Nat’l Health Advocacy Network Pleads With Health Workers

The National Health Advocacy Network of Liberia says it has learned with grave concern that Nurses are planning to go on a nation-wide strike beginning today protesting the sweeping cuts in their benefits/salaries and the general strenuous condition under which they are compelled to work.

In a release issued yesterday in Monrovia, the Network noted that if this strike goes on as planned, it will adversely affect the already struggling public health systems and expose patients, including those in critical condition to serious danger.

“Acknowledging the vital roles trussed upon the shoulders of nurses pertaining to medications and treatment, assistance to both the patients and physicians/doctors as ensuring that patients are properly examined, comfortable and well taken care of noting charges in their physical and emotional conditions, in the face of a very low doctor to patient ratio that renders nurses the primary care givers m patients ever encounter, the group believes that without the nurse, the already very few doctors won’t know how the patients’ condition was from the night before to the morning, let alone be able to determine whether the patient’s condition might be improving or declining,” the release noted.

The Network therefore, calls on nurses all across the Country to consider the repercussion of a strike and resort to bargain with relevant public health authorities through their leadership, as their absence will have adverse effect on the already ailing public health care system and especially their patients, whose wellbeing would be further jeopardized. On the other hand, the Network implores the government, through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Office of the President and the House and Senate’s committees on Health to do everything possible to advert the impending strike by initiating discussions with the leadership of the National Health Workers’ Association in order to avoid a situation that put patients at risk, and threaten to sharply erode living standards for nurses and their families.

The group further urge nurses, that while they have a right to advocate for better pay and or incentives, they are equally obligated to continue to hold true to their values , which have at its core, the protection of patients, not profits.

The Network encourage the government to give urgent attention to the recommendations of the Technical Committee on the Plight of Public Health Workers and demonstrate good faith commitment to the wellbeing of its citizenry by doing everything within its means to amicably and timely resolve the ongoing dispute with nurses which centers in large part on the placing of health workers on pay roll, cuts to nurses’ salaries, poor incentive and lack of transportation, uniform and social security pension scheme, and the slow pace at which government official have been proceeding with respect to addressing health workers’ concerns.

Meanwhile, the Network will hold its strategic Planning Workshop on February, 27-28 in Monrovia and subsequently launch a research that would seek to document health challenges in the County, underscoring access and quality of public and private health care with the aim of identifying drivers of maternal and child mortality, and proffer in recommendations to stakeholders in order to find solutions.