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Gov’t begins payment to health workers

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Authorities of the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning say consistent with a press release issued on October 8, 2014, health workers assigned in Ebola Treatment Units (ETU) are being paid their hazard benefit for September.

A press statement issued Wednesday quotes officials as saying, of the 1,015 health workers deployed in ETUs, 619 of them with bank accounts have received their pay in those accounts as of Monday, October 13.

The balance 333 health workers without bank accounts are being paid over-the-counter at Ecobank waterside branch after a careful verification of their identifications and authentication of their employment.

“However, to date we are disappointingly observing that most of those health workers are not showing up to receive their payment. The intent is to ensure that during their payment process, they will be encouraged to open bank accounts into which subsequent payments will be made”, the release said.

Regarding the issue of differential between pre-crisis hazard pay and the newly agreed hazard pay, the Government has decided to pay the differential for the month of September, with the amount of US$225,000 already disbursed to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. With this disbursement, the new agreed rates will take effect October 2014, the statement indicated.

“The Government of Liberia wants to state categorically that it appreciates and values the heroic efforts of our health workers, especially at this crucial time in our national existence.

The government further wishes to assure them that everything will be done to ensure that working conditions are safe and conducive,” the statement quoted officials at Finance, adding, “It must be emphasized that the work our health workers are doing remain priceless and invaluable and no amount of money can compensate for their sacrifice.”

Additionally, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has completed all modalities and is awaiting the verified listing of deceased health workers along with the next of kin to begin paying death benefits. Once the list is received, payment will begin immediately.

“Notwithstanding the government’s expressed commitment to providing an environment where voices are heard and duly considered; it will not condone misrepresentations, misinformation and threats, especially during this time of emergency”, the statement concluded.

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