The Commonwealth Medical Association (CMA) has called on governments to make greater commitments to the safety of health workers.
In a lenghty statement signed by the CMA president, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, on Thursday to mark the 2020 World Patient Safety Day (WPSD), the association commended the World Health Organization (WHO) for endorsing the establishment of the celebration. The day is marked annually on the 17th of September.
The CMA said it is elated at the theme chosen to mark this year’s World Patient Safety Day (WPSD 2020): “Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety.”
While appreciating the sacrifices of healthcare workers, the association regretted the loss of some of them to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It urged governments to make greater investments and sustained commitments to the working conditions, occupational health and safety of healthcare workers.
The association also called on National Medical Associations to specifically demand for the development and full implementation of these frameworks in their respective countries.
Also, the CMA urged all physicians and healthcare workers in the Commonwealth to jointly observe a minute silence and pray for the repose of the souls of their colleagues who lost their lives to COVID-19, on Sunday, 20th September, 2020, at 2pm London time.
“As the world marks the World Patient Safety Day on Thursday, 17th September, 2020, the Commonwealth Medical Association once again deeply appreciates the tremendous sacrifices and commitment of physicians and other healthcare professionals/healthcare workers across the globe, in protecting and safeguarding humanity,” the statement said.
“Importantly, the CMA recognizes their 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 deeply condoles their families and loved ones. We pray for the eternal repose of their great souls.
“While the Commonwealth Medical Association appreciates past and present efforts of governments to provide for health worker safety and protection, 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.
“On account of the above realities, the CMA restates her fervent call on governments and other stakeholders to make greater investments and sustained commitments to the working conditions, occupational health and safety of healthcare workers.
“The CMA remains irrevocably convinced that health worker safety is a sine qua non for patient safety, and that these investments and sustained commitments to health worker safety are 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.
“On our part, the Commonwealth Medical Association shall continue to advocate for health worker safety and patient safety, including the sustained provision of safe working conditions, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and incentives to motivate healthcare workers.
“In furtherance of this commitment, the CMA organized webinars and capacity development programs on patient safety and health worker safety. On Wednesday, 1st July, 2020, the CMA organized an international webinar focused on patient care, with the theme: ‘Regional Perspectives on Clinical Case Management of Covid-19: Current Realities, Best Practices, and Challenges.’ Similarly, on Thursday, 3rd September, 2020, the CMA organized an international webinar focused on health worker safety, with the theme: ‘The Commonwealth Health workforce and Covid-19 pandemic: Regional Perspectives on Current Realities, Challenges, and Future Projections.’”
“Furthermore, 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 for 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 2pm London time.
“As we mark the World Patient Safety Day 2020, let’s join hands to speak up for health worker safety and patient safety.”
Happy World Patient Safety Day.
Dr. Osahon Enabulele, M.B.B.S,MHPM,FWACP.
President, Commonwealth Medical Association.