BY MADI NJIE
Covid 19 front health workers comprising staff working under the Covid 19 Rapid Response Team, Contact Tracing, Laboratory Services and the Quarantine Centre convened a press briefing at the Central Medical Stores, calling on the senior management of the Gambia’s ministry of Health to consider their plights, without which they will decide strike action.
The health staff is demanding for daily allowances, of D750 to be paid, dating back from January 2020 when the Covid 19 campaign started. They are among others are also asking for their health insurance, accommodation and allowances to be paid by their line Ministry.
In his welcoming remarks, Seyfo Singhateh, Covid 19 Response Team member said feeding accommodation and other listed concerns are major concerns to their teams..
He said the death of one of their colleague- Maw Ceesay triggered the quest for them to have health insurance in case of any death among them, for their families to benefit.
Singhateh said if their concerns are not addressed, it will just be like soldiers that lay down their weapons in a battle field, and allow opponents to invade.
Madam Fatou Jah in her remarks said they have been channelling their concerns through the top Senior Management of the Gambian Health Ministry to ensure efficient service delivery, but they just have been receiving mere promises, and nothing much has been done. She said earlier this month they had a meeting with the Permanent Secretary, but their situation remains the same.
She said among others that Health Insurance, Feeding, Accommodations and Allowances for Front liners should be provided, and must not be compromised, and are non-negotiation.
She extended condolence to their colleague Dr Maw Ceesay who was battling against Covid 19 until he succumbs to Corona Virus that he fought hard.
She said since the beginning of the Covid 19 campaign front liners received only D5000 from the Health Ministry. She said they made inquiries, but has not got what they wanted regarding allowances from their Senior Management Team.
She said if the Ministry does not respond to their demands they reconvene another meeting to decide appropriate action.
Musa Nget also Covid 19 Response Team Member also reiterated similar sentiments, calling on the line ministry to respond to their demands, otherwise they will convene a meeting to decide to lay down their Covid 19 materials and concentrate on their normal health duties.