Health workers go on strike at Sierra Leone Ebola treatment centre

A girl suspected of being infected with the Ebola virus has her temperature checked at the government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, on August 16, 2014.  Health workers at a major state-run Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone said on
A girl suspected of being infected with the Ebola virus has her temperature checked at the government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, on August 16, 2014.  Health workers at a major state-run Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone said on Saturday they had gone on strike over pay and poor working conditions. -- PHGOTO: AFP

FREETOWN (REUTERS) - Health workers have gone on strike at a major state-run Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone, over pay and poor working conditions, hospital staff told Reuters on Saturday.

Sierra Leone's government is struggling to cope with the worst Ebola outbreak in history, that has killed more than 1,550 people across West Africa, with the rate of infection still rising.

"The workers decided to stop working because we have not been paid our allowances and we lack some tools," said Ishmael Mehemoh, chief supervisor at the clinic in the city of Kenema, in the country's east.

Clothing to protect health workers being infected is inadequate and there is only one broken stretcher which is used to carry both patients and corpses, Mehemoh added.

More than 20 health workers have already died from Ebola at the Kenema health clinic after catching the highly contagious virus from the patients they are fighting to save.

Sierra Leone's new health minister, Abubakarr Fofana, who took over on Friday after his predecessor was sacked, said on Saturday that a doctor from the Kenema facility had died.