
Members of our dear society who like to get results by putting Governments and institutions under siege should remember that decisions arrived at, in reaction to a siege are most unlikely to be sustainable in the long term.

In the name of God, I respectfully and humbly appeal to the sympathy of our dear brothers and sisters in the medical realm to resume work now, to reduce the number of dead, maimed or disabled persons that destiny will hold them accountable for.

PS. This article is not to hold brief for the Government, the FWC or the Labor Commission. They should be up and doing too.