Status: Recently completed
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented demands on the skills and expertise of the health workforce, and their commitment to their profession has been severely tested (Balicer et. al. 2010). The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasises the use of existing NTD platforms and surveillance mechanisms to support the implementation of COVID-19-related measures, while delivering and supporting prompt diagnosis, treatment, and care of NTD patients presenting to healthcare facilities, as these are critical interventions (WHO, 2020).
However, an important question we need to ask is: who will deliver those other essential critical interventions? It is important to note that health workers and NTD implementers supporting pandemic responses like COVID-19 also need to be safe to respond appropriately. While most countries have mobilized other implementers during the pandemic, failure to protect them from infection due to poor working conditions, including a lack of personal protective equipment, has had significant personal and public health consequences.
It is therefore vital to develop more resilient health systems which can ensure the safety of the health workforce while ensuring access to needed services during health emergencies.
As part of the COUNTDOWN programme, researchers carried out a study into implementers’ willingness to work during and after a pandemic outbreak. This involved carrying out a cross-sectional survey with NTD implementers at the community, health facility and state levels in Ogun state, Nigeria.
September 2020 – November 2020