Junior Doctors in Sierra Leone go on strike

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Dr. Catherine Jackson- Cole

Junior Doctors Association  in Sierra Leone ( JUDASIL) have started a nation-wide strike action following an assault on one of its members, a female medical doctor, Dr. Catherine Jackson- Cole working at the country’s main referral hospital –Connaught Hospital adding that they demand an immediate resignation of the Chief Medical Officer , the permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health including the deputy of Minister of  Health and Sanitation 1 as their members don’t feel safe and confident working with authorities who violate the fundamental human rights of  its people.

According to the release, the junior doctors will be laying down their tools with immediate effect, until appropriate action is taken about the assault and the working environment; the cleaning at Connaught Hospital, the issue of water supply at Princess Christian Maternity Hospital is improved.

“In the early hours of today, 13th April 2021, the executive of Junior doctors’ associations of Sierra Leone was informed about an unfortunate situation at Connaught Hospital where one of its female members was physically assaulted by the permanent Secretary (PS) the chief Medical Officer (CMO) and the deputy Minister of 1 (DM1) of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS),’’ the release reads.

According to the junior doctors they saw the assault on one of its member as frustrating and show the continuous disrespect by the officials at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation towards them as medical practitioners across the nation.

Dr. Jackson Cole has been recently vocal highlighting some of the challenges at the country biggest and largest referral hospital including the state owned children’s hospital, the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital through her twitter account which has been trending on different social media platforms including whatsApp drawing the attention of the Bio-led government to take action over the poor system delivery, the lack of infrastructure in the health sector.

“Walking through Connaught corridors and through ward 1 and 3 was I have patients I am shocked that the problem with the mounting filth has been resolved. I am ashamed to work here. No cleaners around because they haven’t been paid,’’ she wrote on her twitter feeds on 12th April 2021.

“The JUDASIL executive and its membership are following the matter keenly. It is worth noting that the said assaulted member has been very dedicated and proactive in discussing matters concerning health care in Sierra Leone. It is important for the public to that despite the deplorable condition and filth at Connaught Hospital and other facilities around the country, doctors have continued to work and serve the public with commitment. It is unfortunate that authorities that should mitigate the filth at the facility are adding salt to the injury,’’ the junior doctors added.

Meanwhile a release on Tuesday signed by the Minister of Health, Dr. Austin Demby said that the leadership of the Ministry is fully committed to resolving a labour dispute and another incident involving staff of the country’s healthy Ministry.

“The general public and staff of the Ministry are encouraged to remained calm and continue their normal business as these matters are fully investigated to a peaceful and amicable conclusion,’’ the release reads.

“The public will be informed as investigations into all incidents unfold’’

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One Comment

  1. Since 2019, the general health of the country is in intensive care due to suffocation from bad govanance, lack of rule of law and corruption. This has resulted in a widespread poverty, chaos and indescipline and low mortality rate across the country in recent times. There has been numerous illegal and inhumane police shooting of innocent civilians since 2020, a most recent incident in Hastings suburb. These criminal activities of government officials, and the police should not be tolerated in any shape or form. The Human Rights Commission in the country speaks and rights on some of these incidents, but lack the capacity and willpower to effect any immediate legal action on behalf of the victims. The ACC Commissioner has, in recent times been on a country-wide political campaign and self-gratification mission, rather than enforcing the Commission’s objectives and achievements, if any. The Health Minister don’t seem to want to publically challenge the lack of support for his ministry for fear of offending his employer. He rather prefers to be passive. The Police Commissionner recently appointed has only once said anything publicly despise the very many critical situations since he assumed office. Neither does his PRO known what and when to say something to the public when things get off track security-wise. The entire nation is in political and unlawful lockdown. They have been held hostage by the lack of adequate govanance in the country. Jungle justice is the order of the day. Everyone is in fear to say anything against these injustices and lack of rule of law. Everyone is watching the volcano boiling…but for now…who can cool the situation before its lava erupt.

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