A total of 6,000 frontline health workers, who were vetted and validated as having been in direct management of Covid-19 cases, have had their 50 per cent basic salary incentive package for the month of April.
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who disclosed this in Parliament yesterday, said the list was subject to review and that “any health worker that is determined as having managed a Covid-19 case but is not captured in the current list would be brought on board.”
“The list is a dynamic one that changes with a current situation. The commitment to health workers by the Akufo-Addo administration remains unadulterated, firm in its creation and focused on efforts to overcome this pandemic,” the minister said in a statement read on his behalf.
According to him, the Ministry of Health and all relevant stakeholders have sat and settled on who qualifies as a frontline worker and that “the definition for frontline workers as agreed on with all relevant stakeholders is any health worker who has been involved in the management of a confirmed case of Covid-19.”
Mr. Agyeman-Manu indicated that the tax exemptions for health workers had been extended by the government for another three months, making the package last for six months.
“Apart from the tax exemptions and insurance package, all frontline workers would enjoy the 50 per cent basic salary top up,” he added.
Contact Tracing & Enhanced Testing
On the claim that the government has refused to pay contact tracers, the minister dismissed as untrue and added that the “inaccurate narration was composed to create the impression that contact tracing has been abandoned.”
“For the record, the Ghana Health Service recruited volunteers who were about 2,000 in numbers during the three weeks of lockdown to help trace and test the 30,000 plus travellers who entered Ghana before the airports were closed.
“The assignment for these volunteers was to last for the period of the lockdown. After the lockdown was lifted and most of the travellers were traced and tested, the Ghana Health Services instructed districts to discontinue their engagement with the contracted contact tracers and reverted to the use of their community health nurses for the purposes of contact tracing,” he said.
According to him, these trained outreach staff, who were on government payroll, took over the task of contact tracing, which they have been doing to date.
“The contracted provisional contact tracers had a defined assignment within a defined period and the government has indicated its commitment to honour its part of the bargain.
“It is not true that contact tracing has been abandoned. Government’s policy of tracing, testing and treating still remains. It is unfortunate that testing done on some citizens about four weeks ago either delayed or didn’t arrive at all. Mr. Speaker, this was due to a delay in the supply of chemical reagents and some tools used in testing,” he indicated.