GoL Retires Several Medical Doctors

By Mark Mengonfia

As the fight against the coronavirus ranges on, there are reports that the Liberian Government has retired several Medical doctors.

The Liberian Government recently retired several medical doctors who were said to be playing critical role in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Their retirement comes as the result of what the Ministry of Health and Civil Service Law of Liberia retirement ages as prescribed in the CSA law.

In an interview with some of the retired medical doctors who requested not to be named said they have not reached the retirement age of 65 in line with the Civil Service law of Liberia.

According to the disappointed medical doctors, it was dishonor to them for their names to be placed on a listing in the public informing them of their retirement.

 Some of the retired doctors attributed   the Liberian Government’s action as ingratitude to them to have retired them without look at the level of work they have done in the health sector of the country.

One of the doctors according to reports is unable to payback his loan because of such action from the Government.

The doctors also alleged that they have been working for the past four months without salary and follow by retirement.

When contacted, the president of the Liberia Medical and Dental Association, Dr. Emmanuel Ekymabah confirmed that the leadership of LMDA sometimes in February of this year got a message from the Ministry of Health that some medical doctors were going to be retired.

 He pointed out that  the LMDA  intervened, but was informed  by authorities at the Ministry of Health that  the action  is part of the Civil   Service Agency   law  and  that of the National  Social Security and Welfare  Corporation.

According to him, the LMDA wrote three communications to the authorities of the MOH to have the retirement properly looked into before taking said action against the Doctors.

In one of the communications by the LMDA President Ekinabah addressed to the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhemina S.  Jallah dated April 3, 2020. Indicated,” I bring you compliments and heartfelt greetings from the LMDA. The LMDA has been informed by MOH that  there will be a retirement  scheme  for doctors who are  sixty years and above  as  this is the policy  of the  Civil Service  Agency  and  that  of National Social Security  and Welfare Corporation .In view of  the above , LMDA is kindly asking you(MOH) to please  reconsider your decision at  this crucial time  of the COVID 19 outbreak in our country as  most  of  these  doctors have experienced  skills that are needed in the fight against  the pandemic .Thanks  for your kind consideration “ 

According  to him,  the LMDA leadership makes an appeal   to  the Liberian Government  through  the  Ministry of Health to reconsider  their decision   relating  to  the  health  crisis  that  the country  is confronted with  including  their  experiences  with in  the sector .

He said due to such urgency there is a need for all hands on deck and there was a need to have those doctors on board with experience.

“Those doctors are experience and stay able to work so we said those that are capable of working should continual to work and then we started the negotiation, the understanding was those doctors go to work while we work on the details but surprisingly one of the doctors calls me heartbroken  that he got  the  letter and regrettably all of  the time  of the negotiation  those doctors have been working  so  that means  their employers are obligated  to  them  to pay  their salaries, ’’ he noted.

Dr.Ekyinabah said the LMDA and top Government officials had a meeting concerning the ages of medical doctors for retirement, emphasizing  that  it takes  long  time  to prepare  a doctor, stating  that  the Government spend lot of money  on  those doctors  among  others.

He further confirmed that doctors took salary back loan that need to be pay in line with the agreements.

Additionally the president of the LMDA also communicated to the Minister of Health Dr. Wilhelmina  Jallah  on         May 22, 2020 . in  the communication  “ The  National  Executive  Council of  the Liberia Medical and Dental  Association writes with a deepening sense   of  concern over the clarification given  by your  office  to the COVID19  Hazard allowances  for health workers. The LMDA , while open  to negotiation on  the COVID 19, Hazard payment  categorically  rejects  as unacceptable a  proposed deferred payment scheme  for  health workers  in the COVID 19 Treatment Unit .All health workers are front liners .The rate of  infection amongst  health  care   workers  is high. Approximately 13.7% of confirmed positive cases in Liberia are health care workers. The health workers who got infected were not only from the CTU . All health workers are at increased risk of COVID 19 infection daily because  we see patient  in out  assigned  facilities .The COVID 19  pandemic is an unpredictable  pattern and even  WHO  acknowledged that COVID19  may  linger for an 8unspecified period of time. The time line as proposed by MOH  for  hazard  is  unpredictable and  as such the  LMDA  deems this decision to  defer hazard payment  for some health workers  as  counterproductive  with  the propensity  to  de-motivate  health  workers and adversely affect  service  delivery  across  the  health care system. All Doctors /Dentists  who  has answered  humanity’s  call to  serve  should  be treated as front liners in the COVID 19 Response .We are requesting  that all hazard payment  to Doctors and Dentists be  implemented simultaneously ‘’ the communication indicated.

He further  disclosed  that   the Minister of  Health  through a communication  on May 27, 2020   a copy that is  in the possession of this newspaper  acknowledge receipt of  the LMDA  Communication  requesting hazard  payment to all healthcare  workers  in the country  simultaneously for  the fight  against  COVID 19.

In  her communication Minister Jallah  indicated  that “ consider  your service  to  the health sector  very  important  and want  to play a manifold role in this matter , in furtherance of the above , kindly  be informed  that  we are working  along  with stakeholders  regarding  this issue and will revert to you later’”. Investigation continual.

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