Ministry of Information: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 December 2018:
The Government of President Julius Maada Bio has agreed to pay risk and on-call allowances to clinical health workers, as well as location allowance to workers outside Freetown to the tune of $12 Million.
This followed intense negotiations between representatives of health workers including the Pharmaceutical Society of Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone Midwives Association, Young Pharmacists’ Group, Sierra Leone Nurses Association, Sierra Leone Association of Community Health Officers (CHOs), Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association, Junior Doctors’ Association and Government to amicably resolve the ongoing Doctors’ strike.
While the Pharmaceutical Society of Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leone Midwives’ Association dissociated themselves from the strike action, the Young Pharmacists’ Group, Sierra Leone Nurses Association and the Sierra Leone Association of Community Health Officers (CHOs) agreed to call off their pending strike notice.
Unfortunately, representatives of the Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association and the Junior Doctors’ Association insisted on their demands (Additional hospital spaces, construction of infectious disease centre, equipment and supplies, post graduate training, medical insurance scheme for the poor and destitute, increase salaries and allowances exceeding 1,000 percent, among others) hence refused to cooperate.
Government’s representatives at the negotiations – Minister of Finance acob Jusu Saffa, Health Minister, Dr Alpha Tejan Wurie, Labour Minister Adekunle King and Financial Secretary Sahr L. Jusu, underscored government’s commitment to recruit 4,000 professional health workers, including government-funded health workers upon graduation as well as establishment of the Wages and Salaries Commission that will review and harmonize wages and salaries of public sector workers, health sector workers included.
It was further pointed out in the meeting held in the office of the Minister of Finance that there has been a 10% increase in transport allowance for workers in Grades 1 to 6 in the 2018 Supplementary Budget; and the 10% and 5% salary increases in the 2019 Budget for professional health workers in Grades 1 to 6 and Grades 7 and above respectively.
While appreciating the decision of well-meaning Sierra Leonean health workers who have agreed to continue work and save lives, government calls on all those who have decided to continue with the strike action to be patriotic by resuming work.
It could be recalled that negotiations between government and health workers were suspended on the 4th of November 2018, after the latter requested to consult their respective memberships. The negotiations however resumed on 6th December 2018.
Although the demands come after the preparation of the 2019 Budget, government has bent backwards to entertain the concerns of the doctors, because of its fervent belief in human capital development by agreeing to pay new allowances to health workers amounting to $12 Million.
The Strategic Communications Unit, Sierra Leone Ministry of Information and Communications