Strategy to Protect the Health and Safety of Health Workers in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The national strategy to protect the health and safety of health workers seeks to protect both the physical and mental health of frontline health workers and acknowledges their need for social support. The strategy aims to protect the physical health of health workers through prevention and mitigation of COVID-19 infections by providing a safe physical environment. It also seeks to promote mental health of health workers through psychological support and to provide necessary social support. It focuses on educating and training health workers to manage COVID-19 cases and implement occupational health and safety protocols and it recognises the importance of communication among health workers.
The strategy incorporates key infection prevention and control guidelines that protect the physical health of health workers. These include patient placement, sufficient ventilation in facilities, hand hygiene, environmental cleaning and wearing of personal protective clothing appropriate to the task being performed. Active, well-functioning occupational health and safety committees should play a critical role by monitoring medical surveillance of health workers, undertaking risk assessments of the workplace, and ensuring that risk mitigation measures are implemented.