The Health Ministry has announced a SR750 [US$200] monthly allowance for medical and paramedical personnel who routinely come into contact with patients suffering from highly infectious diseases.
The decision will allay the fears of the medical community, which has demanded insurance cover in the wake of the spread of the novel coronavirus, especially among people working in emergency units and pathology laboratories.
“The Ministry of Health has pledged to protect medical and paramedical personnel through the introduction of insurance against infectious diseases,” said Sami Badawood, Jeddah Health Affairs director.
The Health Ministry has referred the plan to authorities for final approval, said officials.
The demand for an allowance against infectious diseases gained prominence after a male Saudi nurse working at King Abdulaziz Hospital in Jeddah was diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus. Abdul Salam Noorwali, director-general at the ministry’s Makkah branch, and Badawood visited Bandar Al-Katheeri in hospital.
The ministry has since embarked on testing employees working at hospitals to ensure they are virus-free.
Medical experts from regional clinical laboratories in Jeddah and King Abdulaziz Hospital have found that their staff are free from infectious diseases.
“Similar tests were conducted at King Fahd Hospital,” said Badawood on Tuesday.
“The ministry is launching several awareness and orientation programs to train staff on how to protect themselves from catching these diseases while on duty.”
I suspect the Saudis have been facing something like mutiny among their HCWs.