Several health workers in Liberia have gained employment status with the Government of Liberia.
Making the disclosure at the Information Ministry’s special press briefing recently, Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah said the government has reached a decision of placing 2,000 health workers on its payroll.
Besides placing the health workers on the payroll to gain employment status, Minister Tweah said the government has also increased the salaries of nurses and doctors while ten other health practitioners were also sent to India to be trained in health-related practice.
It can be recalled that during the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Members of the National Health Workers Association of Liberia (NAHWAL) threatened to go-slow if government continuously ignored their plight.
The health workers threatened to boycott all government’s health facilities throughout the country, at the time if their demands were not addressed.
Health workers from the 15 political subdivisions met in the county’s health team conference hall in the government hospital compound in Tubmanburg, Bomi County and resolved that if the government and the people of Liberia provide no tangible redress, the people of Liberia should avoid sending their sick relatives to government’s health facilities throughout the country.
In a press conference, the Secretary-General of the National Health Workers Association of Liberia (NAHWAL) George Williams, told newsmen that they were being marginalized, totally disappointed and frustrated over the meager salaries they earn compared with the present-day social-economic situation.
“Taking into account the risks associated with the kinds of work we do which predisposes us to infectious and contagious diseases such as HIV/AIDs, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, and Laser fever, but yet we are among the least paid,” George Williams noted.
Williams narrated that health and social welfare workers usually work overtime during holidays and weekends without launch break, but yet they receive no bonuses, allowances or benefits unlike civil servants, who receive allowances and benefits.
They noted that the Health Ministry is yet to account for the deduction of between US$55 and US$57 across the board from health and social welfare workers who are on government payroll.
According to Williams, health workers are troubled by the removal of names of active employees from the payroll nearly on a monthly basis “and given that 40% of the health and social welfare controlled facilities throughout the length and breadth of this Republic are volunteers, contractors, some for more than five years thus, they get older and even died in the process without retirement benefits”.
He said health workers said they were being deeply worried over the mysterious disappearance and subsequent death of one of their colleagues, Mr. Ballah Scott, a health worker, who served the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital for 25 years. According to him, the remains of the late Ballah Scott await justice.