By Victor C. Hanson, Jr
Yesterday several members of the Redemption Hospital Workers’ Association striked due to the nonchalant attitude towards their plight by the administration in lieu of the prevailing Ebola crisis that the country is now faced with.
In an interview with the Hospital Workers’ Association Vice President, Samuel F. Faley, said lots of health workers have died and are still dying from the deadly Ebola virus, and if they, front liners continue to die, definitely the virus will take over the entire country because there will be no one to fight it.
Rev. Faley added that they are risking their lives but not benefiting anything in return and do not have fixed salary while some of them have worked for years but are not on government payroll. “We are peaceful and professional people; we should be treated as we are and not the way you want,” he asserted.
He said that they have written several letters to the office of the Redemption Hospital General Administrator, Dominic Rennie, but there are still no positive steps being taken by the current administration.
Rev. Faley said, “It is true that lots of donations are coming into the country to combat the Ebola virus but we at Redemption are not fully protected and the poor service of the administration has led to the death of some of our colleagues”.
He stated that some insufficient protective gears and 50 bags of rice were given to the hospital for the workers but they (workers) have not received any of the rice. “We were told that two persons should use one material which of course we all know the Ebola virus can be contacted by such means. Yet and still we have been told that two persons should use one boot”.
Rev. Faley said that there has not been any risk benefit for them (workers) including what President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said has not yet reached them. He said Redemption staffs are leaving the hospital to work with MSF because of not being paid.
He mentioned that some of the staff that left have been chased and threatened with dismissal. “People working with MFS are fighting Ebola and they are treating Liberians to assist in making the country Ebola free so why should those that left be chased and threaten?” the Rev. asked.
Rev. Faley said one of their colleagues named Joshua Peters died recently while trying to save lives and still the administration has not done anything about it. “They are only up to stealing what was given for us. If we are satisfied we will not complain but if we are not satisfied we will complain,” he intimated.
He said, they want to know if the Redemption Hospital is a main Ebola center so they can know where and how to work, and there are new people from West Point that they do not know are working at the hospital and are paid but others who have been there for years are not paid,” he concluded”.
According to the letter written by the administration dated September 1, 2014, “management is equally of the opinion that people providing health services during these critical times need to be given special incentives. We will work diligently with the requisite authorities to ensure that President Sirleaf’s special package is delivered as soon as possible. Protective gears and training are provided for all staff at Redemption during this critical period. In the case where a staff feels unsafe to carry out his/her duty, the staff should contact his/her supervisor who is directly responsible to liaise with Administration to ensure that Protective Equipment is available”.
“Money apportioned to a person or group of people depends on the role, responsibility or function of that group or person identified. We can assure you that management is cognizant of the basic policies and guidelines that warrant such decision,” the letter stated.
It also stated that “We appreciate the Redemption Hospital Worker’s Association assistance in every way. However we would like to remind you that all staffs are represented within the management structure.”