By Chioma Obinna
To mark this year’s World Patient Safety Day (WPSD), today, with the theme: “Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety.” the Commonwealth Medical Association, CMA, has called on governments and other stakeholders to make greater investments and sustained commitments to the working conditions, occupational health and safety of healthcare workers.
In a message to mark the day in Nigeria, the President of CMA, who was also former President of the Nigeria Meďical Association, NMA, Dr Osahon Enabulele maintained that health worker safety was a sine qua non for patient safety.
According to him, investments and sustained commitments to health worker safety were critical to the delivery of quality healthcare and patient safety.
“A physician or health professional who is not physically, mentally, and psycho-socially fit, or who works in unsafe conditions, is very unlikely to deliver quality patient care.
“For anyone that was ever in doubt of the important nexus between health worker safety and patient safety, the experiences from the current Covid-19 pandemic provide enough learning points and convictions on the critical need to adopt a more comprehensive strategic framework that gives emphasis to both health worker safety and patient safety.”
Acknowledging the efforts of governments to provide for health worker safety and protection, he lamented that reports from various countries indicate that there are still very huge gaps to be filled, particularly in terms of protecting physicians and other healthcare workers from assaults and acts of violence perpetrated against them even in the course of undertaking their sacred duties of saving lives in the current COVID-19 pandemic, as well as evidence of inadequate provision of working tools, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), and unsatisfactory working conditions, amongst others.
He pledged further that the Commonwealth Medical Association shall continue to advocate for health worker safety and patient safety, including the sustained provision of safe working conditions, PPEs, and incentives to motivate healthcare workers.
He commended the tremendous sacrifices and commitment of physicians and other healthcare professionals/healthcare workers across the globe, in protecting and safeguarding humanity, particularly, exemplary commitment to duty and provision of quality care in the current global war against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The CMA regrets the loss of healthcare workers and other citizens to the COVID-19 pandemic, and condoles their families and loved ones.”
“In furtherance of this commitment, the CMA organised webinars and capacity development programmers on patient safety and health worker safety.
He further pledged that the CMA shall continue to give concrete expression to her Safe Hospital Initiative, as well as sustain her advocacy for institutionalization of Clinical Governance at all levels of healthcare, and the development of policy, legal and regulatory frameworks to guarantee good working conditions, indemnity and insurance cover, occupational health, and safety of healthcare workers at all levels of care.
“We call on National Medical Associations to specifically demand the development and full implementation of these frameworks in their respective countries, as well as the sustained provision and availability of working tools and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).
In memory of our departed colleagues, healthcare workers, and citizens who have passed on, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic, we urge all physicians and healthcare workers in the Commonwealth to jointly observe a minute silence and pray for the eternal repose of their great souls on Sunday, 20th September 2020, at 2 pm London time. As we mark World Patient Safety Day 2020, let’s join hands to speak up for health worker safety and patient safety.