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Editorial: Giving Urgency to Salaries Increase for Health Workers

A Bill to upgrade the socio-economic of well-being of health workers throughout the country is currently before the House of Representatives for passage in law. The Bill seeks to improve the salaries and benefits of doctors, physician assistants, professional nurses, mid-wives, as well as service men and women of the national security apparatus.

Proponents of the Bill are of the fervent belief that improvements in the salaries and benefits of these health workers and security service men and women would discourage almost all of the professional mal-practices characterizing their current duties and functions wherever they are assigned. The move may further motivate these professionals in exercising commitment, diligence and absolute care while executing their respective assignments, and even attract them to areas where many have felt very reluctant to work due to the lack of incentives.

While we do acknowledge the numerous challenges faced by the national security apparatus and accompanying negative impact on the Liberian society, the issues regarding the country’s healthcare delivery system needs urgent attention. It is no secret that the corruption and other mal-practices engulfing the Liberian healthcare delivery system can be attributed to low salaries and lack of incentives for health workers, including nurses, mid-wives, doctors, etc., etc.

Why prescriptions for drugs are made to private pharmacies and medicine stores by doctors when there are pharmacies at hospitals and health centers and clinics within the public sector? Why would a medical doctor even choose to refer a patient to a private clinic for surgery and not perform such at his place of work? Why do nurses, physician assistants and other health workers prefer part-time jobs at private clinics to full-time jobs at hospitals and health centers?

Why would nurses and others prefer urban assignments to rural? Why are nurses exhibiting careless attitudes towards patients? These are just a few of the many questions that may have triggered the decision for the Bill currently before the Honorable House of Representatives for passage into law. While it is understood that all employees of the government are equally important, it is also reasonably reasonable to understand that medical doctors, physician assistants, professional nurses, mid-wives and other health workers deserve better and encouraging salaries and benefits/incentives to save lives.

It is an open fact that the lives of other government employees, including cabinet ministers and other officials of government in terms of medication are greatly dependent on doctors and other health workers. And so, they must be treated with some financial dignity and respect.

It is hoped that upon their return from the Easter break, members of the Committee on Health and Social Welfare of the House of Representatives will treat the Bill with the highest degree of urgency for speedy passage by Plenary for onward submission to the Honorable Liberian Senate for concurrence. Proponents of the Bill must also be commended for their thoughts. They must not also relent in lobbying with their colleagues to give urgent attention to the Bill for speedy passage.

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