Junior doctors at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) have served notice to lay down their tools indefinitely by the end of March.
This is as a result of the absence of their 6-month salary since the beginning of their housemanship in October 2020.
In the last quarter of 2020, medical graduates of the School of Medicine and Dentistry of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology were excited to begin their career as junior doctors.
Previous experiences suggest at least, a 2-month delay in remuneration due to uncompleted registration and paper work.
But the current situation has however worsened.
The WhatsApp statuses of these doctors have been flooded with ‘PayUsByMarch’ expressions to highlight their displeasure over the situation.
Dr. Cecil, as he has been named for purposes of anonymity, is a first-year house officer at the KATH, currently serving his clinical rotations at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
During his clinical years as a student, he travelled to Germany to work in a hospital, for an annual exchange programme.
Dr. Cecil recounts the attention enjoyed by his foreign counterparts.
“There is a clear-cut difference in attention and compensation that junior doctors in the Western world enjoy, as compared to Africa, specifically Ghana.
“I have never had to chase anything in my life like I have had to for blood and test results. Weekends are not rest stops for these doctors. House officers literally run the entire hospital in the absence of specialists,” he said.
He disclosed that it has been more frightening with Covid-19 staring them right in the faces.
“Doctors of KATH work in teams with house officers performing most of the laborious tasks. These doctors are not only at risk of being the first contacts to the exposure of any disease that presents to the hospital, but are also responsible for the day-to-day management of the patients, along with the nurses,” he continued.
He revealed, “Other house officers in other hospitals had already been paid their salaries and that was very unfair.”
Amidst the strife, he still affords to take care of his basic needs and make some savings.
“My parents don’t mind stepping in but I am of a more self-sufficient design, so that makes it quite some way. I really hate to be a bother to them and I feel it is my time to give back all they invested in me,” he bemoaned.
Director of Communications at the hospital, Kwame Frimpong says management of the hospital has extended a salary advance package for affected doctors.
“Management based on past experience realized the processing of salaries could delay and therefore gave them the option for salary advance for all those who are in need,” he said.
The effect of health workers laying down their tools could be dire especially, in the current fight against Covid-19.
The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital is trusted as the most reliable referral healthcare facility in the Ashanti region.
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