Scores of expectant mothers attending ante-natal clinic at the Kaneshie Polyclinic in Accra yesterday were left stranded as the staff refused to work for lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).
According to the staff, though the hospital had been supplied with locally manufactured PPE, they felt unsafe using it as they could not vouch its efficacy to protect them against contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Speaking to the GhanaianTimes when it paid a visit to the facility around midday yesterday, the workers served notice of not attending to patients until provided with the ‘right’ PPE.
“We know that we are to use the N95 or surgical masks as health workers but that is not what we have here. We do not know how safe the cloth masks and coveralls are and we cannot attend to patients in that,” a senior matron at the Antenatal Care (ANC) department who spoke on condition of anonymity stated.
The paper observed that aside the ANC, others like the Gynecology, Labour and Recovery units of the Polyclinic were also not working for same reasons.
Pregnant women who had reported for antenatal care were seen left to their fate as some engaged in group conversations with others leaving for their homes upon the visit.
In an interview, the patients decried the situation as most indicated they had reported on scheduled appointments and were confused on the next action to take.
“I came here as early as 7am but none of us have been attended to because the midwives claim they don’t have PPE and the sad thing is they are not saying anything as to when next we should report,” a pregnant woman, Priscilla Ntri, lamented.
According to her, the workers could be justified in their demands but its repercussion on the expectant mothers could be dire if not immediately addressed.
“When we come for ANC, they take our vitals and we get to know our health status and that of our babies. The condition we are in is not something to be toyed with so we plead with the authorities to address their grievances so we can be attended to,” Mrs Ntri stated.
Mr Adarkwah who had accompanied his wife to the clinic was appalled with the turn of events saying, “We have been waiting for several hours and nothing is going on. This is bad. We are going home.”
Information picked up by the Ghanaian Times from top management sources confirmed that the hospital had in stock adequate quantities of locally manufactured PPE from government but workers were rejecting it.
“We have communicated to the health ministry but we are yet to get any positive response so we have to make do with what we have. On our own, we are trying to get them what they are requesting but it is quite expensive and the hospital cannot bear that cost,” a management member who pleads anonymity said in an interview.
However, as at 1:00pm when the reporter was leaving the facility, some nine pieces of surgical masks had been provided to staff at the ANC to commence taking care of the patients though it was noticed that it was still insufficient as 12 workers were on duty.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH