Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden OOR: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 April 2020:
Yesterday, Dr. Delwin Findlay – President of the Sierra Leone Medical & Dental Association (SLMDA) donated a consignment of three-layered face masks, gloves, sanitizers, maltina energy drinks amongst other items to Madam Inez Lemoh – President of the Sierra Leone Nurses Association, Madam Margaret James – President of the West African College of Nurses (Sierra Leone chapter), Representative of Sierra Leone Association of Midwives President and other representatives of Health Care Workers (HCWs).
The event took place in front of the memorial plaque which is erected in honour of those Sierra Leonean doctors who died from Ebola in 2014/2015.
This show of solidarity among doctors and other healthcare staff is important, as it may prevent yet another memorial plaque from being erected – this time for doctors and nurses who may die from Covid-19.
The insistence of the SLMDA for the Government to improve on its Memorandum of Understanding which outlines its offer of support for doctors and health care workers (HCW) in the country, to include, a form of insurance compensatory policies for any HCW who becomes infected, is quite in place considering how four nurses that are currently admitted for treatment of Covid-19, are currently suffering from poor feeding and lack of psychosocial support.
Apart from instant Insurance payoffs when they fall ill (and not wait until they die) other demands put forward to the government include:-
•Doctors want to know the exact sum of payment that the Life Insurance Policy will pay to their next-of-kin should the doctors die from Covid-19. Will the payment be cash? If so, how much cash and is it a one off lump sum or regular payments to be made to next of kin?
• Doctors want a FRONT-LOADING of NASSIT payments for up to 60 months for all Medical Doctors/HCWs who have not yet served for up to 60 months. This will ensure that if these Doctors/HCWs die, their next of kin is assured of a lifetime of receiving their NASSIT benefits.
• Doctors will accept the PAYE Rebate as offered but only on a temporary basis until Parliament meets and enacts the one year respite from paying PAYE. It has to be a minimum 12 months and it has to be given legal strength through Parliamentary approval. With all due respect, the doctors don’t want to rely on mere oral promises. Let it be legally binding.
• Limiting Educational assistance to only 3 children of deceased doctors/HCWs is DISRESPECTFUL to families with more than 3. For example, a doctor who leaves behind 5 children will not want two children left out whilst the other three get well educated.
This may create bad blood in choosing which three gets the education package and which two get left out. Doctors/HCWs don’t want bad blood and disrespect to erupt in their families after they are deceased.
I believe the above demands are quite reasonable.