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Fed Govt to insure health workers
From Nduka Chiejina, (Asst. Editor)
All health workers in the frontline of the battle against COVID-19(Coronavirus) in the country are to be comprehensively insured, the Federal Government has assured.
They are also to be adequately compensated and supported during and after the fight against the pandemic .
Senior government officials who play different roles to ensure seamless services by the frontline health workers would not be left out. They will equally be insured since are also exposed to the virus
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, made this known in Abuja yesterday.
“Adequate insurance, adequate compensation, and support during and in the aftermath of the COVID 19 pandemic” will be offered frontline health workers, she said. .
Ahmed explained that the hazards they will be insured against include pathogen exposure, long working hours, psychological distress, fatigue, occupational burnout, stigma as well as physical and psychological violence.
The minister added that government “would be engaging the insurance industry to package special health care insurance which is life insurance for health care workers.”
She thanked the brave frontline health workers, saying the Federal Government is “taking steps to activate, release and (where necessary) enhance the hazard allowances provided in the remuneration structure of the Federal health sector workers.”
The Federal Government urged the affected State governments to take similar measures.
The Federal Government, according to Ahmed , “recognises the patriotism and sacrifice of our frontline healthcare workers, whose critical roles in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic place their health and lives at risk.”
She thanked workers for their “heroic efforts to protect their fellow citizens from the disease and death,” and urged state governments to come up with similar package for those battling to keep their citizenry free from the pandemic.
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Federal government’s offer to procure insurance for the frontline workers is coming on the heels of the donations in the industry for the war against the pandemic. The donations were at the behest of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM).
The insurance regulator had in a letter dated April 3 and signed by the Acting Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Sunday Thomas, requested the operators to contribute N500 million.
“Sequel to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the current efforts by the federal and state governments to contain the spread of the pandemic in Nigeria, it has become necessary for the Nigerian insurance industry to support the efforts of the Federal Government,.” the letter read in part.
The letter commended the preliminary response of the industry on the proposed life cover for health personnel involved in the fight against the pandemic .
It added: “To this end, and flowing from my engagement with the leaders in our industry, it has been resolved that the sum of N500 million be mobilised towards the initiative.
“The mobilisation of the fund, which will be the industry contribution to tame the pandemic, is being coordinated by the commission. It has, therefore, become imperative that you support this initiative by the commission by donating generously to the fund” he said.
“I am by this letter requesting your kind support and generous donation to the fund. The donation from your company which is expected at a minimum of N10 million should please be paid into the Nigerian Insurers Association’s First Bank account number 2000917791”
Health worker’s rights under the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), include that employers and managers in health facilities assume overall responsibility to ensure that all necessary preventive and protective measures are taken to minimize occupational safety and health risks in addition to providing information, instruction and training on occupational safety and health.
The training includes refresher training on infection prevention and control (IPC), use, putting on, taking off and disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Others are the provision of adequate IPC and PPE like masks, gloves, goggles, gowns, hand sanitizers, soap, and water in sufficient quantity to healthcare or other staff caring for suspected or confirmed cases.
Fed Govt to insure health workers