IT is gladdening to know that, at last, the Lagos State Government is taking the lead in tackling the long-desired need to upgrade the attitude of health sector workers for better service delivery.
A total of 825 health workers drawn from all levels of the healthcare sector, including the Ministry of Health, Health Service Commission and Primary Health Care Board, started the retraining programme on May 27, 2019.
The poor attitude of health workers in government health institutions is a national malaise, but the case of Lagos State is outstanding, perhaps because of the large population of patients that crowd public hospitals in search of solutions to their health needs.
These workers, especially the nurses, ward staff and even doctors, exhibit total lack of emotional intelligence or empathy towards patients, their family members and visitors.
The situation is worse in relation to indigent patients who are unable to foot mundane bills. They are simply abandoned to their fate. This poor attitude is also extended to the way morgue attendants relate to dead bodies and bereaved persons.
The hostility, callousness, insults and abandonment are enough to worsen health cases or even hasten death.
The Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Titilayo Goncalves, while addressing a batch of the participants admitted that: “The complaints and reports have become worrisome and it is inimical to our goal of providing quality, affordable and efficient health services to the populace, hence the initiation of these trainings which overall goal is to assist health workers and other related professionals in the health service delivery system to improve their attitude for greater effectiveness at work”.
Each participant is expected to spend 13 days at the workshop and undergo sessions on values, empathy, client or customer satisfaction, positive mindset, attitude, courtesies and professionalism. These are the essential ingredients of healthcare providers’ work ethics in civilised climes worldwide.
We had it, even in Nigeria in the past, but as our society generally degenerated in almost all sectors, the health sector was also affected.
We call on all states of the Federation and the Federal Government to emulate the good example of Lagos State and cultivate the attitude of retraining workers at all levels of governance, especially the health sector.
We must reattach great value to human life and uphold the dignity of people needing care, support and encouragement.
All of us will need healthcare at some point in our lives. We must do away with attitudes that are antithetical to professionalism in the health sector.
We call for a thorough investigation into the role of corruption in fostering poor attitude among health workers. Unless corruption and profiteering are rooted out of our public health institutions we will be back to square one soon after the upgrade exercise.