Information reaching NPP-USA is that the sector Minister for Health, Ms Sherry Ayittey will sign an agreement with the Cuban government to import doctors from that country to stand in for striking Ghanaian public sector doctors. It is our fervent hope that the news is a hoax, or only a ploy to nudge the doctors towards a decision to return to work. If not, then the ineptitude prevalent within the Mahama administration has reached alarming levels, a development that can sink Ghana.
Logistically it is virtually impossible to assemble enough Cuban doctors willing to visit Ghana on an extended stay basis, fast-track the processing of their travel documents, fund the purchase of their airfares, arrange accommodation and other support services, and have them at post at various hospitals throughout the country in an expedient manner without breaking an already empty national coffers. And this is even if the Cuban doctors will be working for free. Thus for the government to even consider the notion smacks of disrespect for Ghana’s own doctors, sheer deficiency in thought processes, and an insult to patients all over the country.
Mahama’s propensity to make anti Ghanaian decisions against our entrepreneurs and professionals is mind-boggling. As a vice president, Mahama gleefully sidestepped our local real estate developers and cut sweet heart deals with Koreans to build houses in Ghana at about ten times the cost of what the Ghanaians would charge. Thank God it never materialized. Again, Mahama would by pass Ghanaian educational institutions and send our young students to study in Cuba only to charge the Ghanaian taxpayer about ten times the cost of educating them in Ghana. Now as president, John Dramani Mahama would rather bring in Cuban doctors than negotiate with our Ghanaian doctors. If we may ask, is John Mahama the president of Ghana or president of Cuba?
In customer service there is a paradigm that posits that it is counter-productive to win an argument and lose the customer. Someone needs to tell that to the Mahama government. We all know that the doctors’ premiums have not been paid for over one year. As per the Labor Act, that alone justifies their strike. But the insensitivity that the administration is showing to the plight of patients across the country is mind-blowing. All it takes to get the doctors to return to work is a serious commitment to paying the arrears; mind you the doctors are not asking all arrears to be paid before they return to work – just a written commitment. And if the government cannot do that but is willing to pursue a longer, more expensive solution by bringing in Cuban doctors, then we have government officials thinking with their hearts rather than their minds.
Another outright silly thing about this proposed solution is that majority of patients who visit the public hospitals are either illiterates, semi-illiterates, or at least have difficulty expressing themselves effectively in languages other than their own vernacular. To make a bad situation even worse, the Cuban doctors are not well versed in the English language. How in the world would patients communicate with the Cuban doctors? Is the government going to hire interpreters for the patients? If the government would hire interpreters for the patients, what happens to doctor/patient confidentiality? How culturally sensitive are these Cuban doctors?
NPP-USA hereby calls on the Mahama government to desist from further talks about bringing in Cuban doctors and rather shows more commitment towards addressing the needs of the striking Ghanaian doctors. For one thing Cubans would never respect us again if these foolish arrangements were actually followed through. It is our hope that this is not yet another Cuban deal that would end up being a ridiculous bill for the Ghanaian taxpayer. In other words, we hope someone is not trying to get rich on this Cuban doctors’ deal.