September 22, 2023

Lara Adejoro, Abuja

The President of the World Medical Association, Dr. Osahon Enabulele has called on all tiers of government and managers of health systems to resolve the mental health, burnout, and psychosocial challenges faced by physicians and other health professionals.

Dr. Osahon stated this while speaking during the recently concluded 5th Global Forum on Human Resource for Health, organised by the World Health Organisation in Geneva.

Speaking on the themes, ‘The impact of COVID-19 on the health workforce – The past, present, and future’ and ‘Protecting the rights of healthcare workers in times of pandemics and beyond -How to move from technical guidance to effective regulation,’ he decried the huge impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health professionals.

The WMA President also lamented the negative impact of health system challenges on the mental health and psychosocial state of the health workforce, and the inability of governments and managers of health systems to concretely and altruistically address the challenges, which he linked to apprehension over inadequate supplies of personal protective equipment with the attendant fear of increased exposure to risk, violence against them and stressful work routine.

he also said they also include crisis of brain drain, increased workload with a resultant increase in burnout of the health workforce, and increased exit from the health professions.

He said, “I call for the provision of equitable access to mental and psychosocial care services to victims of the disabling working conditions.

“I charge the 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, safety and working conditions of the health workforce, comprehensive legal framework to protect the rights of the health workforce and reduce 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.”

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, called for useful suggestions to help resolve the challenges facing the health workforce.

He gave an assurance that the WHO will accord greater attention to the issue of the health workforce to aid the attainment of Universal Health Coverage.

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