Doha: A new report from the Qatar Foundation, World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), finds that at least a quarter of health workers and the caregivers surveyed reported symptoms of anxiety, depression, and burnout. Our Duty of Care: A Global Call to Action to Protect the Mental Health of Health and Care Workers examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of health and care workers and offers 10 political actions as a framework for immediate follow-up by businessmen, organizations and political leaders.
The report found that between 23 and 46 percent of health and care workers reported anxiety symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic and between 20 and 37 percent experienced depressive symptoms.
Burnout among health and care workers during the pandemic ranged from 41 to 52 percent in pooled estimates. Women, young people and parents of dependent children were found to be at increased risk of psychological disorders, which is significant considering that women make up 67% of the global health workforce and are subject to inequalities in the sector, such as wage inequality. The increased risk of negative mental health outcomes among younger health workers is also a cause for concern.
“Now in the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, this report confirms that levels of anxiety, stress and depression among health and care workers have become a ‘pandemic within a pandemic,'” he said. Jim Campbell, WHO Director of Health Workforce. .
This report follows the landmark decisions of the World Health Assembly and the International Labor Conference in 2022 that reaffirmed the obligations of governments and employers to protect the workforce, guarantee their rights and provide them with decent work in an environment of safe and nurturing practice that advocates for your mental health. and well-being Protecting and safeguarding this workforce is also an investment in the continuity of essential public health services to move towards universal health coverage and global health security.
“The increased pressure experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly had a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of health and care workers,” said Sultana Afdhal, executive director of WISH. “The pressure is not new, but COVID-19 has highlighted the need for better care for those who care for us. This new report sets out policy actions that promote the strengthening of health systems and calls for global collaboration between governments and health care employers to invest in safeguarding the most valuable asset our health systems possess, which is the people who work within. from them”.
The report highlights 10 policy actions as a framework for immediate adoption, such as investing in work environments and a culture that prevent burnout, promote staff wellness and support quality care. This includes the obligations and roles of governments and employers in occupational safety and health.
The WHO recently published recommendations for effective interventions and approaches to support mental health at work, including those specifically for the health and care workforce, which call for changes at the organizational level that address working conditions and ensure care and support. confidential mental health services as a priority. Related to this framework, the WHO Global Compact on Health and Care Workers provides technical guidance on how to protect health and care workers and safeguard their rights; stresses that the duty of care is a shared responsibility in all countries.