By Omar Bah
The Gambia Nurses and Midwives Association has vowed to continue its sit-down until all its members confirm that they have received their allowances. The nurses began the sit-down strike on Wednesday.
In April, the disgruntled medical personnel demanded increment of allowances and improved welfare of its members.
After weeks of negotiations, the government agreed to their demands and committed to pay them monthly risk allowances of D2,000 effective this past July. But this was later pushed to August after the government said it was not able to meet the deadline.
The association’s spokesperson Sanna Darboe told BBC yesterday: “If the Ministry of Health is saying they have paid allowances to all nurses, they are misleading the entire world. As we are speaking, the ministry only paid a portion of nurses just to give the impression that they have paid the nurses and that they should go to work.
“We have lost trust in the Ministry of Health because they have been promising us things they have not fulfilled,” he said.
Mr Darboe said until all the nurses confirm that they have received their allowances, they are not going back to work.
Darboe said the ministry should be held responsible for any causality resulting from the strike.
However, the minister of health said the allowances for the nurses have been approved and payments are ongoing.
“All of them will be given allowances. The nurses in all the seven major hospitals have submitted their lists last week and they will all get their subvention,” Minister Samateh said.
He however contended that the decision by the nurses was politically motivated.
“I am talking about some of the nurses that I know have been influenced by some politicians. However we are talking to them because there is no need for this fight because most of the allowances have been agreed upon and very soon they will receive all these payments,” he noted.