A/Region: Private labs cash in as KATH laboratory scientists strike intensifies

Private Medical Laboratories situated around public health facilities in the Ashanti Region are recording increased patronage following a strike by members of the Ghana Medical Laboratory Scientists at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH).

Patients are being turned away at public health labs as a result of the strike that has courted the support of other lab technicians in the Region and beyond.

At the Manhyia Government Hospital, for instance, patients were left stranded in the early hours of Thursday as personnel at the laboratory were not available to attend to them.

Some of them had no option other than to join long queues at the private medical laboratory facilities.

Peter Boakye, one of the staff members at one of the private medical laboratories told Citi News how their facility is cashing in following the industrial action.

“The strike has benefitted the private labs. We are getting more cases now, so we are benefitting from the strike more than the public labs. When the public labs are working, the number of cases we get is often limited. But due to the strike, our cases are going up despite the pressure”, he said.

Some stranded patients who spoke to Citi News appealed to the government to work towards resolving the concerns of the laboratory scientists.

“I was asked to seek the services of the lab scientists, but they are not working. I am worried because I am very sick.”

“The public labs are on strike, so we are being directed to the private labs. We used to pay less for malaria tests, but the private labs are charging more. The government must address the concerns of the striking workers”, another said.

The lab scientists at KATH had been on a one-week sit-down strike before the declaration of the indefinite strike on Thursday over the posting of two clinical haematologists to the laboratory unit at the health facility.

They have vowed to call off the strike only if the two are withdrawn from the hospital’s laboratory unit.

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.