20 February 2014

Liberia: Averting Strike - Senate Meet With Finance, Health Ministers

Photo: allAfrica.com
Newly-capped nurses (file photo).

Monrovia — Plenary of the Senate Wednesday held a special session aimed at addressing the concerns of striking health workers who are on a go-slow in demand of incentives and resignation of the current health minister and his principal deputies.

The senate special session brought together the Ministers of health and Finance and heads of the striking health workers to a dialogue in finding solutions to their concerns and plights as patients continue to be left abandoned at various public health centers around the country.

Earlier to the commencement of the meeting, Finance Minister Amara Konneh in response to invitation sent to him by the senate wrote plenary to excuse him from the meeting because of what he termed as pressing national engagement. The senators trashed the communication from the minister with some describing it as a complete affront to them especially when an even more pressing national issue is at stake.

As a result of the minister's action a motion was filed by Senator John Ballout of Maryland County that the Sergeant at arms at the senate be instructed to go for the finance Minister and ensure that he be brought within two hours.

Apparently the Minister of finance had an informant at the legislature because he appeared in the capitol building just 15 minutes after the motion was filed and plenary subsequently reverted into secret session to discuss with the concerned parties.

The meeting came as a result of a decision taken by the Senate Plenary Tuesday, to hold a special session Wednesday to investigate the concerns of striking Public health workers around the Country.

The Senate Plenary through a Motion filed by Senator John Ballout of Maryland County after several minutes of discussions among senators agreed that the head of the Ministry and striking workers be brought to the senate to discuss the way forward on the impasse.

The senator's motion was amended by Senator George Tengbeh who said that the leadership of the striking health workers prevails on their colleagues to return to work pending the resolution of the impasse.

Health workers in Liberia Sunday February 16, 2014 started a go-slow action against the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in demand of improved salaries and incentives.

The workers amongst other things are demanding the resignation of the Country's health Minister Dr. Gwenigale and the Chief Medical officer Dr. Branice Dahn and that the government increases their salaries and incentives.

When contacted via mobile phone Dr. Gwenigale refused to comment on the matter noting that he does not do interviews on the phone.

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