Although 10 months have passed since the government's announcement of daily quarantine allowance, no doctor, nurse or healthcare frontliners in the war against Covid-19 received the money.
The frontliners, who would not avail government-provided free accommodation for quarantine, were supposed to get the money from July 1 last year.
"It is the sheer negligence on the government's part that it could not fulfil its promise. This will create mistrust between the government and the healthcare professionals," Prof Iqbal Arsalan, president of Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad, a pro-Awami League doctors' organisation, told The Daily Star.
He said, "It is unacceptable that only the healthcare professionals will have to take all the responsibilities, not the health ministry."
Arsalan, also a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, said at least the government should arrange quarantine facilities for the healthcare professionals, otherwise they will be infected and the medical service will be hampered severely.
According to the government circular, a doctor will receive a daily allowance of Tk 2,000 for 15 days a month in the capital whereas the allowance for a nurse is Tk 1,200 per day and Tk 800 per day for other healthcare professionals.
Doctors outside the capital will get Tk 1,800 per day, while a nurse will be entitled to Tk 1,000 per day and other hospital staffers will get Tk 650 per day.
The healthcare professionals will treat patients for 15 days in a month and then go through a mandatory quarantine period for the next 15 days, as per the Covid-19 guidelines.
Ever since the pandemic hit the country in March last year, many public healthcare professionals stayed at different hotels during their quarantine period.
But there was a huge hue and cry over the abnormal hotel bills and also medical professionals raising questions about the quality of services at government-designated hotels.
Later, the government arranged a number of training centres, including the Bangladesh Institute of Administration and Management (BIAM) in Dhaka city, as accommodation facilities for the frontliners.
However, some healthcare professionals of Covid-19 dedicated public hospitals started getting special honorarium, announced by the prime minister in April last year.
The finance ministry issued a circular on July 9 in this regard. The special incentives were equivalent to two months' basic salaries for all healthcare professionals in public hospitals dedicated to Covid-19 treatment.
Md Enamul Haque, joint secretary (Budget-1,2) of the health ministry's Health Services Division, said until yesterday, they processed this special allowances for 1,800 healthcare professionals of 14 hospitals.
"The rest are in the pipeline and will be settled soon."
Asked about the daily allowance for quarantine, he said, "We sought clear opinions from the Directorate General of Health Services regarding the pending hotel bills. After settling the issue, we will process this allowance."
Contacted, ABM Khurshid Alam, director general of DGHS, said, "We have forwarded all the necessary documents related to the daily allowances to the health ministry."