Health workers deprived of risk allowance warn of halting serviceAs many as 53 frontline health workers at Dolakha District Hospital in Jiri have been deprived of the Covid-19 risk allowance for months.
Frontline health workers at the Dolakha District Hospital in Jiri have warned to halt services unless the authorities concerned provide them with Covid-19 risk allowances.
As many as 53 health workers, including six doctors, and other employees at the hospital have been deprived of the allowance. The agitating workers have been launching a series of protests for the past two months demanding that the authorities release the allowance but to no avail.
Health workers and employees working to contain Covid-19 and provide services to coronavirus patients are eligible for the allowance.
“We were compelled to hold protests, as Jiri Municipality ignored our demands to release the risk allowance immediately. We protested by tieing black arm bands and staging a sit-in in December and January. But we are still deprived of the allowance. We will halt our works and stage demonstrations if the authorities do not release the allowance soon,” said a health worker preferring anonymity.
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.
According to Dr Rakesh Shrestha, a doctor at the hospital, the district hospital had prepared the list of health workers and employees deployed in the frontline with their work details and submitted it to the concerned authorities in December last year. However, the employees are yet to receive the allowance.
The workers started their agitation on December 20, demanding the immediate release of the risk allowance.
“The municipality had urged us to call off the protest, promising to write to the health ministry. We are still waiting for the municipality to do something,” said Dr Shrestha. “It is learnt that the government had released the risk allowance up to mid-July last year but we have not received any amount so far.”
The District Health Office in Dolakha is aware about the issue raised by the health workers but says it is the local government’s responsibility to solve it.
“We do not have the details since the matter falls under the local government’s jurisdiction,” said Bibhu Jha, the senior public health officer in Dolakha.
Tanka Jirel, mayor of Jiri Municipality, admits that the frontline health workers are deprived of risk allowances for months.
“The health allowance could not be distributed, as the higher authority is yet to release the funds. Efforts are underway to release the amount immediately,” said Jirel.