Lahore, Aug 26, 2021 (ICRC) – An e-learning program to train healthcare workers on de-escalating and managing violence in healthcare facilities was launched on August 26, at an event co-organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the University of Lahore (UOL).
Healthcare workers across the globe have met tremendous challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, they are not only coping with the fear of contracting the virus, but also the fear of violence. According to a study by the ICRC, more than 600 violent incidents against health care workers, patients and medical infrastructure in relation to COVID-19 cases were recorded during the first six months of the pandemic.
The e-learning program was launched keeping these very factors under consideration and consists of presentations, vodcasts, flashcards, interactive roleplay videos to offer healthcare workers a flexible and cost-effective way of learning. The launch was attended by representatives of medical universities, administrators of healthcare facilities, and healthcare authorities from across the country.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Dr. Salman Shahid, Additional Secretary, Health Department, Government of Punjab urged all partners, both in the private and public sector to use this tool in order to train healthcare workers. After reiterating that cooperation of different partners is crucial and key to bringing further positive behavior change, he added, “This training would go a long way and will serve as a useful tool that can be utilized by the health sector across Pakistan to ensure healthcare service provision in the best possible manner.”
The training has been developed under the framework of the Health Care in Danger (HCiD) initiative of the ICRC and is based on a study from 2015 titled “Violence Against Health Care: Results from a Multi-Centre Study in Karachi” that was developed by the ICRC together with its partners, including APPNA Institute of Public Health (Jinnah Sindh Medical University), Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre and Indus Hospital.
The study highlighted the need to train healthcare workers in skills of emergency communication to de-escalate violence, improve communication skills, break bad news, and manage stress and post-traumatic stress disorder. Based on it, numerous training sessions have been conducted since 2017 in healthcare facilities across Pakistan to empower healthcare workers with the required skills.
Commenting on the relevance of the e-training program, Dr. Mirwais, Head of the HCiD initiative in Pakistan, said, “We believe this much-needed training will improve the interaction of healthcare workers with patients, attendants, empower them to manage aggression, and ultimately strengthen the relationship of trust and empathy between patients and healthcare staff.”
Under the HCiD initiative, the ICRC has been working to make healthcare safer in Pakistan by promoting evidence-based initiatives in collaboration with diverse stakeholders including public health institutions, medical academia, healthcare authorities, and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society. Last year, the persistent and committed efforts of the Health Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and the ICRC towards the protection of health care in KP have resulted in a new law “The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Healthcare Service Providers and Facilities (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act, 2020.” Moreover, its campaigns ‘Bharosa Karein’, ‘Rasta Dein’ and ‘Pehlay Zindagi’ were also part of this effort and aimed at improving respect of healthcare workers, facilities, and advocating for the right of way for ambulances.