By Tabora Bojang
About 200 public health workers in national health facilities have staged a sit-down strike yesterday over grievances of their delayed inclusion in the newly approved allowances for doctors and PhD holders under the Ministry of Health.
Sit down strikes by health care workers have surged in recent years, rising mainly due to poor conditions of service. Last year, nurses and midwives held a sit-down over unpaid allowances which were preceded by another strike by Covid-19 frontline workers.
This latest strike is organised by the Association of Public and Environmental Health Officers (APEHOG) a registered association of public health professionals in the country.
It follows the elapse of their Tuesday deadline.
The aggrieved workers are demanding the Ministry of Health and the Personnel Management Office to include them in the newly approved allowance scheme as it applies to other cadres.
The vice president of the association, Musa Nget, told The Standard that following their announcement of a planned sit-down strike at a press conference last Saturday, the association was engaged by the Ministry for negotiations but they could not agree on any terms.
“We have started the [sit down] strike today [Tuesday] 4pm. Yes, we had discussions with the Ministry yesterday and we told them it is either payment or the strike will continue. We made it clear that there is nothing like negotiation and if nothing works, all public health services across the country will shut down until they [Ministry] respond to our demands.”
The Standard contacted the Director of Health Services, Dr Mustapha Bittaye, who confirmed that discussions initiated by the government are ongoing and the matter will be ‘resolved soon.’
“We are in engagement with them and it will all be sorted out because there is work going on it [allowances],” Dr. Bittaye added.