Nganjuk, E Java (Indonesia Window) – The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday (Sep 17) released the Health Worker Safety Charter, calling on governments and health care leaders to address persistent threats to the health and safety of health workers and patients.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded all of us of the vital role health workers play to relieve suffering and save lives,” WHO’s Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement received by Indonesia Window here on Friday.
“No country, hospital or clinic can keep its patients safe unless it keeps its health workers safe. WHO’s Health Worker Safety Charter is a step towards ensuring that health workers have the safe working conditions, the training, the pay and the respect they deserve,” he pointed out.
The pandemic has also highlighted the extent to which protecting health workers is key to ensuring a functioning health system and a functioning society.
The number of health workers is recorded at less than 3 percent of the population in most countries, and less than 2 percent in most low- and middle-income countries.
About 14 percent of the COVID-19 patients reported to WHO are health workers.
In some countries, the percentage could reach 35 percent.
Thousands of health workers around the world have died during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) mitigation team has recorded that 115 doctors have died during the COVID-19 pandemic across Indonesia with the biggest number found in East Java province.
The COVID-19 has exposed health workers and their families to unprecedented risks.
Besides physical risks, the pandemic has caused physiological stress on healthcare workers.
Tight work schedules for long hours, constant fear of possible exposure to disease, being separated from family, and social stigmatization are among the triggers.
The charter, which was released for the World Patient Safety Day, calls on governments and those running health services at local levels to take five actions to better protect health workers.
Those include steps to protect health workers from violence; to improve their mental health; to protect them from physical and biological hazards; to advance national programmes for health worker safety, and to connect health worker safety policies to existing patient safety policies.
Reporting by Raihanatul Radhwa