A vicious circle: authorities paying lip service to frontline workers who refuse to let the world know the truth

Some years ago, a very senior person in our health service (now retired) told me how difficult it was for some of them to share the same platform with me. It was uncomfortable for them if we were all invited to a programme and had to speak.

After I had talked about the practical things we are doing on the ground with little resources, when it was their turn to speak, they felt guilty because they knew that (objective) people will ask what support they were giving us in our work.

Na who cause am, as we say locally. Who or what has caused this? When for close to a whole year, nobody remembers those on the ground doing the ‘dirty work’ to solve problems, it can be heartbreaking for these frontline workers. Nobody goes to them to ask about their challenges and about what support they need to continue doing what they do (and perhaps even more). They are remembered only when some of the top people need data to go and present at some international conference to show that they are also doing well, or when a top figure (‘big’ politician, first/second lady…) is gracing an occasion as guest speaker and they need someone working on the ground to show that the ministry is working hard on the field.

Our leaders can continue to pay lip service to our most gallant servants, not care to support them, but at the appropriate time those who have conscience will know the disservice they have done to the system, and if the gallant ground workers are sincere and would not be bootlickers on public platforms, the world will know that those in authority to solve our problems have more to do to support those who are actually doing the work on the ground.

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