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Gov’t to define ‘frontline worker’ soon – Akufo-Addo acknowledges controversy

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has acknowledged the controversy the term ‘frontline health workers’ has caused, after government offered to pay them more for their efforts in fighting the deadly coronavirus.

Suppressing a smile, and stifling a laugh, the president said government would soon come out with an operational definition.

“Effort is being made on the part of the government, to arrive at an acceptable definition,” he told leaders of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) during a meeting Thursday at the Jubilee House.

The GRNMA have asked for 35% increase in salary for all their members and 50% for critical care staff.

Their proposal came after the president, in his fifth address on the fight against coronavirus, committed the government to a promise that;

“…all frontline health workers will receive an additional allowance of fifty percent (50%) of their basic salary per month, i.e. for March, April, May and June. The March allowance will be paid alongside that of April.”

Coronavirus: Akufo-Addo announces three months tax holiday for health workers

Since that address last Sunday, Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA), the Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA), the Society for private dental and medical practitioners and individuals have demanded inclusion in the list of frontline workers.

They say exclusion could impact morale of health workers and argue, healthcare delivery is a complex network of different professionals all valuable in the service delivery chain.

Who is a frontline health worker?

But to allay the fears of the populace and clear all doubts, President Akufo-Addo said all stakeholders in the health sector are working with government towards a clear definition of who qualifies to be a frontline staff.

Commenting on the issue, in a meeting with leadership of health professionals, President Akufo-Addo reiterated that;

“I think your input will be very necessary and required, so that we get a definition that makes sense for everybody and which addresses the issue of people who are also in the frontline, as it were, of dealing with this disease,” he stressed.

He further said that the government is committed to ensuring that all health workers are supported as they deliver essential services in the wake of the outbreak.

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1 Comment
  1. Apento: The "FRONTLINERS" says

    Govt intent to motivate health care workers during this #Coronavirus (COVID-19) #Pandemic outbreak in Ghana is commendable. However,
    I find gov’t. communication a bit problematic.
    Basically, all clinical and allied workers in the health fraternity are frontline workers by WHO definition. To pick some and name them as “frontline” is the genesis of this brouhaha. The general health worker stand at greater risk for infection with no or little safety clothing compared to those who knows what they are dealing with and are adequately provided with PPE’s for protection.
    Govt, knowing that it wants to bring distinction in the general health workers and those it has specifically assigned to such duties as case tracing, test sample takers, direct care of COVID-19 patients and lab-Tech workers for special mention and remuneration. Govt simply could have said all frontliners (all health care workers) are to benefit from the tax waiver.. while in addition to the tax waiver, volunteer critical care staff for direct COVID-19 patients care workers would receive in addition to the tax waiver, the 50% of the basic pay.
    Government has committed itself already and cannot turn back without backlash. It must be seen to satisfy both sides, more so, this year is 2020.

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