Sierra Leone Ebola workers dump bodies in salary protest

Burial workers in Sierra Leone have dumped bodies in the street outside a hospital in protest at authorities’ failure to pay bonuses for handling Ebola victims. Residents said up to 15 corpses had been abandoned in the eastern town of Kenema, three of them at a hospital entrance to stop people entering. The bodies included those of two babies. A spokesman for the striking workers said they had not been paid their weekly hazard allowance for seven weeks. Authorities acknowledged the money had not been paid but said all the striking members of the Ebola Burial Team would be dismissed.

Displaying corpses in a very, very inhumane manner is completely unacceptable.

Sidi Yahya Tunis, spokesman for the National Ebola Response Centre

Healthcare workers have repeatedly gone on strike in Liberia and Sierra Leone over pay and dangerous working conditions. Two weeks ago, workers walked off the job at a clinic in Bo in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone has become the biggest hotspot in the West African Ebola epidemic, which has killed nearly 5,500 people since March. Underscoring the gravity, another Sierra Leonean doctor, Aiah Solomon Konoyeima, tested positive for the disease. All seven Sierra Leonean doctors who previously caught Ebola have died of it. The outbreak appears to be coming under control in neighbouring Liberia and Guinea, but infection rates have accelerated in Sierra Leone.