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NERC Frustrates Ebola Workers …Allowance Payment in a Mess

  • Rtd. Palo Conteh

Payment of risk allowances to Ebola workers in Kenema and Bo is reported to have ended up in chaos as many of the workers protested for not receiving their October risk allowances while the few that were fortunate to be paid complained that their allowances were drastically reduced.

The payment exercise in Kenema was in a mess as dozens of Ebola workers of the Government Hospital had their names omitted from the list prepared by the hospital management and presented to the pay team of the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC).

The ugly situation triggered mass discontentment among the Ebola workers who protested against what they referred to as a very unfair treatment meted out to them by NERC. The aggrieved workers accused NERC and the hospital management of disappointing and frustrating them as they were expecting that they would have received their October allowances as they were promised by NERC.

The representative of NERC, Kenneth Macarthy, argued that NERC was not to be blamed for the omission of names from the payment list as it was prepared by the hospital management. Asked why the October allowances of workers were reduced, Mr. Macarthy said he was in no position to explain the reason behind the reduction of allowances.

Officials of the pay team said they paid strictly by the list presented to them by NERC and according to the amount stipulated on the list for each payee. They said it was not their duty to explain why names were omitted on the payment list and why allowances were reduced.

In Bo, Ebola workers attached to the Medecines Sans Frontieres, MSF treatment center at Bandajuma stormed the offices of the District Medical Officer, Dr. Alhaji Sani Turay, in protest against the omission of their names from the October payment list.

The District Medical Officer pacified them and promised to channel their grievances to the appropriate authorities.

Responding to the question of who prepared the controversial payment list that bore his name and the names of top military officers and NGO white  expatriates, Dr. Turay said he did not know who prepared the said list that the District Coordinator of NERC, Sahr Foyoh, presented to the pay team. Dr. Turay said he objected the list presented by the NERC District Coordinator and insisted that the payment be done according to the list prepared by the District Health Management Team.