‘Health Sector Work Environment A Disaster’

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Human rights activist and Monsterrado County District #12 representative aspirant, Prince D. Kreplah, has described the work environment for health workers across Liberia as “disastrous.”

According to Mr. Kreplah, contrary to the government’s commitment through the Ministry of Health to set salaries and benefits for health workers according to market value, research revealed that two-thirds or 63.6 percent of health workers reported earning less than US$100 per month, while 49.6 percent reported monthly earnings of between US$50 and US$100.

Mr. Kreplah said an investigative study conducted by his institution, Citizens United to Promote Peace and Democracy in Liberia (CUPPADL), revealed that 29.7 percent of the country’s healthcare workforce comprise of government employees, of whom 22.7 percent are volunteers, while another 22.7 percent are contracted employees.

The representative aspirant revealed that a total of 89,824 individuals were treated at five healthcare facilities that CUPPADL assessed, which means 1,248 persons to a non professional healthcare worker and 4,083 persons to a professional.

According to the CUPPADL report, Kreplah said the combined workforce of the five healthcare centers is 72, of which 22 are professional healthcare workers while the remaining 50 are non-professionals, including security, janitors, etc.

“Out of the 72 health workers, 38 are not on government payroll, while 34 are, but receive unattractive salaries,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kreplah has blamed “the abuse of labor rights” as one of the many factors contributing to the disastrous work environment of Liberia’s health sector. The human rights activist said that despite the Government of Liberia’s pledge to ensure efficiency and transparency in the remuneration of health workers, many of the respondents (those who were interviewed) reported fluctuations in their monthly pay, which is deposited into their personal accounts by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.

He said health workers disclosed receiving US$90 in their accounts at the end of a particular month, and would get either US$80 or US$100 the following month, adding that they are unsure of what their actual monthly pay is.

Mr. Kreplah recommended that the Government of Liberia cut down on “wasteful spending,” like the huge allowances and per diem of top government officials, and divert them to the health sector to hire more health workers, who would be on the government’s payroll. He said that would create an encouraging
work environment for employed and unemployed health service providers.

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