Health Workers Decry Poor, Underpaid Sector -Blame Legislature for Dying Sector

By: Anthony Q, Jiffan, Jr.

Health practitioners in Liberia continue to serve as frontliners in the fight to save lives and prevent diseases in a country whose struggling health sector has led to many deaths from curable diseases, while fortunate citizens are forced to travel out of the country to seek treatment.

The dire situation has claimed the attention of Liberians over the years, sometimes leaving health workers to go on strike just to claim the attention of national government, especially the legislators who play key role in the passage of the national budget. In the midst of the continuous rundown shape of the country’s health sector and its workers, one of the nurses at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town on Sunday, July 31, 2022 used the opportunity of the birthday celebration of District #16 lawmaker Dixon Seboe to describe the health sector as a death trap.

Without mincing her word, Madam Ada Joe, a graduate of the Cuttington University in Suakoko Bong County, assigned at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town, described the National Legislature as a selfish group of people elected by the citizens to benefit themselves and forget the electorates.

She said the hospital lacks basic medication to cater to the health needs of patients at the hospital.

Madam Joe disclosed that the health facility lacks common drugs to treat malaria, adding that patients usually die as a result of their financial inability to buy needed medicine outside of the hospital.

She indicated that due to the lack of sufficient medications at the Redemption Hospital, patients are always asked to purchase drugs outside the health facility for treatment, something she believes is not in the interest of the struggling population of Liberia.

She also unearthed that the Redemption Hospital’s sole source of electricity is the Liberia    Electricity Corporation, and that the hospital does not have a standby generator to address emergency situations.

 The outspoken health practitioner used the occasion to call on the 54th National Legislature to pay attention to the health sector in the country, stressing that members of the Legislature are only concerned about themselves.

She stressed the need to increase the salaries of qualified and trained health practitioners in Liberia, noting that as a trained health practitioner from Cuttington University she is being paid $140 as monthly salary.

The Redemption Hospital has been allotted a measly US$800,000 in the recast budget.

 However, speaking in an interview with this paper, Representative Dixon Seboe said continuous strides have been made to alleviate the stress on the health sector, but noted that there are other sectors with similar situations.

Representative Dixon Seboe indicated that while it is true that conditions of the health and other sectors are dire and visible, the national envelope is however small to address all of the issues at once.

According to him, the very problems that the Redemption Hospital is faced with, similar situations are being experienced by education, security and other sectors.

Responding to why the Redemption Hospital budget was slashed, the House of Representatives committee chairperson on Banking, Finance and Currency, said prior to the ascendancy of the Coalition for Democratic Change government in 2017, the Redemption Hospital in New Kru had a budget of US$2million, but was drastically reduced following the hospital getting connected to the national grid by the Liberia Electricity Corporation in 2018.

He further stated that the hospital budget was put at US$2 million because there were issues with electricity which needed to be handled by running a generator.

Meanwhile, as part of his birthday celebration, Montserrado County District #16 Representative    Dixon Seboe on Sunday, July 31 paid a special visit to patients at the Redemption Hospital in his district.

During his visit, Representative Seboe identified with patients and staffs of the hospital, noting that identifying with patients on the day of his birth was the best thing that he could do.

The CDC lawmaker, with support from his wife, provided a plate of cooked meal, one bottle of mineral water and soft drink to each patient and staff at the Redemption Hospital on the Bushrod Island.

He added that patients at various medical facilities across the country are faced with similar challenges.

The District #16 lawmaker also termed his gesture as his own way of thanking God, showing love and giving hope to those citizens who are currently lying on their sick beds.

Comments are closed.