KABUL (Pajhwok): Workers of a number of Covid-19 response hospitals are complaining about not receiving their salaries for months and have warned to leave their jobs during the third wave of the virus if their problem is not resolved.
Pajhwok Afghan News interviewed a number of Covid-19 response workers in Kabul, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Herat, Khost, Nimroz and Bamyan provinces and most of them complained that they did not receive their salaries for several months.
Problem of Covid-19 workers be solved immediately: Health officials
There are 21 people working in the Covid-19 response area of the government in Khost province, but they have not received salaries since last four months.
Dr. Habibullah Shah Ansari, Khost public health director, said that not only workers of Covid-19, but workers of other health areas also remained without salaries.
He said one of the reasons their salaries delayed was a problem between the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Finance.
Dr. FaridullahNasrat, acting public health director of Nimroz province, told Pajhwok that workers of the Covid-19 response had not received their salaries since last three months.
“The reason the salaries are not paid is that the budget was approved only for controlling the first wave of the virus and the budget for second and third wave of the virus is currently under approval,” he said.
Meanwhile, ShabnamMomin, a nurse in Covid-19 Response Hospital, said many of her colleagues in the Covid-19 Response Hospital in Nimroz, including herself had not pocketed their salaries since last three months.
“Nonpayment of salaries has affected our livelihood and our duty,” she said.
Dr. Abdul Hakim Tamanna, Herat public health director, said that the salaries of workers of Covid-19 Response Hospital and some contract-based workers had not been paid, but the salaries of other personnel were paid.
He said that the problem would probably be solved in the near future.
Dr. Mohammad Tawoos Ashraf Naderi, Kandahar public health director, said that salaries of Covid-19 response remained unpaid since last four months.
Besides the Covid-19 response workers, salaries of a number of health workers of other health areas are also unpaid, he added.
A number of workers of the Covid-19 response facility in Nangarhar province also said that their salaries of last three months remained unpaid and now they faced with economic issues.
Some of them, who wished to go unnamed, said that nonpayment of salaries affected health services and discouraged workers to continue their jobs.
They warned to leave their jobs if their salaries were not paid.
A worker of Afghan-Japan Hospital in capital Kabul, who wished to go unnamed, said, “All workers of this hospital have not received their salaries since the last two months.”
He complained about his economic issues and said that he would not have worked in the hospital if he was not obliged. He said he would need to find another job if their salaries were delayed further.
“If our salaries are not paid in the near future, I will not put in danger my family and relatives by continuing my work here,” he said.
A doctor in the hospital also criticized nonpayment of their salaries and said that the matter had a negative impact on the morale of personnel of the hospital.
He pointed to the economic problems of some of the hospital workers and said, “If someone has no food at home, how he would be able to provide good services to other people.”
Afghan-Japan Hospital workers criticized Care of Afghan Families (CAF), an organization that implements health services of the hospital, and said that their salaries were usually delayed since they had signed a contract with the organization.
They say that the organization was now trying to remove some workers of the hospital.
Covid-19 response workers in Kabul complain to Wolesi Jirga:
A letter from doctors of Covid-19 response in Kabul to Wolesi Jirga complained that 67 workers battling the virus in Kabul did not receive their salaries since last seven months.
“When Covid-19 first emerged, all people were in panic of losing their lives, but we were working day and night as it was our responsibility towards the society,” the source said.
The doctors said that some of their family members were infected with the virus while others lost their lives, but doctors continued their job while the government left then in the lurch.
The problem will be solved in two weeks: Officials
Mirlis Mustafa, head of Covid-19 response in the Ministry of Public Health, acknowledged the delay in salaries to hundreds of Covid-19 response workers due to some problems related to the Ministry of Finance.
“The problem of salaries is created by the Ministry of Finance, not by the Ministry of Public Health,” he said, adding that the salaries of some workers were not paid from two to four months.
“The problem is almost solved and the salaries of Covid-19 response workers would be paid first and then to workers of other projects of the ministry,” he said.
CAF in charge, Khadim Ali Atifi said that the problem with the salaries was not only in the Afghan-Japan Hospital, but in the whole of the country.
He said that the issue has been shared with the Ministry of Public Health who he added promised to resolve it in the near future.
However, he rejected claims of removal of workers from Afghan-Japan Hospital and said that Afghanistan was in the third wave of Covid-19 which required enough human resources to respond to it.
On the other hand, Rafi Tabi, spokesman of the Ministry of Finance, said that the salaries of all government organs were paid on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan and would be paid ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.
About the nonpayment of salaries of some organs, he said that the problem was with the budget transfer in some government departments.
“This Investigative Report was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Pajhwok and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.”