Ghana News & Trends

MELPWU strike forces patients to bear high costs for private lab services

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Private laboratory facilities in Ghana are experiencing increased demand and profits as patients are facing higher fees for lab services due to a strike by the Medical Laboratory Professional Workers Union (MELPWU). This strike has had a significant impact on major public health facilities in the Ashanti Region, prompting patients to seek services from private labs.

Patients have expressed frustration over the steep costs associated with accessing laboratory services during the strike, with many alarmed by the additional financial burden on the third day of the strike. The situation has led to widespread calls from patients for the government and relevant stakeholders to address the Union’s grievances.

One patient shared their experience, stating, “The fees charged were too much so I had to go back to the doctor and told him that I couldn’t afford the labs directed, so he cancelled everything. What if I had a severe problem but now, I wouldn’t know because of the fee? So, I had to pay ¢900 just for the lab.”

Meanwhile, private lab facilities like Ellolab are seeing a surge in clients as they serve as alternatives to public medical laboratories at places like Manhyia and Tafo Government hospitals, which remain closed. Ebenezer Wireko, the General Manager of Ellolab, highlighted the positive impact of the strike on private facilities, noting the increased number of patients they are receiving.

In an effort to draw attention to their demands, the Medical Laboratory Professional Workers Union initiated the strike, citing long-standing grievances that they feel have been ignored. The strike has created an opportunity for private lab facilities to generate revenue, with Ellolab emphasizing that their charges are moderate.

As patients continue to seek immediate action to alleviate the financial strain and challenges resulting from the strike, the situation underscores the need for swift resolution and action to address the concerns raised by the Union.

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