500 Deaths From Errant Doctors’ Strike Inaccurate

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The Ghana Medical Association (GMA), has said reports that, about 500 people have died since doctors’ embarked on a strike cannot be accurate.
The Herald’s questioning of the Executive Director of the Health Insurance Service Providers of Ghana (HISPAG), Frank Torblu, drew some unpersuasive responses.

There is even doubt as to whether the HISPAG is a registered organisation at the Registrar General’s Department in Accra.

The Finder newspaper reported in its Monday edition that about 500 sick people have died nationwide, since the doctors declared the strike on July 30.

But the General Secretary of the GMA, Dr Frank Serebour told Citi News the deaths, cannot be attributed to the doctors’ strike, because government had put in place measures to mitigate its impact.

The doctors have withdrawn all out-patient and emergency services from all government hospitals, demanding documented conditions of service.

The Herald’s, attempt to seek some answers from Mr. Torblu on how the deaths were compiled from the hospitals drew some unconvincing responses. He said members of HISPAG, called him and gave him the numbers. He mentioned that, HISPAG, wants to source for funding to purchase medicines to treat the sick.

He could not provide the exact location of the HISPAG office, except to say it is located at Abokobi in the Ga East District. He said, his outfit has over 126 members scattered across the country. He promised to organise a press conference sometime next week to put out the actual figures.

But for now, HISPAG, appears only to be dropping figures for attention.

Dr Frank Serebour said, “I don’t even believe what they are saying…as far as you and I know, the Ministry of Health has indicated that it has put in contingency measures for all of us as Ghanaians including myself. And so does it mean that the contingency measures are not working? Is that what they are saying?”

Dr Serebour, also said the report was intended to cause disaffection for the doctors.

“These are the issue that people always try to put into the public domain to make it look as if the doctors have done something bad…that public opinion should sway against them”, he said, adding, “I don’t believe in those reports”.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health (MoH), had announce an emergency plan it has put in place to mitigate the effect of the doctors’ strike. The ministry last week announced a list of quasi health institutions the public can resort to during the strike.

Yesterday, the Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia, revealed that 177 Cuban doctors are getting ready to fly to Ghana to support health care delivery as the doctors’ strike enters week three.

Mr. Alex Segbefia made this known when he addressed the media about government’s efforts to mitigate the strike by the GMA.

Mr. Segbefia, has also stated that government would retain “all the Cuban doctors, who have completed their rotations and were programmed to leave for Cuba anytime soon.”

According to the Minister, the move forms part of measures by the government “to protect life and restore normalcy” within the health sector, which has been affected by the strike.

Members of GMA are on strike over codified terms of conditions of service.

Their action was extended by two weeks last Friday, after a crunch general assembly meeting by the GMA.

Government’s decision to bring the Cuban doctors is part of plans to mitigate the effects of the doctors’ strike.
Earlier, the Ministry, released a list of hospitals that are still operating despite the strike.

Also, retired doctors and those on leave, have being asked to return to work in some of the quasi government health facilities.

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