The government has decided to give incentives for doctors, nurses, health workers and other employees of the republic who deployed themselves with bravery in the war against COVID-19, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced Tuesday.
“I want to reward those who were engaged directly in the fight against COVID-19 since March,” she said.
The Prime Minister said this while delivering her introductory speech in a video conference with the public representatives and public officials from 15 districts of Chittagong and Sylhet divisions from her official residence Ganobahaban.
She said the government will give special incentive to encourage them.
Apart from incentive, the Prime Minister said, there will be a health insurance for them if they are infected with COVID-19 while discharging their duties which will be Tk 5-10 lakh.
“If anyone dies, the amount of the health insurance will be five times higher,” she said.
“But remember that this incentives will be applicable for those who are working against the COVID-19 since March putting their lives in danger,” she added.
The Prime Minister said if any employee of the republic is infected with COVID-19 while performing duties, the government will bear all the treatment cost.
She said she has already spoken with the Finance Minister and the Finance Secretary in this connection.
“I’ve already instructed to prepare a list in this connection. We need to encourage them and we want to honour them,” she said, adding that those who did not engage themselves in war against COVID-19 will not be eligible for incentives.
She criticised a section of doctors for not providing treatment to patients in the pretext of keeping themselves safe from COVID-19.
“This incentive is not for those who fled for their own safety and left patients to go from door to door for treatment,” she said.
Regarding any condition from doctors, nurses and health workers that they will come if they get incentive, the Prime Minister said that if they want to get incentive they have to work first.
“Work now, deploy yourselves in this hard time. We’ll put you under observation for the next three months. If anyone really provides service to the people, then we’ll think about them,” she said.
The prime minister said there is no justification to deploy anyone who does not have sense of humanity.
“If that type of hard days comes in Bangladesh, we’ll bring doctors and nurses from abroad if necessary, but we can’t do anything with this type of weak mentality. This is reality,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said doctors, nurses and health workers can hold meetings and come up with conditions but she would not bother with those.
She said that the country needs doctors but why they would have such mentality and why they would lose their humanity?
She categorically said that doctors have to provide treatment if any patient comes. “Yes, you can secure yourselves, but why the patients will return, why patients will die after going from door to door for treatment, why a student of Dhaka University will die?” she questioned.
She termed the incident as very much painful and regretful. “That student didn’t get any treatment from any physician, he went door to door, why doctors will not treat him?” she asked.
The Prime Minister said that she instructed to gather the names of the doctors who were on duty when the DU student went for treatment.
“They don’t have capability to provide treatment, [and] I think that they should be kicked out from their jobs,” she said.
She also said that she knows it very well that COVID-19 is the name an anxiety around the world.
“All have to remain safe. A doctor has his/her responsibilities and we’ve taken appropriate steps for them. We’re providing all materials they need and if necessary, we will give more. We’re making safety materials at home and importing from abroad,” she said.
But the Prime Minister highly appreciated doctors, nurses and health workers of the government hospitals for their outstanding service towards the patients.
“I’m conveying my sincere gratitude to them, they come forward, they did not show negligence, they worked hard knowing their risks, they provided services to COVID-19 infected patients risks their lives,” she said.
She also mentioned that the government announced war against COVID-19 and these doctors, nurses and health workers of the government hospitals discharged their duties staying in the frontline.
She thanked the field level government officials, employees, law enforcement agencies, army personnel and others for their efforts.
“As a result, so far we are able to keep this under control. This has not spread widely and the health situation is under total control due to everyone’s efforts,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina termed the month April as critical for the COVID-19 and urged all to work unitedly in a coordinated way.
“As per several predictions, the month will be critical for us. We have to remain alert so that we could suffer less due to COVID-19,” she said.
She again asked the concerned officials to prepare a separate list for the section of people who usually do not go for taking any type of government relief or help from the government’s safety net programmes.
She asked to provide their food items quietly so that their social dignity is not hampered.
The Prime Minister said she would not tolerate any irregularities and misappropriation in distributing relief materials.
She asked the concerned officials to take special effort for maintaining the food supply properly.