Frontline health workers in the battle against COVID-19 in Lagos State are complaining over months of unpaid salaries, Aledeh News has gathered.
Health workers under the Lagos State government who spoke on the condition of anonymity revealed to Aledeh News that their salaries have stalled for three months now. They explained that there is the slight possibility that Governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu is not aware of the situation, if some issues they faced earlier are anything to be considered.
According to one of the health workers, she said the governor may not be aware of their plight because there was a period their feeding was stopped, before being brought back after some of them complained about the development.
“They employed some people from outside who cook and bring the food down to our hotels. Then they suddenly said that our breakfast will be cancelled. Some of us spoke out and at the end of the day, we held a meeting with the administration and they started feeding us again. They withdrew the circular that said there would be no feeding and said the governor must not hear about it. Most of the times, these things are done by those at the helm of affairs,” she said.
Speaking further, the health worker gave a detailed explanation of the current issues they face pertaining to their remuneration.
“The first set of people started in the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, while some were later posted to Onikan and other isolation centres. The Infectious Disease Hospital is where any pandemic or endemic is first tackled. Other isolation centres, are around like the one by GTBank at Onikan, the one in Gbagada and others. Trained health workers were deployed to these hospitals.
“The first remuneration some health workers were paid was N480,000. Then the second month, it was reduced by N100,000 to N380,000.
“I started working at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in May, and up till now, we are yet to be paid. Everyone who resumed May is yet to be paid anything.
“They also asked the first set of people they employed at the isolation centres to withdraw this month and new set of people are to resume.”
In a chat with another health worker, she corroborated the point made earlier and expressed dissatisfaction with the manner with which the health workers who worked previously were withdrawn.
“Those told to withdraw had their samples taken. Although, not all results are out yet, those who tested positive were taken to isolation centres and those negative were asked to go on self isolation at home, which I think is wrong. It’s not everyone of them that can afford hotels, and they are being asked to reunite with their families. They were meant to be joyous about reuniting with their families but they have to be careful. It’s like they are being asked to put their families at risk.”
She added that; “Health workers who started in May, regardless of isolation facility have not been paid at all – Doctors, nurses and pharmacists but we are still in hotels and are still being fed.”
According to one of the health workers, the Commissioner for Health should be directly responsible for their remuneration – “I think Health Commissioner should be involved, but payment should be from the Governor.”
The health worker also said the problem of non-remuneration is widespread as those in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) are also being owed by the federal government.
“When the people in LUTH started, having worked for a month and were expected to be paid, they were told they were not sure if they’d be paid by the federal government. They confirmed that their payment will come from the federal government. Last week, they said they were not paid but the management of the hospital sourced for funds internally and paid staff a compensation of N100,000 each. My friend there said they have not been paid for three months also,” the health worker added.