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Laboratory scientists on strike: patients left to their own fate



Patients at the various hospitals in the northern region on Monday were left to their own fate after the Ghana Association of Biomedical Laboratory Scientists (GABMLS) declared a nationwide sit-down strike.

Some of the patients who spoke to Zaa News were taken by surprise by the decision of the laboratory workers not to work when they are in dire need of the services. When asked if they are aware of any strike, the unsuspecting patients said they have heard about labour disagreement between the ministry of health and the laboratory workers.

The association declared the strike to get government to implement, without further delay,  the National Health Laboratory policy,  in order to help raise the quality of laboratory science practice in the country. The policy was signed by the then health minister, Sherry Ayitey in 2013 after its launch.

The GABMLS accused the National Labour Commission (NLC) of bad faith when it gave the MOH 14 days to reappear before the commission, stating that it has lost lost faith in the commission.

On 20th August 22, 2016, the ministry of health wrote to the laboratory scientists not to strike because it has not received communications from NLC, but the lab scientists described the ministry’s response as false, indicating that both parties met at the national labour commission on 17th August.

The laboratory scientists say they have lost faith in the MOH after they failed to appear before the national labour commission. The GABMLS said the MOH never showed the will and trust to resolve the dispute.

According to GABMLS, the health ministry has refused to see the investment the United States of America government through the Center for Diseases Control and prevention (CDC) has made.

Northern Regional Chairman of GABMLS, Mr Patrick Nsobila Asebga who spoke to Zaa News explained that the association for now can only attend to emergency effusion today but will lock all laboratories in the hospitals tomorrow if government fails to address their concerns. Blood banks, he added, will not also work as they falls within their jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, blood banks in the various hospitals in the Tamale metropolis have been closed to patients by GABMLS. The closure follows GABMLS hints on Monday that they will stop providing laboratory services on Tuesday if the arbitrator and government refuse to attend to their needs.

The association says it is unperturbed about the court action brought before the high court division of the National Labour Commission on Tuesday.

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