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Grand Gedeh: Nurses Threaten Go-slow Action

The ending of the international medical organization MERLIN support to the Martha Tubman Memorial Hospital or MTMH has raised a question of status which resulted to a two day go slow on the part of the hospital employees in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.They have threatened further go-slow action if their demands are not met.

A spokesperson of the aggrieved employees, Mr. Sam Picker disclosed that following official declaration of MERLIN donor fatigue at the end of March, 2010 , the employees of the hospital addressed a letter to the County Health Team (CHT) with copies to the superintendent, labor commissioner all of Grand Gedeh and the Minister of Health on several key issues for redress.

In the letter, the employees drew the attention of the CHT to their letter of employment or contract channel, their payment under one entity and commensurate salary structures.

According to Mr. Picker, MERLIN informed the CHT about the end of its support to the hospital because the major donor could not continue funding any longer. A new arrangement was concluded but with less funding.

With a reduction of funding, Mr. Picker went on, the international medical organization decided to pay 97-employees out of the 169- working force at the hospital. This did not go down well with the employees because two entity paying workers of one organization may create problem, Mr. Picker noted.

“Therefore, we decided to write the CHT and served copies to concerned authorities for redress.

In his reply, he said, the Acting Superintendent of Grand Gedeh Tarley A. Dweh promised to meet with them on April 9, but unfortunately failed to honor the appointment on grounds that the 9th was a holiday; this annoyed the hospital workers, thus leaving them with no other alternative but to drop syringes and equipment to signal that in any case be it holiday to merry with the beer, life come first, Mr. Picker said.

“As a result of the two day stay away action, the Superintendent, Christopher Beh Bailey arrived in the county and wasted no time in meeting with the employees of the hospital to hear our grievances and promised to find a solution in two days,” Picker said.

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Mr. Picker said a day after the meeting, the county superintendent, the county senior senator and a delegation of Grand Gedians from America met with the hospital’s employees to explain what effort they have applied to remedy the situation by contacting the Minister of Health and Social Welfare.

Quoting the minister, the county superintendent explained that the health workers all over the country were faced with similar situation and he pleaded that the employees exercise restraint as their problem was a nationwide problem in the Health Sector and any decision taken by the ministry will go across the entire health facilities in the country.

Minister Gwenigale assured that he will make certain that issues of employment letters be addressed very soon unlike salary structure which will be addressed following the passage of the 2010-2011 National Budget, Mr. Picker declared.

He assumed that the PA and nurses who were threatening to quit rural assignment may refuse to continue to work for 169 USD and 200 USD for urban and rural areas respectively, while the salary of medical doctors 1,400USD excluding other facilities like rental, scratch card, transportation just to name a few.

Mr. Picker pointed out that it is clear that before July, the number of 33-nurses at the Martha Tubman Memorial Hospital will drop because 200 USD cannot sustain someone with a family in Monrovia and living under thatch houses in Zwedru.

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