No Need for a Fight Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Ministry of Health promises to meet the needs of of its healthcare workers as country tackles COVID-19
The Ministry of Health is responding to Trade Union Congress President (TUC) Obie Ferguson who yesterday complained to a local daily that medical workers in the country faced a myriad of challenges as they fight COVID-19.
Ferguson requested a meeting with Prime Minister Hubert Minnis and Health Minister Duane Sands, claiming that medical workers are without personal protective equipment (PPE), they are “forced” to work “unfair” schedules and members of the health unions were not appointed to National Coordination Committee (NCC) on COVID-19 to help fight the virus.
But on Tuesday, the Ministry of Health said health care workers will be outfitted with PPEs and has assured that more gears are being shipped to the country.
“The general public is to be assured that all healthcare workers will be provided with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to handle patients who are confirmed or suspected to be infected by COVID-19.
“To ensure that adequate numbers of PPEs are maintained, the government has already ordered additional supplies. Further, supply levels are constantly being maintained and rates of usage of PPEs are being carefully monitored,” the statement said.
The Ministry of Health also added that the National Congress of Trade Unions sits on the National Coordination Committee (NCC), stating that “it is the intention of the Ministry of Health to consistently include the unions in the decision making process, and to share the current and proposed protocols as they are submitted.”
The ministry said the committee comprises of governmental and non-governmental agencies, and civil society, adding that the inclusion of some healthcare union members occurs when the Emergency Operations Centre of the Ministry of Health meets.
The ministry said the government has committed to granting doctors a $5,000 honorarium for those who work on the frontline of the COVID19 fight and has offered the provision of a life insurance benefit of $100,000 if a health care worker contracts the COVID-19 virus and experiences an untimely death.
The ministry added that the Dr. Sands is prepared to meet and dialogue with any civic group, union or interested parties that wishes to pose recommendations to collaboratively fight and eliminate COVID-19 from the country, as the COVID-19 response needs the cooperation of all governmental, non-governmental and private sector agencies and civil society.