A medical practitioner, Dr Vetty Agala, has urged the government at all levels to come up with policies that will ensure the lives of health workers, who daily expose themselves to dangers while trying to save lives.
Agala, the President of Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Rivers chapter, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
She said that improving the welfare of health workers should be a necessity “while COVID-19 inducement allowance should also be made available to all health workers as a way of appreciating their sacrifices.’’
According to her, there should be adequate provisions for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and continuous training and retraining to improve the workers’ skills.
She, however, said that the federal and state government could do more to boost the human resources in the health sector, saying “government is doing something but more has to be done.
“Investing in solving some of the challenges of health workers will add to strengthening the health system as we journey toward Universal Health Coverage.’’
In addition, she urged the government to make the working environment conducive for health workers by providing them with the necessary infrastructure and equipment to work with.
She said “PPE must be made available at this time of COVID-19 and better welfare package for health workers.
“Also, investing in monitoring, supervision, and using available data to inform quality and timely decisions is key.
“We need to invest in research too to improve our outcomes generally.”
Agala, however, commended the World Health Organisation (WHO) for designating 2021 as International Year of Healthcare Workers at its resumed 73rd edition of the World Health Assembly (WHA).
“WHO has recognised the dedication and sacrifices of the millions of health workers at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic and declared 2021 to focus on proffering solutions to the challenges plaguing the force.
“WHO urges all member states, international financing institutions, global health initiatives and partners to invest in health workforce readiness, education and learning to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, maintain health services and prepare for a vaccine.”
She added that the declaration by WHA was particularly significant to health workers in Nigeria “because of the exodus of human resources.
“It is time for Nigeria to take seriously the declaration by the WHA and invest more in health for us to continue to maintain quality health services during the pandemic.’’