The UNICEF focal person in the Emergency Operation Centre, (EOC) Dr Nuru Maksha, has disclosed in a news conference, at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation on the proposed three-day house to house visitation, that the 21,000 staff for the exercise which include, health workers, volunteers, and civil society, will receive a stipend of Le20,000 per day for each individual.
When questioned by the media, why it is only Le20,000 per day will be given to staff during the three-day house to house visitation, taking into consideration the challenges some of these volunteers will face when going into communities, especially hard to reach communities in the rural parts of the country, he noted that the amount was agreed at the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) as it is what is given to health workers and volunteers who participate during the National Immunization Days (NID’s) including the Mami en Pikin Welbodi week.
Still on the issue, members of the Press argued that if Government is to reach the 100% households with information on the dangers of EBOLA, volunteers should be given incentive which will enable them to do their job better, while they are on the field.
On this issue, Awoko sought the views of some members of the public who will be beneficiaries of the three-day house to house exercise.
A trader, Adama Smith was disappointed to hear that only Le20,000 will be given per day to each volunteer, meaning they will only receive Le60,000 for the three days.
She said a lot of funds are available to carry out the exercise, therefore why can’t Government provide something appreciable to encourage the volunteers to do the work.
A community member residing at Tengbeh Town, said because he is unemployed at the moment, he is okay with the amount because he is single, but what about those who will have to go to difficult terrains in rural communities, he asked.
A health worker (name withheld) stressed that always when there is crisis, this is the way those in authority treat junior workers.
She said taking into consideration the present hike of prices in basic commodities around the country, members of the Emergency Operation Centre should have thought twice before taking the decision to give a meagre amount of Le20,000 a day, which is about $3 U.S dollars.
The health worker further said that because authorities are always insensitive to the plight of junior workers, that is the reason why several strikes have occurred during a time when all hands should be on deck to eliminate the deadly viral.
Another driver of one of the second hand mini-vans acquired by Government to carry out emergency EBOLA duties, raised concern about the condition of the vans, noting that most of them are not in the condition fit to carry out emergency operations.
A trader of mini-vans along Old Railway Line, informed Awoko that he supplied two road- worthy vans to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, but because he did not have an insider to help him, his vans were rejected.
He disclosed that a certain Lebanese businessman, because of his connections supplied most of the mini-vans to the ministry, which are now a headache to the ministry to respond to emergencies, thus making the Government look irresponsible to the people.
From the 19th- 21st of September 2014 trained teams will move from house to house to disseminate information on EBOLA virus disease.
The teams will be trained and deployed in all communities around the country, and hand washing will be promoted in each household by initially providing soap to facilitate the process.
At the end of the campaign, a neighborhood watch structure with support from traditional leaders, facilitated by local youths will be installed in each community nationwide, as a follow-up to on-going reporting of suspected cases, contact tracing, burial teams and referral teams.
By Ade Campbell
Monday September 15, 2014