KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — Permanent and contract government doctors and other health care workers serving the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak must make claims for their special RM400 monthly allowance.
Ministry of Health (MOH) secretary-general Dr Chen Chaw Min said the RM400 monthly allowance, as announced in the then-Pakatan Harapan administration’s Economic Stimulus Package 2020 last February 27, applied to MOH staff — medical officers, specialists, non-doctor staff in the management and professional group, paramedics, and staff in the administration group.
Dr Chen’s March 16 circular, as sighted by CodeBlue, did not list housemen and public university health care workers as eligible beneficiaries of the Covid-19 allowance. Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) is one of the 26 government hospitals treating coronavirus. Those working at UMMC comprise not just UMMC and Universiti Malaya staff, but also MOH workers.
MOH is also planning to rope in public university hospitals — Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) and Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM) — as well as army hospital, Hospital Angkatan Tentera Tuanku Mizan, for coronavirus management.
Two government doctors in Kuala Lumpur, among Malaysia’s Covid-19 hotspots, told a CodeBlue survey that their junior house officers perform coronavirus screening.
According to the MOH circular, beneficiaries can claim for the RM400 monthly allowance if they work at least 15 days in a calendar month; RM200 is given to those who work fewer than 15 days.
Claims are applicable for coronavirus-related work starting from February 1, until staff are no longer instructed to perform Covid-19 tasks. MOH staff must make claims no later than the 10th of the following month, and only one claim can be made in a month.
The scope of work covered by the special Covid-19 allowance are: participating in the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) to plan, monitor, and coordinate action plans in tackling the Covid-19 outbreak.
MOH staff who conduct early detection and medical screening from time to time at Malaysia’s main entry points, including airports, ports, and others, are also eligible for the allowance.
The allowance covers participation in the Rapid Assessment Team and Rapid Response Team, including drivers, at the district level and Ambulatory Treatment Unit in hospitals to monitor the situation and do contact tracing in the field, and/ or transporting individuals suspected of coronavirus infection and Covid-19 patients for isolation and treatment.
Conducting Covid-19 medical detection and screening at screening centres in hospitals and health clinics, as per the Guidelines Covid-19 Management in Malaysia, is also covered.
MOH staff who do prevention and infection control activities in health facilities and in the field, like disinfection and handling waste related to coronavirus, are eligible for the allowance.
The allowance can also be given to MOH staff who do home surveillance of individuals under self-monitoring at home or in quarantine centres.
Collecting, transporting, and/or conducting tests on samples from individuals suspected of Covid-19 infection or coronavirus patients at testing laboratories is covered too.
MOH staff who manage the admission and treatment of people suspected of coronavirus infection or Covid-19 patients at hospital isolation wards, as per the Guidelines Covid-19 Management in Malaysia, are eligible for the allowance.
“This is a one-off allowance following the Covid-19 outbreak and the duration of its implementation is subject to the government’s decision,” Dr Chen said in his circular to state health directors and directors of Kuala Lumpur Hospital, the Respiratory Medical Institute, the National Blood Centre, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institutes of Health.
“The giving of this allowance does not stop doctors and health workers from claiming or receiving other eligible allowances according to regulations.”
The Sarawak state government yesterday announced, among other measures in the Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance Package, a special RM300 monthly incentive for 6,232 doctors and medical personnel at the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak.