• Thursday, Feb 09, 2023
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Giving emergency workers their due

  • Published at 01:54 pm May 4th, 2020
covid 19
Photo: Mahmud Hossain Opu

We need emergency workers who are competent and well-protected, not coronavirus martyrs

In a sense, every single one of us is fighting the coronavirus pandemic -- even if it is by simply observing social distancing to curb the spread of the virus. In a more specific and literal sense, however, it is the emergency workers on the front lines across Bangladesh, indeed across the world, who are really fighting this battle.

They are knowingly and deliberately putting themselves in harm’s way, risking infection, so that valuable services can be provided at a time of lockdown. They deserve not just our appreciation, but concrete support from the government so that they can continue doing such dangerous work.

That is why it is so heartening to see Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announce that the government was allocating Tk750 crore towards the welfare of emergency workers battling coronavirus in Bangladesh. This is a substantial fund, and while it is hard to predict just how long this crisis will last, this is a sizeable allocation which will ensure that all that can be done is being done.

Health workers have so far lacked adequate compensation; therefore, many had no incentive to expose themselves to dangerous situations. Now, the government will compensate the families of those who lose their lives after contracting Covid-19 in the line of duty.

That, of course, should not be a scenario we hope for. As this newspaper has editorialized before, we need emergency workers who are alive, competent, and well-protected, not coronavirus martyrs. 

To that end, adequate funding to fight this crisis in addition compensation money is what will win this battle in the end. 

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