“Though Force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and co-operation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Not too long ago, pharmacists in government hospitals resumed their nearly three months strike. The relief that this has brought to patients who visit these hospitals cannot be quantified in monetary terms.
Suffice it to say that the strike was not called off because their concerns have been addressed at all. They have just listened to pleas from well meaning Ghanaians especially their patients whose predicaments were unbearable during the long drought in our hospital pharmacies.
To think that our health delivery system was virtually paralyzed whilst the authorities concerned looked on helplessly and carelessly makes me wonder what else we are ready to care about as a people. The strike by Pharmacists in public hospitals was by far the worst episode in our nation’s history as far as I can remember. Whiles the banter went on between these Pharmacists and the authorities that are; the ordinary Ghanaian is always at the receiving end- suffering unduly for the ineptitude of officialdom entrusted with and rightly rewarded handsomely every month to perform such duties.
Obviously we only remember that these professionals are essential service providers only when they are asking for their due. Can our political elite escape blame in this debacle? What reason will we be able to give when the National Labor Commission which I understand has the powers of an appeal court gives an order and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, which by far has engineered all the chaos we are witnessing on the labor front today refuse to comply?
I have followed keenly the happenings with regard to these strikes as a matter of interest. My pain is the apparent unwillingness on the part of the FWSC to seek a truce on these unending strikes. To think that the FWSC will treat Pharmacists with such contempt is to say the least an act of carelessness. Strangely enough, the probe by the media had virtually focused on the victims instead of asking questions of officialdom particularly the National Labor Commission.
It is uncommon in our part of the world to ask for the resignation of certain public officials for non performance. It is quite obvious that officialdom is overwhelmed with labor disputes and has no clue in their resolution. The FWSC and the NLC and by extension the government must admit that they have let us down as Ghanaians. For as Hubert Selby Jr. Noted “eventually we all have to accept full and total responsibility for our actions, everything we have done, and have not done.”
It is fine for our politicians and public officials to have enthusiasm when it comes to projects commissioning, durbars, familiarization tours, receiving funeral delegations etc but we also demand that they handle our problems with similar dispatch especially the issues that relate to the delivery of quality health care.
For now, the pharmacists have opened the pharmacies whiles the negotiations are held behind the scenes and a permanent solution brought to bear on this matter. Like in all situations in Ghana during crises times, it is my hope that we won’t go to sleep over the matter in the name of committees whiles the problem fester. The FWSC and the NLC must act decisively to prevent such needless strikes in our health sector- For the damage is forever irreparable.
I am unable to join the appeal team for as the Pharmacists have said over and over again, “Once bitten twice shy”. We must give them their due for as Upton Sinclair has told all of us “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”.
I cannot but like Thomas Jefferson remind President Mahama and his team that “The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.
Author: Paakow Selby
By: citifmonline.com/Ghan a