The Commonwealth Medical Association, (CMA) has said the impact of COVID-19 on the health workforce has been enormous, as Commonwealth countries contribute about 15 percent of the global figure of persons infected with COVID-19.
With that in mind, stakeholders, at the 2nd webinar series of the CMA, entitled: “The Common Wealth Health Workforce & COVID-19 pandemic: Regional Perspectives on the Current Realities, Challenges and Future Projections”, however called for greater investment in the health workforce and promotion of access to healthcare by all.
The President, CMA, Dr Osahon Enabulele, said, “While we note there has been the varied impact of the pandemic on various aspects of the economy and aspect of life, the impact on the health workforce has been very tremendous with unfortunate morbidities and mortalities among healthcare workers.
“According to statistics from the WHO, COVID-19 related deaths among health workers are about 10 percent of the global mortality due to the disease. In the Africa region, which has the worst health workforce crisis globally with only about 3 percent global health workforce, a total of 46,206 health workers are reported to be infected with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, September 2, 2020,” he added.
Enabulele said the situation was further worsened by the impact of the health workforce migration even during this COVID-19 on account of unmet expectations, poor motivation, poor adherence to infection prevention and control measures, and of course guidelines. Despite the foregoing realities including nonexistence of COVID-19 vaccine or drugs, healthcare workers are expected to remain combat soldiers in the war against the pandemic, he said.
The CMA president said the objective of the webinar was therefore to unfold the varied experiences and perspectives of health workers from commonwealth countries and various regions as it concerns the health workforce, particularly, in terms of identifying current gaps and challenges and developing a consensus framework that will help identify gaps now and post COVID era with the overall aim of boosting current efforts at defeating COVID-19.
On his part, the Prof, Rasaq Adebayo, who represented the President of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Prof Innocent Ujah called for enhanced funding to provide healthcare infrastructure. equipment and essential medications etc., adding that “We also need the voices of citizens. especially civil society organizations and the media. We should demand better funding, stewardship, supervision, capacity utilization, and coordination of the health sector in Nigeria and other West African countries.”