The 19th of August every year is marked as the World Humanitarian Day (WHD), to commemorate humanitarian workers killed and injured in the course of their work. We honor all health and public emergencies workers who continue, despite the odds, to provide life-saving support and protection to people most in need. This year the World Humanitarian Day comes as the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic over recent months. Public emergencies services workers are overcoming unprecedented access hurdles to assist people in humanitarian crises in all regions of the world.
Over 300 healthcare workers have been infected with COVID-19 in the country, while more than 40 have lost their lives
In Nigeria, health and social care workers are on the frontline providing public health care services for internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are at this time affected by both conflict and COVID-19. Over 300 healthcare workers have been infected with COVID-19 in the country, while more than 40 have lost their lives to the contagion. The Public Services International (PSI) “Safe Workers Save Lives” campaign is supporting trade unions in the health sector to:
Fight for the active involvement of trade unions in government decision-making to safeguard workplace safety and health and ensure the costs of this crisis are not borne by the working class.
Contribute to public policies which ensure financial support for all workers, including informal economy workers, and casual or sub-contracted workers, who are not provided sick-pay and leave allowances for any necessary quarantine or when their workplaces are temporarily closed down to curtail transmission of the infection.
Push for the ILO guidelines on decent work in public emergency services to be adopted at the national level, to safeguard workers on the frontline.
Stand up for the rights of migrants, refugees, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) as part of the national COVID-19 response to promote equality and combat all forms of discrimination.
The leaders salute and celebrate their colleagues who are working in the frontline during this COVID-19 pandemic and those who are infected in the line of duty
As part of the activities to commemorate this year’s World Humanitarian Day, the PSI project on building capacities of trade unions to defend the human rights of IDPs to quality public services in Nigeria in collaboration with the PSI Nigeria National coordinating council (NCC), and the National commission for Migrants Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFMRI) mobilized healthcare workers through the PSI Nigeria health affiliates; the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) and the Medical and Health Workers Union (MHWUN), to provide voluntary medical services at Karamajiji IDP camp within Abuja on 18th August 2020. During the event, health workers rendered various medical services for free to the IDPs especially to women and children.
On the 19th of August 2020, the Presidents of NANNM, MHWUN and the PSI Regional Secretary for Africa and Arab region addressed a press conference and launched the PSI campaign on “Safe Workers Save Lives” in Nigeria. The leaders sized the medium to Advocate for the rights of healthcare workers, especially in public emergencies. The leaders salute and celebrate their colleagues who are working in the frontline during this COVID-19 pandemic and those who are infected in the line of duty.
The leaders also commiserated with families of all frontline health workers who have lost their lives to the violent conflicts in the North East Nigeria. In his remarks, the President of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) comrade Bio Josiah said "I want to use this opportunity of the world Humanitarian Day to make an humanitarian appeal to the government to wear a humanitarian face to attend to health workers plight by not discriminating in the COVID-19 health allowance, by not withholding salaries of health workers."
Humanitarian Day: Health Workers in Nigeria
In his own remarks, the President of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) comrade Abdulrafiu Adeniji lamented that governments both at state and federal levels pay lip service to the plight of health workers in the country. Comrade Adeniji said the infrastructure in public health institutions are very poor, just as he lamented lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers in the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also decried that health workers have become targets of insurgents in the northeastern part of the country, saying several workers have been kidnapped and others killed. He called on government to put in place adequate health insurance for health care workers, saying the agitation by unions have lingered since 2011 for the insurance of health workers.
See photos on PSI flickr album
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