Former Minister of Health, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, is urging the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) to take the Catholic Church on for harshly releasing fourteen doctors who were on housemanship training at its Holy Family Hospital in Techiman from their posts.
According to him, the circumstances under which the House Officers were dismissed meant the Catholic Church was adopting slave labour in the country, a situation he argued, needed to be bought against by the GMA.
“The Ghana Medical Association should take them on. I am not amused by the stance taken by the Catholic Church. The principle that they have adopted means they are adopting slave labour in Ghana,” he noted.
The former Health Minister made this observation in an interview with Fiifi Banson on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.3 FM Tuesday.
On Monday, the Diocese of Techiman of the Catholic Church announced the release of fourteen medical doctors made up of House and Senior Officers from their posts.
The doctors were on housemanship training at the Church’s Holy Family Hospital at Techiman.
According to the Church, the decision was taken after the medical officers served notice to management of the National Catholic Health Service of their unavailability for training and service as an expression of their solidarity with the current impasse between the GMA and government.
A letter released from the Diocese of Techiman dated August 9, 2015, and addressed to the Registrar, Medical and Dental Council, Accra with the headline ‘Release of House Officers and Senior House Officers’ in part read “I regret to inform you that Management in consultation with the Diocesan Health Service Board has authorized the release of the under listed House Offices back to you for reassignment.”
It added “In line with our convention, inspired by Christian values, ethics and unique identity, we are obliged and restraint from embarking upon strike action to resolve matters of such nature. Their decision further contravenes the policy guidelines for House Officers training as circulated to us by your office. Consequently, management finds the actions of the House Officers as a breach of these principles and thus undesirable in our system.”
They also announced providing free accommodation, fuel and other incentives to the medical doctors during their housemanship training.
But Dr. Afriyie commenting further, told Banson that the decision of the Catholic Church was very hash and implored on them to immediately review its stance, noting that “all that the doctors were demanding for is their conditions of service.”
“If society does not take precautionary measures and give the doctors conditions of service, one angle I look at it is that society will organize slave labour which is an assault on the dignity of the doctors. That is how I see it.”
“I am not talking about the high demands of the doctors but the principle that when you are employed, there should be a document spelling out your conditions of service. For example, what happens to when you are sick or when you go on retirement, what are the benefits for you?”
“The Catholic Church was saying they give the young doctors top up – it is arbitrary, it doesn’t have any symmetry, they can stop any time. Because that conditions of service is not grounded in law. It does not have any legal backing.”