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Health workers demand more

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Despite a reported agreement this week between health workers and the Government of Liberia on incentive packages, health workers here are demanding more from the government.

The Government of Liberia on Tuesday announced incentive packages for various categories of health personnel, including US$1,000 death benefit for each health worker that dies on the job.

But the National Health Workers Association of Liberia is demanding that the Government pays clinicians assigned out of the ETUs US$1, 100 monthly, non-clinicians in the ETUs US$750 monthly; and US$700.00 for non-clinicians assigned outside of the ETUs or Ebola Treatment Units.

Speaking at a press conference in Monrovia on Thursday, the secretary general of the National Health Workers Association of Liberia  (NAHWAL) George P. Williams, said if the Government does not meet these demands before or by 10 October they will have no option but to disengage their services.

The Association urged the Government to do the right thing in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus. It also called on foreign partners coming to help Liberia to closely work with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, medical and paramedical students. Mr. Williams said President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf met with health workers two months ago to discuss the way forward regarding the fight against Ebola.

He said in that meeting, the health workers requested among other things, reinstatement of their leadership, provision of sufficient Personal Protective Equipment or PPEs to various health centers and hospitals, hazard insurance with risk allowance and death benefits, as well as construction of additional Ebola Treatment Units with logistical supplies, but these requests are yet to be adequately addressed.

At the same time, the National Health Workers Association of Liberia is calling for reopening of all hospitals and clinics that were shut down due to the Ebola outbreak in the country.

NAHWAL specifically called on the Government to ensure the reopening of all public clinics, health centers and hospitals to meet the health needs of the public. Mr. Williams said, it is senseless to tell the public to take sick people to the nearest health facility when those centers have been shutdown.

Meanwhile, NAHWAL has hailed President Barack Obama and the people of the United States for coming to the aid of Liberia, and thanked the Union of Liberian Associations in Americas or ULAA for being so thoughtful of health workers back home by adding their voices to the numerous calls for improved work condition for health workers across the country.

Mr. Williams also commended the World Bank, African Development Bank, European Union, the People’s Republic of China, WHO, MSF and Samaritan’s Purse, among others for their meaningful contributions to the Ebola outbreak.

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