By Franca Ofili
The global body’s chief executive, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, made the appeal Thursday at the COVID-19 virtual press conference, with a focus on healthcare workers and vaccine equity.
Ghebreyesus said the WHO and its partners are concerned that large numbers of healthcare workers have died from COVID-19 and that a growing proportion of the workforce is suffering from burnout, stress, anxiety and fatigue.
He urged member state governments and stakeholders to strengthen surveillance and reporting of COVID-19 infections, health issues and deaths among healthcare workers.
He said that “we have been asking for more than a year and a half for systematic collection of standardized data.
“We know that many nurses have been infected and many have died. They work long hours, work without breaks, and they have been called upon to work without protective equipment or support.
“WHO and its partners are advocating for the inclusion of disaggregation by age, sex and occupation as a standard procedure, to enable policymakers and scientists to identify and implement mitigation actions that will further reduce the risk of infections and health problems. “
He urged political leaders and policymakers to do everything in their power to make regulatory, policy and investment decisions that ensure the protection of healthcare workers.
He called on leaders and policymakers to ensure equitable access to vaccines so that healthcare workers are given priority in the use of COVID-19 vaccines.
Jim Campbell, Director of the WHO Health Workforce Department, said: “We have a moral obligation to protect health care workers, guarantee their rights and provide them with decent work in a safe practice environment. and conducive.
“This must include access to vaccines.”
Catherine Duggan, Executive Director of the International Pharmaceutical Federation, said “we cannot afford to lose more healthcare workers to the pandemic; we need long-term sustainable investments in the health workforce.
Duggan said WHO is currently leading efforts to develop a global agreement on healthcare workers, based on existing legal instruments, conventions and resolutions.
According to him, the pact aims to provide member states, stakeholders and institutions with comprehensive guidance on existing obligations to protect healthcare workers and safeguard their rights.
He said the pact would also promote and guarantee decent work, free from discrimination based on sex, race and any other form of discrimination.
The guidance will be presented to the 75th World Health Assembly in May 2022.
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