Dr. Osahon Enabulele, the former president of the World Medical Association (WMA), has urged the government to declare a national emergency on the violence against healthcare workers, which he said threatens the future of Nigeria’s healthcare system.
He also stressed the need for more investments in the healthcare system, especially in the areas of health workers’ well-being, working conditions, safety, and security.
Enabulele, who delivered a lecture at the 2nd induction/oath-taking ceremony of medical graduates of Edo State University, Uzairue, expressed his concern that healthcare workers, who are often the first responders to victims of conflicts and war, are also the main targets of violence in different parts of the world.
He said that the violence against healthcare workers is a major factor that contributes to the brain drain of these professionals from Nigeria’s health sector.
He added: “In many cases, parties involved in conflicts or violence disregard humanitarian law and attack health facilities and health personnel, who are supposed to be protected by their status. They also abuse the signs of protection by using hospitals or ambulances for military purposes.”
He called for a proper investigation and prosecution of all perpetrators of violence against health workers and said that the problem can be solved if various stakeholders, including doctors and other health professionals and their associations, play their roles effectively.
He also advocated for “improved security of Nigerians and the Nigerian state, including at workplaces and the provision of decent pay and decent working conditions, as well as a secure and safe workplace” for medical workers.