Rights versus Responsibilities of Health Care Workers in Nigeria: Changing the Narrative in the COVID-19 Era

Oludamilola A. Adejumo, Oluseyi A. Adejumo, Friday E. Okonofua

Abstract

The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in December 2019 and its spread to 216 countries within the first eight months has created a huge strain on health systems across the world. Health care workers (HCWs) at the fore-front of combating the pandemic are largely at risk of infection with the number of infected HCWs increasing daily in many countries. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, focus of laws and policies have largely been on the responsibilities of HCWs with little or no attention paid to their rights and protection. The increased rate of infection among health workers and the inadequate conditions under which HCWs have carried out their life-saving responsibilities during the pandemic has created the need to change the narrative by focusing on policy formulation and implementation to ensure that HCWs rights are protected. We endorse the widespread use of the WHO recommendations on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak: Rights, Roles and Responsibilities of Health workers, including key considerations for occupational safety and health. (Afr J Reprod Health 2020 (Special Edition); 24[2]:41-45).

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