By Margaret Tyam
The Association of Catholic Medical Practitioners of Nigeria has advised medical workers to avoid psychological distress and burn out, so as not to compromise efficiency and put the lives of patients at risk.
The advice is contained in a communique issued at the end of the 16th Annual Scientific Conference and African Regional Conference of the association.
The communique, issued on Saturday in Abuja, was signed by Dr Matthew Ashikeni and Dr Teresa Nwachukwu, National President and National Secretary of the association, respectively.
“Burnout occurs when stress has not been successfully managed and manifests as: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job and reduced professional efficacy.”
It added that physical inactivity alone was the cause of approximately one in 10 premature deaths.
The association, therefore, advised medical practitioners to engage in frequent exercises, regular walks, listening to music, engaging in yoga and meditation, as well as time management to minimise stress.
It also called for regular training for health workers to keep them well informed about developments in their profession.
“The ultimate personal authority is personal professional conscience, which will trigger the decisions on medical actions.
“Catholic health care ministry is rooted in a commitment to promote and defend human dignity; and respect the sacredness of every human life from the moment of conception until natural death.
“The health worker must attend to own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard and efficiency,” the communique added.
On insecurity, the association called for deployment of security equipment and essential personnel to worship centres.
It said gadgets such as CCTV Cameras, vehicle scanners, should be deployed to monitor movement in and around the church premises.
The association added that there should be deployment of armed security personnel, improved lighting and restriction of movements around church premises.
To tackle any security emergency, health care providers and para-medics should provide emergency care, make shift sick bays, first aid and evacuation logistics such as ambulances, it added.
The communique also emphasised the need for the review of the National Health Act 2014.
“Bioethical issues on Human Organ Transplantation in the National Health Act 2014, especially the denial of Donor Right to Consent, are critical factors that should necessitate review of the Act,” it stated.
The catholic medical practitioners alsourged health workers to leverage on digitisation to improve their efficiency and fast track delivery of health services.
They appreciated the Archbishop of Abuja, delegates to the conference, FIAMC President, BoT and members of the Association and other well wishers for their active particiption and support.
The conference had the theme: “Strategies for Improving Health Worker Status in a Challenging World”.
There were also discussions on psychological distress and burnout among healthcare workers; healthy living as a necessity for quality care; parish based support during emergencies in the context of the current security challenges; bioethical issues in contemporary medical practice, and care of older adults: Focus on the 5Ms of Geriatrics.
The conference was attended by leaders and members of the association from across the country, President of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, and some participants from Liberia.