Although most of the doctors of public hospitals who have died of coronavirus during their fight against the pandemic have received government-declared compensation, private healthcare professionals are yet to get any incentive.
“Most of the doctors of public healthcare facilities engaged in the fight against coronavirus have got incentives from the government. The government has also given compensation to most of the families of the doctors who died of the virus while providing services,” Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, director general of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told the Daily Sun.
Besides, three dental surgeons succumbed to the deadly virus.
According to the BMA report available till November 11, a total of 9,455 doctors, nurses and medical staff, who rendered services during the pandemic, were infected with coronavirus. Of the total, 3,128 were doctors, 2,291 nurses and 4,036 were employees.
Talking to the Daily Sun, BMA President Dr Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin lamented that though the government is providing incentives and compensation for the healthcare professionals, those who are working in private healthcare facilities are yet to get any.
“The private healthcare professionals, including doctors and nurses, also gave it all on the front line of the battle against coronavirus taking life risk. We demand that the government provide incentives or compensation for them, too,” he said.
DGHS sources said the government has already given compensation to the families of around 23 public hospital doctors who died while fighting in the front line against the deadly pathogen since last year.
He said the DGHS has sent a list of several hundred doctors, nurses, medical technologists and other medical staff of around 120 government healthcare facilities to health ministry for incentive as they worked during the pandemic taking life risk. “It’s a continuous process. A large number of government healthcare professionals have got the incentives as per the government’s announcement,” the DGHS official added.
He, however, said they have not yet received any decision from the government to give incentives to healthcare professionals working in private facilities.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in April last year announced that the government would give incentives to doctors, nurses, health workers and other employees who deployed themselves with bravery in the war against Covid-19. "I want to reward those who were engaged directly in the fight against Covid-19 since March (2020)," she said.
Apart from incentives, the prime minister said, there would be a health insurance for them if they were infected with Covid-19 while discharging their duties which would be Tk 5-10 lakh. "If anyone dies, the amount of the health insurance will be five times higher," she said.
The government in a circular on April 23 last year said doctors, nurses and other healthcare employees, administration officials, members of armed forces and law enforcement agencies and other employees working during the pandemic would be compensated if they got infected with coronavirus or died of the disease.
As per the announcement, a grade 1-9 government employee infected with Covid-19 was supposed to get Tk 10 lakh while a grade 10-14 employee Tk 7.5 lakh and a grade 15-20 employee Tk 5 lakh in compensation. The amount was supposed to be five times higher in case the employee died of the disease.
The government also declared to provide incentives equivalent to two months' basic salaries for all healthcare professionals in public hospitals dedicated for Covid-19 treatment. The finance ministry issued a circular on July 9 last year in this regard.
In August last year, the government for the first time dispensed compensation to the family of a doctor who died while rendering services at a Covid-19 treatment facility.
Sources at the DGHS and the health ministry said the activities to provide compensation or incentives for the healthcare professionals and their families are going on at a snail’s pace.