By Chioma Obinna
President of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Dr. Francis Faduyile has described the newly approved N20, 000 hazard allowance increment as gross underpayment in view of risks involved in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Faduyile, in a chat, said although the development is a good gesture, it does not meet the required hazard allowance for medical doctors and other health workers in the frontline of the COVID-19 containment efforts.
Faduyile who queried the level of the increment said: “Inthe universities, for example, the junior staff is given hazard allowance of N20,000 and senior staff is paid N30,000. That increment is still not close to the real hazard that medical and other health workers face.
“Secondly if you compare it with other African countries as it is, we receive an average allowance of $31 at the rate of N5,000. If you had to do it to N20, 000 that is times four, it means you have to go to N121, 000.
“In Ghana, the average hazard allowance is N300, 000; we have one of the West African countries, either Liberia or Sierra lone that collects a hazard allowance of $861. Averagely, we have $300 to $400 if we are still given $121 in face of a pandemic in Lagos that is an epicenter; it is still gross underpayment.”
He said the NMA and other national health Associations had met with the government and a template had been established and what they have agreed was contained in the template already designed.
In the template made available to Good Health Weekly, rather than N5000 paid across the board, it was recommended that a special COVID-19 Hazard and Inducement Allowance of 50 per cent of consolidated basic salary, should be made to all health workers in the Federal government Teaching Hospitals and Federal Medical Centres and designated COVID-19 centres and PHCs.
Also, 40 percent of Consolidated Basic Salary would be paid as a special COVID-19 hazard allowance and inducement allowance to healthcare workers at special non-public hospitals and clinics in the Federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies for the same three months period.
Also, 20 percent of the Consolidated Basic Salary will be paid as special risk allowance additionally on special; COVID-19 hazard and inducement allowance to all health workers directly managing COVID-19 at the infectious disease hospitals, isolation, and treatment centres.
10 percent of the Consolidated Basic Salary would be paid to non–core medical professionals working in the health sector and operating at the aforementioned hospitals/clinics as a special allowance for the COVID19 period – three months first instance.