The immediate-past president, World Medical Association (WMA), Dr. Osahon Enabulele, has warned that if the future of Nigeria’s healthcare system is to be secured, the acts of violence against healthcare workers must be declared as a national emergency.
He added that the state of emergency must be backed by prioritised investments into the healthcare system as well as the well-being, working conditions, safety, and security of healthcare workers.
Enabulele, who was a guest lecturer at the 2nd induction/oath-taking ceremony of Medical graduates of Edo State University, Uzairue, lamented that despite their frontline roles in the management of injured victims of conflicts/war, physicians and other health professionals are most times the primary victims and are subjected to acts of violence in all regions of the world.
“Despite their critical roles and importance in society, physicians and other members of the health workforce are still subjected to acts of violence which undermine Nigeria’s healthcare delivery system.
“It has indeed become a major driver of brain drain of these professionals from Nigeria’s health sector,” he lamented.
Enabulele continued: “More and more conflict parties violate, with complete impunity, humanitarian law and attack health facilities and health personnel who are usually at the frontline treating victims of conflicts or abuse signs of protection by storing weapons or troops in hospitals or using ambulances for combat purposes.”
While calling for an investigation into all forms of attacks against health workers and consequent punishment, the former WMA President opined that violence against healthcare workers can be stemmed in the bud if various stakeholders, including medical doctors and other health professionals, and their associations, effectively play their roles.
“All attacks against healthcare, in peace or armed conflicts contexts, must be properly investigated and those responsible must be brought to justice,” he added.
He further called for an “improved security of Nigerians and the Nigerian state; including at workplaces and provision of decent pay and decent working conditions, secured and safe workplace” for medical workers.