Resource centre tasks govt on healthcare workers safety

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Medical workers in Nigeria

Ethics Resource Centre Nigeria, an International Non-governmental Organisation (INGO), has appealed to governments to support capacity building conference on security of healthcare workers.

Mr Ike Onyechere, the Chairman of the centre and coordinating agency of the upcoming national conference on security of hospitals and health workers, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

According to him, the conference will empower health practitioners on security best practices and protocols that will reduce their vulnerability to security threats and risks.

He further noted that the effort would also put a halt to the trend of medical workers being targets of choice of kidnappers.

Onyechere identified such support to include sponsoring health workers in their various states and 774 local government areas in the country to participate in the conference billed for Wednesday to Friday.

Onyechere commended Lagos, Kwara, Rivers and Enugu states for sponsoring their health workers to participate.

He emphasised that it would avail participants opportunities to tap into the wealth of knowledge of security operatives on precautions against abduction, kidnapping and hostage taking, among others.

“I commend some states governments for taking serious interest on this programme like Lagos, Enugu, Rivers and Kwara; this demonstrate that they are actually concern and have listening ears about the security of their medical personnel.

“Every person in this country is aware that doctors and other medical personnel have been agitating to have government do something about the incessant kidnapping of medical personnel.

“It is a good thing that some state governments are leveraging on this programme, using the opportunity to build the capacity of their medical workers to empower them with skills, information, the dos and don’ts that will enhance their security.

“I also use this opportunity to appeal to other governors in the country to support this programme by sending some of their medical personnel to benefit from it,” he said.

Onyechere, who described the conference as holistic and maiden, said it would enhance the safety and security of the workers.

He emphasised that the conference was supported and facilitated by 12 other organisations including the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSC), and Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board of Nigeria.

According to him, the conference is holistic in the sense that it focuses on enhancement of security of healthcare workers.

Onyechere said it was a great initiative that would provide a road map as all CEOs of the facilitating agencies would make special presentations from their various perspectives on how security challenge has affected their various sectors and employees.

The chairman said the thrust the presentations would cover recommendations and way forward in addressing such challenges.

“This is the first time in the country all critical health sector unions, associations and regulatory agencies are coming together to organise a conference on security of health workers.

“The collaborating agencies included the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners, Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN).

“All the collaborating agencies will present their individual perspectives and recommendations on how to respond to the current reality of medical and health workers becoming targets of choice for kidnappers, terrorists, robbers and other criminals.

“Also a high powered faculty of security experts will make presentations on 11 security topics including emergency preparedness, security leadership, communication security, travel and movement security, staff selection security due diligence, fire risk assessment and management,’’ he said.