Healthcare workers deserve better recognition – Doctor


Dr Aminu Magashi, founder of the Dr Aminu Magashi Heroic Annual Health Award, says healthcare workers in Nigeria deserve recognition for their service to humanity.

Magashi said this at the maiden edition of the Dr Aminu Magashi Annual Health Award Ceremony, to commemorate the United Nations Public Service Day in Abuja on Thursday.

Reports have it that the award was organised by the foundation in partnership with Heroic Discovery and Community Development Centre (HEDCODEC) an NGO, and the African Health Budget Network.

Magashi said the COVID-19 pandemic had been difficult for everyone, but particularly more difficult for healthcare workers.

According to him, for healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic, the experience is and continues to be traumatic.

“In the beginning, they faced the unknown of a new disease and over time had to treat patients through various surges in infection across the nation,” he said.

Magashi said the country was faced with local and global public health challenges.

He called on Nigerians to stand in solidarity with healthcare workers, as the world was still reeling under the pandemic.

“They have been putting their lives at risk to fight the virus, and all countries and organisations must work together to recognise healthcare workers,” he said.

He said there was a lot of complexity in delivering health care; a lot of moving parts that had to come together to make it happen.

According to him, health workers who are trained and deployed where they are needed most were at the centre of it all.

“If we do not have the right people in place, no amount of product will help us succeed in the heat of the pandemic.

“The laboratory technicians, IT professionals, drivers, cleaners, advocates, clinicians, they are all health workers, and they are all essential. We need to invest in them,” he added.

Mr Adeyemi Adeniran, Head of Department, Human Resources, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, said expressing gratitude to healthcare workers did not have to cost anything.

Adeniran commended all the awardees for the sacrifices they made daily, especially during the pandemic which helped save lives.

”To all the awardees, your dedication, commitment and courage deserve our deepest gratitude and admiration.

“Let us not forget, healthcare workers dedicate their lives to caring for others.

“They often work long hours and are exposed to all sorts of potentially harmful viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms.

“They risk their own health to improve and maintain the health of others.

“While this is a noble cause, the outbreak of COVID-19 has proven that the health of healthcare workers is vitally important,” he said.

Mr Kabir Abddulsalam, Executive Director,  HEDCODEC, said the award was instituted to celebrate and encourage the most outstanding frontline healthcare workers.

“We focus on healthcare workers within Bwari and Gwagwalada Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory.

“For this maiden edition, out of 52 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in Bwari and 33 in Gwagwalada, we randomly selected three each.

“After our advocacy, we submitted awareness letters to the facilities for participation.

“We received a total of 64 entries for five categories from six facilities in Gwagwalada and Bwari area council.

“About 38 healthcare providers were shortlisted; which was later scaled down to 25 finalists after rigorous scrutiny by the editorial committee,” he said.

Mrs Hadiza Usman won the most friendly staff at the Old Kutunku PHC, Gwagwalada.

Usman was said to always interact freely with antenatal attendants, leading to high turn out of pregnant women for Antenatal Care Services in the facility.

She said steps must be taken to protect the health of those who had dedicated their lives to caring for others in the country.

She commended organisers of the award, adding that the world had seen the devastation that could occur if healthcare workers were ill and unable to work.

Mrs Hannatu Uthman of Sabon Gari PHC, Bwari, said in the light of the pandemic, it had become apparent that the health of healthcare providers was vital.

Ulthman was described as a bridge-builder with a passion for health care service delivery.

She said in order to be able to care for sick patients, healthcare workers needed to remain healthy, even when working in close proximity to germs, viruses and bacteria.

Mr Salisu Muhammad, Senior Advisor, Health Financing and Accountability, AHBN, urged heads of health facilities to ensure that health workers were getting adequate breaks during their shifts.

According to Muhammad, working in such conditions also takes its toll on the psychological health of health workers, so appropriate support services for them must also be put in place as a priority.

He said healthcare workers played a central and critical role in improving access to quality healthcare for Nigerians.

“They provide essential services that promote health, prevent diseases and deliver health care services to individuals, families and communities based on the primary healthcare approach, so we should always encourage them,” he said.

Reports have it that June 23 is observed as United Nations Public Service Day to appreciate the value of public institutions and public servants.

The day highlights the contribution and role of public service in the development of all sectors around the world as well as encourages youths to pursue their careers in the public sector.

The United Nations conducts a public service awards ceremony on the day to honour the contributions of public service institutions around the world.

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