Frontline workers not paid allowances


I AM one of three clinically trained persons but play important roles in a laboratory based environment.
We are caught between a huge confusion regarding awarding of incentives for frontline health workers dealing with an infectious and deadly organism, the coronavirus (Covid-19).
Firstly, my age forbids me from directly participating with suspects and specimen but who else can do it at this very moment?
We involved with several provinces, airline companies, airports and hospitals at a time personal protective equipment (PPE) was lacking and medical practice using special technique needing vigorous training across the country.
Hospitals, Provincial Health Authorities and the mining sector had risen up to standard through our interactions in the training of doctors and health professionals, advocacy, attending to suspected cases, obtaining specimens and ensuring a coordinated effort was in place. From January to May this year, our resting time was less than two out of 24 hours and yet we have been overlooked for an incentive while our other counterparts in the laboratory had been awarded with a reasonable amount each.
Only Kundiawa Hospital and Eastern Highlands Provincial Health authority had provided some form of incentives to us and we acknowledge that very much.
While the EHPHA response committee have been kind enough to award us with a standard allowance with their staff and providing mobile units for communication during the outbreak, the PNGIMR has decided to deny our effort, because of some directions given by the Department of Personnel Management stating that public servants are not to claim for overtime and risk allowances.
This is ridiculous, so what was the K45 million given for?
I am very sure some of that money was meant for incentives for all frontline health workers regardless of whether we are employed by the government, private sector, mining company, non-government organisations and those who have retired but step forward to volunteer because we are all frontline health workers.
Must we have guns to demand our share like the police force?
I kindly ask the government and those in authority to please investigate how the K45 million was appropriated and why some of us never received an allowance?

Gerard Saleu

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