Labor Day in Ghana with Doctors’ Strike

Labor day in Ghana had a strange feel to it with the theme of the day being “Pensions: Your Right and Responsibility”, and at the same time large scale strikes are ongoing on what I believe is the same topic! Medical doctors in public hospitals and pharmacists have been striking for four weeks and relationships are seemingly frosty between the parties of the conflict. For instance, National Labor Commission is suing the Ghana Medical Association, the President is suggesting workers should increase their productivity and “not with strikes and agitations” and the  Ghana Medical Association last week said the President should stop begging and meet demands!   

Personally, I have been very upset about the doctors strike now entering a month! I find it hard to gauge if the strike is well grounded. On the one side, earlier discussions on doctors and the work situation have haunted me; doctors fresh from university waiting more than a year for their first pay check, doctors in the rural hospitals working day and night in poor conditions with no extra pay and frankly just the statistics suggest we have an impossible situation on our hands, Ghana with 25 million inhabitants has 2,843 medical doctors. That is about 1 doctor per 10 000 inhabitants! To compare, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Nepal are doing better! (according to WHO) and Sweden has 38 physicians per 10 000 citizens (says Global Health Facts)…

On the other hand, if you have sworn the Hippocratic oath, how can you go on strike and let innocent people suffer?

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  1. The Hippocratic oath obviously came long before utilitarianism became a philosophical franchise. With that said I suppose the need of the many surpasses the need of the few. A strike that harms few is motivated by the many you can save in the future. Or…?

  2. Well said. You forgot to question govt’s back and forth and their inability to settle this impasse in the shortest possible time. Well, the case is before the high court and the human rights court so we await a verdict….
    Don’t want to go to the Hippocratic oath….