Press Statement by YB Kelvin Yii:
While I welcome the State Governments initiative of RM 300 monthly for 6 months special incentive to appreciate medical front liners battling to control the spread of Covid-19, I urge the government to expand and fine-tune the policy to make sure that no healthcare workers gets left out of the incentive especially those directly involved in the handling of COVID-19 cases in the different hospital’s and even clinics around Sarawak.
Based on the directive released by the State Health Department (JKNS), all healthcare workers including doctors, nurses, medical assistants and other healthcare workers that are directly involved in the handling of COVID-19 cases are eligible for such incentives starting April 2020 on the condition that they worked for at least “15 days” at the “Influenza-like-illness(ILI)” or “Person-under-Investigation(PUIs) bay in their respective healthcare centres.
However, I urge the State Government to follow the Federal Government’s footsteps in waiving the rigid requirement of “15 days” working only for “Influenza-like-illness(ILI)” or “Person-under-Investigation(PUIs)” in order to qualify for the incentive as healthcare workers in general do also put themselves at risk of exposure especially among asymptomatic carriers or patients that are not honest about their history.
The Federal Government recently changed their “15 days requirements” as this rigid condition cause many deserving Healthcare Workers to be left out and not qualify for such incentive.
The situation on the ground even in Sarawak is as is that many of such healthcare workers work under a shift or rotation system and because of that may not fulfil the required 15 days a month to qualify for the full incentive. Days working in the other wards or clinics are not considered to qualify for such incentives. This does not mean they work any less or that the risk they are exposed to is not serious.
Such rotation system is also important to make sure the Healthcare workers do not get burn-out while handling the heavy-load of possible COVID-19 patients. However, just because they are not covering the ILI/PUI bay, does not mean they are not at risk of exposure especially among asymptomatic carriers.
Based on feedback, many of such healthcare workers in Sarawak have somehow fall in the between the cracks and did not receive this State incentive even though they have been committedly covering the the ILI triage or PUI bays even with the lack of PPEs and proper protection at their respective hospitals or clinics. Some healthcare workers at certain facilities also has not received such incentives even though they qualify for it.
This will demotivate many of them especially for those tirelessly doing their job with dedication and commitment, despite the many risk and constraints they face on a daily basis. Many of these healthcare workers including nurses and medical assistants working at the triage are single mothers or parents and such incentives goes a long way in helping them through this tough time. Many of them have not rested since the outbreak and spend very little time with their families.
We owe it to them to support these medical front liners as they are not only the front liners but also our last line of defence as if we fail them and they fall, we all will lose this battle against the virus.
That is why the State Government fine-tune and adjust their policies to make sure these deserving healthcare workers do not get unfairly left out even though they have risk their lives to serve and care for our people during this health crisis. In conjunction with Nurses’ Day today, as a sign of appreciation to them, the government must not allow them, and other deserving healthcare workers be left out from getting the rightful appreciation and support they truly deserve.
I would also like to take the opportunity to wish all nurses Happy Nurses’s Day. Thank you for all your sacrifice and commitment to care and serve us all.