At the General Assembly of the World Health Organisation (WHO) last November, the member states unanimously declared 2021 the International Year of Health and Care Workers. This also includes social workers.
The aim is to improve the protection, the working conditions and training for the health and care workforce. Thanking and acknowledging health and care workers without concrete improvements is no longer acceptable: health systems can only function with motivated, trained and properly paid staff.
The guideline, which has just been published, shows which specific measures can improve the situation of health and care workers in 2021 and beyond. It will be a key element of the informational events and activities taking place this year, and covers the following topics in more depth:
- Supporting and protecting health and care workers
- Strengthening and optimising workforce teams
- Increasing capacity and strategic health worker deployment
- Health system human resources strengthening
The last chapter, References, lists all the current WHO guidelines that show possible ways of coping with the pandemic. This includes a Community Toolkit that was co-developed between health and social workers. The document exemplifies the importance of community-based health and social work for the prevention and treatment of people with mental health concerns.
This Toolkit fits well with a currently growing strategic thrust of social work in its management of the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic revitalised community-oriented social work. In the current crisis, this method of social work is most in demand worldwide.
Representative to the United Nations – Geneva