Health workers attached to the government hospital in Kenema are demanding for the relocation of the Ebola management unit from the government hospital compound to another place out of the city to be name Ebola camp as it is being done in Kailahun district.
They says the chiefs in the district has vase land to accommodate such structure. They say they are ready to work but not as it is now as the disease is continuing to consume more health workers.
Speaking to stakeholders known as the Ebola Task force at the training centre at the government hospital in Kenema city, the Regional Secretary for Sierra Leone Health Services Workers Union (SLHSWU) Alex Moijue Fatorma says the health workers mostly the nurses approached him this morning and expressed their grievances about the problems in the hospital.
They say the management of the hospital that is the District Health Management Team (DHMT) should immediately relocate the Ebola management centre.
They are also requesting the management to find another leader for them at the management unit, as the head of the Lassa fever unit who was also the head of the Ebola management centre, nurse Mbalu Fonie died yesterday morning, together with another four nurses, they alleged.
They are also calling for MSF to come and take over the unit immediately and lead, while they will follow.
They disclosed that there is poor management within the Ebola unit, explaining the needs of the patient are not met, such as food and others including the nurses at the centre.
Some of the serving nurses do not get their allowances during the last distribution of allowances.
They alleged that authorities care less about the nurses affected with the Ebola virus, adding there is no sympathy from the management team for health workers who are victims. They called for better Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), improved better risk allowance and special personnel responsible for spraying them after work. These concerns of these of the battlefront soldiers were put to the Task Force group comprised of the Provincial Secretary, the Regional Police Commander, office of the national security (ONS), the press, Civil society organization and many others. The nurses were shouting during the meeting that there will be no work until their demands are met.
The Provincial Secretary (East) George Penniyekie sympathized with the entire situation, describing it as unfortunate and said only God can pay the health workers for their services in saving mankind.
He called on the health workers to exercise some patience till today to look into their demands for immediate action. He says their needs are genuine and appealed to them to return to work and wait until something positive happens soon.
The District Health Sister, Josephine Saidu called for more training for the health workers and to look for immediate solutions to their existing problems.
District Medical Officer Kenema, Dr. Mohamed Vandi says they have trained 463 staff including porters, cleaners and other cadres, and most of the equipment supplied to the health workers.
Most of the people Awoko spoke to on the streets of Kenema, say they are refusing to take their patients to the Government hospital because of the Ebola management centre, describing it as the major factor for the spread of the disease in Kenema district. Some say as long as the centre remains at the hospital, the problem will continue.
By Saffa Moriba
Tuesday July 22, 2014