Covid-19: Relief Package Must Benefit All Health Workers – Mahama
Former President John Dramani Mahama has said government must consider a package that would cover all healthcare staff rather than a "hefty package" for only "frontline health workers" as they are all needed to fight the coronavirus.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, in his address to the nation on Sunday, 5 April 2020, announced an insurance package of GHS350,000 for each health personnel and allied professional at the forefront of the COVID-19 fight.
He also said all frontline health workers will receive an additional allowance of 50% of their basic salary per month, i.e. for March, April, May and June.
But Mr Mahama, in a statement, noted that concerns have been raised about who frontline workers are.
In his view, “It is known that health staff work as a team. From doctors, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory staff, cleaners, cooks, security personnel etc,” therefore, the government “should consider a package that benefits all health care staff who are working.”
The flag bearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) proposed that consultations with professional groups of health workers on how to administer the incentives can result in a "conclusion that is acceptable to all of them".
Similar concerns have been raised by the Ghana Physician Assistants Association who want a clear definition of who a frontline health worker is.
The leadership of the association says they were among union and association leaders who met the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu and one of his deputies on Sunday, 5th April 2020 at a meeting where the Minister defined frontline health workers as ‘all health practitioners working at all levels of the healthcare delivery machinery’ (CHPS, Health Centres, Polyclinics, Municipal/District Hospitals, Regional Hospitals and Teaching Hospitals), and, so, it comes as a surprise to them that in less than 24 hours, another minister comes to define frontline health workers as health workers managing COVID-19 cases.
“Going by this other definition, it means the majority of health workers who come into contact with any client who can be a potential COVID-19 case have been conveniently excluded,” the association noted in a statement.
The association wants the Minister of Health to come clear on who a frontline healthcare worker is in connection with the influx of people from affected regions to the peripheries of the country after the lockdown, and the unavailability of PPE at those areas “before we advise ourselves as health professionals.”