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Gambia COVID-19 Frontline Workers Strike over Unpaid Allowances

The frontline workers in The Gambia are currently staying at home without working since Friday as they protest to demand payment from the government for their allowances and other benefits.

Various units including laboratory which collects and tests samples of suspected individuals of coronavirus, quarantine centres as well as response team members have all been shut down. 

The spokesperson of the disgruntled health workers, Fatou Jah confirms the development to The Chronicle Sunday. “It started on Friday and all the units are affected including the quarantine centre. It’s not because of the allowances, It’s because of several things including health insurance, feeding, accommodation, allowance and rest and recuperation package.”

Gambian health worker testing the temperature of a man who just crossed from Senegal through Giboroh border
    Gambian health worker testing the temperature of a man who just crossed from Senegal through Giboroh border

Jah says they have not received allowances since COVID-19 fight began.  

The Director of Health Promotion and Education who’s also the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Modou Njai was not accessible on phone when contacted for reaction. 

However, a senior member at the Ministry of Health who prefers anonymity tells The Chronicle that the concerns of the frontline workers were received and noted by the ministry. 

He disclosed that the payment process has already begun through the Central Bank which will transfer the allowances of the various health workers into their respective accounts likely starting from Monday.

The Chronicle understands that the entire incident Command for COVID 19 at Kotu has been shut including the laboratory unit, quarantine staff, response team, drivers etc. The 1025 call operations room has also been closed.

It’s also claimed that people who have completed their mandatory quarantine period could not go home and those suspected could not be admitted. However, The Chronicle could not independently ascertain this claim. 

The medium will contact the relevant authorities on Monday regarding this development which exposes the public to coronavirus.  

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