31 July 2013

Liberia: Commending Health Workers and MOH, But... ...


Normality continues to return to the Liberian Health sectors following a week-long "go-slow" striker action across the country by nurses and other medical practitioners. It follows a Memorandum of Understanding between the leadership of the health workers and officials of the Ministry of Health, ahead of a formal agreement this Wednesday, July 31, 2013 to consider salary increment, better incentives and absorbing of more than 2000 nurses into the system for full employment- the key demands of the Liberian health workers.

The suspension of the strike action is the direct result of the intervention of civil society last Tuesday during a meeting between the two institutions. At the various public hospitals and clinics throughout the nation, the action may have victimized either by deaths or increased ailment, as many were un-attended to or turned back.

Restoring total hope and sanity to the health sector would definitely be predicated upon the sincerity and commitment of both parties, most especially the Ministry of health from the perspective of Wednesday's formal agreement. It is anticipated that the Health Ministry will not give full employment status to the five-thousand health workers who are unemployed, but also ensure immediate employment for nurses, mid-wives, Physician Assistants, as well as Laboratory technicians, among others graduating from universities and other medical schools across the country.

As we commend the two parties to the crisis for reaching a common-ground in the interest of better health delivery, it must again be emphasized that the primary objective of the medical profession is to SAVE LIFE. As the Government of Liberia prepares to listen to their concerns, medical practitioners, most especially nurses, must adhere to the cardinal principle characterizing the medical profession at all levels. , i.e. to SAVE LIFE.

The aforementioned is in reference to the many concerns raised against nurses at the various public hospitals and clinics, including the John F. Kennedy Medical Center by patients and their relatives, regarding their behaviours. It is reported that nurses at these hospitals and clinics pay more attention to either gossips and social matters or African movies' at the nurse's stations than patients on admission- a task for which they are employed.

With the renewed commitment on the part of the Liberian Government to consider the concerns of health workers, there must be a control and monitoring mechanism for nurses-on-duty/shift put into place by the authorities of the Health Ministry and administrators of public hospitals and clinics across the county to ensure proper care and treatment for the sick. Periodic monitoring of the activities of nurses while serving their shifts.

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