Nurses and Midwives at the Upper East Regional Hospital have returned to work after a three-day nationwide strike declared by the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) and its allied groups.
On September 21, 2020, the GRNMA and its allied groups including the Nurses Practitioners Association of Ghana and the Nurses and Midwives Specialists Society of Ghana withdrew their services, demanding better working conditions of service from their employer.
This prompted the Ghana National Labour Commission to seek an interlocutory injunction at an Accra High Court in which the association was served with the court order to return to work.
The Association has since in press release temporarily suspended the strike action and urged all members to report back to work.
When the Ghana News Agency visited the regional hospital in Bolgatanga on Tuesday, it was observed that the health workers had returned to work and were attending to clients at various units.
The GNA took a tour of some of the units including the Out-Patient Department, the Children’s Ward, Emergency Ward, Male and Female wards, as well as the Maternity Ward and the nurses and midwives were all at post offering health services to patients.
At the OPD, Mr Luis Akasiire who was in the queue to access health services for his father, on admission at the hospital, noted that the strike action harmed the health of his father.
He said he could not afford to send him to a private hospital and expressed gratitude to the health workers for returning to work.
Ms Patience Agoum whose husband was admitted to the Emergency Ward noted that she had heard of the strike action, however, she was lucky the husband did not fall sick within the three days of the strike.
She said the nurses had attended to her husband and stabilized him and therefore appealed to the government to listen to the concerns of the health workers and find solutions to their demands.
At the female Ward where Ms Elizabeth Ayamga who had been on admission since Saturday at the female ward, expressed happiness about the return of the health workers, noting that during the strike action, except for one or two who visited, she had not received care from the nurses.
She said since they returned to work, they had attended adequately to her and she was set to be discharged.
The GNA observed that as a result of the strike the overcrowding that usually characterized the OPD of the hospital had reduced and there were many empty beds at the various wards visited.
Some attributed the low numbers to the fact that some relatives of sick people had taken them to private health facilities.
Mr Thomas Lambon, the Regional President of the GRNMA in an interview told GNA that the court had given the association and its employer, the Ministry of Health October 28, 2020, to iron out their differences and report back.
The Regional President apologized to Ghanaians especially those who needed their services at the time of the strike action and noted that it was not their intention to put anybody’s life at risk but the inability of the government to listen to their concerns for a long time forced them to take that action.
Mr Lambon who had earlier visited most of the health facilities in the region to ensure members returned to work, appealed to all members to serve their clients with the diligence and dedication that they always exhibited because the health of the patient was the call of the profession.