Reducing burnout, improving wellbeing of Health Workforce in Nigeria

Project Brief

Healthcare workforce globally is burnt-out and under immense pressure. Despite international labour/emigration policies, the Nigerian health system is at dangerously low resilience levels, remaining on the WHO safeguard list.
Critical Healthcare Worker (HCW) shortages, poor working conditions, and disinterest in HCW wellbeing contribute to the cycle of burnout, poor performance, compromised patient safety, poor HCW retention, and failing developmental targets (WHO universal health coverage —UHC and sustainable development goals —SDGs) in Nigeria.

Beyond advocacy for pay and training of new HCWs which in turn continue to emigrate, there is a dearth in Nigeria, of targeted initiatives to promote healthy workplace culture, HCW wellbeing and professional fulfilment. WAFERs is working together with partners (University of Ibadan, Nigerian Medical Association and Oyo State Ministry of Health) to address this critical area of research, and health services strengthening by improving our understanding of Nigeria’s health workforce wellbeing and helping to inform the development of appropriate support and interventions for future scale out.

The partnership accedes to investment in wellbeing of HCWs as both a moral and ethical obligation requiring organisational, system-wide solutions, not just approaches that focus on personal resilience, which sometimes reinforce blame, stigma linked to psychological stress and intersectionality. We identified the need to adapt, test and learn from organisational led, creative approaches to improving wellbeing and reducing burnout among HCW in Nigeria.

Specific objectives will be achieved over three project phases.
Intelligence phase October 2023– July 2024:
Conduct a nationwide HCW burnout (and wellbeing) survey and key informant interviews in Nigeria

We will seek funding for the 2 subsequent phases : HCW Wellbeing Package development/ Optimization and pilot
implementation. We will work together with a wide stakeholders to specify and adapt suitable workplace interventions to improve wellbeing of the workforce, optimised for and sensitive to Nigerian health systems setting. We will
pilot implement and evaluate the specified approach. It is envisaged that proposed interventions will be easily implemented within current healthcare service structure and with minimal additional resources. Our key outputs will include co-produced policy template and exemplar best practice guidance for reducing burnout and improving wellbeing of HCWs in Nigeria.

HCW Burnout project — Phase 1 (sponsored by The West African Institute For Applied Health Research
HCW Burnout project — Phase 2 & 3 (seeking funding)