WS-050 : WONCA ICOH Statement and Pledge on Primary Health Care&Workers’ Health: how to proceed? Introduction to a Workshop PHC&Workers’ Health

Author(s): 
Peter Buijs1, Frank Van Dijk2 1Dutch Research Institute TNO Work&Employment Department of Work&Health 2Coronel Institute of Occupational&Environmental Health Medical Faculty, Amsterdam University, Netherlands
Text: 
During the last WONCA-Europe conference (Lisbon, 3-7-14), President Michael Kidd’s keynote stated, that WONCA and ICOH (International Commission on Occupational Health) were looking at the health of workers and their families, especially in developing countries, saying that health and safety are threatened by poor working conditions. “We recognize that most health care and preventive services for workers and their families is provided in primary care settings by family doctors like you and me. So today WONCA and ICOH launch a joint statement on workers and their families, pledging to work with partner organizations (WHO, International Labour Organization) to address gaps in services, research and policies, for the health and safety of workers." This Statement revitalises the famous WHO 1978 Alma Ata Declaration, saying that PHC aims at “.. bringing health care as close as possible to where people live and work.” Yet, as the WONCA-ICOH Statement says: “…health and safety of people at work are too often addressed separately from their health outside of work.” For decades only 10-15% of the global workforce has (some) occupational health care, mostly in developed countries. The poorest, most in need, with the most precarious working conditions, have none. Meanwhile, workers are the backbone of all economies, so their health is very important for themselves and their families as well as for the country’s prosperity and social provisions. PHC covers 70-80 % of the world population, containing many workers far beyond reach of current occupational care: in informal economies, rural and migrant workers. However, many GPs seems to have a ‘Blind Spot’ for work-related health problems. So the WONCA-ICOH Statement conclusion “…to better integrate occupational health in the primary care setting, to the benefit of all workers and their families." creates new opportunities to improve workers’ health, to be discussed in our Workshop
Keywords: workers' health, delivering basic occupational health care, family doctors