Bor hospital closed as doctors resume strike
Medical staff at Bor hospital have closed down the facility on Tuesday to resume strike as they accused the Jonglei State government of failing to honour promises.
In an interview with The City Review, Mabior Madit Mabior, a doctor working at the emergency department, said they resorted to strike over unpaid incentives.
He said Care International informed them that the State Minister for Health, Atong Kuol Manyang, said the government was not able to clear their arrears.
“We were paid only one month, and the other month was left unpaid. We [don’t know] whether the October and November incentives will be paid because Care International had not signed the memorandum of understanding, ” Mabior said.
He added that Care International told them that they were not yet given full responsibility to render services to the hospital.
Mabior said when they asked Medicos Del Mundo (MDM), they said they were supposed to pay the incentives for September, which they did so since their contract had already ended.
“UNICEF said they have the money but they have refused to pay health workers or task another partner organisation to pay incentives on their behalf.”
State Health Minister responds
In a telephone interview yesterday, the State Minister of Health, Atong Kuol Manyang, blamed medical workers for resuming the strike without notification to the state ministry of health.
She confirmed that the money was ready, but UNICEF was trying to insert a few staff who were paid by Medicos Del Mundo (MDM) into the payroll. She promised that the health workers in counties across Jonglei State would be paid today.
“We acknowledge that they have the right to be paid because they have worked for it but the delay is only for one day.” We promised them that they would be paid today (Tuesday), but the money has not been released yet.
“UNICEF will give the ministry feedback tomorrow (Wednesday) on whether they will pay the staff that were not in the World Bank program (run by UNICEF),” she said.
“UNICEF is an international organisation. They can also protect their reputation.” They will not go anywhere with their money. It is just a matter of patience for one day or two days. “
Atong said the strike should not always be the solution when people can sit down and address matters amicably.
“We are working hard as a government to make sure that they are paid because we know that if they are not paid, the people who are going to suffer are our people,” she added.
Late last month, medical workers at Bor Hospital, Jonglei State suspended their services, demanding three arrears.
They discharged all the patients except a few who were in critical condition.
The strike spread to Anyidi, Jalle, Kolnyang, and Pariak counties’ primary health care centres (PHCC), which also issued a 72-hour ultimatum for their incentives to be paid.
They claimed their children had been chased out of schools and they were unable to sustain their families as a result of delayed incentives.
“With the reference to the above, we are demanding two months’ incentives for September and October to be paid to us immediately,” the statement they released read in part.
By then, the state Minister of Health, Atong Kuol Manyang, requested asked medical workers to be patient as the issue was merely a misunderstanding that would be ironed out.
She revealed that Care International had replaced Medicos Del Mundo as the new implementing partner, which would be paying staff and buying drugs.
“What happened is that the greater Bor, that is, Bor South, Duk County, and Twic East, had their MDM, as the implementing partners in the area of health.
“But their contract ended and Care International was supposed to take over in September, so this transition period has caused some delays in terms of paying the incentives,” Atong said.