‘Lift Embargo On Health Workers’ Employment’

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A forum of frontline healthcare workers has stressed the urgent need for federal and state governments to lift embargo on employment of health workers to beef up the services of the health sector across the country.
This has become necessary because of acute shortage of health personnel in government hospitals and health centres.
Speaking at the forum on “Policy Dialogue On Task Shifting and Task Sharing in Rivers State”, organized by a non-governmental organization (NGO), RAHI Medical Outreach in Port Harcourt, the Founder/CEO of the outreach, Dr. Chris Ekiyor disclosed that a survey carried out in Rivers State showed that one doctor attends to 4,000 patients in government health institutions.
According to Ekiyor, a dentist, because of significant human resource shortages in many of the country’s primary healthcare centres, unqualified medical personnel were now engaged in services they were not trained for resulting in frequent adverse consequences for patients.
He said that an approved policy on task shifting and task sharing for maternal and new-born healthcare in Nigeria would provide the legal framework for the review of the pre-services and in-service training curricula and adaptation of appropriate training materials and methods for all medical officers, adding that such policy would provide clear guidelines on the specific tasks that could be performed by different categories of healthcare workers.
The forum resolved that it was important to come up with a policy trust on task shifting and task sharing to increase access to health care services as well as allow for rational redistribution of tasks among health workers and increase human capacity building, pointing out that lack of adequate funding was a serious constraint to healthcare delivery in the country.
It advocated the adoption and implementation of TSTS in Rivers State while urging the government to allow for its domestification in all hospitals and health centres in the state with the support of politicians and other government agencies and stakeholders in the health sector.
The Project Consultant of RAHI Medical Outreach, Mrs. Helen Odega, in her remark, charged participants to join hands with the organization in the advocacy for the adoption and implementation of the TSTS policy to meet the targets and bridge the gaps created in the health sector, and enjoined them to sensitize medical workers on the importance of the policy at the state and local government levels.