Physician Assistants Begin Sit-Down Strike Over Colleague’s Detention

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Physician Assistants in the Eastern Region have begun a sit-down strike in support of their colleague who is in prison custody.

The Physician assistants had vowed to embark on a strike today [Friday] over what they termed as the wrongful detention of their colleague, Simon Takramah, who was arrested together with another Disease Control Officer, James Yeboah, following the death of three persons at the New Senchi Health Centre.

The Ghana Health Service identified Mr. Yeboah as the one who administered the contaminated injections to the three patients, leading to their death.

It later indicated that Mr. Yeboah had not been authorized to offer such a service as a retired health worker.

The physicians have accused the District Health Directorate of deliberately trying to incriminate their colleague, and exonerate Mr. Yeboah because they were benefiting financially from his illegal activities as a disease control officer.

“It is worth bringing it again to the attention of the general public that the Disease Control Officer, Mr. James Yeboah who gave the injection Benzathine Penicillin resulting in the deaths, had been practicing illegally at the New Senchi Health Center for the past six (6) years after retirement in the full glare of the District Health Directorate before the Physician Assistant was posted to the facility on 17th November, 2017. All this while, the Eastern Regional Health Directorate and the Asuogyaman District Health Directorate had turned a blind eye to the illegal activities of the Disease Control Officer because they are in bed with him as the said officer had been giving monies monthly directly to the Asuogyaman District District Health Directorate.”

‘We’ll replicate strike nationwide’

Speaking to Citi News, the Eastern Regional Chairman of the Ghana Physician Assistants Association, Philip Quarshie, said the strike will be replicated nationwide if there are no positive results by close of day.

“As far as I am concerned, our members are at the facilities in various regions, but they are not  attending to patients. It is a protest to make sure Ghana Health Service listens to us  and help us get our colleague out of prison. Simon Takramah was not on duty when the incident happened. In consultation with our national executives by Monday, the whole country, all the Physician Assistants will be joining.”

‘I don’t know about strike’

The Director-General of Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare on Thursday indicated he was not privy to plans by the group to boycott all medical facilities over the detention of their colleague.

Dr. Nsiah-Asare on Eyewitness News had said he had not received any letter indicating the group’s intentions to strike.

“I am not aware. They have not given me any letter, you have just mentioned it to me,” he told Eyewitness News Host, Umaru Sanda Amadu.

Dr. Nsiah-Asare was however quick to add that he was willing to engage with the physician assistants over their intended strike.

“I am going to engage them because what is happening is not in the hands of the Ghana Health Service and for that matter the Ministry of Health. It is now a legal issue, and I cannot go into prison custody and ask for his release, but I will rather engage with the leadership of Physician Assistants, and I hope we will come out with something fruitful.”

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