Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda says Treasury has released K90 million for risk allowances for Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) and Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) healthcare workers.
In an interview on Sunday, Chiponda who is also Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 co-chairperson, said the release of funds follows a public outcry that government was failing to pay healthcare workers their risk allowances.
She said the funds will cover the two hospitals for two weeks.
Said Chiponda: “Last week, we released K45 million for Kamuzu Central Hospital and Queens also got K45 million for the risk allowances. So I know they [front line workers] are covered for the next two weeks. These are allowances for health workers who are on front line because there was a concern from the public that we are not taking care of them.”
In a separate interview, QECH director Samson Mndolo confirmed receiving K45 million for risk allowances.
He, however, clarified that the referral hospital received the money three weeks ago.
Said Mndolo: “Yes, we received funds three weeks ago and maybe that is why there is calm at the hospital. This means everything is going on smoothly.”
The hospital director, however, said the hospital needs more funding as the Covid-19 situation at the facility has worsened in the past two weeks.
He said the ward which was meant for healthcare workers has now turned into a public ward.
Said Mndolo: “As I am talking now, we have 20 patients in the isolation ward, which means we also need 20 nurses because we need a health worker for each patient in ICU [intensive care unit]. On top of that, a Covid-19 patient needs two to three times the oxygen required by other patients.”
Commenting on the matter, health rights activist George Jobe who is also Malawi Health Equity Network executive director commended government for releasing funds for front line healthcare workers.
He asked government to quickly address grievances of other healthcare workers in district councils like Blantyre where they downed their tools demanding their risk allowances.
Early this month, front line healthcare workers at Kameza Isolation Centre in Blantyre withdrew their services following delays in payment of their allowances accumulated from April this year. n