16 February 2014

Liberia Health Workers Threaten Go-Slow, Demand Resignations

Monrovia — Health workers in Liberia have vowed to begin go-slow action by midday, Monday, February 17 against the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in demand of improved salary and incentives. The health workers have threatened that the action will continue until their demands are met.

The workers amongst other things are demanding the resignations of the Country's health Minister Dr. Walter Gwenigale and the Chief Medical officer Dr. Bernice Dahn and that the government increases their salaries and incentives. When contacted via mobile phone Dr. Gwenigale declined to comment on the matter, noting that he does not conduct interviews on the phone.

With the rate of maternal mortality and newborn mortality very high the issue of quality health services for all, especially pregnant women and adolescent boys and girls is crucial to the growing population.

The government of Liberia in 1994 at an International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and the reduction in Maternal and Newborn Mortality in the country promised to put in place programs and policies that will improve the sector by providing access to health care for all Liberians with specific interest in access to quality education in collaboration with local and international NGO's and the Improvement of National capacity building for Citizens, population growth through the promotion of quality health Services where a high priority is been placed on the welfare and protection of Youths, the promotion of reproductive health where government is to ensure that access to reproductive health is created through primary health system.

In a previous interview conducted with Dr. Call Jabbeh Howe, Director of the department of Family health, he said as at December 2013, the Ministry worked in building the capacity of over 50 health workers at the local and international level and has recruited and trained over hundred locally.

The head of the Family Health Division of the Health Ministry also said various health teams in all parts of the country are recruiting individuals interested in working in the sector and sending them for training.

Madam Howe also said, in fulfillment of the government commitment at the 1994 ICPD in reducing Maternal and Newborn Mortality, the government has reduced maternal and newborn mortality from 999 per hundred thousand to 770 per hundred thousand through the creation of access to quality health services for all especially pregnant women and adolescent boys and girls.

She also said, the success made by the government so far is a result of the government's international partners who she said are providing some of the basic materials free of charge.

"It is a privilege to say that the World Health Organization 2010 survey conducted shows that Liberia now has the rate of 770 per every hundred thousand live birth, and the 2013 WHO report also show that infant Mortality that was at 72 has now dropped to 38 per every thousand live births."

She also disclosed that the government through the Ministry has made tremendous improvement in the protection of children against diseases through awareness'.

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