For around 1,000 healthcare workers and volunteers in Lagos, Nigeria’s worst-hit state by COVID-19, a new health insurance cover will go a long way in boosting their morale as they face enormous risk as they are in the front line in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
A group of leading insurance companies comprising Leadway Assurance Company Limited, Custodian & Allied Insurance Plc, Lasaco Assurance Plc, AIICO Insurance Plc, Tangerine Life Insurance Limited and Ark Insurance Brokers Limited will partner Lagos State to pool together a health insurance cover of N5billion ($13.89 million at 360/$) for state COVID-19 health workers and volunteers.
Without insurance protection, these Nigerian health workers are only entitled to N5,000 monthly hazard fee as they take on the deadly virus without sufficient personal protective clothing and equipment.
In comparison to peers, Nigerian doctors earn a monthly hazard fee of $13.64, while counterparts in Congo DR earn $250, $825 in Liberia, $460 in Sierra Leone and $361 in Ghana, according to data compiled by ICIR.
In Ghana, the government has announced a special life insurance cover for the professionals at the frontline dealing with the pandemic under Group Life cover with a sum of GHS 350,000 ($60,658.58) on each life.
Local Ghanaian news reports that personnel attending to patients with critical illness have a cover GHS 25, 000 per person, ($4,332.76) and those treating patients with disability have insurance of GHS 10,000 per person ($1,733.10) with the entire insurance packages worth GHS 10.3 million ($1.79 million).
The group assembled by H.A.B Fasinro of Fenchurch Group will “help with the practical solution of providing medical, disability/incapacity and term life insurance cover for up to 1000 healthcare workers and volunteers who are in the front line in the fight against COVID-19 in Lagos State,” a joint statement by the six insurers and Lagos state government read.
The group said that the coverage of the policies will be limited to inpatient hospital cash and life insurance cover for healthcare workers and volunteers in Lagos.
Around the world, health workers as a group have become one of the biggest casualties of the virus. More than 11,000 health workers have contracted the novel coronavirus and 80 have died in Italy alone according to a recent Reuters report.
In Lagos, four medical doctors were said to have entered quarantine last week after treating a COVID-19 patient that failed to disclose material information. In Benin, 25 health workers have been said to have been exposed at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH).
As of the time of press, Monday Lagos accounted for 120 out of 238 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, where 33 people have been discharged after full recovery and five others have died due to the virus.
“This partnership with the Lagos State Government will contribute towards the exemplary effort being made by the state in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Fasinro.