Senior Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) Deepika Singh of Pokhariya Hospital in Parsa was quoted by BBC Nepali as complaining that none of the health workers employed at the hospital, who were deployed for COVID-19 treatment during the second wave of the pandemic, including herself, had received the promised COVID-19 risk allowance from the government.
During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, health workers were working long hours sans break. Keeping their relentless efforts towards saving public lives, the government had decided to provide risk allowance to the health workers assigned in the treatment of COVID patients.
About 50 health workers, including ANM Singh, had visited the medical superintendent of Pokhariya Hospital, Sanjay Gupta, requesting him to talk with the local and provincial governments about releasing their allowance.
Gupta said, “The federal government responds by saying that the provincial government will provide us the allowance, while the provincial government points fingers at the federal government stating that it has not sent them risk allowance funds.”
He added that the government’s failure to provide risk allowance had made a negative impact on health workers’ enthusiasm to work.
Along with the health workers of Pokhariya Hospital, healthcare institutions in different parts of the country have been complaining that they have not received the promised risk allowance from the government.
About four months ago, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had promised that 50 percent risk allowance would be provided to the health workers within a week.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Birodh Khatiwada said, “The government is not backing out from its promise. Health workers on duty for COVID-19 treatment will be given their share of the risk allowance soon.”
The government has mentioned the provision of risk allowance in the budget of the fiscal year 2078/79 and separated Rs 554.7 million for risk allowance.
Of that, about Rs 382 million has already been spent.
“At present, the Ministry of Health has demanded an additional Rs 450 million from the Ministry of Finance. The risk allowance will be provided to the health workers after receiving the amount,” said Khatiwada.