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Government raises health workers’ allowance

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The government has bowed down to demands of health workers in the country by, among others, adjusting upwards their risk allowances from a minimum of K1, 000 to a maximum of K60, 000.

A circular sent from Ministry of Health to all hospital directors and district commissioners Monday said the revised rates are applicable during the period of coronavirus pandemic.

The new rates indicate that health workers from grade HE to HI will be receiving a risk allowance of K50, 000 from K1, 800, workers under C will be receiving K20, 000 from K, 000, grade HJ and HK allowance has been adjusted from K1, 500 to K50,000 and grade HL has been moved from K1, 000 to K30,000.

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Health workers from grade HM and below will be getting K25, 000.

Chairperson of the special Cabinet committee on Covid-19 management Jappie Mhango Monday confirmed the new rates and claimed that, currently, all hospitals have the Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs)

“They [PPEs] might not be enough but we are procuring more. Last week, we received another donation of medical equipment from Jack Ma which includes face mask, testing kits, face shields and ventilators these will be distributed to hospitals this week,” he said.

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He also said so far, the government has an addition of 755 health personnel recruited so far from the 2, 000 earmarked target.

Since April, 2020, health workers especially nurses and doctors have been pressing the government to consider revising their risk allowances and provision of needs when managing Covid-19 patients.

Failure by the government to satisfy their demands forced the workers to withdraw from work which brought chaos especially in central hospitals of Lilongwe and Blantyre.

President of National Organization for Nurses and Midwives in Malawi (NONM) Shouts Simeza commended the government for the commitment but said the organisation will consult its board on the way forward including verifying in public hospitals.

“We have seen the circular. About the PPEs we are yet to establish from the health facilities if it is true that they are in all facilities. Some received [PPEs] four months ago and have been depleted. We need to consult the board but we must assure people that it is not our will to withdraw from work,” he said.

Medical Doctors Union of Malawi said it is yet to see the developments and union will meet soon to discuss the way forward.

As of April 19, 2020 the country had tested 429 people with 17 people being tested positives with two Covid-19 related deaths confirmed. So far three people have recovered from the disease.

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