Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, left, and his deputy Sathit Pitutecha, right, present a jacket to an outstanding health volunteer, on a national day honouring health volunteers, in Nonthaburi province in March. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul will seek 2.1 billion baht from the government's contingency fund for a 2,000 baht handout to every community-based health volunteer for their contribution to Covid-19 control.
Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said on Monday that Mr Anutin would request the budget from the cabinet on Tuesday, to reward 1.05 million health volunteers nationwide.
It would be paid in the form of a 500-baht monthly allowance for the four months from June to September this year. Each health volunteer would get 2,000 baht in total, if the cabinet approves the expenditure.
The allowance would cover the burden placed on the volunteers, known as Or Sor Mor, while working to control Covid-19 when it was a dangerous communicable disease, Ms Traisuree said.
“It is the policy of the public health minister to take care of health volunteers until the threat of Covid-19 ends. During Covid-19 outbreaks, the volunteers had to carry an extra burden, for which they should not have to pay for themselves. This included the cost of fuel when delivering medicines and medical supplies, visits to infected people and trips to collect information from people,” the government spokeswoman said.
“If the cabinet approves the additional spending, then the assistance paid to the volunteers will extend over 30 months, or two-and-a-half years, in total, from March 2020 to September 2022,” Ms Traisuree said.
Community-based health volunteers played important roles in supporting medical professionals in successfully controlling Covid-19, she said.
This coming Saturday, the government would downgrade Covid-19 from a dangerous communicable disease to a communicable disease under surveillance, and local health volunteers would play important roles in preparing the country for this post-pandemic era, Ms Traisuree said.