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Junior Sierra Leone Doctors on Partial Strike Over Ebola Protection

FILE -A healthcare worker dons protective gear before entering an Ebola treatment center in the west of Freetown, Sierra Leone,Oct. 16, 2014..

Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma has assured junior doctors, who have been on a partial strike over the lack of proper care for local Ebola care givers, that their demands will be met.

About 106 medical personnel have died from Ebola in Sierra Leone, including 10 doctors, three of them as recently as last week.

The doctors said they want a specialized Ebola unit equipped with a dialysis machine to treat them whenever they are infected by their patients and cannot be evacuated overseas.

They also said they want an insurance policy.

Government spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay said President Koroma met Tuesday with representatives of the Sierra Leone Doctors’ Association and assured them their demands will be addressed immediately.

“As a matter of fact, his excellency the president, met with the junior doctors today at State House wherein they discussed some of the concerns, one of those being they wanted more protection in terms of their colleagues who have died at the hands of Ebola. They also wanted some insurance policy,” he said.

Bayraytay said President Koroma told the doctors he appreciates their invaluable role in the fight against Ebola.

The World Health Organization said Tuesday that Sierra Leone had taken over as the country with the highest number of Ebola cases in West Africa.

It said Sierra Leone had 7,798 of the 17,800 cases reported in the three hard-hit countries since December.

Bayraytay said the doctors promised to go back to work after receiving a firm commitment from President Koroma that their grievances will be addressed.

“We, as a government has already contacted the emergency hospitals. They have agreed that all what they’ve (the doctors) requested for will be in the country around the 17th of this month. The installation and everything will be up and running by the 20th of this month,” Bayraytay said.

But a spokesman for the doctors’ association, Dr. Hoody Lymon, said the doctors are leaving their option open until after the whole body has had a chance to consider the government’s proposals.

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