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Nurses stop work at Sierra Leone's largest hospital

By Allieu Tunkara and Mustapha Kamara

A sit-down strike by health workers at the Connaught Hospital in Freetown yesterday caused a halt in health service delivery after the caregivers claimed government had failed to provide incentives and protective gear for them.

Two of the striking nurses at Sierra Leone largest hospital, Mariama Jalloh and Fatmata Samura, told Politico that they were on strike because “the government has failed to provide us with safety gears to protect ourselves from the deadly Ebola virus which has killed many innocent people, including nurses and doctors”.

On many occasions, one of them said, the government had promised them incentives to encourage and keep them working amidst the danger and risks involved in taking care of sick people, but that the authorities had failed to keep to their promise.

She observed that they were vulnerable to being infected with the disease at the moment “because we lack safety gears to protect ourselves”.

“We are tired of the on-going situation at the hospital. Our minds are not at rest because we are afraid of contracting Ebola at any time”, the one nurse nurses feared.

She claimed they were currently faced with “huge stigma”, adding that they had been branded “Ebola Nurses” because their colleagues had died of the disease.

Deputy health minister, Madina Rahman addressed the workers and promised that she would ensure their demands were met and their concerns addressed.

(C) Politico 02/09/14