The Ministry of Health (MoH) has announced measures to ensure the continuous supply of medicines to patients at all public health institutions following the pending strike called by the Government Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA). A statement issued by the Ministry’s Public Relations Unit, and released to the Ghana News Agency, over the weekend directed heads of institutions and agencies to abide by the guidelines and make sure patients got the necessary services.
It said: “While the Ministry wishes to state that as negotiations continue to resolve the strike action (sic), all heads of Units and Directorates in public health facilities remain at post to work with other non-striking staff available.
“The heads are also to ensure there is continuous dispensing of medications at the facilities, while patients on admission and out-patients continue to have complete supply of medications. “The pharmacies are to remain open for non-striking staff to handle and supervised by the Head as managers to maintain constant communication…”.
The Ministry said it was monitoring the situation to ensure uninterrupted service delivery and advised the public to remain calm as the Government stayed on with negotiations to resolve the impasse. It appealed to the pharmacists to restore services while negotiations continued.
“While the Ministry commits itself to ensuring fair and adequate remuneration for all categories of health workers, it is the view of the Ministry that this can only be done through proper procedure and respect for law,” the statement said.
“Section 162 of the Labour Act, (Act 651) provides that a party to an industrial dispute shall not resort to strike action when negotiation is in progress,” it quoted, saying, “The negotiation has not concluded.”“Our understanding is that Fair Wages and Salary Commission (FWSC) is still committed to continuing the negotiations.
“It is, therefore, the view of the Ministry that the people of Ghana, the poor and vulnerable as well as distressed patients would be served should GHOSPA continue to negotiate with a view to reaching agreement with the FWSC.”
The Ministry reminded the pharmacists that as providers of essential services, they were enjoined by section 162 of the Labour Act to refer any problem relating to the negotiation process to the Labour Commission. “This has been done at the Labour Commission…” the statement said.
It urged the striking pharmacists to rescind their decision and return to work while negotiations continued with the FWSC or to allow the National Labour Commission to arbitrate.