Tuesday, 21 April 2015

N5000 hazard allowance for health workers

At the 2015 Ministerial Press Briefing, the Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Florence Oguntuase, gave reasons why the state's payment of N5000 as hazard allowance to health workers and firefighters should be accepted.

Although, she conceded the sum was grossly inadequate, she said it was all the state could afford.  She added, the hazard allowance was been given much more as a formality because an insurance package was already in place to take care of work-related injury or death.

A few days back, the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) disclosed monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N23 billion.

In her response, the commissioner said it would be out of place to tie state revenue to workers remuneration alone.

Her words: "The state government has a policy that guides it budget. It has specific proportion allocated to capital development and recurrent expenditure. Don't forget that the revenue accruing to the state government does not belong to the workers alone; it belongs to Lagos 21 million people. The state government cuts it's budget on what it believes is the best way the interest of everybody can be served."

Every day, health workers deal with biological hazards from exposure to diseases transmitted by patients. Some infections like HIV, hepatitis B can also be contracted through accidental needle pricks or incidental encounters with bodily fluids like HIV.

In various settings, health workers deal with patients struggling with mental health disorders, who may lash out with violence. Occasionally, health workers get injured in emergency rooms when patients in shock or trying to resist treatment fling arms and legs, causing unintentional injury. Violence may also come from some dissatisfied patients or their relatives.

Considering all the risks and stress health workers and firefighters face daily, N5000 (roughly $30) is quite paltry.



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