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General News
Defiant health workers fear for their lives 3/9/2007
A strike by health workers in the Greater Accra Region has been largely ignored with many nurses and paramedics opting to care for patients.

Most of them say they have decided to work out of sympathy but are doing so at the peril of their lives and so need police protection from the leaders of the strike.

The ten-day-old strike was called by health workers from selected hospitals. Joy News checks at the Ridge and La General Hospitals as well as the Adabraka and Maamobi polyclinics showed high disregard for the strike.

An atmosphere of fear hovered in the air at all the hospitals visited as nurses and other paramedics went about their duties furtively.

At the Ridge Hospital, the Out Patients Department was full of people.

Nurses in uniform were seen busily pacing up and down the corridors. Officials confirmed they were working.

They said there are several more health workers willing to defy the strike, but they remain at home because they fear they might be victimized by ring leaders of the strike.

As at 8:30 on Friday morning the Medical Superintendent, Dr. George Acquaye of the Ridge Hospital was on phone convincing other health workers to return to work.

Last week bus-loads of agitated health workers from selected hospitals stormed the premises of the Ridge and La General hospitals preventing their colleagues from working.

At Ridge, Joy News learnt of a threat issued by one of the agitated health workers who warned he would blow off the head of another worker if he hesitated in complying with the demand to withdraw his services.

Authorities are therefore calling for police protection for the few workers calling the bluff of the strike leaders.

At the La General Hospital, the health workers were on duty but were all in personal clothes.

Authorities explained that they chose not to wear uniforms, to avoid attention and a possible persecution. The story was the same at the Adabraka and Maamobi Polyclinics.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has directed all health institutions to keep a duty roster which will be used as a basis for taking punitive action against health professionals who failed to show up for work.

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