Two health workers here are reported to have died from the deadly Ebola virus since its spread here from Guinea, the National Health Workers Association of Liberia or NAHWAL has said. As at Wednesday, April 9, 2014, the World Health Organization or WHO said Ebola death toll in Liberia had reached 12, with over 100 in neighboring Guinea.
A statement read Thursday, April 10 at a news conference by NAHWAL President Mr. Joseph S. Tamba says two health workers in Foya Boma Hospital, Lofa County, Mr. Robinson Lenden- NA and Mr. James Daah-BSN contracted the Ebola virus and died while saving lives. The death of the two health workers has forced NAHWAL to advance several demands, including incentives and benefits for health workers across the country.
Mr. Tamba who termed the death of their colleagues as tragedy said their deaths show how vulnerable health workers in the country are, adding that those who work tirelessly to keep the nation and its people healthy be sufficiently protected and not be allowed to die due to “unnecessary lack of such common things as examination gloves or soap and running water to wash hands.”
The NAHWAL leadership further demands that government pays incentives to all Health and Social Welfare workers for February and March 2014, including those whose salaries deductions were allegedly made in March for claims that they did not go to work during the health workers’ strike action here.
In the case of their deceased colleagues, Mr. Lenden and Mr. Daah, NAHWAL authorities expressed dismay that both men had no medical or death benefit, and no social security coverage with fears that the Ministry of Health has no policy in place to benefit them since they were only volunteers and were incentive staffs.
“NAHWAL wishes to state that the two gentlemen contracted the virus which killed them not while they were merry making on beaches or night clubs, or holidays. They were infected while serving our nation and its people, they died while saving lives,” NAHWAL said.
Notwithstanding, NAHWAL is calling on government to organize a befitting memorial service in honor of the deceased health workers, and give their widows and fatherless children packages of death benefit.
“This has been the kind of injustice in the public health sector that NAHWAL has been advocating to change. It is for this reason that the leadership of NAHWAL has been dismissed,” said NAHWAL President Mr. Tamba.
He called on the Health Ministry to make available the necessary protective gears to health and social welfare workers in emergency rooms and intensive care units or isolation centers throughout the country to protect them against the killer Ebola virus.
Mr. Tamba future urged that authorities at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to make use of trained and licensed laboratory technicians in times like these to avoid wastage of limited resources.