Dr. Osahon Enabulele, President of the World Medical Association (WMA) has called on the Nigerian government and managers of health institutions in Nigeria to declare a state of emergency in response to the rising tide of violence against healthcare professionals in Nigeria.
The World Medical Association President stated this while delivering a Guest Lecture at the 63rd Annual General Conference and Delegates Meeting of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, at the Catholic event center in Jalingo, Taraba State.
The WMA President, in his presentation titled “Violence Against Healthcare Workers in Nigeria: The Way Forward,” condemned the escalating cases of violence against healthcare professionals in Nigeria, which he estimated to be 10-60%, compared to the global frequency of 8-38%.
Despite the tremendous efforts made by physicians and other health professionals to provide health care services to the people, Dr. Enabulele expressed grave concern that they were still being violently assaulted in their workplaces, particularly in emergency care units, primary care clinics, wards, and psychiatric units of hospitals in Nigeria.
While he identified verbal abuse, physical assault, and kidnapping as prevalent types of violence against healthcare professionals, he also stated that the perpetrators of violence against healthcare workers were usually patients’ families, patients themselves, coworkers, and kidnappers.
While lamenting the lack of a violence prevention policy in most Nigerian healthcare facilities, the WMA President noted difficulties such as extended wait times, increased workload and insufficient supply of equipment, poor communication, and a negative attitude.
While expressing dismay at the lack of a violence prevention protocol in the majority of Nigerian healthcare facilities, the WMA President identified long waiting times, increased workload and insufficient supply of equipment, poor communication, and negative attitude by some health workers, patient’s history of violent behaviour, and dissatisfaction with the care provided as some of the factors responsible for the rising cases of violence against healthcare workers.
Dr. Enabulele recommended that the government declare an emergency and implement a zero-tolerance policy on violence in the health sector in his recommendations on how to stem the tide of violence in the health sector.
While urging nations to move quickly towards Universal Health Coverage, he challenged them with addressing the Social Determinants of Health and resolving all existing health disparities. He also urged governments to boost healthcare funding and investments in the well-being, security, safety, and working conditions of physicians and other health workers.
The WMA president advised healthcare administrators, among other things, to improve the security architecture in their facilities, implement violence prevention strategies, improve patient experience, and build the capacity of their healthcare workers.
The Executive Governor of Taraba State, Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku, opened the conference by thanking the NMA for hosting the conference in Taraba State and informing delegates of his government’s efforts to promote healthcare delivery in the state.
He praised physicians and other healthcare workers for their contributions to healthcare delivery and national development while asking them to be committed to their jobs.
Dr. Uche Ojinmah, President of NMA, welcomed participants and invited visitors in his welcoming remarks and expressed delight at its hosting by the Taraba State branch of the association.
His Royal Majesty, Manu Ishaku Adda, the Aku Uka of Wukari, who was the Royal father of the day, the Taraba State Commissioner of Health, the Registrar of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (Dr.T.A.B Sanusi), and other dignitaries attended the inauguration ceremony.
Following the conference, the WMA President paid a surprise visit to his alma mater, Federal Government College, Wukari, where he spoke with the Principal, Staff, and Students.
The WMA President graduated from the Federal Government College in Wukari, Taraba State, in 1988.