Zorzor, Lofa County – General Community Health Volunteers (GCHV) in Lofa County have threatened to abandon work because of delays in the payment of their stipend for three months.
Zorzor District has about fifty (50) community health volunteers assigned in the 42 towns, but 39 of them were contracted by the Rural community Empowerment Program (RUCEP) to create awareness and identify signs and symptoms of priority diseases like bloody diarrhea, yellow fever, and cholera just to name few in their community.
According to the disenchanted community health volunteers, they are not on government payroll, but are compensated with US$35.00 by the NGO every month.
The community health volunteers are responsible for identifying cases in their communities, report them to the officer in charge (OIC) of the nearest clinic and also create awareness on health and other related issues in the communities.
Amos Zoboi, a GCHV of Zeekida Town, complained that for the past three months they have not been compensated, and they are always in the community creating awareness on healthy problems.
“We are not paid by the government but contracted by them, three months now they can’t pay the little amount and we are in the field working, Zuboi said. “We are calling on RUCEP to pay our money or else we leave the work.”
Another GCHV, Yamah Washington lamented that the delay in the payment of their compensation is causing serious problem for them and their family because it is the only means of survivor.
“So we are calling on rural community empowerment program (RUCEP) through the district health officer to pay the money,” she said.
Oldman Tokpah of Boiyea town also complained about the delay in giving the compensation and threatened to leave the job if nothing is done.
“I will leave the job if RUCEP can’t give my three months compensation,” Tokpah said.
Responding the situation, Zorzor district health officer, Daniel Fayiah said the GCHV are not pay by government but they are contracted by MOH’s partners like RUCEP, While confirming the delays in the payment of their compensation.
Meanwhile, the Program Director of RUCEP also confirmed the delays, clarifying that the organization is implementing for International Organization for Migration (IOM).
He also confirmed that GCHVS in Voinjama are also owed two months stipends but asked the GCHVS to exercise restrain as their arrears will be paid next week.
“We are responsible to pay them but, they are not part of our budget as I speak; the money is the bank,” James Fayain said. “IOM is the organization we are implementing for; I am kindly asking them (GCHVs) to be patience.”
Similar situation unfolded in Gbarpolu County early this month when 52 community health workers implementing an IOM supported Community Event Based Surveillance (CEBS) project claimed that they have not been paid for four months.
Report by: Franklin Flomo, firstname.lastname@example.org/077594766