The Guyana government says it will provide all health care workers with a two-week bonus next month as part of the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Every health care professional will benefit from a two-week equivalent … bonus pay before the end of the year as part of the response to the pandemic,” President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, said as he addressed the launch of the retrofitting of the Leonora Cottage Hospital to a Smart hospital.
Ali said that his administration had made some necessary changes to allow for all the healthcare workers to now access COVID-19 risk allowances.
“We have been able to cut programmes and find additional resources, beyond the GUY$150 million and …I want to say that we will consider every healthcare professional as frontline”.
Ali said that public health was a serious issue which required not only healthcare professionals but also communicating to the population what was needed.
He said when he came to office in August, he made a promise to nurses and doctors to resolve issues affecting them and that has since been done.
“I said to the nurses and doctors that we understood their concerns, but we must have patience, that we have to address issues based on the situation of the country, and I promise that the government will address this issue before the end of the year and I backed that promise by setting aside GUY$150 million … plus, they are included in the household COVID-19 plan.”
Meanwhile, Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, says loans acquired by Guyana for its COVID-19 programmes will be spent wisely.
His comment came one day after the World Bank announced that it had approved US$7.5 million for Guyana’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Project.
“There is a structure that we have to work with and we have a project management unit that is going to be working with the IDB team and the World Bank team to unlock the resources. These are standardised procedures that you have to go through, so we have the team already that is working on that,” Anthony said, in his address to the ceremony, adding that he was pleased with the efforts of the local negotiating team.
“We are very happy that we have done this and perhaps in record time, because these institutions take a long time sometimes to go through all the different types of studies and paperwork that is necessary, but I think our local team, which comprise of persons from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance worked very diligently.”
Anthony said seven million US dollars will be used to strengthen central and regional ICUs, to purchase new equipment, acquire ventilators and bed monitors, as well as other types of diagnostic equipment necessary for proper diagnosis. Money will also go towards the development of better contact tracing methods.
He said the other US$500,000 will be available for the management of the project.