Frontline health workers in Kapilvastu deprived of risk allowanceSome health workers in the district have set up coronavirus insurance in their own initiatives by paying premiums themselves.
A staff nurse at the Kapilvastu District Hospital got infected with Covid-19 for the second time in August. She had first contracted the virus in May and had stayed in the hospital’s isolation ward before recovering and going back to work.
As per an announcement made by the Ministry of Health and Population, health workers deployed in the frontline are to get a risk allowance equivalent to their salary. The nurse, however, has yet to get her risk allowance.
An auxiliary health worker at Birpur Health Post in Shivaraj Municipality also tested positive for coronavirus last month. He said he was infected while he was deployed at a quarantine facility set up at Nepal Rastriya Secondary School in Chandrauta. He too has yet to receive any allowance from the government. In fact none of the health workers deployed in the frontline in Kapilvastu have received their risk allowance.
A total of 40 health workers in Kapilvastu have been infected with Covid-19 as of Saturday.
With the spike in cases in the community and the high risk of virus transmission, some health workers in the district have set up coronavirus insurance in their own initiatives by paying premiums themselves, according to Ratnakar Shukla, the manager at Kapilvastu District Hospital.
“We have to bear the cost of coronavirus insurance ourselves, as the authorities concerned have ignored frontline workers,” Shukla said.
As many as 30 health workers at the district hospital tested positive for the virus, which had led to the closing of the hospital for two weeks from August 10.
None of those infected health workers got any kind of allowance from the government.
"I was infected with Covid-19 while providing treatment to coronavirus patients," said Dr Kishwor Banjade, the medical superintendent at the hospital. “However, the government has been neglecting the health workers who are working in the frontline to contain the virus.”
Pashupatimani Tripathi, a Kapilvastu-based rights activist, argued that the provincial government should be responsible to provide coronavirus insurance facilities to health workers, as the district hospital is run by the provincial government.
"The provincial government should encourage health workers in the frontline and provide them with additional facilities and incentives," said Tripathi.
Meanwhile, the District Health Office said that it wrote to the provincial government a few weeks ago to provide coronavirus insurance facilities to the health workers.
"But the provincial government has yet to respond," said Yogendra Bhagat, chief at the health office.
Kapilvastu, a district in Province 5, is the hotspot for Covid-19 in the country. The district has reported a total of 1,168 coronavirus cases as of Sunday, with 134 active cases.