Individual, with whom an interview will be conducted: WHO National Professional Officer.
Int.: Good morning, Ms…, to start with, I would like to ask, why did you decide to join the World Health Organization?
Ms.: I always considered that helping other people is my main mission. The WHO gives me an opportunity to take a series of serious and proactive stands to assist people to battle their diseases, to protect the rights of people infected with different viruses, and to prevent discrimination against them.
Int.: Can you tell me please, what are the most critical functions of the WHO National Professional Officer?
Ms.: The most important functions include setting norms and standards, monitoring the health trends, identifying the possible risks, evaluating these risks, articulating evidence-based policy options, shaping the health research, agenda and providing technical support to other countries.
Int.: How did your past experience and education prepare you for this job?
Ms.: I would like to note that education gave me a lot. It prepared me for lifelong learning, active participation in the profession, and contribution to knowledge creation and practice development in the field. It should be emphasized that these qualities are extremely significant for the work in WHO. While discussing the personal experience that prepared me for this job, I would like to mention that some events made me understand that human health is the most essential thing. Since childhood, I have come to the conclusion that poor people often acquire inefficient health care in health care settings. The thing is that financial disadvantages often become the barriers to access to efficient health care. Poor people often suffer from various diseases, because they do not have an opportunity to visit a doctor, and they cannot actually do this due to financial constraints. It is a vicious circle. I know how it is to be poor. I have chosen this profession in order to make my own contribution to the health care industry, and I think that it was the right choice.
Int.: Thank you for such a sincere answer. So, as far as I understood, one of your main critical functions includes providing technical support to other countries. Can you explain it?
Ms.: I have already mentioned that the issue of poverty is directly connected to inefficient health care. Try to understand that poverty is not just having any money; it is the issue, which has moral and ethical dimensions. It is the single underlying cause of most ill health in the world today. Poor people should wait for buses, for medical care, and for all the essentials of human life. The health sector has found it difficult to meet the immediate needs of poor people; however, the improved health state of an individual will definitely result in an improved level of life. WHO organizations currently work out a number of anti-poverty acts and strategies aimed at poverty reduction.
Int.: I understand. My next question is: what would you want decision-makers and administrators to know in order to work more effectively with you?
Ms.: They should understand that the main objective of their profession is seeking the possible options and resources to meet the patient’s needs. Administrators and decision-makers have to balance the duty of care and professional duty, as well as the duty of the organization.
Int.: All right. You have told me that the main objective of health care professional (in our case administrator and decision-maker) is seeking resources to meet the patients’ needs. But what can you tell me about decision-making dilemmas?
Ms.: You are absolutely right, the medical practice involves a great number of various issues and dilemmas. These issues arise within the context of making a decision. It should be emphasized that health care employees should understand the moral perspectives involved in both ethical and medical situations. Medical and ethical dilemmas might be considered to be the most difficult in health care practice, as they presuppose more than one choice. Ethical decisions are not clear and obvious. It is worth mentioning that ethical dilemmas happen in those situations, where several equally desirable outcomes are in conflict.
Int.: Can you tell me whether there exist special rules that help the national and international health care professionals to resolve these dilemmas?
Ms.: I would like to note that there are no exact recommendations. There is no special practical guide that tells the medical worker to do this in such a situation and to do that in that case. Health care workers should make their decisions by themselves. One should understand that medical personnel is required to possess the professional ethics. The provisions of the Code of Ethics help the medical employees to perceive the universal principles of ethics. The ethical issues are important for medical workers because they frequently happen and affect the quality of medical care. In order to take the decision, the situation should be analyzed taking into account such international principles as the principle of autonomy, the principle of beneficence, the principle of non-malpractice, and the principle of justice.
Int.: What are the most critical skills, which help to be effective in this role? Please, tell me about your personal viewpoint.
Ms.: In order to work for the WHO, a person should be fully dedicated to the profession. This is not an ordinary job, because every day you have to deal with really complex health problems. In order to be effective in this role, the person should identify the risk of a particular health problem, evaluate it, and think about possible consequences. The WHO officers have to be able to conduct the researches on the causes, extent, and consequences of the international and national health care issues. It should be also mentioned that professional officers face clients with serious illnesses, social difficulties, and absence of belief in their own strength and hope for the future. This is not easy, and for that reason, stress management might be considered to be one of the most essential skills.
Int.: What are the most satisfying aspects of your work?
Ms.: The most satisfying aspect of my job is the feeling that I really assist other people. Understanding that I make somebody’s life a bit easier and happier brings me real joy. In some cases, I personally do not know those people, but I imagine their smiley faces and tears of happiness. Life is very difficult, and, for that reason, people should think about others, about those individuals who suffer from various diseases, and who cannot afford medical care. Understanding that I fulfill my goal is really essential for me.
Int.: Lastly, what things motivate you to continue working in this sphere?
Ms.: Work in WHO attracts me, because it is rather challengeable. It gives me the possibility to serve the public and humanity. The main motive for me is the wish to eradicate such serious diseases as tuberculosis, HIV, and AIDS. I always think about millions of children that suffer around the world, and understanding that my job may improve their living gives me the strength to continue and work really hard. Besides, I try to show other people that they must assist others. I try to inspire them showing love, care, and compassion for poor and sick individuals.
Int.: Thank you for your sincere answers. Speaking with you was a real pleasure for me.