RESIDENT Doctors’ Association of Zambia (RDAZ) president Dr Isaac Sakala says health workers that are at the front-line of the fight against the COVID-19 crisis have still not received their incentives.

In an interview, Dr Sakala said when the Association queried the Ministry of Health seeking clarification, they were told they were equally still waiting for feedback from Cabinet.

“We have not been given any incentives up to now and they have not given us any reasons as to why the incentives, which the President directed the health workers to get, have not been released. They are only saying that they are ‘still waiting for feedback from Cabinet Office.’ We are also wondering why there hasn’t been any feedback up-to-date. Psychologically, health workers have to put themselves in harm’s way every morning to go and work in case they meet a COVID-19 patient. And we are lucky that fate has been on our side; we haven’t recorded any death of our health workers. But should we record one, it would be tragic because they are not entitled to compensation. So, we cannot say we are out of danger because the numbers have started to reduce. There is still a need for legislation that will be able to guide and also motivate the health workers as they work,” lamented Dr Sakala.

In April, Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya announced that President Lungu had granted incentives to health workers, who were at the front-line of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As His Excellency has directed recruitment of all health workers, he has further directed that incentives should be provided for the front-line health workers at the front-line of this scourge in order to motivate them to support or to continue to provide service. This is in recognition that these are heroes, who are protecting the nation from this public health hazard, and in appreciating you and urging you to continue diligently serving the nation. The President has not only ordered recruitment of more staff, but has also ordered that incentives be provided for the front-line staff and details shall be availed in a different set-up,” said Dr Chilufya.