A doctors’ strike in Sierra Leone has left Covid-19 patients in some of the main treatment centres without care.
The doctors say they were promised hazard pay for their work during the outbreak, which has not yet been paid.
The strike marks an escalation in a row between doctors and government over what doctors say is a misuse of funds for the coronavirus response and a lack of protection and compensation for health workers.
“No patient showing Covid-like symptoms will be treated by any doctor until we have the support we need,” said S K Jusu, the head doctor at Fourah Bay College, a school whose dormitories have been transformed into the country’s largest Covid-19 treatment centre on a hill overlooking the capital Freetown.
Sierra Leone, which is among the world’s poorest countries, has recorded nearly 1,500 coronavirus cases with 60 deaths. Of the virus cases, 160 have been health workers.
The former British colony was hard hit by the 2014-16 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, during which nearly 4,000 people, including 250 medical workers died.