Healthcare systems are in crisis: we hear it and read it everywhere. There are not enough staff to care for all patients, and the workload is no longer sustainable for anyone. Unhealthy working conditions make the profession unattractive. By 2030, the World Health Organisation (WHO) expects a global shortage of 10 million carers.
Accounting for 89% of the global shortage, low- and lower-middle income countries are the hardest hit. In Belgium too, almost half of intensive care nurses are considering resigning because of excessive workloads and unhealthy working conditions.
Fortunately, carers are not taking this lying down. All over the world, they are mobilising to obtain better working conditions and strong public health services. They are leading the fight for the right to health.
“The lack of staff costs lives!“
This message has been hammered home in recent months, particularly in the UK. There, for the first time, tens of thousands of nurses have crossed their arms. Through their historic strike, they are demanding that the NHS, the British health service, be strengthened and that their pay be increased. Their pay has not been indexed since 2008. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), doctors in public hospitals have also been on strike for months. They accuse the government of failing to keep its promises to increase salaries, reduce workloads and guarantee proper pensions. Their actions have been violently repressed by the police.
Working in the healthcare sector can therefore damage your health. During the COVID 19 pandemic, we described healthcare professionals as heroin addicts. Their efforts were rightly applauded. But governments are still not doing enough to increase their pay, improve their working conditions and strengthen public health services. The lessons of the pandemic have not been learned.
So how can we take care of those who take care of us?
Commercial players in the healthcare sector prevented an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time
continued to dismantle public health services. The private sector is playing an increasing role in healthcare. How can this be explained?
“Before the pandemic, 57 countries suffered from a serious shortage of health workers, according to the WHO. Yet the IMF advised 24 of these 57 countries to freeze or even reduce public sector wage spending.”
Jasper Thys, Viva Salud political and campaign collaborator
A lack of protective materials and equipment
Short, precarious contracts
Wages too low
Long working days
Violence and sexual harassment in the workplace
A lack of social protection
The logic of the market does not make it possible to improve healthcare for all. When profit and savings take precedence, respect for decent working conditions and the quality of care diminish.
One way of making savings in the health sector is to cut spending on health and safety at work. The COVID-19 pandemic painfully demonstrated this. Although healthcare workers carry out their work in dangerous conditions, they are not provided with sufficient protective equipment. The shortage of masks, hydroalcoholic gel and gloves has left staff particularly vulnerable to infection. According to the WHO, by May 2021, around 115,000 healthcare workers worldwide had succumbed to COVID-19 after one year of the pandemic.
Do you want to actively support care staff? Great! We’re delighted to send you our posters and stickers to help spread the word about our demands!
*Our posters and stickers may only be stuck in authorised areas.
Can you help us spread the message of our campaign as widely as possible? Organise a poster campaign and hang posters in hospitals, in the waiting room of your local community health centre, in cultural centres or in other busy places in your neighbourhood.
Contact Marilyse for more information and we’ll help you get started.
|Would you prefer to organise another type of action, event or training on working conditions in the care sector? Our campaign team is full of ideas and always ready to roll up its sleeves with you!|
Email Jasper for more information.
With your donation, social movements can keep up the pressure and oppose the privatisation and commercialisation of our healthcare.
Support the Care for care workers campaign by making a donation to Viva Salud’s account
BE17 5230 8138 7321 (communication: Zorg-Soin).
Are you or do you know a healthcare worker? Would you like to bear witness to poor working conditions in the healthcare sector and support the struggle of healthcare workers around the world?
Send an email to Nicky.