Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced a special insurance and stimulus package for doctors and nurses of government hospitals, health officials, field administration officers, law enforcers and relief workers for their frontline roles in the fight against coronavirus.
Besides, she has severely criticised the doctors and nurses who are denying treatment to patients for fear of coronavirus.
The PM's move came on Tuesday when she spoke from her official residence Ganobhaban in a video conference with public representatives and officials from 15 districts of Chattogram and Sylhet divisions.
Special incentives for Covid-19 frontline workers
- Special insurance, incentives for Covid-19 frontline fighters
- Health insurance of Tk5-10 lakh according to rank
- Amount to be five times higher if anyone is at higher risk of death or dies from virus
- Govt to bear treatment cost of frontline workers contracting virus while on duty
- PM blasts doctors, nurses denying treatment to patients
Appreciating the frontline fighters, the prime minister said, "We would like to acknowledge the contributions and reward those who have been serving the nation by risking their lives during this time of coronavirus."
"If any Covid-19 frontline official contracts coronavirus while on duty, the government will bear the cost of his or her treatment. We will provide a special health insurance of Tk5-10 lakh according to rank," Hasina said.
She said the amount will be five times higher if anyone is at a higher risk of death or dies from the virus.
"But remember that these incentives will be applicable for those who have been fighting against Covid-19 since March, putting their lives in danger, the prime minister said.
She said she had already spoken with the finance minister and the finance secretary about the matter.
Hasina criticised a section of doctors for not providing treatment to patients on the pretext of keeping themselves safe from the virus.
"This incentive is not for those who fled for their own safety and compelled patients to go from door to door seeking treatment," she said.
The premier said,"Such doctors and nurses should be dismissed as they lack humanity. We will make a list of them. We will bring health professionals from abroad if necessary."
Regarding any probable conditions from health workers that they will work if they get incentives, Hasina said they have to work first if they want to get incentives.
"Work now, deploy yourselves in these hard times. We will put you under observation for the next three months. If anyone really provides services to the people, we will think about them," she said.
She categorically said doctors have to provide treatment if patients come to them.
"Yes, you can ensure your own security, but why will patients return without getting treatment? Why will patients die after going from door to door for treatment? Why will a student of Dhaka University die?" The prime minister questioned.
She termed the death of the Dhaka University student as very painful and regrettable.
"That student did not get any treatment from any physician. He went from door to door. Why would doctors not treat him?" Hasina said.
She said she had instructed the authorities concerned to collect the names of the doctors who were on duty when the Dhaka University student went to them for treatment.
"They donot have the capability to provide treatment, and I think they should be thrown out of their jobs," said the prime minister.
She said she knows very well that Covid-19 is the name of an anxiety around the world.
"Everyone has to remain safe. Doctors have responsibilities and we have taken appropriate measures for them so that they can work safely.
"We are providing all the materials they need and if necessary, we will give more. We are making safety materials locally and also importing from abroad."
But the prime minister highly appreciated doctors, nurses and health workers of the government hospitals for their outstanding service towards patients.
She said the government had announced a war against Covid-19 and doctors, nurses and health workers of public hospitals had discharged their duties by staying in the frontline.
Hasina thanked the field-level government officials, employees, law enforcement officials, army personnel and others for their efforts in combating the pandemic.
"As a result of their efforts, we have so far been able to keep the virus under control. It has not spread widely, and the health situation is under total control due to everyone's efforts," she said.
The premier termed the month of April critical for the Covid-19 situation, and urged all to work in a coordinated way.
"As several predictions make clear, this month will be critical for us. We have to remain alert so that we will suffer less," she added.