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180,000 health workers died from COVID-19 – WHO

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180,000 health workers died from COVID-19 – WHO

By Cecilia Ologunagba

The World Health Organization (WHO) says between 80,000 and 180,000 health and care workers may have died from the coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide between January 2020 and May 2021.

The WHO gave the estimate in a new working paper: “The impact of COVID-19 on health and care workers: a closer look at deaths” based on the 3.45 million related deaths coronavirus reported worldwide.

According to the WHO, this figure may well be at least 60% lower than the actual number of victims.

To underscore the need for better protection, the WHO was joined on Thursday by global partners working to end the pandemic, to issue an urgent call for concrete action on behalf of workers in the sector.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus reaffirmed that “the backbone of any health system is its people.

“COVID-19 is a powerful demonstration of how much we rely on these men and women, and how vulnerable we are all when the people who protect our health are themselves unprotected,” he said.

WHO and partners have said that aside from huge concern over the deaths, a growing proportion of the workforce continues to suffer from burnout, stress, anxiety and fatigue.

They call on leaders and policymakers to ensure equitable access to vaccines so that health and care workers come first.

By the end of September, on average, two in five of these workers are fully vaccinated, but with considerable differences by region.

“In Africa, less than one in ten health workers has been fully immunized while in most high-income countries more than 80% of health workers are fully immunized,” said the WHO chief.

For him, more than 10 months after the approval of the first vaccines, “the fact that millions of health workers have still not been vaccinated is an indictment against the countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines. “.

In 10 days, the leaders of the main industrialized countries of the G20 will meet. By then, around 500 million doses of vaccine will be produced.

This is the number needed to reach the goal of immunizing 40% of the population of each country by the end of 2021.

Currently, 82 countries are at risk of missing this target. For about 75% of these countries, this is a problem of insufficient supply. The others have limitations that WHO helps to resolve.

Speaking to reporters via video link, Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister and currently WHO Ambassador for Global Health, said it would be a “moral catastrophe of historic proportions” if G20 countries could not act quickly.

These countries have pledged to donate more than 1.2 billion doses of vaccine to COVAX. According to the WHO, so far only 150 million have been delivered.

As rich countries stockpile millions of unused doses, about to expire, Brown said they should begin an “immediate, massive and concerted airlift” of vaccines to low-income countries.

If they don’t, Brown argued, they would be guilty of an “economic dereliction of duty that will make us all to shame.”

Brown also warned that “the more vaccine inequity exists, the more the virus will be present.”

Annette Kennedy, president of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and Heidi Stensmyren, president of the World Medical Association (WMA), also spoke to reporters during the WHO weekly briefing on COVID-19.

Source: NAN

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