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Health Workers Divided?

Split is reported within the Liberia Health Workers Association over whether or not to resume work following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between it and Health Ministry last weekend in Monrovia.

A huge number of striking workers,  mostly in the rural areas, have vow not to return to work until there is  amicable settlement to their demand for full employment, better salaries and incentives.

The defiant workers spokesman, Emmanuel Suah told a local radio station (the Liberia Women Democracy Radio) that most of them will not go back to work unless there is a better resolution to their demand.

He said there is a huge salary disparity between nurses and doctors at various hospitals and clinics throughout the country, which need to be resolved properly before going back to work sooner of not later.

Suah claimed that doctor(s) were earning US$1,000.00 per month, while nurses US$130.00, which is a huge disparity and an abuse against them (health workers/nurses).

He continued: “We took oath to save lives, but not to the detriment of our children and ourselves to the extent that we should not be treated like live slaves in our own country where corruption has become order of the day”.

“The incomes of nurses compare to doctors are very low in Liberia to the extent it cannot sustain you and your family. Nurses have no resting time, but are on call 24/7 per week, and we are not making what we deserved,” Suah stated.

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Last week, the Health Ministry and Health Workers Association reached an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) following the intervention of civil society organizations with an appeal to resume work. Health Minister Walter Gwenigale and Joseph Tamba, Head of the Health Workers signed the document for their respective institutions.

The instrument was the initial step intended to ease tension in the country due to the health workers abandonment of assignments. This Wednesday, a formal agreement which supersede the MOU is expected to be signed in Monrovia, committing both parties to important issues.

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