President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has announced that the government of Liberia has resolved to compensate the families of health workers who lost their lives in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.
The Liberian leader said government is preparing compensation packages for health workers’ families throughout the country.
This is to serve as government’s way of consoling them for their losses, she explained.
President Sirleaf made the disclosure last Saturday when she spoke with health workers and county officials at the government-run C. H. Rennie hospital in Kakata, Margibi County.
“We, as a government, are planning to identify with the relatives of your fallen colleagues who have lost their lives in fighting the Ebola virus,” the Liberian leader told health workers. “We are working with the relevant people to ensure that we gather the statistics. They died as heroes and their families must be identified with.”
The medical sector has been hit hard since the outbreak of the virus in the country, with many medical practitioners, mostly doctors and nurses, succumbing to the virus.
Some of these include top medical doctors including Dr. Samuel Brisbane; Ugandan doctor, Dr Samuel Muhumuza Mutooro; Dr. Abraham Borbor and several other medical practitioners around the country. Brother Patrick Nsamdze, the late administrator if the St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital, as well as Miguel Pajares, a Spanish Catholic priest working at the St. Joseph Catholic hospital, also succumbed to the virus.
Dr. Brisbane was a top medical doctor at the country’s premier referral hospital, JFK, and a former Chief Medical Officer at the Firestone run Du-Side Hospital in Harbel. Dr. Mutooro, for his part, was one of the earlier casualties of the Ebola crisis. Dr. Borbor recently succumbed to the Ebola virus despite being treated with the experimental ZMapp drug. Dozens of other nurses with have succumbed to the virus in the line of duty.
The Liberian President disclosed that her government is also working with requisite health authorities in the country to ensure that all health workers, regardless of whether they are working with government or private hospitals and clinics, are given extraordinary or necessary incentives to do their work.
“You people are at a higher risk because you are at the frontlines. You are doing extra-ordinary jobs, and as such you deserve extraordinary incentives,” the Liberian President stated.
She pledged that all health workers, including those in the public and private sectors, will benefit from the government’s incentives.
Meanwhile, the death toll among health workers continues to mount in the West African region as the Ebola virus persistently spreads it tentacles.
The World Health Organization has voiced concern about the number of health care workers hit by the Ebola outbreak: more than 120 health workers have died and over 240 others infected since the outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
The disease has killed a total of 1,552 people and infected 3,062 as at August 26, according to WHO figures.
Though being the latest and least hit as compared to others in the region, Nigeria's medics have paid a heavy price in the outbreak. Of the six people who have died from the disease in that country, two have been doctors and two others nurses.
Nigeria yesterday confirmed a fresh case of Ebola in a doctor whose husband had died from the virus, adding to a growing list of health care workers in West Africa hit by the epidemic.
The woman's husband died in the city of Port Harcourt on August 22 after treating a patient who had contact with Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American civil servant, who transported the virus to that West African Country in late July.