The Leadership of the Health Committee in Parliament has appealed to the striking laboratory scientists in to call off their action and return to the negotiating table in order to save lives.
The Committee also urged the lab technicians to formerly petition the Committee because it had the power and oversight of the Ministry of Health.
“This has got to do with national interest….We have not been petitioned but as an issue of public concern we will want to speak up,” Dr Nana Ayew Afriyie, Chairman of the Committee made the remark at a joint press conference in Parliament. It was attended by the Ranking Member of the Committee.
Laboratory and medical scientists in government health facilities have began a nationwide strike to press home their demand for the withdrawal of two medical doctors appointed to the Laboratory Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital as clinical hematologists.
They say medical doctors should not take over their roles in health care delivery.
Dr Afriyie said since Members of Parliament represented their constituents, the harsh effect of the strike would eventually be borne by their constituents.
“In this regard, we see the need to hold a common position to speak on the issue,” Dr Afriyie said.
He explained that the Health Committee had worked with various stakeholders; and in-line with the Standing Orders of the House, was able to receive petitions and work to satisfy public interest.
He said the Committee worked with laboratory scientists, last year, on the new Teaching Hospital Amendment Act, which was passed.
Dr Afriyie, however, said the laboratory scientists very often thought their stakeholders did not want them to be on the Teaching Hospital Boards.
“When their pathway for lobbying was exhausted, they fell on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health; the Committee listened to them and felt the need to support them to be represented on Teaching Hospital Boards,” he said.
Dr Ayew emphasised that the MPs represented the people and was absolutely independent, and thus had expected the laboratory technicians to have engaged the Committee before embarking on the strike.
Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, Ranking Member of the Health Committee in Parliament, also pleaded with the laboratory scientists to call off their industrial action.
“We are appealing to them to go back to the laboratories and work to save lives,” Mr Akandoh said.
He added that the less privileged and ordinary Ghanaians rather than health administrators and Ministers of State, to whom the scientists were appealing to, would bear the brunt of the action.
Mr Akandoh urged them to start engaging, saying the Committee was ready to engage them.
“We are their Members of Parliament (MPs). We are the Select Committee on Health and we are available. They must come and let’s talk,” he emphasised.
Mr Akandoh also said he was disappointed that the Ministry of Health had allowed the matter to travel to this level, explaining that the impasse at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) started more than a week ago.
“We Members of Parliament, President and Ministers, we are supposed to be the servants of the people and, therefore, when issues of this nature come, we must be available to listen to them,” he added.
The Ranking Member advised the stakeholders in healthcare delivery to respect each other and see themselves as partners of development and not look down on each other.