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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Covid-19 response team threatens strike over unpaid allowances

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By Omar Bah

The Covid-19 frontline health workers have threatened to go on a sit-down strike today, unless the Ministry of Health addresses their demands.
The workers comprise staff in the Covid-19 rapid response team, contact tracing, laboratory services and the quarantine centres. The Gambia government has allocated D500 million to the fight against Covid-19.

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“We demand the senior management of the Ministry of Health to consider our plights or else we will have no option but to embark on a sit-down strike. We demand daily allowances of D750 to be paid to us dating from January 2020. We also demand our health insurance and accommodation be paid,” Seyfo Singhateh representing workers told journalists at a press conference yesterday.

He said the group is very concerned with their feeding and accommodation.
“The death of one of our colleagues triggered our quest to request for immediate health insurance in case of another death among health workers. If our concerns are not addressed – we will lay down our weapons,” he added.

Also speaking at the press conference, Madam Fatou Jah, a member of the team said: “We have been channeling our concerns through the top senior management of the health ministry to ensure efficient service delivery, but they have been giving us mere promises. Earlier this month we had a meeting with the health PS but our situation remains the same”.

She said issues such as health insurance, feeding, accommodations and allowances should not be compromised.
“Since the outbreak of pandemic, we have only received D5000. We made inquiries but to no avail. But if the ministry fails to respond to our demands, we will reconvene another meeting to decide appropriate action,” she added.
The director of health promotion, Modou Njai told The Standard that the government is working on the demands of the protesting staff.

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