Thursday, 23 April 2020

HEALTH WORKERS GET RISK ALLOWANCES


HEALTH workers reporting for duty have started receiving the Covid-19 risk allowance from Government amounting to $1 500. 

The allowance is based on the risk factor as determined by the authorities. The health workers have been grouped into three risk categories: high, moderate and low risk for the Covid-19 allowances.

In the high-risk category are health workers in contact with the positive cases and these include doctors, nurses, radiographers, laboratory staff, environmental health workers, oral health staff, nurse aides, ambulance drivers, mortuary attendants and general hands.

In the moderate risk category are those in contact with patients or suspected cases and these include the pharmacy, rehabilitation, laundry and health promotion staff.

All other health workers fall into the low risk category as they have been deemed to have indirect contact with patients or suspected cases.

The health workers on the higher risk level will receive 100 percent of the risk allowance which is $1 500, while 60 percent and 40 percent of that amount – $900 and $600 – is paid to those on the moderate risk and low risk levels.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) president Dr Tawanda Zvakada said the doctors who are at high risk received a risk allowance amounting to $1 500 which will be paid every month. 

“We received the risk allowance but it is not much at all. The $1 500 is not enough, taking note of the increase in prices of basic commodities at the shops,” said Dr Zvakada.

He dismissed social media claims that health workers received US$100 as a risk allowance.

Apex Council Health chairperson, Mr Enock Dongo said health workers started to receive the risk allowance on top of their monthly salaries this month.

He said health workers who are in contact with the Covid-19 patients get a higher amount.

“The health workers have started receiving the monthly risk allowance as of this month’s pay date. All the nurses, doctors and general hands were put at the high-risk level. Supporting staff at the hospital who are those who do not come into contact with the patients but are there at the hospital are the ones on moderate level. Those who are in the administration were graded into the low risk,” said Mr Dongo.

He said they will continue to appeal to Government to review the risk allowance upward. “We appeal to the Government and the corporate world to come on board and make sure they motivate the frontline workers.

“We are like in a war. Everyone should come up and pull resources together for the health workers in this pandemic. Going to work not knowing what will happen to our families since we are breadwinners, psychologically affects the health workers. There is a need to ensure that they are cushioned in this era,” said Mr Dongo.

He said if health workers are not motivated in the fight against Covid-19, then more positive cases in the country are inevitable.

“The moment the health workers are not motivated definitely they are not going to put their maximum efforts and knowledge to come and contain the spread of Covid-19, thus this risk allowance should be reviewed upwards. We are also not happy about the lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at hospitals.

It’s like we are sending soldiers to war without guns,” said Mr Dongo.- Herald

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