The striking health workers of Liberia have listened to the United Nations office in Monrovia and agreed to suspend their stay home action, even though, according to them, the government has reneged on its promises.
The assistant secretary of the National Health Workers of Liberia (NAHUL), Mr. Deemi Dezrua said the action is in good faith, mainly following the sincere appeals from several local and international organizations, mainly the United Nations (UN).
“We took our petition to the U.S. Embassy, the European Union (EU), the UN and all other relevant local and international organizations. Having taken enough time to listen to our partners, mainly the UN family, we have agreed to suspend our strike while we wait for the solution to come forth.”
The NAHWUL assistant secretary said while the health workers have listened to the UN and all other partners, the government is yet to live up to its commitments, including the payment of US$2 million to the health workers concerned.
“Distinguished fellow health workers, we, the members and leaders of the National Health Workers Union of Liberia (NAHWUL), hereby inform you that our stay home action has been suspended and call on all of you to return to work within 24 hours as of Thursday, October 8, 2020, for those who are in Monrovia and 72 hours for all others outside of Monrovia,” NAHWUL’s press statement, read by Dezrua, said.
He said the health workers union will be closely observing in the weeks and months ahead as they continue discussions with line managers, mainly the government.
In response to the health workers’ strike action, the Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Francis Kateh, described the health workers’ action as “criminal.
He said patients deserve attention, more so that government does not owe any health worker his or her salary. The absence of hazard benefits, he added, should in no way stop any health worker from attending to his or her patients.
“Those are extra benefits. They are not fixed benefits but arrangements put in place by government or its partners to appreciate health workers. Therefore, it does not need any political undertone. We are not politicians and we should act according to our professional procedures and standards,” Dr. Kateh said.