Irmo, South Carolina
9TH August, 2015
RE: NEGOTIATING WITH THE DOCTORS
I have read with alarm, your comments regarding the curtailment of services by Ghanaian doctors. While your remarks appear consistent with your “dead goat philosophy”, your posture is unfortunate.
To add to your remarks, NDC officials and communicators have taken to the airwaves to applaud your posture, to belittle the doctors and to openly call for replacing them with Cubans.
These developments are delaying, unfortunately, the difficult negotiations that must occur to halt the needless loss of lives. The Cuban solution, considering cost and the language barriers that reduce their effectiveness, is spiteful and wasteful diversion.
Mr. President, every day that this crisis is not resolved will take a toll— in lives—the lives of innocent citizens. In this case, your Excellency, TIME IS LIFE!
Sir, you have sworn an oath to dedicate yourself to the “service and well-being of the people “and the doctors have sworn to “first, do no harm” to people. Both you and the Doctors must live up to your oaths. I know you care about the lives of the innocents caught in this cross-fire. I know that the Doctors are led by a man who takes his oath to do no harm seriously. I know because when I worked with you to resolve an earlier strike by Doctors, you conveyed that to me in the strongest terms.
I also know of Dr. Opoku Adusei’s unbending commitment to medicine and his patients because he has expressed them to me and lived that commitment in my presence repeatedly. Your Excellency, regardless of the mistakes that may have been made in presenting their grievances, the doctors have legitimate grievances. How can you justify having people work for nearly a year without pay? How can those who care for others not have adequate provision for their care when they need it?
I urge you to move expeditiously to resolve this crisis as only you can. While you must not negotiate out of fear, sir, you must never fear to negotiate. While you get down to the negotiating table, I urge you to silence and rebuke those in your party who have made this a partisan issue. Disease and death are not partisan and we must stop the pretense that there is partisan advantage to be gained from this crisis. Any politician, regardless of party, who puts partisan advantage ahead of the lives of Ghanaians is, quite simply, a traitor to Ghana. I commend to your Excellency and the leaders of the doctors, the words of Isaiah 1:18 “Come, let us reason together”.
Finally, when this crisis is over, Mr. President, lead a national conversation on the crisis in healthcare and on the labour front. Is it time to abandon the Single Spine Salary System? Is there a need to look at additional revenues for NHIS, including an increase in existing taxes and the raising of new revenue— from health professionals who were educated by Ghana and are practicing elsewhere?
May God bless you.
May God bless Ghana.
Let move forward, together!
Your Vandal Mate,
Arthur Kobina Kennedy
President of Ghana
Jubilee House, Accra
Arthur Kobina Kennedy is a member of the opposition New Patriotic Party