The New Zealand Medical Association, along with other members of the World Medical Association, is signing up to Amnesty International's pledge regarding health care workers who have died from COVID-19.
Health workers have played an extraordinary role in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and have at times put their own health and wellbeing at risk. To ensure that people can access the essential services they need, health workers often work in very difficult circumstances and with very little support.
Amnesty International has released a new report documenting the experiences of health workers around the world and recommending governments take action to comply with their human rights obligations and adequately protect the rights of health and essential workers.
"The Report highlights that worldwide, more than 3000 healthcare workers are known to have died, and this is most probably a considerable understatement," says Dr Kate Baddock, Chair of the New Zealand Medical Association.
"New Zealanders are fortunate that many of our Covid -19 challenges have eased however the impact on our health sector and health workers continues."
"As doctors we have a duty of care to our patients however, we also have a duty of care to ourselves and our colleagues. Employers and the government also have an obligation to protect and support health professionals and the risks go beyond the virus itself as stress, workload and financial concerns take their toll."
The Amnesty International Pledge
To all health and essential workers:
I promise to care for you and demand accountability from my government for failing to protect your rights.
I promise to care for you and support your demands for safe and fair working conditions.
I promise to care for you and demand that your employer provides you with adequate personal protective equipment.
I promise to care for you and defend your right to speak up about your health and safety concerns and working conditions without fear of retaliation.
I promise to take care for you and to speak out against discrimination, stigma and violence you might have suffered because of the work you do.
I promise to take care of you, with the utmost respect for your work, and I promise not to take any action that goes against your rights.
I promise to take care of you and demand that my government learns lessons from this pandemic so that they provide you with remedy and do not fail you again in the future.
1. Access to the report, the map and other related material
Index number: POL 40/2572/2020
2. NZMA Position Statement on Ethical Considerations for Doctors In Disaster Response