Nurses at Liberia’s largest hospital have gone on strike, demanding better pay and equipment to protect themselves against the deadly Ebola virus which has killed hundreds in the West Africa.
Early on Monday, health experts said doctors and nurses fighting the world’s biggest outbreak of the virus in West Africa should get incentives including better pay, insurance and access to the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp.
Spokesman for the strikers at Monrovia’s John F Kennedy hospital, John Tugbeh, said the nurses would not return to work until they are supplied with personal protective equipment, PPE.
“From the beginning of the Ebola outbreak we have not had any protective equipment to work with. As result, so many doctors got infected by the virus. We have to stay home until we get the PPEs,” he said.
The Ebola virus, which is transmitted through contact with infected bodily fluids, has killed more than 1,500 people in four countries since the start of the year almost 700 of them from Liberia.
A high proportion of the deaths – near 10 per cent – have been among health workers and the World Health Organisation has warned that the outbreak is set to get a lot worse, predicting up to 20,000 cases before it is brought under control.
Meanwhile, a highly anticipated test of an experimental Ebola vaccine will begin this week amid mounting anxiety about the spread of the deadly virus in West Africa.
Researchers in the US have been given the green light to begin what’s called a human safety trial. It will be the first test of this type of Ebola vaccine in humans.
The experimental vaccine will first be given to three healthy human volunteers to see if they suffer any adverse effects.