By Jefferson D. Tweh
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) and National Housing Authority (NHA) are making a great effort to improve the living standard of health workers in Liberia.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday in Monrovia, the Acting Minister at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Edward Tolbert, disclosed that the Ministry of Health is making a nonrefundable down payment of US$5000.00 for each of 100 dedicated staffs’ total of (US$500,000.00) in eight counties, including three bed rooms housing units.
Minister Tolbert said the Ministry of Health has observed that poor housing facilities and high rental payments out of sometimes meager salaries demotivate some health workers across the country thereby causing low outputs.
According to Minister Tolbert, the Ministry of Health has taken step to provide motivational package (gift especially after Ebola) for some of its dedicated staff by facilitating the acquisition of housing units from the National Housing Authority, under the NHA’s low income housing program.
Minister Tolbert narrated that the Ministry of Health has experienced a near collapse of the health system as a result of the deadly Ebola virus and the Ministry has drawn a post Ebola health system recovery plan called “the Resilient Health plan” aimed at rebuilding the national health system capable of resisting health plan priorities as one of its considerations retaining and developing a workforce that will accelerate the achievement of national health target, a health system capable of resisting outbreaks such as EVD.
He said the Ministry of Health will ensure that beneficiary employees will receive their salaries through Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) and nurses, midwives, and physician Assistants will generally fall in the low income bracket, and the Ministry ensures that payments on loans do not exceed US$125.00 per month. Additionally, he said beneficiary employee who fails to complete the payment for whatever reason, will forfeit the house.
Furthermore, he stated that staff will complete payment through mortgage loan agreement with Liberia Bank for Development and Investment.
He said the construction of the housing units will be done in eight counties; Harper, Maryland County 15 housing units, Barclayville, Grand Kru 15 housing units, Fish Town, River Gee County 15 housing units, Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County 15 housing units, Greenville, Sinoe County 15 housing units, Cesto City, Rivercess County 10 housing units, Bopolu, Gbarpolu County 10 housing units, Monrovia, Montserrado County 5 housing units.
According to him, these construction projects are expected to be completed by April 2016.
Speaking also at the press conference, the Managing Director of National Housing Authority (NHA) Samuel Wlue, disclosed that NHA will do its best to deliver those housing units on time and hope that health workers will pay back.
He added that housing is a very important aspect of growth and hopes that other sectors will benefit.