The federal government is working with stakeholders to structure medical and life insurance for health workers involved in the war against COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said this at the Presidential Taskforce briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja on Friday.
Healthcare workers are vulnerable to COVID-19 virus as they are first responders to patients.
Some health workers working at isolation centres across affected states have expressed their dissatisfaction over lack of necessary insurance and other welfare policies.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, Blessing Israel, who works at the Lagos isolation centre, said:
”While we care for the patients, nobody cares for us. Despite being the backbone of the health sector in this period, there is nothing like a welfare package or insurance for us.”
Nigeria has recorded 210 cases of COVID-19, out of which 20 people have been discharged after recovering from the virus, while four have died.
It is, however, uncertain if health workers are among the recorded cases as their identities are not disclosed officially. Only persons who test positive or their associates are allowed to disclose such identities.
Following the complaint by the health workers and their unions, Mr Mustapha said the insurance for health workers is being planned considering the danger they are exposed to during this COVID-19 pandemic.
“In recognition of the danger to which our frontline health workers are exposed to, government is working with other stakeholders to structure medical and life insurance cover for their protection.
“I, therefore, wish to assure them of our commitment and urge them to put in their utmost best as they battle to save us from this ravaging disease,” Mr Mustapha said.
In his remarks, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, commended the health workers for their efforts so far.
”I must at this juncture commend our frontline health workers who are doing a great job in case identification and management.
”As we prepare strategies to contain COVID-19 outbreak, we must not lose sight of other health challenges in our country.
”Routine healthcare service must continue in all hospitals. Only a wing of tertiary centers need to be put to use for infected patients control.
”It is important that we do not drop the ball and lose gains made in many areas of healthcare, including maternal and child health and immunization,” he said.
As part of efforts to scale up preparedness, Mr Mustapha said the federal government has been engaging in video conferencing with state governors to ensure a seamless operation between all parties.
He appealed to traders to be sensitive to the plight of other Nigerians by not yielding to the temptation to increase the prices of goods and services.
“To the Nigerian traders and business men and women, we appeal for resistance to the urge to hike prices of goods and commodities, during this period as our compassionate nature must prevail,” he said.
“This is the best time to be considerate and to show empathy for our fellow Nigerians.”