-Says LMDA President, Dr. Ekynaibah
The president of the Liberia Medical and Dental Association (LMDA), Dr. Emmanuel Ekynaibah, said “medical doctors are human beings too,” and that they deserve better and healthier living conditions just like any other citizens.
Dr. Ekynaibah made the remark at a gathering marking the 2019 third quarterly meeting of the LMDA, which was held over the weekend at the ELWA Hospital chapel in Paynesville.
He said inasmuch as doctors and, by extension, all medical or health practitioners are under oath to save lives, they must in the first place be healthy, well-fed and assured of a better tomorrow just like any other citizen.
“We were not happy when our fellow doctors, nurses and other health practitioners went on strike, because of delays in receiving our salaries and other benefits; but again, there was no other option available but to institute a go-slow. We all have to send our children to school and attend to many other regular basic needs of our families,” Dr. Ekynaibah said.
He added that government and its partners should consider health workers as a “delicate component” of the nation’s population that needs lots of attention, including regular and timely payment of salaries.
The third quarterly meeting included business and scientific sections.
As for the business section, some of the “specialized doctors,” among them entrepreneurs, lectured their colleagues, including dentists, on the need to be thoughtful about diversifying their orientation.
The business section was facilitated by a panel of doctors, including a former chief medical officer, Dr. Samuel Dopoe, and Drs. Mohammed Swaray, Jimi O. Benson (proprietor of Benson Hospital) and Dr. Maima Baysah.
“Inasmuch as they are all still actively involved in the medical field, they are owners and managers of businesses,” Dr. Ekynaibah said.
For the scientific research findings presentation, the report of a recent outbreak of Lassa fever in the country, the doctors praised their colleague, Mosoka Fallah, for his “great help to the LMDA.”
The LMDA, Dr. Ekynaibah said, is greatly challenged by limited resources, including finance, logistics and medical supplies, thus impeding its regular outreach program.
He said that the doctors are not happy with the salary harmonization, which the government recently introduced.
“We are not earning much money. Our salaries are very little to be reduced in the name of improving other people’s salaries,” Ekynaibah said, noting that government should have looked for other alternatives rather than tampering with the already unimproved salaries of health workers.
“We are not politicians, but the truth is that there are so many sources that government can generate revenue from other than to cut our meager resources in the name of harmonization,” he said.
Dr. Ekynaibah expressed the hope that while it is true that health workers have returned to duty, it is expected that authorities at the Ministry of Health can also maintain their side of the agreement as contained in the recently signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the government and heath workers.