Ebola
A hazard payment delay has led to nurses striking work in Sierra Leone.Reuters

Nurses at a public hospital in Makeni in northern Sierra Leone went on strike on Thursday claiming that hazard pay for the month of November had not been paid by the government.

Around 30 nurses at the Mabenteh Hospital stayed off work.

A spokesman for the nurses told public radio that they would not attend to any patient, even those already admitted, until they were paid.

It was the second day of a five-day lockdown imposed in the country's north with markets and shops shut and travel between districts strictly forbidden, reports AFP.

Christmas celebrations were low-key following a ban.

Awareness teams were going door-to-door in the west of the country, including in the capital Freetown, for a mass education campaign which is to last until December 31.

"We want to hit zero cases soon and although we don't have a fixed date as to when Ebola will end, I think we can say by the first quarter of 2015," said Palo Conteh, head of the government's National Ebola Response Centre.

Sierra Leone recently overtook Liberia as the country with the highest number of infections, recording 9,004 cases and 2,582 deaths, WHO said.

The death of a tenth doctor recently has triggered alarm among the medical fraternity in the country, where the outbreak started with just two doctors for every 100,000 people.

With just about 2,400 health workers for a country of 6 million people, Sierra Leone has lost over 100 people to Ebola. The disease that spreads through bodily fluids puts healthcare workers and doctors at maximum risk of contracting the disease.