The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Gov’t Appeals To Striking Health Workers

The government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Health Minister, Willimena Jallah has appealed to the striking health workers of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center to forgo their protest and return to work.Some aggrieved health workers of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center yesterday, staged a peaceful protest aimed at calling on central government to make available July, August and September salary and arrears, as well as equipment for all government’s referral hospital in order to smoothly carry on their work.
According to Dr. Jallah, she understands the plight of the workers as listed in their statement but said it has to take time for them to be addressed, indicating that she is cognizant with the fact that health workers have been marginalized over the years.
She added that since her ascendency to the Minister of Health position, all she had been yearning for is to see how best her administration can settle the wellbeing of all health workers in the country, noting that without nurses, doctors or midwives’, there will be no vibrant health system.
Dr. Jallah then called on the aggrieved health workers to set up a committee for a possible dialogue with her office and the Minister of State, who is presently the Acting President for an amicable solution in order to address their concerns, adding, “We cannot assure you that we will address all of your concerns within one month but we can assure you that we will address the major ones at first and gradually settle the remaining for the common good of the country”.
The protest which started early yesterday morning drew the attention of high powered government officials including the Minister of State who is now the Acting President, Minister Nathaniel McGill; the Minister of Health, the Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Francis Ketteh among others.
The protesters which were heard chanting slogans: ‘Touch One, Touch All’ in their hundreds issued a seven-count statement to the Ministry of Health calling on them to see reason to increase the salaries of all Nurse Aids, RNs, Mid-Wives, RN/BSN including Salary structure according to positions, and length of service as well as 100% treatment for all staff of the institution.
According to them, the statement issued was in addition to the six counts of National Health Workers Union of Liberia (NAHWUL) and issues affecting them at the Medical Center, which they said need re-dress within one month, from September 25-October 25 2019.
Some of the aggrieved health workers who spoke to this paper expressed their frustration towards Dr. Jerry Brown, stating that they felt marginalized by his attitude, which some of them said Dr. Brown took some students’ nurses and put them on shift in their absence but failed to address their concerns as their heads.
They noted that their plan to be a part of the ongoing strike staged by the National Health Workers Union of Liberia (NAHWUL) was in solidarity with other health workers across the country, adding that they will not revoke their action until the plight of their colleagues are met or can hear from the NAHWUL.
Also appealing to the aggrieved JFK health workers, the Acting President, Minister McGill called on the aggrieved workers to return to work, promising them that by the end of the day, over 900 health workers will receive their salaries, stressing that his office will work with the Ministry of Health to speedily address their concerns.
He stated that even though the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is recommending for the reduction of the wage bills to 297m, they argued that the health workers cannot be affected but instead to find a way to increase their monthly pay.
Minister McGill then disclosed that the payroll of the JFK Medical Health Center has been addressed and said that they have mandated all Commercial Banks to credit the account of all health workers, while at the same time promised to look at the payroll of the health workers to see what they as a government can do to address it and begged for grace period.
Meanwhile, the government of Liberia has announced that they have finally made available the check containing the salaries of health workers as of yesterday, the 26th of September, 2019.

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