Africa Moyo and Paidamoyo Chipunza
Frontline health workers are appealing for a $10 000 risk allowance per month, as they battle Covid-19, which has affected five people in Zimbabwe so far. The proposal is for the allowance to be given only to those at work.
In addition, the workers have proposed that only healthcare workers who can be provided with protective personal equipment (PPE) report for work at their stations.
The proposals follow a commitment by Government earlier this week that a risk allowance for the sector had been approved, while the distribution of PPE, some of which was donated by Chinese businessman Jack Ma, has began.
Government also committed to avail a substantial amount of money for a vehicle loan scheme for the health workers. Nurses and doctors had withdrawn their labour on Wednesday, demanding a risk allowance and PPEs.
The request by frontline health workers to have a risk allowance, coincides with an announcement by EcoSure yesterday that it plans to support the country’s national health delivery system by equipping frontline medical staff with PPE, provide them with life and health insurance and safe transport to and from work daily, for the next 12 months.
The Health Apex Council confirmed the need for a risk allowance after a Health Services Bipartite Negotiating Platform held in Harare on Thursday, where they insisted they were not on strike.
“We are not on industrial action. However, we do not encourage the health workers to attend work without PPE,” said the health workers in a statement. “Therefore, we propose that only health workers who can be provided PPE by the MoHCC (Ministry of Health and Child Care) should report for work at their stations since the hospitals are high risk areas on rotational basis. The health workers proposed a flat $10 000 per month as risk allowance for those at work.”
According to the statement, Government representatives were taking up the proposal to their principals.
Cassava Smartech, the parent company of the EcoSure insurance business’s CEO Mr Eddie Chibi yesterday said given the situation Zimbabwe finds itself in, they wanted to ensure all frontline medical staff were fully protected.
He said EcoSure was putting in place measures that gave the health workers confidence as they carried out their duty of primary patient care and as they saved lives.
EcoSure general manager Mr Godwin Mashiri said they would immediately begin the process of providing support for all doctors and nurses, who attend to their duties at this critical time.
“We are offering free Personal Protective Equipment for all doctors and nurses who attend to their duties at this very critical time,” he said. “We are also offering free Vaya transport to both nurses and doctors, so they can commute to and from work in safe and sanitised vehicles.
“We will also be immediately offering life and health insurance in the form of a cash benefit of $500 per day, for each day of hospitalisation, and a lump sum benefit of $50 000 in the event of permanent disability and eventual death caused by any accident.”
The package includes a cash benefit of up to $30 000 in the event of death arising from any other cause apart from accidents, and 100 percent education scholarships for the children of any medical practitioner who takes up this offer to work in public hospitals or clinics at this time, should they pass on during this period.
The education scholarship would be administered by Higherlife Foundation through its Capernaun Scholarship.
Higherlife Foundation — which is funded by the Econet group of companies and by Delta Philanthropies, the social impact vehicle of the Econet founder Mr Strive Masiyiwa and his family — has already been supporting hundreds of doctors who signed up to a fellowship scholarship launched late last year.
The fellowship, worth over $100 million, was offered amid a nation-wide strike by doctors that had left thousands of patients desperate.