The Sierra Leone Government has approved a COVID-19 compensation package rising up to 105% percent of the current package for healthcare workers across the country.
The West African country recently joined the list of countries the dreaded coronavirus diseases has it. As at today, Sierra Leone has recorded 50 infections, with zero deaths and 6 recoveries while 567 are in quarantine.
Like every other country hit by the novel virus, the health care workers are most exposed and are at high risk of contracting the virus. Accordingly, Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA) and other health bodies had requested for a compensation package for its members.
In a statement last week, the President of the Sierra Leone Medical & Dental Association (SLMDA), Dr. Delwin Findlay had asked the government to improve on its Memorandum of Understanding which outlines its offer of support for doctors and health care workers (HCW) in the country.
However, in a statement on Tuesday, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance, Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa, revealed that the government have agreed to provide 105% of the demands made by the medical personnels.
While signing a Momorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the various health bodies, Minister Saffa revealed that effective April 1st 2020, Doctors, Nurses, CHOs and Pharmacists that are working in treatment and isolation Centers, and Laboratories will be entitled to weekly allowances of Le 1,000,000 each while cleaners and drivers would get Le 500,000 for a period of three (3) months consecutively.
The Minister also added that the health workers would enjoy a cash risk allowance in lieu of their P.A.Y.E. (Pay As You Earn) tax deductions for three (3) months while food compensation of Le 60,000 would be provided for staff in treatment centers, Isolation centers, and Laboratories for 84 days.
“In addition to a life insurance policy encompassing payment to next-of-kin, Government shall provide free tuition and other forms of educational support for a maximum of three (3) children, up to 1st-degree level, for any healthcare worker who loses his/her life in the discharge of their duties in the combating and treatment of persons infected with COVID-19,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Alpha T. Wurie, said that the President Julius Maada Bio’s government is committed to ensuring that frontline health workers in the battle against COVID-19 are provided with the required incentives and compensation to stimulate their efforts and activities in the treatment and medical care of persons with the disease.
The representatives of the Sierra Leone Nurses Association (SLNA), Sierra Leone Association of Community Health Officers (SLACHO), and the Pharmaceutical Society of Sierra Leone commended the government for the motivation provided and expressed their commitment to the fight against COVID-19.
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