Health workers deprived of risk allowance in BaglungThe Health Ministry had announced a 50 to 100 percent allowance to Covid-19 frontline workers.
The government had declared to provide a cent percent Covid-19 risk allowance to frontline health workers and a 50 percent risk allowance to workers in the second line. But health workers in Baglung district have been deprived of Covid-19 risk allowance since May 2020.
In Baglung, the Covid-19 infection rate has risen since mid-March. Currently, there are 18 Covid-19 patients receiving treatment in Dhaulagiri Zonal Hospital. Other Covid-19 patients are staying in home isolation, according to the hospital data.
Due to the increase in the number of symptomatic patients, it is necessary to expand swab collection and testing. But the hospital administration says its health workers are reluctant to work in the front line because they have been deprived of risk allowance.
“How long do we have to work without getting our risk allowances?” said a doctor of Dhaulagiri Zonal Hospital.
The Health Ministry in April last year had announced a 50 to 100 percent allowance to doctors, health workers and sanitation workers deployed in the frontline in the fight against Covid-19.
A parliamentary team, including Speaker of Gandaki provincial assembly Netranath Adhikari, recently visited the hospital to inspect and take stock of the preparation and infrastructure developed to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Twenty-five doctors and nurses at the hospital who worked in the front line for almost four months have yet to receive their risk allowance,” said Dr Shailendra Pokharel, medical superintendent of the hospital.
According to the data of the District Health Office in Baglung, around 200 health workers, including those working in designated hospitals for Covid-19 in various local units of Baglung, have not received any allowance until now.
“The rate of Covid-19 infection has been on a rise but the government authorities are not concerned about adding more quarantine and isolation facilities,” said Suraj Gurau, chief at the District Health Office in Baglung. “Most of the health workers do not wish to work in Covid-19 treatment and isolation wards since the government failed to provide them with the promised allowances.”
According to Gurau, he had asked the Ministry of Health and Population to provide them with risk allowances time and again but to no avail.
“Workers who were involved in the operation of quarantine facilities in various parts of the district are also left without allowances,” said Gurau.
Dev Prakash Ghimire, the focal person of Covid-19 in the District Health Office, said that more than 50 percent of the district’s frontline workers tested positive for Covid-19 last year.
“Now, they don’t want to be deployed to Covid-19 centres,” Ghimire said.
Meanwhile, Manibhadra Sharma, chief of the parliamentary team, assured frontline health workers that they will soon be getting their risk allowances and other facilities.
“The Hospital Development Committee of Dhaulagiri Zonal Hospital has also taken initiatives to provide risk allowances to frontline health workers. Risk allowance is necessary to motivate health workers in the front line,” said KB Rana Magar, chairman of the Dhaulagiri Zonal Hospital Development Committee.