Members of the Pharmaceutical Association of Liberia (PAL) on Monday were seen demonstrating in demand for higher salaries and against ill-treatment in the Liberian health care system, they also called on the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr. Samuel Tweah to make good on his promise to pharmacists in Liberia, that he was going to do all in his reach to reclassify pharmacists.
The Heath professionals on Monday, June 27, 2022, carrying placards and chanting slogans, converged at the headquarters of the Ministry of Health in the suburbs of Congo, Tubman Boulevard after several complaints to the requisite authorities without redress. The strike action drew the attention of stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, Civil Servants Agency (CSA), and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) who invited them to a meeting in the Health Ministry to discuss the matter.
The meeting according to the spokesperson of the group, Professor George Sorbor, was called to discuss the huge salary disparity between pharmacists and other health care professionals. Mr. Sorbor after the meeting spoke in an interview, revealed that the Ministry of Health, Finance, and CSA have agreed to the validation process before the reclassification of pharmacists by August 15, 2022.
” 54% gap is too huge. I am very certain and we hold them by their word, because we will not relent, we will always peruse this because this is the remuneration we want. We want this huge gap to be narrowed. Pharmacists are key members of the public health team, so what we heard today, we are holding them by that, we have told our constituency”, Professor Sorbor expressed.
He alarmed that pharmacists have been marginalized to the worst degree, saying the least salary for pharmacists is USD$250 as compared to the least salary of physicians or general practitioners which he said is USD$2,500. “We went to school for ten years, I am a Doctor of Pharmacist, and my colleagues are doctors of medicine, we have all contributed to the public health growth of this nation. You can not say that we are not doing anything. We have saved this nation.”
Speaking further on the matter, he mentioned that Pharmacists have done their part yet people are saying they are not contributing anything, emphasizing that they have been marginalized and since their concerns are now before the stakeholders, he hopes that they can get timely redress on the issue of the huge salary disparity. After this other things will follow, he added.
Dr. George Sorbor was followed by the President of the PAL, Madam Matilnue Dukuly Fahnbulleh, who said as the head of the group, she is concerned with the mandate of the people who elected her, pointing out salary disparity, housing, and other issues of welfare of Pharmacists have to be addressed, adding that their plight is key to the developmental goal of the health sector.
“You can not separate pharmacists from the health sector if you want the health sector to be good, that is very misleading. Even in a common scenario, when you go to the hospital and all your examinations are done, you can not walk out of the hospital without medicine. This is what we say all functions in the hospital work and patients outcome is optimal”, she lamented.
For the record according to Dr. Dukuly Fahnbulleh, the group is going to make sure that it gets the desired result because they have been going back and forth with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to date nothing has been done. She maintained that pharmacists remain paramount now and forever and the group will uphold that for the reclassification.
“We hope to get redressed because of the stakeholders that were present at the meeting. We told them about the reclassification and welfare of pharmacists in the counties among other things. I am saying to all pharmacists in and around Liberia to remain vigilant for your remuneration, do not be satisfied until you get your reclassified salary”, she further commented.
Reported by: Stephen G. Fellajuah