May 10, 2023

Violence against healthcare workers is emergency, WMA tells FG

Violence against healthcare workers is emergency, WMA tells FG

By Chioma Obinna

President of the World Medical Association, WMA, Dr.Osahon Enabulele, has called on the Nigerian Government and Managers of health institutions in Nigeria to declare an emergency on the rising tide of violence against healthcare workers in Nigeria.

Osahon made the call while as Guest Lecturer at the 63rd Annual General Conference and Delegates Meeting of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Jalingo, Taraba State.

In his lecture titled “Violence against healthcare workers in Nigeria: The Way Forward,” the WMA President decried the rising cases of violence against healthcare workers in Nigeria, which he put at a prevalence of 10-60 per cent compared to the global prevalence of 8-38 per cent.

He expressed great worry that despite tremendous efforts  by physicians and other health professionals to deliver health care services to the people, they were still being violently assaulted in their workplaces, particularly  in the emergency care units, primary care clinics, wards and psychiatric units of hospitals in Nigeria.

While identifying verbal abuse, physical assault, and kidnapping as common forms of violence against healthcare workers, he affirmed that the perpetrators of violence against healthcare workers were mostly the relatives of patients, patients themselves,co-workers, and kidnappers.

Expressing dismay at the absence of a violence prevention protocol in most healthcare facilities in Nigeria, the WMA President blamed long waiting time, increased workload and inadequate supply of equipment, among others  as some of the factors responsible for the rising cases of violence against healthcare workers.

Towards stemming the tide of violence in the health sector, Enabulele called on government at all levels to declare it as an emergency and adopt  zero-tolerance policy on violence.

Calling for speedy attainment of Universal Health Coverage,  Enabulele charged them to address the Social Determinants of Health and resolve all existing health inequities.

He called on governments to improve funding of the health system as well as  investments in the well-being,security, safety, and working conditions of physicians and other health professionals.

Enabulele implored governments, law enforcement agencies, health institutions, and health professional associations to always ensure that every case of violence against  a healthcare worker is prosecuted to logical conclusion.

He urged the  managers  of health institutions to improve the security architecture in their health facilities, develop violence prevention protocols, enhance patient experience, and build the capacity of their health personnel, amongst other measures.

Declaring the conference open, the Executive Governor of Taraba State, Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku, urged physicians and other healthcare workers to remain faithful to their duties.