.by Simeon OSAJIE
The President of World Medical Association, (WMA) Dr. Osahon Enabulele has called on the Federal government and Managers of health institutions in Nigeria to declare an emergency on the rising tide of violence against healthcare workers in Nigeria.
Dr. Enabulele made the call while delivering a Lecture at the opening ceremony of the 63rd Annual General Conference and Delegates Meeting of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) held on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, at the Catholic event centre in Jalingo, Taraba State.
In his lecture titled: “Violence against Healthcare wtorkers 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% compared to the global prevalence of 8-38%.
The Guest Lecturer expressed great worry that despite the tremendous efforts being made 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 across the Nigeria.
While identifying verbal abuse, physical assault and kidnapping as common forms of violence against healthcare workers, Dr. Enabulele affirmed that the perpetrators of violence against healthcare workers were mostly the relatives of patients, patients themselves, co-workers and kidnappers.
While expressing dismay at the absence of a violence prevention protocol in most healthcare facilities in Nigeria, the WMA President identified issues of long waiting time, increased workload and inadequate supply of equipment, poor communication and negative attitude by some health workers, patient’s history of violent behaviour and dissatisfaction with the care given, as some of the factors responsible for the rising cases of violence against healthcare workers.
In his recommendations on how to stem the tide of violence in the health sector, Dr. Enabulele called on government at all levels to declare it as an emergency and adopt a zero-tolerance policy on violence in the health sector.
While calling on governments to move speedily towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage, Dr. Osahon Enabulele charged them to address the Social Determinants of Health and resolve all existing health inequities. He equally called on governments to improve the funding of the health system as well as their investments in the well-being, security, safety and working conditions of physicians and other health professionals.
He implored governments, law enforcement agencies, health institutions and health professional associations like the NMA to always ensure that every case of violence against a healthcare worker is prosecuted to its 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 suggested measures.
Declaring the conference open, the Executive Governor of Taraba State, Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku thanked the NMA for hosting the conference in Taraba State and informed participants of his government’s efforts to advance healthcare delivery in the state.
While urging physicians and other healthcare workers to remain faithful to their duties, the Taraba Stste governor commended them for their contributions to healthcare delivery and national development.
In his welcome address, the President of NMA, Dr. Uche Ojinmah welcomed participants and invited guests to the opening ceremony and expressed delight at its hosting by the Taraba State branch of the association.
Other dignitaries who attended the opening ceremony were His Royal Majesty, Manu Ishaku Adda, the Aku Uka of Wukari, who was the Royal Father of the Day, the Taraba State Commissioner of Health, the Registrar of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Dr. T. A. B. Sanusi, amongst other dignitaries.
From the conference, the WMA President paid a surprise visit to his alma mater, Federal Government College, Wukari, where he interacted with the School’s Principal, Staff and Students.
The WMA President is a 1988 graduate of Federal Government College, Wukari, Taraba State.