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Compensating families of deceased health workers Commendable, Madam President

The Government of Liberia recently announced in Monrovia that families of health workers who lost their lives in the fight against the deadly Ebola disease will receive compensation. According to the government, similar compensation will also be extended to health workers currently at the frontline of the battle against the disease. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf gave the assurances in Kakata, Margibi County during a meeting with health workers at the C.H. Rennie Hospital.

President Sirleaf told the health workers that the decision was in appreciation and recognition of their passion and invaluable services to humanity, especially during these trying times in our nation’s history. Such development by the government is not only commendable, but indicative of the government’s desire to mobilize and motivate health workers in ensuring the eradication of the deadly Ebola virus from our motherland.

And as we hail President Sirleaf and her administration for the recognition of what our brothers and sisters in the health sector have done and continue to do, as well as initiative to compensate them, we can only hope that those to be trusted by the President to deliver what she has promised, will not again create un-necessary bureaucratic bottom-necks to create a bad image for the administration.

For us, our interest is for the President’s promise to families and relatives of deceased health workers and those currently serving humanity to be kept- and we mean practically kept. We are of the fervent belief that for such recognition to be given to Liberian Health workers by the President is also an acknowledgement of the risks and sacrifices these medical practitioners have made and continue to make in containing Ebola.

As part of its commitment to capacitating the work of health workers, the Government of Liberia has already begun the payment of monthly “hazard allowances” to them, while at the same time, making their regular monthly salaries available. According to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Liberia and Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyesua, “hazard allowances” to the tune of US$850. 00 for nurses, US$500.00 and US$250.00 for are being paid to physician assistants, nurses, hygienists and others, Doctors receive the amount of US$1500.00 apart from their regular government salaries.

As we appreciate these efforts by the government to further encourage Liberian Health workers in the fight against the deadly disease, we must also emphasize the need for constant supply of protective gear because without these, our success in the war against Ebola would be impossible. Our emphasis on more protective gear is against the backdrop of the limited supply of these materials at the various Ebola Treatment Centers- ELWA, JFK, etc., etc.

As the government bends backward to  meet up with its commitments amid the current economic constraints confronting the country, we also appeal to our health workers to understand that we all must  continue to make the sacrifices with the little available to them in the interest of our nation. Our health workers must also appreciate the recognition given them by the administration to further stimulate the passion and commitment to duty – and that duty is to be steadfast against all odds in battling the deadly Ebola disease.

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