By Kehinde Akinpelu, Ilorin
Health workers in Kwara on Friday appealed to the State Government government to pay them Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hazard inducement allowance.
The workers made the demand under the aegis of National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP), National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), and Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), through their Kwara chapter chairmen.
The Chairman, Kwara NAGGMDP, Dr Adebayo Lakadir, said that the members were appealing to the government to see to their welfare as done for their counterparts in University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH).
He said that though government has paid NAGGMDP members in the isolation centres taking care of COVID-19 patients, other members in several health facilities were also exposed to risk.
”Healthcare workers in Kwara are suffering in silence and our colleagues in UITH have been paid hazard allowance.
”We want the state government to see to our welfare too; though governemnt is taking care of those at the isolation centres, but those of us at the health facilities are the ones seeing patients that have not been diagnosed.
”We are at risk and many of us have come down with COVID-19 positive cases. Many of the doctors, nurses and those in laboratories have come down with the infection.
”They should please pay us COVID-19 hazard inducement allowance as they have paid our counterparts in the Teaching Hospital,” Lakadir urged.
He however pledged t the association would continue to support the government in delivering quality healthcare to residents.
”We will continue to support in the provision of quality healthcare to the citizens of Kwara.
”Though, no state has paid yet, but since our counterparts in the federal have been paid, it is not bad if Kwara take the lead in the payment across the country,” the medical expert said.
The MDCAN Chairman, Dr Ismaila Obalowu, also said that the association would love its members’ taxes on their salaries slashed by some percentage since the government had spent so much on COVID-19.
”We are appealing to the state government to assist our members to cope during this pandemic because the workload is increasing.
”And some of our members are getting infected with the virus. So we are appealing to government to consider an incentive for healthcare workers, not doctors alone, we are all at risk.
”Since government said they have spent so much on COVID-19 which we are not disputing, we are suggesting that they should give us tax reduction, like 50 per cent tax reduction from our salaries.
”This will be a sort of motivation and morale booster for them,” Obalowu said.
On his part, the NANNM Chairman, Mr Shehu Aminu, said the hazard allowance would make the workers more committed as they were also exposed to COVID-19 like those in isolation centres.
”Firstly, I want to thank Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for his pragmatic and committed efforts and prudence of management of resources in the state.
”At the same time, so much has been committed and the establishment of the infectious disease centre in the state is also commendable.
”But, notwithstanding during this period, all our members are exposed to risk, not only people at the isolation centre taking care of already diagnosed patients.
”Other members at different health facilities were infected some weeks ago, about 19 of them at the General Hospital even as they were not at the isolation centre.
”So, because of this, we are appealing to the state government to look into our hazard allowance, to serve as motivation to them and also make them more committed,” Aminu said.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor and spokesman of the state COVID-19 taskforce, Mr Rafiu Ajakaiye, declined comments on the health workers demands.
Similarly, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Razaq Raji, could not not pick his calls nor replied the text message sent to him on the development.