April 8, 2023

Health Workforce: WMA seeks quick address of mental health, burn out, psycho-social challenges

Commonwealth doctors call for adherence to COVID-19 guidelines in New Year

Dr Osahon Enabulele

By Chioma Obinna

The World Medical Association, WMA President, Dr. Osahon Enabulele has urged Governments and managers of health systems to quickly resolve the mental health, burn out, and psycho-social challenges faced by physicians and other health professionals in across the world.
Osahon made the call at two different sessions of the just-concluded 5th Global Forum on Human Resource for Health in Geneva by the World Health Organisation, WHO.
At the first session, Enabulele who spoke on the theme:”The impact of COVID-19 on the health workforce–the past, present, and future,” highlighted the challenges facing physicians and other health professionals across the world.
Enabulele, specifically, decried the huge impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and health system challenges on the mental health and psycho-social state of the health workforce.
The President who also spoke at the 2nd session with the theme: “Protecting the Rights of Health and Care Workers in times of Pandemics and beyond: How to move from technical guidance to effective regulation,” lamented the inability of governments and managers of health systems to concretely and altruistically address the challenges.
He traced the challenges to apprehension over inadequate supplies of personal protective equipment with the attendant fear of increased exposure to risk, violence against them, the stressful work routine, the crisis of brain drain and increased work load, with resultant increase in burn-out of the health workforce, and increased exit from the health professions.
Calling for provision of equitable access to mental and psycho-social care services to victims of the disabling working conditions, Enabulele, charged governments and managers of health systems to altruistically address the inequity in health workforce distribution, and to show greater political commitment to prioritised investments in the well-being, rights, and safety.
Other areas he highlighted include; working conditions of the health workforce, comprehensive legal framework to protect the rights of the health workforce, reduction of the incidence of violence against them, as well as strengthening the provisions for the health workforce in the evolving draft of the pandemic treaty, amongst other recommendations.
Speaking earlier in his welcome remarks, the Director General, WHO, Dr Tedros Adnanom Ghebreyesus, called for useful suggestions to help resolve the challenges of the health workforce.
He assured that the WHO will accord greater attention to the issues of the health workforce to aid the attainment of Universal Health Coverage.
The 5th Global Forum on Human Resource for Health had in attendance the Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Member states of the WHO, Health Ministers of various countries, the International Labour Organization, Health Professional Associations such as the World Medical Association, Global funding agencies, as well as many other stakeholders.
The Global Forum ended with a colourful closing ceremony on Wednesday, April 5, 2023 by the WHO Director General.