COVID-19 has taken the lives of thousands of people over the last months. The general population is at risk of contracting the virus, but COVID-19 has exposed healthcare workers and their families to an unprecedented level of risk. Data from many countries indicate that healthcare workers are at a greater risk of getting COVID-19 than the general population. How can these endangered doctors take care of the patients? Healthcare workers work tirelessly round the clock, sleep deprivation amongst them is common. Added to this are the various mental, psychological and physical problems which are increasingly leading to healthcare workers scumming to depression,irritation and agitation and losing focus. The well-being and safety of healthcare workers is crucial for the patient safety. Mistakes made by doctors due to above reasons may compromise a patient’s health outcomes.
Healthcare workers live in constant fear of disease exposure while separated from family and facing social stigmatization. WHO reminds governments on World Patient Safety Day that they have a legal and moral duty to ensure the health , safety and welfare of health workers. The Health Worker Charter of the Organization calls on all Member States and related stakeholders to take action to:
- Build synergies between policies and strategies for the protection of health workers and patient safety.
- Develop and introduce national programmes for health workers’ occupational health and safety.
- Secure health workers from workplace harassment.
- Improving psychological well-being and mental well-being
It is important to take the safety of healthcare workers seriously if we want to sustain this pandemic. In addition to the Health Worker Protection Charter, the WHO has also identified concrete goals for healthcare leaders to invest in, monitor and improve the safety of health workers over the next year on World Patient Safety Day 2020. The objectives are for health care facilities to resolve five areas: the prevention of significant injuries; the reduction of work-related stress and burnout; the enhancement of the use of personal protective equipment; the promotion of zero tolerance for violence against health workers; and the monitoring and review of serious incidents related to safety.