Date 18 February
By Ritu Awasthi PhD
This article explores the importance of supporting health care workers with an appreciation for their contributions, alongside an understanding of the implications when high-income countries recruit from low- and middle-income countries.
Faced with local and global public health challenges, we require solidarity to support health care workers as the world is still reeling under the pandemic. As some countries look to recover and transition to prepandemic pattern, many hospitals remain overloaded, and many countries manage their preparation and response to the COVID-19 emergency.
There was worldwide gratitude for healthcare workers, from clapping, cheers, banging pots to lighting lamps for the ‘healthcare heroes’. But all these steps don’t translate to better facilities for them. Post-traumatic stress, burnout, low wages are issues facing health workers today. The demands for Improving workplace safety, livelihood protection, supporting wellness and mental health care access for the health care workers were always there, but the urgency to fulfil those needs intensified during the pandemic.
They have been putting their lives at risk to fight the virus, and all countries and organisations must work together to recognise healthcare workers.
Along with the collective solidarity and voices of appreciation, health workers need outcome-driven care they give to their patients. At the same time, it is vital to examine how we reward their service. They have been putting their lives at risk to fight the virus, and all countries and organisations must work together to recognise healthcare workers.
WHO predicts that by 2030, there will be a shortage of 18 million health workers – constituting 20% of the entire workforce that runs the health systems (WHO, 2021). The shortfall is expected primarily in low- and middle-income countries.
During the pandemic, when the demand for health care workers surged exponentially, many OCED countries have recruited and retained migrant workers.
One of the critical factors for this shortage is the workforce migration from low- and middle-income countries to OCED countries where the pay incentives are higher and work facilities are better (OECD, 2020). Especially during the pandemic, when the demand for health care workers surged exponentially, many OCED countries have recruited and retained migrant workers.
To meet the target 3c of Sustainable Development Goals, governments, donors, and implementing agencies must prioritize low- and middle-income countries to train and support healthcare workers to ensure uninterrupted access to essential health services for everyone.
Further reading of interest:
- ‘Running staff into the ground isn’t a vision of something better.’ – Prioritising health to save lives – BMJ
- ‘The vote on changing working conditions for nurses achieved a majority of 61%” – Nurses win better working conditions in landmark Swiss vote – EuroNews.
- ‘These snapshots teach you about humanity and how to be a human.’ – Reasons to keep going – Nursing Times