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Health Workers Demand Risk benefits

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The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn LiberiaMembers of the National Health workers Association of Liberia have urged the Government of Liberia and partners in the fight against Ebola to settle the risk benefits of health workers across the country.

They also stressed the urgent need for response benefits for their work during the heat of the Ebola crisis, indicating that the government must also ensure that the fifty five dollars being deducted from their salaries be repaid.

Members of the National Health Workers Association from across Liberia made the demands last Saturday in a joint resolution  issued following their meeting at the Phebe Hospital in Suakoko, Bong County. They had gathered at Phebe to discuss their plan for the New Year.

At the end of their assembly, they also resolved to engage the government to re-instate their dismissed colleagues.

According to the resolution, health workers throughout Liberia will, on February 18, observe a moment of silence  for an hour to mark the first anniversary of the dismissal of the officials by the government.

Speaking to reporters at the end of their meeting, the President of the National Health Workers Association of Liberia, Joseph Tamba described the meeting as impressive, suggesting that it sends a clear signal of unity of purpose among health workers.

Mr. Tamba blamed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former President Pro Tempore Milton G. Finley for dismissing them.

He said the inability of the former Pro Temp was a clear sign that God was working for health workers across Liberia, noting that House Speaker Alex Tyler was next to ‘catch the door’ very soon.

There was no threat of go any slow action during last Saturday’s meeting attended by more than hundred delegates of the association from various parts of the country.

The Association’s Bong County branch, as part of its support to the dismissed leaders of the association, presented ten thousand Liberian Dollars, seven hundred United States Dollars and six bags of twenty five kilogram bags of rice.

The President of the Bong County branch, Martha Morris said they were assisting their colleagues who have gone out of jobs while in the struggle for better lives for all health workers across the country.

Health workers at the meeting chanted slogans, including: “injury to one injury to all” to express how united they were.

Many health workers and contractors at the various Ebola Treatment Units or ETU’s around the country are accusing the government of lack of commitment to paying their risk benefits. While some are complaining about the inability of the government to pay them since November of 2014, others are yet to either be paid or paid far less than promised.

Workers responsible to cremate bodies of Ebola victims at the Marshall Crematorium in Margibi County have also been complaining of abandonment by the Ministry of Health since the closure of the site. According to them, their salaries and benefits are yet to be paid, while they are stigmatized by community dwellers. 

Authorities of the Ministry of Health, through their Legal Counsel, told a local radio in Monrovia that everything was being done to settle legitimate claims by some of the health workers, even though he did not say which was not legitimate. 

By Papa Morris from Gbarnga, Bong County

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