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Cuban doctors won’t be engaged for free – GMA to govt

The Ghana Medical Association has strongly challenged government’s contingency plan to fly in 177 Cuban doctors to assist in healthcare delivery as doctors continue their strike over conditions of service.

According to the GMA, they have no qualms with the move but noted that the Cuban doctors would not be engaged for free.

In a press statement issued and signed on Wednesday by DrKwabena Opoku-Adusei and Dr Frank Serebour, President and General Secretary, the GMA said the irony of the matter was that the Cuban doctors were better paid than their Ghanaian counterparts and are engaged under proper conditions of service.

According to the GMA, the Cuban doctors have access to fully furnished accommodation; free utilities, fuel, free health care and an air ticket to travel once a year back home to visit their families. “They have an office at the Ministry of Health and have cars allotted to them.”

“The question the GMA will like to ask is that, why is the Ghanaian doctor discriminated against even in his country by our own government? Will these Press Conferences and adhoc decisions solve the problem at hand?”

Minister of Health, Mr. Alex Segbefia revealed that 177 doctors from Cuba are heading to Ghana to assist in healthcare delivery.

Mr Segbefia also mentioned that as part of efforts to protect life, government had retained all the Cuban doctors who had completed their rotations were programmed to leave for Cuba.

He added that government was also in the process of bringing in 177 doctors to augment the numbers as part of the long-standing arrangement between Cuba and the government of Ghana.

Speaking at the meet the press series in Accra, Alex Segbefia said other Cuban doctors who are already in the country and have completed their rotation will be retained “in order to reduce the pressure in quasi-government hospitals.”

Ghanaian doctors are on an indefinite strike over government’s inability to agree on their conditions of service. They have given the government two more weeks to address their concerns or be faced with a complete withdrawal of their services from public hospitals.

The minister also appealed to the doctors to return because, “we cannot just go and fix a document and give to the doctors, it must go through a process, so stop the strike action and let us negotiate”.

Alex Segbefia stressed that all public sector doctors who do not report to work on Thursday will be considered to have violated the Labour Act.

“Effect Thursday August 20, all members of the GMA who have not reported and assumed full duty shall be considered as being on strike and in clear breach of the Labour act,” he added.

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