June 4, 2020
By Mohamed Sesay
The Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA) has yesterday sharply reacted to a claim made by the Ministry of Finance that all healthcare workers have been paid the Covid-19 allowances as per the Memorandum of Understanding signed between government and healthcare workers.
In a press release dated 2nd of June, 2020, the Government of Sierra Leone, through the Ministry of Finance, informed the general public that government has paid the sum of six billion five hundred and twenty-nine million one hundred and eighty-four thousand, three hundred and ninety-three Leones (Le 6,529,184,393) to eight thousand eight hundred and eighty-nine (8,889) healthcare workers PAYE tax for the Months of April and May 2020.
It further stated that the payment was in addition to the weekly allowance of one million Leones (1,000,000) paid to the Covid-19 Emergency Operation Centre for healthcare workers at treatment and isolation centres, laboratories and quarantine homes/centres.
Responding to the government’s claim, the Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association expressed dismay and charged that the claim was a malicious hoax, and that allowances to healthcare workers in the very forefront at treatment and isolation centers are almost nonexistent at the end of the second month in the Covid-19 fight.
The council said PAYE refund has been inconsistent and only paid to some healthcare workers, adding that that healthcare workers were very disheartened over a lot of unfulfilled promises and described government’s commitment towards them as a complete lip-service across.
“The SLMDA notes the disgruntlement of all healthcare workers from doctors through the nursing staff, laboratory technicians or scientists, CHOs, pharmacists, surveillance officers to hygienists. The SLMDA will like to thank all the non- governmental organizations and development partners that have been stepping in to rectify/remedy all the lapses and shortcomings of the Covid-19 response,” the release states.
They called on the government to address the situation in 48 hours or else, the healthcare situation across the country would disrupt.