Doctors, nurses and other paramedics at the Tamale Teaching Hospital have withdrawn all OPD services in protest over an attack on their Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David Zaawumya Kolbila.
The health practitioners are demanding action after Dr Kolbila was chased out of the facility by some persons alleged to be supporters of the governing New Patriotic Party on Monday.
The Kandahar boys allegedly attacked the CEO whom they accuse of mismanagement, corruption and nepotism. They have since denied involvement in the attack.
The vigilante group claims the CEO has established a number of companies which is using to lobby for supplies for the hopsital.
They are demanding the removal of Dr Kolbila and have sworn to come back to ‘evict’ any replacement from the President who is not “correct”.
“…we the youth, we go with truth…any other person that the President will appoint or nominate and that person is not correct, I swear heaven and earth we will come back to sack that person,” Baba Musah, a spokesperson for the group told Joy News.
This is the second time the youth group has invaded the hospital. In February 2017, they locked the then Chief Executive, Dr Prosper Akambong out of his offices as well.
They cited inefficiency by the hospital authorities for their action.
Martina Bugri has been to the hospital and reports that as of 5:30 PM Tuesday, there were no doctors, nurses or other paramedics at the facility’s OPD.
According to Martina, “the place is empty and all the doors have been locked.”
Even at the Specialist Clinic where there were a few people when she first visited, Martina says the place had also been locked at the time of her report.
Martina said a crisis meeting between the hospital’s management and the health professionals is underway to convince them to go back to work.
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Only emergency and cases of those already on admission at the hospital are being attended to, she said.
The Hospital’s PRO Ken Osei Mensah says management sympathises with the staff and supports calls for the perpetrators to be brought to book but also fear for the lives of patients.
A reason they are pleading for the doctors, nurses and the other essential service providers to return to work.
The Tamale Teaching Hospital is the largest in the north and serves both the Upper East and West regions and provides very essential specialised care.
In the absence of a functioning hospital, patients in need of specialised care would have to endure a seven-hour journey to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi.
Northern Regional Police PRO, ASP Yusif Tanko says investigations have begun with the hope of arresting the perpetrators.
He said investigators have seen a video footage of the incident on Monday and are making attempts to identify persons in it and effect their arrest.
“We have secured tapes that depict people ordering the CEO out of his office and we also have tapes of somebody who is being interviewed and alleging that they were behind the act.
“We are trying to find out where they live, who they are so that we can get them to assist with investigations. We are on that process,” ASP Tanko said.
He also said the police have called on NPP officials in the region to help identify the men, who claim they are supporters of the party.
The police, he said is doing all it can to identify the perpetrators in order that they pay for their actions, but as an interim measure, management has been advised to get a police post so that personnel can be posted there permanently.
Tamale Regional Minister, Salifu Saeed said government and the party are not taking the issue lightly.
Describing it as a criminal case, he said the police have been put in complete charge of the situation and are working towards identifying the individuals in the video.
He however assured that “we are not going to sleep over this matter at all. We are going to solve this problem once and for all.”
He also said plans for a permanent solution, a police post for the hospital is being considered.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Medical Association is incensed by the attack on the CEO.
In a statement signed by its Vice President, Dr Frank Serebuor, the Association condemned the action of the thugs and called on the government not to “reward such acts by kowtowing to the demands of these misfits.”
The statement added that “we would like to place on record that, if concrete steps are not taken to deal with this cancer, the GMA will not hesitate to ask its members to stay off the hospital premises until their safety can be assured.”