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Healthcare workers resume work in Jonglei

By Deng Ghai Deng

Health workers at Bor State hospital in Jonglei State have resumed work after they laid down their tools over poor working conditions.

 Doctor Bol Chaw, the medical Director at Bor state hospital said that at least 200 health workers who walked off the job last Thursday, agreed to return to work after meeting with the state governor Denay Jock Chagor on Saturday.

“They resume their duties after meeting with the governor. Now they are working though their incentives have not been paid. It was a commitment from the governor that he was going to follow it up. Hundreds of patients seeking care at the hospital were stranded after doctors, nurses, midwives, lab technicians and other workers went on strike. The healthcare workers had earlier given the state government a 72-hour ultimatum to pay their incentives or they would strike.

Doctor Ajak Garang said that doctors agreed to return to work after meeting with the state governor who strengthened the deal by promising to expedite the payment of the 2months’ incentives.

“The condition was that we should not wait until the 15thof November; the money has to be paid before the 15th. The governor told us that he did not have the information and that he will have to talk to UNICEF whether here or in Juba.  We are waiting for the solution from the government, but if it does not work out, we shall still call for the meeting and go for another resolution that may be favorable to the staff”, Garang said.

Garang said that medical workers would lay down their tools again should the authorities not honor the agreement. He said it was hard for the health workers to continue to work when they could not support their families.

He said the workers at Bor state hospital have spent months without salaries since August 2020 and have been depending only on the incentives.

UNICEF has been paying incentives to more than 200 staff at Bor state hospital through a nonprofit Médicos Del Mundo or MDM. After the MDM contract ended recently, CARE International took up the task and the transition was delayed, resulting in the strike. 

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