From Awareness Times Newspaper in
In Sierra Leone, Cleaners barricade mental home
By Bampia Bundu
Sep 17, 2010, 17:26
Work at the country only Psychiatric Hospital commonly known as ‘Kissy Mental Home’ was brought to an abrupt standstill when cleaners barricaded the main entrance of the building as a way of protest for them not being paid for the past three months.
The strikers prevented doctors, nurses and other workers from entering the hospital premises and were manifested determination to cause chaos. One of the aggrieved cleaners who identified himself as Joseph Saidu informed Awareness Times late yesterday that they resorted to their action as a last resort being that they had made several representations to their employer whose name he gave as Mr. Edgerton an APC stalwart for their salaries to be paid but to no avail.
The said Mr. Edgerton, the vexed cleaner claimed won the contract from the Freetown City Council to provide cleaning service in the hospital but has never given them a dim since they started work three months ago.
Mr. Saidu they had earlier on reported their grievances to officials at the Health Ministry but according to him, nothing seem to have come out that complaint.
Senior workers of the hospital who spoke to our reporter on account of anonymity expressed total embarrassment over the whole issue and blamed government for what happened.
A senior staff member in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation commented that “the devolution of certain activities of the hospitals to Local Councils was a political mistake and should be reverted if better work should take place.”
The officer noted that the trouble is not only with the Mental Home, but with all hospitals whose control and management have been assumed by Local Councils.
This reporter tried to contact the Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation for his comment but was not available. A Senior Secretary of the Ministry however confirmed the strike action of the cleaners. He said the matter was reported to them earlier, but that they advised the workers to direct their concerns to the Freetown City Council.
Â© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.