Nurses and medical assistants in Liberia have threatened a national strike demanding higher insurance and adequate protective gear as the Ebola epidemic continues.
The National Health Workers Association wants an increase in the monthly risk fee paid to those treating Ebola cases.
Liberia’s Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said a strike would have negative consequences on those suffering from Ebola and would adversely affect progress made so far in the fight against the disease.
The government says the scale of the epidemic means it now cannot afford the risk fee originally agreed.
The risk fee is currently less than $500 a month, on top of basic salaries of between $200-$300. Staff are now seeking a risk fee of $700 a month. The health workers also want personal protective equipment and insurance. Ninety-five of their colleagues have so far died from Ebola. Liberia is one of the countries worst affected by the epidemic.
More than 4,000 people have so far died in the outbreak.
Six months after the epidemic began in west Africa there are still only about a quarter of the treatment beds required to tackle it.
Food is now in short supply as markets are disrupted in some parts of the three countries worst affected: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
In Liberia, elections have been postponed because the gathering of people at polling stations would endanger lives.