The Ministry of Health (MoH) has commenced payments of hazard back pay for the months of October-December 2014 to at least 1,587 routine healthcare workers in 13 of Liberia’s 15 counties.
With support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), four teams comprising personnel of the County Health Team (CHT), Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Ministry of Health and a bank staff have been deployed to carry out the payments across the targeted counties.
This process, which started Tuesday, May 19, is in continuation of a payment scheme, which initially began with the disbursement of salaries and risk benefits to Ebola Incident Management staff during the first phase, sometime in 2014. The payment scheme is under a US$2 million World Bank grant, using a Multi- Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) which UNDP manages. To jumpstart the payment plan, UNDP had conducted an independent audit of the list of workers to verify its authenticity.
The audit illustrated poor planning in the recruitment and resource management for these workers, but concluded that the workers had been contracted and working officially in counties for a period of 4 months. The Ebola virus first came to Liberia through Lofa County, when a traveler crossed the border from neighboring Guinea in March 2014. The World Health Organization (WHO) officially certificated and declared Liberia free of Ebola on May 9.
Payment to the 1,587 routine healthcare workers is in two categories – professional health care workers which include certified midwives, nurses and doctors are receiving a maximum amount of US$900. Those in the category of service providers, like security and janitorial staff, are receiving payments within a range of US$200 to US$250, for the period October-December 2014.