Catholic health workers threaten to go-slow

Professional staff of four facilities of the Catholic Health Secretariat (CHS) in Monrovia has threatened to go-slow in demand of three months top-up incentive and Ebola risk benefit.The four health institutions to be affected include Barbara Ann, Sister Agnes Memorial Maternity, Bishop John Collins and Star of the Sea clinics. 

The professional staff, who recently spoke to this paper under anonymity, alleged that during the onset of the Ebola crisis last year they were receiving staff top-up incentive but since they sign the top-up incentive document in April 2015, the management of the Catholic Health Secretariat is yet to pay the incentive.

They also disclosed that the staff top-up incentive came about through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Government of Liberia (GOL) and the Catholic Health Secretariat in which the government is providing 35 percent support to the CHS to enable the institution purchase essential drugs and medical equipment as well as providing top-up to staff.

The frustrated catholic health workers added that prior to the coming into force of the staff top-up incentive, the management of the CHS had requested all staff working at the four facilities to immediately open bank accounts in which the top-up incentive would be deposited, which they did,but since then not a cent has been placed into those accounts.

According to them, while other health workers have received their share of the Ebola Risk Benefit (ERB) they are also yet to benefit from the exercise, which raises more concern about their fate. They furthered that during the national Ebola crisis, the facilities in question were functioning with specific reference made to the Barbara Ann clinic in Gardnerville that treated an Ebola patient, George Sneh, who later died at the clinic, cataloging the severe risk they tookin working without any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

At present, they alleged that the Catholic Health Secretariat and its health partners have requested all staff of the four clinics to give their individual blood samples to be sent abroad for medical study without any benefit.

They said the blood samples are to be used in laboratory test to establish the type of ‘antibody’ in their bodies that prevent them from contracting the deadly Ebola disease, vowing to resist all attempt by the CHS and partners to extract their blood without providing them a decent benefit. 

When contacted on Monday, the National Coordinator of the Catholic Health System, Madam Yah W. Gousi, declined to comment on these allegations unless this paper discloses the source of the information.

- Edited by Jonathan Browne

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