Frontline health workers deprived of promised risk allowances

The federal government had decided to provide risk allowance to health workers (https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/govt-asks-hospitalsto-immediately-release-risk-allowance-to-frontline-medicos) who had been mobilised to contain the spread of the virus and provide


treatment to coronavirus patients. Following the Cabinet’s decision, Rampur Municipality decided to provide 100 percent salary as allowance
to frontline health workers, 75 percent to health workers in the second ring and 50 percent to other health workers mobilised for the
treatment of Covid-19 patients.
Almost all local units in Palpa are yet to disburse the promised risk allowance to health workers. Ribdikot Rural Municipality had also
announced a 20 percent risk allowance to health workers deployed in the treatment of coronavirus patients. According to Sunil Adhikari, the
health unit chief of Ribdikot, the rural municipality had announced the risk allowance in March last year but most of the health workers
received the allowance for a month only.
“Most health workers received the allowance for a month only. It is still not clear whether frontline workers will get the risk allowance in the
current fiscal year or not,” said Adhikari. “We talked to the people’s representatives about providing allowances to health workers during the
second wave as well. They are affirmative about the proposal but no official decision has been taken yet.”

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Likewise, health workers in Rainadevi Chhahara Rural Municipality received 50 percent of their salaries as risk allowance for a month only.
“The local unit stopped issuing the allowance after a month, citing budget shortage as the federal and provincial governments did not release a
budget for the same,” said Jiban Rana, the chief at the health unit. According to him, all 10 local units in Palpa—two municipalities and eight
rural municipalities—have failed to provide the risk allowances of the last fiscal year.
Tinau Rural Municipality, however, claims to have provided allowances to frontline health workers until mid-November.
Krishna Prasad Basyal, the chairman of the local unit, said the health workers who received regular salaries from the state coffers should not
expect allowances during these difficult times. “They received their salaries. That was all we could manage last year,” said Basyal. “If we get the
budget for risk allowance this year, we will provide allowances to the health workers.”
Most frontline health workers mobilised to contain the pandemic last year in Baitadi of Sudurpaschim Province have also not received the
promised allowance.
Eight out of 10 local units in Baitadi district (https://kathmandupost.com/sudurpaschim-province/2020/04/02/baitadi-reels-undershortage-of-medical-equipment-to-combat-the-spread-of-covid-19) have yet to provide risk allowances to the health workers. Only Dasharath
Chand Municipality and Shivanath Rural Municipality have provided the allowances.
Suresh Sarki, a health assistant at a health post in Pancheshwar Rural Municipality-1, says he did not receive any risk allowance last year
despite working in the frontline for months. This year too, he has been deployed in the treatment of Covid-19 patients but says he has no
expectations from the government.

“They did not pay us the promised allowance last year, so we don’t expect them to pay us this year either,” Sarki said.
Meanwhile, the local representatives claim that they could not provide the risk allowances to health workers because the government—both
federal and provincial—had not issued the funds for it.
“Since we could not provide the health workers with risk allowances last year, we feel uneasy deploying them to the frontline during the
second wave,” said Hari Singh Dhami, the chairman of Sigas Rural Municipality.



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