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A special COVID-19 hazard and inducement allowance of 50 per cent of Consolidated Basic Salary will be paid to all health workers in Nigerian Teaching Hospitals, Federal Medical Centres (FMCs), and designated COVID-19 centres for the first three months in the first instance.

The Minister of State for Health, Olurunnimbe Mamora, disclosed this at the daily Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19 on Monday. He said the Federal Government agreed to shelve the payment of the current N5,000 hazard allowance, which had been in existence since 1991.

He said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with health professional associations and unions as regards this.

“In its place, a special COVlD-19 Hazard and Inducement Allowance of 50 per cent of the Consolidated Basic Salary is to be paid to all health workers in all Federal Government Teaching Hospitals and Federal Medical Centres and at designated COVlD-19 Centres and Primary Health Care Centres to last for the first three months in the first instance.

“40 cent of the Consolidated Basic Salary would be paid as special COVlD-19 Hazard and Inducement Allowance to health workers at special Non-Public Hospitals and clinics in the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for same three months’ period,” Mr Mamora said.

The federal government earlier announced its decision to give 5,000 front line health workers life insurance, which has been fully paid for by the Nigerian insurance industry.

This serves as a major boost to health workers who are exposed to COVID-19 virus as the first responders to patients.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, recently announced that about 40 health workers in Nigeria had tested positive for COVID-19.

He said there were also others “who have been quarantined in the last two weeks due to exposure and have not been able to contribute to efforts of the health sector.”

Aliyu Yakubu, a medical doctor aged 60, has also died of the virus.

Salary structure of health workers

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how nurses and midwives taking care of COVID-19 patients said they had no life insurance and were not receiving any special hazard allowance different from that embedded in their salaries.

An entry-level federal doctor or dentist earns an annual consolidated earning of about ₦1.7 million ($4,722), rising to ₦8.5 million ($23,611) for the highest grade, as stipulated in the 2019 Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS).

Of this, hazard allowance is ₦60,000 ($167) per annum for medical workers at all grades, said Olanrewaju Amusat, Executive Director of SmileBuilders Initiative.

As for nurses, midwives and other health workers, their total annual entry earning is ₦360,000 ($1000), rising to ₦3.2 million ($8,889) for the highest grade, as contained in the 2019 Consolidated Health Salary Structure.

Risk Allowances

Mr Mamora said 20 per cent of the Consolidated Basic Salary will be paid to all health workers directly managing COVlD-19 at the Infectious Diseases Hospitals (IDH) isolation and treatment centres.

“20 per cent of the Consolidated Basic Salary will be paid as Special Risk Allowance in addition to the special COVID-19 Hazard and Inducement Allowance to all health workers directly managing COVlD-19 at the Infectious Diseases Hospitals, isolation and treatment centres.

“Ten per cent of Consolidated Basic Salary would be paid to non-core medical professionals working in the health sector and operating at aforementioned Hospitals/Clinics as special allowance for the COVID-19 period in the first three months,” he said.

He added that ”the request for the retirement of health workers to be moved up to 65 years, and that of Medical Doctors, Consultants to 70 years was discussed.

”The government agreed to look into this post-COVlD-19.”

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