By Landing Ceesay
The Secretary-General of the National Association of Gambian Nurses & Midwives (NAGANM) Ousman Touray has alleged that Gambian Nurses are overworked, but underpaid and under-protected against infections.
He added that the working conditions of Gambian nurses is sad and they are facing difficulties in all sectors ranging from payment of their salaries to their protection against anything harmful to them.
“Nurses are overworked, they are underpaid, they are under-protected against infections, they are under-protected against working colleagues, [and]they are under-protected against even the public. When there is an issue between nurses and other colleagues against nurses, there is never justice, equity or equality [in]the ways we are treated in the health sector. The disparities are too huge, they are not only about finances, but even the way we are treated and respected in the health sector,” he said.
SG Touray also said nurses in countries like Senegal, Ghana, Zambia and Malawi, could pay Gambian nurses thrice from their salaries.
“About the remuneration of nurses, a nurse in Senegal can pay a nurse in the Gambia three times or more, a nurse in Ghana can pay a nurse in the Gambia three times or more, a nurse in Zambia and Malawi can pay a nurse in the Gambia three times or more. I am not just giving you baseless facts, I have been to some of these countries and I have friends in some of these countries through some international linkages I have with them and I inquired and to know them. My recent inquiry was Malawi and in Malawian currency, their 400, 000 is equivalent to 30. 000 Gambian dalasi which can pay more than three nurses in the Gambia,” Mr Touray told Journalists at a press conference by his association on their planned sit-down strike amid incompletion of the payment of their allowances by the Health Ministry.
The NAGANM Secretary-General said Gambian nurses struggled from paycheque to paycheque.
“Nursing is driven by passion in this country, not money; all that nurses are asking for is the minimum- to put food on the table, provide shelter and live a minimum dignified life. This is what we are asking for. But it will be sad to know that nurses live from paycheque to paycheque in this country. We struggle every day without basic needs and the needs of our families, even if you have a family of just three; this is the truth, because of the payment conditions of nurses in this country. Nurses work for more than 12 to 18 hours of their lives and spend 4 hours sleeping and 3 hours for their families. This is the reality,” Mr Touray said.
The NAGANM Secretary-General made these remarks in Banjul at a press conference on the ongoing sit-down strike by members of the association.
It could be recalled that earlier this week, the National Association of Gambian Nurses and Midwives (NAGANM) in response to the letter from the Ministry of Health regarding the payment of their allowances announced to commenced a nationwide sit-down alleging that the Health Ministry has “refused” to honour their agreement to pay their allowances by end of August.
Research has shown that an average monthly earning of a nurse in Senegal is around 338,000 Senegalese CFA, approximately D31, 000; while that of a Gambian nurse is approximately GMD 10, 000, given a difference of D21, 000.