As the whole world tries to cope with the unpredictable effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing remains clear: countries around the world must do everything in their power to ensure quality healthcare for all citizens.
For this aim to be achieved, health workers, the heroes of this pandemic, must be put in a position, where they are both capable and motivated to provide life-saving care in their communities. Health workers must be safe on duty and they must have the means to manage the unprecedented pressure this crisis puts on their mental health. Otherwise, there is a risk of health systems not meeting the needs of the population during the crisis.
To ensure health workers in Bangladesh have the energy and the environment to serve their fellow citizens as well as they possibly can, UNFPA, FAO and Platform, a web-based mentoring platform led by Bangladeshi doctors, have launched an initiative called “Facility Management and Leadership Program”.
The aim of the initiative is to ensure that clinicians and other healthcare providers remain enthusiastic to provide effective management of COVID-19 patients and that they exemplify standards of high-quality healthcare in their work. Funding for the initiative is provided by the Word Bank -financed “Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) and it receives leadership support from the Communicable Disease Control of the Directorate General of Health Services.
In September, the program organized two 4-day trainings and two half-day orientation workshops for local clinicians in Dhaka and Chattogram. In these occasions, the participants were educated on the national COVID-19 management protocol and received leadership training to serve as examples to others during the crisis response. They also completed self-reflection exercises to find ways to improve themselves both personally and professionally, as well as learned methods to reduce stress and anxiety amidst the pandemic, such as yoga.
One of the chief guests of honor in the training held in Chattogram, former Public Health Advisor to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Professor Dr. M A Faiz, admired the innovative facilitation of the training and motivated the clinicians present to fearlessly integrate things they learned at the training in their daily work. In Dhaka, President of the Medical and Dental Council of Bangladesh, Professor Dr. Mohammad Shahidullah emphasized how quality infection prevention and control is not possible without robust team building efforts.
The program will continue to organize trainings until mid-December of 2020. At least 200 healthcare providers are expected to benefit from the around 20 trainings that have been planned for the remaining year.