The front pages of a few Liberian newspapers and air waves of the electronic media continue to be saturated by strike actions and the urgent need for better salaries and incentives of health workers throughout the country.
In one of our editorials, we strongly appealed to the Liberian Legislature to consider better salaries and incentives for Physician Assistants, Nurses, Mid-wives, Doctors and other medical practitioners in the 2012/2013 fiscal budget as a way of motivating them to exhibit the highest degree of commitment and better care in the healthcare delivery system.
Our appeal to the honorable men and women at the Capitol was in consonance with the fact that it is their constituencies that are mostly affected by the actions (including their refusal to take up assignments) of these health workers. These result to either the absence of medical practitioners or drugs and medical facilities in most parts of rural Liberia leading to deaths.
As we petition the Liberian Legislature in the interest of our health workers, it is also incumbent on the authorities at the Ministry of Health and Social welfare to begin the first step by raising the matter in its 2012/2013 fiscal budget or whatsoever as a justifiable stimulus for the decision of the lawmakers.
Because we most often do an independent assessment of the situations these medical professionals are confronted with during our visits to rural Liberia (which of course adversely affect the ordinary Liberians in the towns, villages and cities, this is why we continue to appeal to the Government of Liberia.
When Physician Assistants, Nurses, Mid-wives and other health workers are satisfied in the manner and form we are suggesting, it is no doubt that most of the cases of corruption (including drug sales in drug stores), lack of commitment to work, poor care for patients, etc., etc will be minimized, and most workers would be moved to taking up assignments up country.
Even though we and other Liberians whole-heartedly appreciate the currents efforts by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and its local and international partners to improve the healthcare delivery system of our country, more need to be done judging from what’s obtaining in the system.
It is no secret that international partners are doing extremely well to buttress the efforts of the Government of Liberia, especially in providing medical facilities, training, equipment, logistics, drugs and incentives for some health workers, the ministry itself must also create a situation where in the rest of our medical practitioners will be happy and motivated by better salaries and benefits.
Medical Doctors and Directors, as well as County Health Officers in the various counties of Liberia must also be up to the tasks by considering the welfare of their workers and be ‘up-to-matter’ with their bosses or authorities at the central office in Monrovia so that all of the negative vices characterizing their duties and functions, including strike and go-slow actions can be avoided.
Moreover, there is an urgent need for an independent monitoring of the activities of public health facilities, including county health offices and officers, as well as health workers unknown by the foregoing, in the wake of improved salaries and incentives by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and Liberian Legislature.
Let this recommendation not be misconstrued as discrediting these very hard working professionals, but a measure to ensure check and balance from an independent perspective. When these are all done, there would be no cause of experiencing all that we are in our country’s health care delivery at the moment.