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Indonesia scraps plans to cut COVID-19 incentives for health workers

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The government has scrapped a controversial plan to cut incentives for health workers amid public outrage.

The plan came to light after an official letter by the Finance Ministry, addressed to the Health Ministry, leaked to the public earlier this week. The letter outlines the Finance Ministry’s intention to extend by one year stimulus given to health workers during the pandemic — which was given throughout 2020 — but with half the incentive rates for individual health workers.

Also Read — Indonesia plans cuts to COVID-19 incentives for health workers

Under the Finance Ministry’s proposal, in 2021, specialists will receive an incentive of IDR7.5 million per month, down from IDR15 million in 2020; resident specialists will receive IDR6.25 million per month; general practitioners and dentists will receive IDR5 million per month, down from IDR 10 million; midwives and nurses will receive IDR3.75 million per month, down from IDR7.5 million; and other health workers will receive IDR2.5 million per month, down from IDR 5 million.

The death benefit remains at IDR300 million.

Though the plan was not final when the reports came out, it was enough to incite public outrage and eventually led to a clarification from the Finance Ministry that the plan will not come to fruition, as told by the ministry’s Budgeting Director General Askolani at a press conference yesterday.

“In the year 2021 that has only been going for two months, the incentives given to health workers will remain the same as in 2020,” Askolani said.

Askolani explained that the government has considered increasing the stimulus for the health sector, citing “dynamic” development of COVID-19 in the country.

“With a series of activities and health care budget needs, in early 2021 the government raised a significant budget from the initial IDR169 trillion to possibly reach IDR254 trillion, based on our calculations in the beginning of this year.”

The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) previously said Indonesia has one of the world’s highest mortality rates among health workers due to COVID-19.

 

US$1 = IDR14,034

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