Challenges and Solutions to Protecting the Health Workforce During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Strategies and Lessons Learned

When:   -
Timezone: UTC−04:00
Location: Join using WebEx


Meeting number: 160 027 8693
Meeting password: W9ni3eRBJP2


The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Health Care Workers (HCWs) worldwide. Shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), coupled with insufficient measures for infection prevention and control (IPC), Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), and psychosocial support has resulted in high rates of COVID-19 infection amongst HCWs, as well as increased instances of violence and stigma against HCWs. The high rate of infection amongst HCWs has depleted the health workforce in many countries and led to disruptions in delivery of essential health services.

Objective of Seminar

The objective of the seminar is to initiate a discussion on the challenges and solutions to protecting the health workforce amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The session will discuss the COVID-19 tools and lessons learned in protecting HCWs during the pandemic – including lessons in distribution and utilization of PPE for HCWs, mainstreaming WASH and IPC strategies in health facilities, implementing financial protection schemes for HCWs, psychosocial support as well as other operational and training needs to protect the health workforce.


Feng Zhao, Practice Manager, HNP, Global Engagement WBG

Marijke Wijnroks, Chief of Staff, Global Fund

Agnes Soucat, Director of Health System Governance and Financing, WHO

The agenda for the event will be as follows:

Agenda (1 hr. 30 minutes event)

  • Opening Remarks: (5-8 minutes total)

    • Muhammad Pate, Global Director, Health, Nutrition and Population, WBG
    • Peter Sands, Executive Director of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (TBD)
    • Zsuzsanna Jakab, Deputy Director General, WHO (TBD)


Panelists will participate in a panel discussion on the COVID-19 tools, strategies and lessons learned in protecting HCWs during COVID-19 pandemic. (50 minutes)

  • Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA)
  • Dr. Jacques Katshitshi, Secretary General of the Red Cross, Democratic Republic of Congo, (DRC)
  • Dr. Malik Muhammad Safi, Director-General, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Pakistan
  • Sylvana Q. Sinha, Founder and CEO, Praava Health, Bangladesh


Q&A (25 minutes)


About the Speakers

Dr. Faisal Shuaib is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency. A medical doctor and public health specialist, Dr. Shuaib served a Senior Program Officer (Africa) for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) in Seattle, USA, where he was responsible for developing and implementing strategies on polio outbreak response activities in Africa. In 2014, Dr. Shuaib coordinated Nigeria’s successful response to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak as the Incident Manager of the Ebola Emergency Operations Centre. He was also a member of the six-man panel established to assess the response of the World Health Organization (WHO) to the global Ebola outbreak in 2014 and provided technical advice to Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health and NPHCDA in areas of immunization and polio eradication activities between 2012 and 2015. Dr. Shuaib also worked as a research associate at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

Dr. Jacques Katshitshi is the Secretary General of the Red Cross in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is a medical doctor with over 25 years of’experience in clinical, epidemiology and public health practice. Between 2001 to 2016, Dr. Katshitshi was deployed by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to Haiti and in several African countries for various emergency operations.

Dr. Malik Muhammad Safi is the Director General Health at Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination in Pakistan. Prior to his role as the Director-General, he served as the Director of Health Programs and Head of Health Planning, System Strengthening and Information Analysis Unit at the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, Pakistan. He has also worked as the lead coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Center for Polio in Pakistan.

Sylvana Q. Sinha is the founder and CEO of Praava Health, a network of Family Health Centers in Bangladesh offering patient-centered family health and diagnostics, enabled by technology. Praava’s mission is to empower patients to manage their health by aligning care with values and treating patients with dignity.


About ACT-A Health Systems Group

The objective of Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT-A) Health Systems Group is to accelerate the development and deployment of universally available and affordable vaccination, treatment and diagnostics accompanied by health system strengthening to deliver them to target populations. The ACT-A framework includes three partnerships (vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics), which work as autonomously as possible, with a transversal “connector” on health systems.


This event and materials are a product of the staff of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/the World Bank and external participants to the event. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this event do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Bank, the Executive Directors of the World Bank or the governments they represent.

The event is open to external participation by invitation only. Please RSVP to Erika Yanick ( and Hoang Minh Do ( if you are planning to attend. If you have questions during the Q&A period, please ask them via the chat function.

For additional information, contact: Martin Lutalo and Sulzhan Bali


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