on Wednesday, 08 April 2020.

“Health Workers for All and All for Health Workers” Slogan of the First Global Forum on Human Resources for Health
“Our job is to ensure access to a skilled, supported and motivated health worker for every person in every village everywhere” Dr. J W Lee, former WHO Director General.
In these trying times of the COVID -19 pandemic, there are Health Workforce (HWF) issues that keep recurring in all countries. Yet HWF is one of the most critical inputs into the pandemic control response. This message needs to be appreciated by all intersetoral actors in governments and the general population. There are persistent complaints about lack of protective equipment, long working hours, hazards of travel to and from work in the face of lock down regulations and lack of support to undertake non COVID related medical work leading to collateral damage to public health.
“Health Workers for All and All for Health Workers” was the slogan of the First Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in 2008. Another related trending theme at that time and still relevant today is the quote from Dr. J W Lee that “Our job is to ensure access to a skilled, supported and motivated health worker for every person in every village everywhere”.
Let us take the discussion forward based on this quotation:
1. Skilled HWF need general knowledge, attitudes and skills for good and bad times and the required competencies for this are:
• Prepared to work where services are most needed: selection process, attitudes, socially accountable
• Able to respond to health needs of community: training in real life situations in community
• Able to deliver quality care with available (limited) resources. (Achieving the most with available resources.)
• Clinical excellence as foundation for teaching and research.
• Able to be leader, manager , teacher and change agent: mentors
• Continuous self-directed learners
• Effective communicators: team based learning, practice
The HWF also needs to be prepared and fit for purpose to handle the special skills for COVID-19 and the required competencies are:
• Full understanding of Infection control practices including correct use of PPEs
• Knowledge of Novel Corona virus behavior and its manifestations especially modes of transmission, symptoms, signs and complications
• Team work and empathy with ability to delegate skills through Task Shifting approach

2. Supported HWF should have:
• Enjoy the full support of political leadership with established structures for HWF planning and management embracing all relevant sectors
• Enjoy full support supervision of competent technical leaders with clear structures for dialogue and communication
• Enjoy the full support and understanding of the general population
• Have access to the tools that they require for their work such as PPEs, supplies,
• Organized and well led HWF with a critical mass of individuals professional associations and other institutions that work with their respective governments as both support and accountability agents, for sustaining highly performing health systems

3. Motivated HWF needs:
• Recognition and appreciation by empathetic leaders and the population
• Financial and non-financial incentives
• Protection from exhaustion and burn out through reasonable working hours and working conditions
4. Access to health worker by every person in every village everywhere
• HWF for all levels of the health care system should be planned and deployed with appropriate skills support and motivation as per graphic bellow.

5. 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife
In all this we must remember that the year 2020 has been declared the Year of the Nurse and Midwife by WHO. Nurses are the center of all this discussion we need to give special thought to Nursing and Midwifery. They are present at the center of all the levels of health care but often do not get the recognition that they deserve. Let us honor our Nurses and Midwives.

Health worker by every person in every village everywhere


Comments (3)

  • C A Samkange

    C A Samkange

    13 April 2020 at 09:56 |
    As usual Francis you have been superlative in your discourse and precise in articulating the issues.

    May I be so bold as to add a bullet in paragraph 2? :

    organised and systematic continuous professional development with structured mentorship programmes, planned re-training to suit changing practice areas (especially in re-deployment) and empathic career development and promotion processes

    May we all survive the global lockdowns and necessary restrictive measures states have imposed. Above all, may we live to see a real reduction in health worker mortality. This is preventable in too many instances

    C A Samkange
  • Patrick KADAMA

    Patrick KADAMA

    13 April 2020 at 10:16 |
    Thanks, Chris, for this strengthening of the statement and nice to hear from you after a while.
    ....... and we still have a great opportunity in coming weeks to support the WHO theme of this week strongly for keeping health workers safe ..... this logo for the week has not been visibly circulated but we can still do it. .... Patrick.
  • David Okello

    David Okello

    13 April 2020 at 10:23 |
    Dear Professor Omaswa,

    This is a relevant posting at this opportune moment. Health workers are doing their work under very difficult conditions. All over the world, they are increasingly contracting the infection in the line of duty. The minimum we can do is to show appreciation for their dedication. A nation-wide clapping for NHS health workers in the UK is a simple example, but powerful way to show appreciation. They should also be provided with the logistics they need to do their work efficiently.

    Thank you.

    Dr David Okello

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