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OPINION: Review of Hazard allowance for Healthcare Workers
Date Posted: 14/Apr/2021

Frontline healthworkers such as Nurses,doctors radiographer etc are constantly exposed to risk and hazards that occur on the job with little compensation in the form of an allowance to cover a little part of the daily sacrifices they make while caring for their clients as well as protecting the community from dengerous diseases.

The long overdue review of the paltry 5000 naira monthly  (60000 per annum) hazard allowance is finally being considered as and issue worth soughtingout by our dear government.

This is laudable and commendable on the part of government as it shows a level of appreciation for Frontline health workers who were at the fire front of the battle against the dreaded COVID 19 virus. Another area of commendation is the prioritization of healthworkers in the vaccination against COVID.

Dabates have been going on in various fora as to who deserves what when it comes to Hazard allowance vis a vis level of exposure. While some argue that all workers within the hospital deserve an equal amount like what is currently obtainable only that the paltry osme of 5000 naira be upgraded others are of the opinion that hazard allowance be a percentage of the current basic allowance of a health worker while still others believe health workers be classified and grouped based on exposure to clinical hazards.

The opinion of those favouring classification of health workers seem to be holding more water as hospital workers are not exposed to clinical hazards uniformly.

Take the case of a  attendants and laundry workers who are junior staff and earn a salary of which if basic of their salary is to be paid to them as hazard allowance they would receive very little as compared to a senior administrative staff who has vary little contact with hazardous materials.

Secondly if a flat rate is to be paid across board A radiographer that is constantly being exposed to radioactive hazards would receive same as a clerical officer who faces vary minimal risk when it comes to exposure to harmful clinical hazards.

The solution is for government to carry out an audit with a view to establishing level of hazards faced by all classes of staff within the hospital so as to classify them into groups of High exposure and Low Exposure or High,Medium and Low exposure. This would enable the government pay a flat rate for each subgroup and no one would feel cheated.

Once more I would like to commend the government on this laudable inniciative aimed at appreciating health workers which would serve as a morale boaster leading to an overall improvement in the health and well-being of the citizens of our dear country.

Garba .A.Mustapha

Federal University of Kashere

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