Covid spending: Senior officers at Information Ministry received risk allowances at the expense of frontline health workers – GRNMA

The Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) has bemoaned the inconsistencies and discrepancies in the payment of medical insurance and risk allowances due to health professionals who were at the fore of the COVID-19 fight.

President of the GRNMA, Perpetual Ofori Ampofo revealed on 3FM Sunrise Morning Show on Monday, January 23 that reports from some of their members who got infected indicate that the insurance and risk allowances they were promised have not been paid to them.

 “We were made to understand by the ministry of health that some medical insurance packages had been put in place and that we should commit ourselves to the work so that we save lives and when you are infected there is a certain amount that will be given to you; if you fell critically ill, an amount will be given and if you pass on, a certain amount will be given to your family,” she said

“Even when the payment was initiated, for a very long while, we continue to get reports from all over that some who per their work fell ill and even admitted never got their insurance benefits and I must say that throughout all the various waves, thousands of our members got infected but luckily just a few got critically ill, majority had mild symptoms and we also had a few who died” Madam Perpetual told 3FM Sunrise.

She indicated that several efforts have been made by their leadership over the past years to push some of these concerns to the ministry of health to inquire about the status of payment of these insurances and feedback has always been “we’ve covered all of them” but the request for the ministry to share the data with GRNMA has not been honored.

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“Recently we went to Asante Juaben to meet with the membership and I was

 surprised it came up again among the members and they indicated that although they were infected they have still not received their insurance and this was just about a week ago, so it means that there could be some of our members across the country who have not receive their insurance base on the fact that they got infected and admitted.”

Madam Ofori Ampofo stressed that the issue borders on breach of trust and doesn’t position Ghana well against future pandemic. She entreats the ministry of health to peruse its data on the health workers who are eligible to COVID insurance benefits are identified and given their due.

Her pronouncement comes on the back of the report that some senior members at the ministry of information paid themselves COVID 19 risk allowances without approval.

Madam Perpetual further indicated that some of the health professionals who worked at the treatment centers did not receive the 50% risk allowance promised.

“If it is about risk, the one working at the treatment center is even fully aware that these patients I am dealing with have COVID but for me the nurse working at other hospitals can’t even tell if the patient I am receiving has COVID. So those working at other health centers are at more risk than those at the treatment centers.” She stated

According to her, there were so many discrepancies with the payment of the risk allowances to the people who worked at the treatment centers.

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She justified the need for regular medical insurance for health workers to be instituted saying “In many cases you will find nurses and midwives who are sick go to hospital and have to carter for themselves and even in the facilities that they work, they still have to pay for almost everything; therefore a medical insurance cover for health professionals is in the right direction. It should be the responsibility of the employer to safeguard the health of the employee so that we can continue to provide our services”

The GRNMA president maintained that as union leaders their major concern is the protection of their members especially as nurses and midwives who are at the bedside of the patients 24/7.

By Samuel Afriyie Owusu||Ghana


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