Corona Support Fund paid money to 180 healthcare workers or surviving relatives

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Stichting Zorg na Werk in Coronazorg (ZWiC) has paid a one-off financial contribution to 154 healthcare workers and 26 surviving relatives of healthcare workers with covid-19. A total of 5.9 million was thus paid out.

ZWiC was founded in March 2020 by trauma surgeon Marijn Houwert and orthopedic surgeon Sander Muijs. The aim was to provide financial support to healthcare workers, from nurses to cleaners, who have been admitted to intensive care or have died due to their work in corona care. In total, the foundation received 4.4 million in donations from both companies and individuals. The Ministry of VWS doubled this amount, bringing the total amount to 8.8 million. 26 next of kin of care workers received 50,000 euros each and the 154 care workers who had been in ICU each received 30,000 euros. In addition, €500,000 has been invested in the development and implementation of a national policy guideline for psychosocial support for healthcare professionals.

Paying out quickly is crucial

In September 2021, Muijs and Houwert handed over the baton to nurse and acute care lecturer Wietske Blom-Ham, who has participated in the board of ZWiC from the start. Sander Muijs: ‘Under Wietske’s leadership, ZWiC has reached the majority of the target group.’ Looking back, the founders think ZWiC has been vital to them. Muijs: ‘ZWiC has been able to make a difference for these healthcare workers and their relatives. For example, relatives without funeral insurance no longer had to worry about the financial side of the funeral and there was room for mourning. Or they could continue their children’s studies if the care worker was the breadwinner.’ According to Houwert and Muijs, it was crucial that the amounts were paid out very quickly. ‘In this way, financial worries could be omitted in a phase in which there are already enough worries.’ 88 percent of the (surviving relatives of) healthcare employees received the contribution on the account within six weeks after the application. Houwert: ‘That does not mean that there was no thorough selection, but that the foundation used clear, hard criteria. And we also assumed trust instead of distrust.’

Remaining amount

Of the more than 2 million euros that has not been spent, half will be returned to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, as agreed in advance. The more than 1 million that remains will be donated to the Long COVID Foundation. Marijn Houwert: ‘We think that’s a very understandable choice. This foundation is an extension of ZWiC. It is important that more research is done into the causes and treatment of post-covid syndrome. A better definition of lung covid is also needed.’ As of July 1, 2023, ZWiC will cease to exist.

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