By Ousman A Marong
Gambia’s COVID-19 Frontline Health Workers, comprising Staff working under the COVID-19 Rapid Response Team, Contact Tracing, Laboratory Services and the Quarantine Centre, has today convened a Press Briefing at the Central Medical Stores, calling on the Senior Management of the Ministry of Health to consider their plights, without which they would call a strike on 9 July 2020.
These Frontline Health workers are demanding for allowances of D750 to be paid since the beginning of the campaign in January 2020. They also asked for their health insurance, accommodation and allowances to be paid by the Health Ministry.
In his opening remarks, Seyfo Singhatey, COVID-19 Response Team Member said Feeding and Accommodation for their team members are a major concern. He said the death of one 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.
Mr Singhatey said if their concerns are not address, it would just be like Soldiers that lay down their weapons in a battle field, and allow enemies to invade.
Madam Fatou Jah, said they have been channelling their concerns through the top Senior Management of the Health Ministry to ensure efficient service delivery, but they just have been receiving empty promises, and nothing much has been done. She said earlier this month they had a meeting with the Permanent Secretary, but their situation remained the same.
“Our demands should be provided, and must not be compromised, and are non-negotiation,” Ms Fatou Jah said.
She also expressed condolence to their colleague, Dr Maw Ceesay who was battling against COVID-19 until he succumbs to death of Corona Virus recently.
She said since the beginning of the COVID-19 campaign, Frontliners have only received D5000. She said they made inquiries, but has not got what they wanted regarding allowances from their Senior Management Team.
“If the Ministry did not respond to our demands until 9 July, we will reconvene another meeting to decide appropriate action,” she remarked.
Musa Nget, another COVID-19 Response Team Member also reiterated similar sentiments, calling on the line ministry to react to their demands, otherwise they will convene a meeting on 9 July 2020, to decide to lay down their COVID-19 materials and concentrate on their normal health work