The government is set to review allowances for health workers who are working in Red Zones, acting Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Jenfan Muswera has said,
In a statement today, Muswera government was grateful to health workers who continue to provide service despite the risk of contracting the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
“Government through the National Taskforce owes health workers a debt of gratitude. Those who work in the Red Zone which deals with the care of COVID-19 patients will have their allowances reviewed with the intention of compensating them adequately,” he said.
This comes after healthcare workers have been tirelessly working on the frontline exposing themselves to the deadly virus which has killed over 800 locally and 2 million globally.
Recently, Health Services Board(HSB) said in a statement that all health workers in the public health sector, including nurses, continue to receive their monthly Covid-19 risk allowances.
HSB said in addition to the risk allowances, health workers continue to receive the US$75 Covid-19 allowance for all civil servants which is paid in local currency at the prevailing rate.
“All health workers assigned to continuously work in the RedZone treatment wards are entitled to a monthly RedZone allowance of $6 000. This outstanding allowance will start being paid together with the January 2021 salary, back paid to when it was introduced,” read the statement.
“All health workers who test positive for Covid-19 will receive a once-off payment of US$1 650 for Grade E5 and below and US$1 000 for F Grades, paid in local currency at the prevailing rate. The infected are also entitled to short falls on medical aid paid by the government. Government institutions also provide the necessary medicines, free of charge, for staff on treatment for Covid-19,”
In the event that a health worker dies of Covid-19, beneficiaries will receive the once off payment of either the US$650 or USD $1 000 equivalent in local currency, depending on the grade of the worker and all other funeral benefits that already existed for civil servants.
In an interview with 263Chat, Zimbabwe Proffessional Nurses Union(ZPNU) Douglas Chikobvu said the government is failing to walk the talk as none of the nurses have received the money promised to them.
“The government has promised that health workers will receive a once off payment of USD $1 650 for grade E5 and USD $1000 for the lower grades, all to be liquidated and paid in local currency. However, most of our nurses have applied for these monies and some have succumbed to covid-19 (May Their Dear souls Rest in Eternal Peace) and to date no one has received such monies.
“We believe the government is failing to walk the talk or maybe they are mere political promises meant to silence the profession(Nursing). All platforms of engaged are not permissible because no one dares to listen to nurses plight. To date, the number of nurses who have contracted COVID19 have risen exponentially meaning we are under siege since we barely have basic tools of trade to protect ourselves in line of duty,” said Chikobvu.
Chikobvu urged nurses to come together and confront the government.
“Our government without consulting the nurses’ union reviewed and imposed a $75 usd which no one to date has received. We urge the responsible authorities desist from making promises that take a lifetime to be fulfilled. We as nurses should at the time unite and sharpen our tools of combat and face our government over what is seemingly political promises,” he said.
Meanwhile, 500 new nursing posts have been created to compliment the congested COVID-19 treatment centers.