Kumasi: Patients stranded as KATH haematology lab operators embark on sit-down strike

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Haematology laboratory operators at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in the Ashanti Region, are on a one week sit-down strike over hospital authorities’ refusal to withdraw some Clinical Haematologists from the lab.

According to the chairman of the protesting group, Ernest Boadu Boateng, the presence of the two Clinical Haematologists at the lab is to subject the lab operators to their control, when the protesters are seeking autonomy, and that breaches the chain of command that exists in the health system.

“They want to lord over us in the lab. The health sector is characterised by teamwork. Nurses report to Director of Nursing, Pharmacists report to Director of Pharmacy and doctors report to Medical Director, but when it comes to the lab, we are expected to report to the Medical Director.

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“Because of this conflict they assume we are under them so they can take every avenue available to come and lord over us in the lab,” Ernest Boadu said in an interview with Appiah Kubi of Angel FM’s Anɔpa Bɔfoɔ Morning Show.

The protester also noted that the clinical haematologists are not qualified to be in the haematology lab owing to the legislation specifying who qualifies and is mandated to work in the lab.

He said: “the lab work is under regulation and it is protected by law. Act 857 shows clearly professionals that the Parliament of Ghana has approved to work in the lab: laboratory scientists, medical laboratory technician, medical laboratory assistant.

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“Only these three cadres by law, as we speak, are mandated by the people of Ghana to work in the lab. No other professional is qualified to do that.”

That notwithstanding, the functions expected to be performed by the clinical Haematologists are already being performed by their heads at the lab, hence their presence only seeks to usurp the roles assigned to the official lab operators, he noted.

According to the group’s chairman, the issue has been reported to the Ministry of Health, of which the sector Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, is aware but no stakeholder meeting has been held on it.

He noted that if nothing is done about it within the one week stipulated time, they will meet again as an assembly and deliberate on other means available to press home their demands.

Meanwhile, patients numbering about 40, who need the services of the haematology lab operators have expressed their frustrations at the event, calling for the immediate cancelation of the strike.

According to a patient who spoke to Bismark Mensah, she was epxpected to run a test for her doctor to diagnose her problem but due to the sit-down strike, she is torn between going home and seeing a different doctor at another hospital.

The sit-down strike, having taken effect from today, May 20, 2021, is expected to end on May 26, 2021, depending on the responses of authorities involved.

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