Our health workforce: A light in the dark

(Hosein Zanbori, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Lisbeth R. Sosa Pinedo, a fifth-year medical student at the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

‘‘We make a living by what we getbut we make a life by what we give’’- Winston Churchill

At present day, health care workers (HCWs) are the pillars of national health systems, furthermore, ensuring the well-being of those people who work in the hospitals day by day translates into greater efficiency and quality of care for those in need. HCWs need protection from all types of workplace hazards that may appear during the shifts, and reducing the odds for harm from these occupational risks must be a priority, but, aside from that HCWs are frequently viewed as “immune” to injury or stress. Indeed, health-protecting health-care workers have the added benefit of contributing to quality patient care and health system strengthening (1).

During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, emphasis on occupational health is fundamental for HCWs and optimal patient care. These additional demands on national health systems require a call to action to prioritize HCWs’ safety. Some actions that can be taken are: First, to prepare them with the necessary biosafety equipment, for instance: masks, eye protection, gloves, among other disposable materials, insist on the correct and adequate handwashing protocols before and after touching and monitoring each patient, which are well defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). Second, online short courses on how to properly take off and put on this equipment, by this way we ensure the safety of our workforce in the work environment, and finally, ensure their health during the shifts in the hospital, that means, that immediately any of the health care team presents any symptoms indicative of infectious contagious disease, it is the duty of the supervisor in charge of sending them home and doing the necessary tests, to avoid contagion to the co-workers. As a medical student in the Dominican Republic, I have observed that our national health care system still growing and that all of the efforts that have been done of quarantine, social distancing, and isolation have demonstrated efficacy and that this measures must be performed in order to guide the epidemiologic curve where it needs to be.

Collaborative efforts across national health systems are essential, from HCW’s to medical students, and the general population. Hence, if we raise awareness in our population and practice more primary and secondary prevention, we greatly reduce the burden on the health care system. It is a commitment of all to avoid the collapse of our health systems and countries, to reduce the morbidity and mortality of many conditions that are easily avoidable. Strengthen teamwork and advocate for the physical and mental health of our workers because of the regular donning and doffing of full personal protective equipment, fatigue, and psychological stress (2). Insist in hand and environmental hygiene and protection measures, doing so, we not only help ourselves but everyone else that could be exposed, this would lead to a marked decrease in the contagious and disease curve. Giving the health system time to raise the line and be able to offer adequate care to all those who need the service at a certain time.


  1. World Health Organization. Health workers [Internet]. [cited 2020 Aug 21]. Available from: https://www.who.int/occupational_health/topics/hcworkers/en/
  • Gan, W. H., Lim, J. W., Koh, D. Preventing intra-hospital infection and transmission of COVID-19 in healthcare workers. Safety and Health at Work. 2020 11:241-243


The authors would like to thank Dr. Helena Chapman and Dr. Yessi Alcántara for their mentorship throughout the manuscript preparation. We acknowledge the support from IFMSA-Dominican Republic to develop medical education workshops that strengthen skill-based learning.

About the author

Lisbeth R. Sosa Pinedo is a fifth-year medical student at the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She is an active member of the Standing Committee on Research Exchange (SCORE) of ODEM-Dominican Republic. She also serves as president of the UNPHU chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA).

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

From the Field: Women push for peace

Why medical students decide to study abroad?

As children in Ebola-affected areas of DR Congo head back to school, UNICEF ramps up support

Human rights breaches in Azerbaijan and Sudan

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘End the Cage Age’ initiative

New malaria vaccine trial in Malawi marks ‘an innovation milestone’, declares UN health agency

UN chief hopes for new agreement after Israel concludes international observation mission

UN chief urges top digital tech panel to come up with ‘bold, innovative ideas’ for an ‘inclusive’ future

Coronavirus: The truth against the myths

UN chief praises Malaysia’s death penalty repeal as ‘major step forward’

Mental health in the COVID-19 pandemic

Asylum seekers in Sri Lanka fear for their safety, in wake of Easter Sunday terror attacks

These 8 countries have perfect scores for women’s rights at work

Some 300,000 Venezuelan children in Colombia need humanitarian assistance; UNICEF looks to boost response funding

Yemen war: UN-backed talks to silence the guns due to begin in Stockholm

Why embracing human rights will ensure Artificial Intelligence works for all

4 ways digitisation can unlock Africa’s recovery

European Commission reacts to the US restrictions on steel and aluminium affecting the EU

This is how we can empower 8 billion minds by 2030

World Health Organisation and young doctors: is there any place for improvement?

This is why people live, work and stay in a growing city

A Sting Exclusive: “Technology for all, development for all: the role of ITU”, written by the Secretary General of the United Nations Agency

Τhe EU Refugee Crisis: a day in the life of a Refugee in Greece

EU budget agreement rejected by the European Parliament

Global Compact on Refugees: How is this different from the migrants’ pact and how will it help?

EU–Canada Summit: strengthening the rules-based international order

Africa’s future is innovation rather than industrialization

Living in the mouth of the shark: we are all refugees

Trump systematically upsets global order and trade: Where does this end?

Upgraded EU visa information database to increase security at external borders

Two-thirds of global drug deaths now from opioids: UN drugs report

Global aid appeal targets more than 93 million most in need next year

Health services for Syrian women caught up in war, foster safety and hope: UNFPA

How to push out of our comfort zones – an extract

Climate change: ‘A moral, ethical and economic imperative’ to slow global warming say UN leaders, calling for more action

Subsidiarity and Proportionality: Task Force presents recommendations on a new way of working to President Juncker

How Costa Rica’s environment minister talks to his daughter about climate change

Trump rejects Europe’s offer for zero car tariffs; he had personally tabled that idea in July

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity Act for a cyber-bulletproof EU”, by EU Vice-President Ansip

Ukraine turns again to the EU for more money

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Stop Finning – Stop the trade’ initiative

‘Eden bonds’: how rewilding could save the climate and your pension

OECD tells Eurozone to prepare its banks for a tsunami coming from developing countries

What if the doctor become a patient?

What’s going on in Chernobyl today?

Tackling ‘deeply worrying’ global rise in anti-Semitism is a job for all societies everywhere, says UN chief

These are the world’s least – and most – corrupt countries

Time to measure up: 5 ways the fashion industry can be made more sustainable

Refugee crisis update: EU fails to relocate immigrants from Greece and Italy

Belgium eases lockdown with free train tickets for every citizen

Trade Barriers Report: EU continues to open up markets outside Europe in midst of rising protectionism

One-third of young people still optimistic despite COVID’s dramatic hit on education and jobs

Customs Union: New Action Plan to further support EU customs in their vital role of protecting EU revenues, prosperity and security

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

How video games can reunite a divided world

Managing and resolving conflicts in a politically inclined group of team members

Sri Lankan authorities must work ‘vigorously’ to ease simmering ethno-religious tensions, urges UN rights expert

COP25: Support business efforts to tackle climate change, urges Guterres

Cohesion Policy after 2020: preparing the future of EU investments in health

Time to act together: Von der Leyen at the European Parliament July plenary

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s