Frontline workers in Kalaiya Hospital deprived of Covid-19 risk allowanceHealth workers and employees have been staging a sit-in for the past one week demanding immediate release of the allowance.
Health workers and other frontline workers at Kalaiya Hospital in Bara district have been protesting for the past one week demanding immediate release of Covid-19 risk allowance. Frontline health workers and employees working to contain Covid-19 and provide services to coronavirus patients are eligible for the allowance.
A total of 105 workers of the hospital have been staging a sit-in in front of the hospital, suspending all work except in the emergency, gynaecology and OPD units. According to them, all of them are deprived of the risk allowance for the past 10 months.
“The government has done injustice to the employees of the Covid-19 hospital. It had announced risk allowance for the employees mobilised in the frontline since March last year. But we have not received the allowance so far,” said Phul Mohammad Ansari, a technician working at the hospital’s laboratory. He said the health workers and employees were compelled to stage demonstrations, as they have been working without the risk allowance for a long time.
“The health workers and employees of the district health office have already received the risk allowance but we have not,” said Ansari.
The health authorities have turned Kalaiya Hospital into a Covid-19 hospital with an objective to provide treatment to coronavirus patients in the area. As many as 20 health workers and employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus during their deployment for the treatment of coronavirus patients.
A budget of Rs 8 million allocated for the risk allowance froze in the last fiscal year as the then medical superintendent at the hospital Birendra Mandal did not issue the allowance to the health workers and employees on time. The federal government had released the amount to the hospital but Mandal failed to provide the allowance to the frontline workers.
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.
“The federal government had announced a risk allowance 10 months ago. But we have not received any amount so far,” said Shobha Rajbanshi, an employee at the hospital. The protesting workers complained that they had been staging a sit-in since January 11 but the authorities concerned have paid no heeds to address their demands.
Dr Sunil Kuswaha, the medical superintendent who was transferred to the hospital a few months ago, vowed to take an initiative to provide the workers with the allowance.
“I’m not sure of last year’s risk allowance. The government has not issued the budget for the current fiscal year. I will release the allowance once it is provided to the hospital,” said Kuswaha.