Pantang Nurses Protest Encroachment

Dr Akwasi Osei

Nurses at the Pantang Psychiatric Hospital in Accra yesterday laid down their tools in protest of the encroachment on the hospital’s land by private developers.

The full strike which followed a two-day sit-down action has resulted in over 200 admitted patients of the hospital and hundreds of out-patients left unattended to, while the hospital management tries to address their grievances over the massive encroachment of the hospital land.

The staff had earlier served notice of their intended strike, insisting that they will lay down their tools and hit the streets if the situation isn’t addressed.

The head of the Pantang Hospital staff, Elvis Akuamoah, said no intent to deal with the situation has been shown by the hospital authorities, hence their decision to proceed with their strike.

“The lands have all been sold; even the churches have bought some. They have blocked all the pathways and have been making our lives miserable. We are not allowed to move freely anymore. We are pleading with the president, if these lands really belong to the state then government has to take them back,” he said.

Mr Akuamoah stated that the activities of the encroachers would compromise security at the hospital and put the lives of the health practitioners and patients at risk.

“If not checked, we’ll have a situation where someone will build a club house just opposite a ward which would impact negatively on the environment the patients need to be able to receive proper care. We are doing this for our patients,” he said.

The workers along with some residents in the area had issued a two-week ultimatum to the government in March to halt encroachment on the lands. They appealed to the president to heed to their plea and order the encroachment to be stopped.

Worried about the development, the CEO of the Mental Health Authority, Dr Akwesi Osei, led an entourage to meet with the staff Monday afternoon in an attempt to get them to go back to work, but the meeting yielded no results.

“Other patients haven’t had their drugs administered to them. It is feared that some of these patients could relapse into their old condition which would be detrimental to their health,” he mentioned.

Meanwhile, Dr Osei has urged the Ministry of Health to step in immediately to end the impasse, as the continuous strike action is a threat to mental health delivery.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri