Pharmacist house officers demand appointment letters, salaries

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) has appealed to the government to expedite the release of funds to pay the remunerations of 203 pharmacists who have been doing housemanship in various health facilities across the country for the past seven months.

Members of the Doctor of Pharmacy class of 2021 have threatened to withdraw their services from Monday, August 29, 2022, over the failure of the government to give financial clearance for them to be paid for their mandatory housemanship.

They also say the Ministry of Health (MoH) has not issued them with appointment letters.

Addressing a news conference in Accra yesterday, the President of the Society, Mr Samuel Kow Donkoh, described the situation as unpleasant for the house officers amid the current economic difficulties.

The peculiarity of the issue, he said, was the absence of appointment letters to guarantee payment of salaries to them.

“Today, August 24, marks seven months of work by Pharmacist house officers since they were posted by the Pharmacy Council.

“Compared to last year, when appointment letters were given after two months of work and payment received in the fifth month, this year, house officers have neither been given appointment letters by the Ministry of Health nor their user agencies since being posted by the Pharmacy Council,” he said.

According to the President, this was because the Ministry of Finance has refused granting financial clearance to the MoH to enable it to issue appointment letters to the house officers.

He nonetheless appealed to the affected pharmacists to rescind their decision to lay down their tools as the PSGH continued engagement with relevant stakeholders on their behalf.

“For some, it is not even about going on strike due to delay of salary payment but they have literally run out of money for transportation to go to work and come back to their rented rooms and until they complete the mandatory 12-month housemanship, they cannot be employed elsewhere or superintend community pharmacies in the private sector,” he said.

Mr Donkoh asked the Pharmacy Council and the Ministries of Health and Finance to ensure that such incidents would not happen in subsequent housemanship.

He, therefore, called for the budgets for future cadres of pharmacist house officers to facilitate smooth mandatory housemanship after which they would be placed on the permanent register of pharmacists in the country.

“While PSGH dialogues with stakeholders to resolve the current situation, we expect all stakeholders to present the estimated numbers of house officers to be budgeted for in the 2023/2024 period to the MoH for onward submission to the MoF by the end of this month. This will ensure that their salary allocation is captured in the 2023 national budget,” he said.

As required by law, Pharm.D graduates are required to complete a 12-month training period as national service in order to be migrated onto a permanent register of pharmacists.

Failure to do so, one cannot practise pharmacy in the country.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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