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Kyrgyzstan: Who and How Much Did the State Pay for Fighting Covid-19?

The majority of health workers were covered by compensations in March. However, the highest extra payments were made in April and May.


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Pandemic of the new coronavirus infection has taken all countries unawares. Despite the fact that certain states had more time than others to prepare to fight Covid-19, in fact, all of the measures turned to be inefficient. Today, the vaccine is not mass produced and the only weapon against COVID-19 are health workers.

By the way, Kyrgyzstan has problems with it. Press secretary of the health ministry Perizat Bakytova posted a call for help on her Facebook page:

This February, deputy minister of the health ministry reported that the basic salary of a doctor in Kyrgyzstan without bonuses is 5 thousand som (64.36 dollars). Therefore, an offer for nurses and hospital aides – from 1.8 to 2.3 thousand som (23-30 dollars) a day – is more than attractive. However, no one volunteered to this offer.

There are a few reasons for that. First, high risk of infection because of no PPE for health workers working in the field. Today, it has already led to the fact that every seventh patient in Kyrgyzstan is a health worker. The second reason is the messages appearing on the internet from time to time that promised payments do not reach health workers.

It’s a reminder that in early April 2020, the head of the financial policy office of the health ministry, Mirlan Atakulov, reported that all health workers involved in focal areas would receive extra payments. They are divided into two categories:

  • For workers who are located in quarantine barracks,
  • For workers who work in shifts and go home after every shift.

Compensation payments should be:

  • For doctors – up to 46 thousand som (592 dollars),
  • For paramedical personnel – up to 41 thousand som (527.76 dollars),
  • For junior service staff – up to 38 thousand som (489.14 dollars),
  • For workers working in shifts – up to 29 thousand som (373.29 dollars).

Not all health workers choose to express their discontent openly and speak to journalists on the condition of anonymity:

“They reduce hours worked by us to pay less to us. They claim they have no such money to pay doctors. As a result, they count 16 hours of work as 8 hours, or even less. Of course, we understand everything and try to be in their shoes, but who will understand us?

When individual health workers claimed that doctors were not equipped, had no personal protective equipment, they were persecuted. At the very beginning of the pandemic, we had one special suit for all, we used regular goggles instead of protective ones, we lacked masks. Each of us sewed or bought such masks.”

However, some workers received extra payments. A hospital aide of one of the city hospitals said she was paid all money for all extra hours worked.

To sort out the situation, CABAR.asia analysed open data available on Help.covid.kg. The website has all data regarding payments to doctors made from voluntary donations by businessmen and ordinary citizens.

Today, the deposit account of the health ministry received over 140 million som (1.8 million dollars), over 90 per cent of which were already spent.

According to the report available on the website, 1,949 payments or 10.5 million som (135.16 thousand dollars) were paid directly to health workers. The remaining amount was also spent to make extra payments to health workers via the health ministry and medical institutions in the cities and regions.

According to Help.covid.kg, 331 payments in the total amount of 27,364 million som (352.24 thousand dollars) were transferred to the health ministry for health workers. 86.8 million som (1,12 million dollars) were transferred to medical institutions for further payments to doctors.

According to the analysis, the biggest single extra payment is 48 thousand 764 som (627.69 dollars), the lowest is 98.88 som (1.27 dollars). The most widespread amount of compensation to individuals is 1 thousand 186.5 som (15.27 dollars). The average amount of compensation is 5 thousand 365 som (69.06 dollars).

As the health ministry told CABAR.asia, 125.5 million som (1.62 million dollars) out of voluntary donations were spent in three months (from March to May 2020). The majority of money, according to the agency’s statistical data, were spent to make payments to the paramedical personnel — 48.9 million som (629.45 thousand dollars).

The majority of health workers were covered by compensations out of voluntary donations in March. However, the highest extra payments were made in April and May.

Moreover, according to the health ministry, the public budget reserve allocated 133.8 million som (1.72 million dollars) under the government executive order dated May 7 to the Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund for compensation payments to health workers involved in the implementation of measures against Covid-19.

In April and May, over 131 million som (1.686 million dollars) were spent out of this amount for extra payments. 6,970 health workers received extra payments in April, and 6,118 in May.

The data for June are preliminary. According to vice prime minister Aida Ismailova, in the first summer month 10,237 health workers working in exposure locations received compensations in the amount of 109.6 million som (1.41 million dollars).

“Today we are making payments for June on the basis of requests from health organisations,” Ismailova said during the July 3 briefing.

According to the finance ministry, 767.3 million som (9.88 million dollars) are provided for compensations to health workers in the republican budget. Out of them 109.6 million som (1.4 million dollars) have already been allocated, and the remaining 657.7 million som (8.47 million dollars) will be transferred by the end of the year.

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