Lab Scientist strike; 6 other regions join Ashanti

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Six other regions have joined the strike by members of the Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GALMS) at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH).

This brings to 11, out of the 16 regions whose lab technicians have also laid down their tools in solidarity with their colleagues at KATH, who have embarked on an industrial action over the posting of two clinical hematologists to the laboratory unit at the health facility.

The latest regions to join are the Greater Accra, Eastern and Oti. The rest are North East, Upper West and Northern Regions.

Ashanti Regional Chapter of the Association on Thursday, May 27, 2021, declared an indefinite strike involving all of its members over the stalemate.

The lab scientists at KATH had been on a one-week sit-down strike before the declaration of the indefinite strike on Thursday. They have vowed to call off the strike only if the two are withdrawn from the hospital’s laboratory unit.

But already, members of the Association in some other regions including Bono, Bono East, Savannah, Central, and Ashanti, have all backed their colleagues at KATH.

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has warned that it will be forced to react if either the government or the management of KATH heeds the demands of the lab scientists.

The Ministry of Health has appealed to the lab scientists to call off the strike.

Meanwhile, a former Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, has hit hard at the striking workers, saying that their strike is unfounded because hematologists are equally qualified to work in laboratories.

“The problem we have in this country sadly is that our medical laboratory scientists do not appreciate their limitation. Two hematologists- where should they go and practice? Hematologists are doctors who have trained in blood diseases. So far as the laboratory space has different professionals, the headship can be based on competence, so we cannot sit here and say that the laboratory should be for laboratory scientists alone.

“People are being transferred to the laboratory space and you [laboratory scientists] are driving them away and because of that, there is a national strike. Why are we just splitting heads because medical laboratory scientists believe the laboratory space is for them. It is not for them,” Prof. Akosa insisted.

The pathologist believes it is problematic for the Allied Health Professional Council to dictate or regulate the functions of physicians and where they should operate from as it was seeking to do with the two hematologists.

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