Solidarity with public health workers in Liberia

PSI commends its affiliate the National Health Workers' Union of Liberia (NAHWUL) for their resilience throughout a difficult period just recently ended. Following weeks of health workers calling for dialogue with the government which ended into a nationwide strike action, negotiation between the Liberian government and NAHWUL finally ended last week.

In a statement by their Secretary General, Comrade George Poe Williams, NAHWUL stated that it was never the intention of health workers to go-slow at a time when their services are much required. However, public health workers were constrained to do take action due to the prolonged overlook of their concerns by past and present authorities.

"NAHWUL regrets this ugly situation and prays we never have to reach this point again. The National Executive Committee wishes to recognize the efforts of health workers who give their all for the passion to serve humanity for which you are being prosecuted. We wish to thank you for your tireless efforts. We are aware how some of you cross rivers in canoes to get to your places of work which is highly risky, particularly, during the rainy season and yet you are not paid for months. We know of those of you who have to pay high cost of rent even in villages where you work 24 hours each day and seven days per week. And even so, you are expected to work without pay because you had taken an oath. NAHWUL says BRAVO to you for your sacrificial services!", said the statement.

Some workers have to cross rivers in canoes to get to their places of work - which is highly risky, particularly during the rainy season. Yet, despite their sacrifices, they continue to be overlooked.

Liberian Minister of Health Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah had to make a quick return from the 74th UN General Assembly in New York to intervene in the situation and expressed she appreciates the health workers for their manner and approach in which they communicated and negotiated with the government of Liberia.

“We will work closely with the health workers union of Liberia to make sure that whatever the negotiation process was; we both work together. We will continue to work tirelessly with the health workers union of Liberia to make sure that all of our health workers are taking care of and the government will do its best to supplies the needed materials for the good of the Liberian people,” said Dr. Jallah

In solidarity with NAHWUL, PSI Africa & Arab Countries Regional Secretary Sani Baba Mohammed noted: "the steps taken by our comrades to address this matter are very commendable. PSI will leave no stone unturned in providing our affiliates with all the necessary support."

Having negotiated with the Government of Liberia in good faith, the National Executive Committee of NAHWUL announced a call off of the go-slow action on 27 September 2019.