HEALTH WORKERS STRIKE IN LIBERIA – Abandon Ebola Patients (Video)
Over 4,000 people have died during the current Ebola outbreak. (BBC)
Liberian health care workers abandoned Ebola patients today and went on strike over Ebola conditions and pay.
The workers said the government short-changed them on their paychecks.
Many facilities were virtually abandoned in the country.
Hospitals and health care facilities have been affected in Liberia as some nurses and medical professionals staged a walkout demanding better pay and safer working conditions in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.
Sources told Al Jazeera that several hospitals and clinics were hit by the strike on Monday as health workers abandonded hundreds of patients, demanding higher hazard pay and protective equipment.
Health Minister, Walter Gwenigale, confirmed that staff had gone on strike in some parts of the country, but tried to reassure workers that hazard allowances would be paid in full.
“That money is available and is being paid. So please, please stay with your patients,” he said.
A local journalist told Al Jazeera, that many facilities were “virtually abandoned”, with “nurses afraid of touching patients”.
“They refuse to take blood samples from patients or even take their temperature because these require them to touch patients,” Terence Sesay said.
Staff at Monrovia’s Island Clinic, the largest government-run Ebola clinic in the capital, had already been on a “go slow” in recent days in their battle for extra pay.
Dozens of patients in the clinic have died from Ebola since the go-slow began on Friday, staff representative Alphonso Wesseh said.
The World Health Organization warned the very survival of societies is at risk from Ebola.
The strike took place 72 hours after the US military arrived to assist.