Former President of the Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA), Stephen Corquaye, has described as suicidal the directive by government to use hospital staff as an alternative for pharmacists while members of the association are on strike.
Mr Corquaye in an interview with journalists on the last day of the extension of their services to in-patients and emergency cases said the directive by government puts the lives of Ghanaians in danger.
“Some hospital staff should hold the front while the pharmacists are on strike is suicidal every person that works in the health sector, especially medicine, is very critical. So when experts are there and you put unqualified people there then you and I, our lives when it come to the issue about medicine is in real danger,” he stated.
Mr Corquaye said dispensing of medicine when it comes to healthcare delivery was very important, “in fact they play about 65 percent of the total medical cost and if you do not handle it well, the health of the whole nation will be in danger.”
The health ministry in a press statement last week directed all heads of health institutions and agencies to ensure that there is continuous dispensing of medications at all health facilities as the Ghana Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA) continues its strike.
The press statement issued by the ministry read, “Patients on admission and out-patients should be having complete supply of medication, and pharmacies should remain open for non-striking staff to handle under the supervision of the heads of the institutions.”
However, Mr Corquaye mentioned that what the ministry should have done was to sit down and amicably resolve an issue that is six years old.
“If the government itself has set up a cabinet sub-committee as far back as 2013 and has brought a recommendation and has been sent for implementation and it never sees the day of light, the National Labour Commission has also taken a ruling that is also not being enforced so who is violating the law is it we or the employer?” he asked.
Touching on the issue of where the association has reached with government negotiations, Mr Corquaye said although government’s posture in settling the matter was not encouraging, the association had made some progress.
He, however, stated that the decision of whether to go back or not must be a collective decision made by the members of GHOSPA.
“Government posture has not been good although we have made some little inroads, we think that government should have handled issues better because of the fact that our services are very crucial,” he stated.
The former GHOSPA president, however, appealed to the public to be a little more patient with the association as it demands what is rightfully theirs.
“Anytime we go on strike, we do not go because we want to but because we have been pushed so much to the wall, we cherish our customers and clients and we put them first that is why we decided we have to extend the time.
Now today is the tenth day and we have decided to take stock of what has happened and see how best we can review our strategy,” he disclosed.
Government is yet to reach an agreement with GHOSPA after three weeks of strike by the association.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri