Bangladesh announces insurance plans for frontline responders in COVID-19 battle

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced a new insurance scheme for government employees, including doctors, nurses and law-enforcement officials, in the fight against the novel coronavirus in Bangladesh.

Published : 13 April 2020, 01:58 PM
Updated : 13 April 2020, 02:19 PM

Hasina made the announcement during a televised address on Monday amid a worsening coronavirus crisis across the country.

Health professionals, field-level officers, law-enforcement personnel and other frontline responders will be covered by health insurances between Tk 500,000 and Tk 1 million, depending on their ranks, the prime minister said.

The coverage amount will increase five-fold in case of death from the disease. The funds for the programme will be drawn from the government's Tk 956.19 billion announced in a series of stimulus packages to cushion the economic impact of the ongoing shutdown.

"We are arranging an insurance scheme for doctors, nurses, health workers, field administration officers, members of law-enforcement, the Armed Forces and BGB as well as other officials who are directly engaging in the battle against the coronavirus," said Hasina.

Authorities at Dhaka’s Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital launch one-stop services designating a separate counter for treatment of flu patients with symptoms like cough and fever, which are similar to those of COVID-19, amid a global coronavirus outbreak. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

The prime minister also assured citizens that there isn't any shortage of safety equipment and urged health professionals to continue treating patients to the best of their abilities.

“At the same time, I request the authorities of all private and public hospitals to ensure that ordinary patients are not neglected," she added.

Bangladesh reported its first cases of the coronavirus on Mar 8 but the number of infections has since soared 803 with 39 deaths so far. With the outbreak intensifying in recent weeks, the government extended a nationwide shutdown to Apr 25 in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

The prime minister also announced a plan to hand awards to doctors, nurses and other health workers in an effort to motivate frontline responders during a video conference with government officials on Apr 7. The government set aside Tk 1 billion in award money.

Lauding the commitment of government health workers, Hasina previously said: “I have ordered health authorities to prepare a list of government doctors, nurses and health workers who have been providing medical care to patients since the beginning of the outbreak. I want to hand awards to those people.”