Gambian nurses and midwives have given the government a 29 April ultimatum to meet their wage demands or face an indefinite sit down strike.

The health workers are demanding increase in pay and allowances a day after The Gambia Government issued a statement about a pay review of public sector workers.

Sanna Biro Darboe, spokesman of the Nurses and Midwives Association, described the Government statement as “untimely intended to baffle them in to believing that the Government is doing something with regard to this issue. 

“But we are not moved by this press release that we saw in the media now and that will not stop us from doing whatever action that we want to do on the 29 April if the government didn’t engage us this month. 

“No amount of threat, no amount of statement or whatever the authorities want can stop us from taking any decisive action come on the 29 of April as early as 8am.”

Mr Darboe added: “They [government] realise that we are having our press conference. So that’s why they came up with their press release just to baffle people.”

Yusupha Sanyang, president of the Association, also issued a stern warning that any attempt by the government to shun their demands will result in damage to the nation’s healthcare system.

Meanwhile, one of the association members however welcomed the government’s new announced plan to increase salaries of civil services but insisted his association will only believe the statement once their demands are met on time.

“If it is in line with what we want we will definitely be happy, but if it is not in line with what we want we will definitely push forward,” he said. 

“We have been suffering for quite a long time and the endurance, we see is that no one is observing our pains and no one is feeling our pain,” a female nurse said, describing “nurses are really the backbone of the health system in the country and wherever you go.”

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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