Juba, South Sudan, June 04, 2021 – Frontline workers on the coronavirus pandemic have down tools demanding that the government pays their nine-month salary.
The development comes after the death of Taban Cosmas Ali, a frontline worker who was the chief of planning at the Public Health Emergency Center, who the doctors argue would not have died if he had money to cater for his medication.
A document circulated on social media reveals that the doctor could not afford medical bills due to delays in payment of incentives among other numerous issues.
“This is because his incentive had not been paid to him by the Ministry of Health and the National High-Level Taskforce,” it says.
“This explains the importance of paying claims of risk allowance, medical insurance, and timely payment to the COVID-19 frontline health workers in the country,” the document continues.
Last month, a team from the Ministry of Health convened a meeting with frontline health workers to register their concerns
The Ministry of Health acknowledged the concern and said that it was the legal right of the COVID-19 health care workers to be given their unpaid 9 months. But they could not remunerate staff saying there was “no money”.
In the same meeting, the frontline health workers said they will be on strike until their concerns are heeded and action taken.
“Without money and clear mentioning of when to pay us the nine-month salaries that we have worked for, we are continuing with the peaceful strike until we are paid. Our well-being is of fundamental importance,” the group said.
The Director for Emergency preparedness of South Sudan Ministry of Health Doctor Angelo Goup Thon confirmed the doctor’s indaba and said a pledge was made to pay the workers.
“The undersecretary promised to pay the frontline health workers as soon as possible and some people agreed to resume but the problem, there was no clear dateline given by the Undersecretary.
“So, we actually talked to the term so that we respond to an emergency while meetings will continue with the Ministry of Health,” he said.