The Select Committee on Health in Parliament has made a passionate call to striking laboratory scientists to return to duty while an amicable solution is found to their grievance.
The Committee noted that the harsh effect of the strike would eventually fall on the less endowed constituents who will bear the brunt of this action.
Leadership of the Committee from both political parties urged the striking workers to petition Parliament so that through it, the House will get the answers they require to calm down matters.
The Chairman of the Committee and the Ranking Member who jointly addressed the media in Parliament on the matter expressed disappointment that the laboratory scientists have not approached the Committee for redress.
Dr. Nana Ayew Afriyie, the Chairman, noted that the Committee had worked with the laboratory workers not too long ago and ensured they have representation on the Board of hospitals in the new Teaching Hospital Amendment Act.
He said, “We are therefore disappointed that on a major issue such as this they failed to petition the Health Committee to discuss the matter.”
“We represent the people and are absolutely independent so if they have frustrations with certain CEO, a teaching hospital, or Minister, we provide oversight responsibility in this sector.”
“There is a third party and that is the very Health Committee that lobbied for their interest to be represented and that is a milestone achievement because it never happened in the annals of this country,” he added.
Dr. Nana Ayew expressed worry the laboratory scientists chose to proceed on strike without involving Parliament or the Committee and noted lives that would be lost would be irreplaceable.
He urged them to suspend the strike and return to work and then petition the Committee. He pledged they get all stakeholders involved to arrive at an amicable solution.
The Ranking Member and MP for Juaboso, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, noted that those who will suffer most from the strike are the vulnerable in society who have no means to visit private laboratories for diagnosis.
He pleaded with the striking workers to return to work and indicated the Committee is ready to take up the matter to its logical conclusion.
Mr. Akandoh, however, expressed disappointment that the Minister of Health, Kweku Agyeman Manu, has not stepped in to address the impasse and allowing it to spread from Kumasi across the entire country.
“If something like this is happening, it is not about road map as being claimed by Minister. We need to meet those concerned and listened to their grievances,” he said.
He urged the workers to suspend the strike and then meet the Committee and indicated they will take the necessary steps to address the issue peacefully.
The situation developed at the Ashanti Regional Branch of the Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) in Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) over the posting of two haematologists to the Laboratory Service Department of the hospital.
The situation, however, escalated across the country when laboratory scientists nationwide also declared indefinite strike action in support of their colleagues at Komfo Anokye.