Gbarpolu County – 52 community health workers implementing the International Organization for Migration (IOM) supported Community Event Based Surveillance (CEBS) project are claiming that they have not been paid for four months.
According to the aggrieved health workers based in Belle health district, Gbarpolu County, they were hired by the Youth in Action for the Prevention of HIV/AIDs (YAPA, Inc.). Each community health workers are pay $US30.00 per month.
The Community Health Volunteers were trained in March this year and have worked until now, according to Harris Tanjoe, CHC member of Camp Barte, in belle district. Tanjoe said they have been trained to identify signs and symptoms of certain priority sicknesses like cholera, bloody diarrhea and maternal heath, but are disappointment over the delays in getting their salaries.
Said Tanjoe: “Since our training they (YAPA) have only pay us for March and April, and we have not gotten pay for May (up) to August and the contract will end this September”.
Added Joseph Beyan,“My fear has to do with what happened to us during the Ebola time; they photographed us, give us computer ID and paid us for two months, up to now (for) the reminder two months we did not get paid.”
Beyan said they were requested by their supervisors to be at Belle Fassama to receive their pay, but they did not get their money when they arrived. He said they were again ordered to return without hope of getting their arrears, adding that officials of YAPA have often blamed the delays on the deplorable condition of the roads.
“This money business has created tension in the whole district,” Beyan said, expressing fear that he could be hunted by YAPA because of his revelation to the media. “After this interview, when they come in Belle Fassama some of us will be in problem, but that I not (don’t) fear. When they get on me I will still come to Bopolu and talk to the county authorities.”
The two community health workers who spoke to a Local Voices Liberia reporter claimed they walked for over five hours from Belle Fassama to Belle Yealla, and later paid L$1,500.00 each as Motorbike fare to reach Bopolu City – where they were expected to be paid their salaries.
The aggrieved community health workers are calling on IOM, the Gbarpolu County health team and local authorities to intervene.
Meanwhile, YAPA Executive Director, Harrison M. Cokie, Jr., said the aggrieved health workers made procedural error.
“My field staffs and even office staffs and myself (I) have not taken pay for almost 5 Months.” Mr. Cokie said. “IOM did not give us four months money; IOM gave us two months money to give them all the other people finished getting their money. We could not go to them to pay because of the bad roads. So we are waiting for IOM to add the other two months money for us to go and pay”.
More than 2000 Community Health Care Volunteers have been trained in disease surveillance and response by eight local non-governmental organizations that are implementing the Community surveillance in eight of Liberia fifteen counties.
These community health workers are working daily in their respective areas; identify signs and symptoms of selected priority diseases such as Polio, Cholera, Bloody Diarrhea, Maternal and Neonatal Death, Measles, Meningitis, Yellow Fever.
This CEBS county level project is a post Ebola program which is funded by the International Organization for Migration and the youth in action for the prevention of HIV/AIDS Incorporated is a partner of the IOM working in Gbarpolu.
Report By: Henry Gboluma
Editor’s Note: This story was earlier published by FrontPage Africa on its website and the September 6, 2016 paper edition. LocalVoicesLiberia is proud to partner with FrontPageAFrica in lifting the voices of Liberians across the country.