World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed that today “more than ever,” countries must boost the safety of doctors and nurses, as many of them become infected while treating Covid-19 patients.
“Globally, around 14 percent of Covid-19 cases reported to the WHO are among health workers, and in some countries it’s as much as 35 percent, although data is limited and it’s hard to know whether health workers are infected in their workplaces or communities,” the WHO chief told reporters on World Patient Safety Day.
Ghebreyesus said that doctors and nurses treating patients not only risk getting infected themselves but are also “exposed to stress, burnout, stigma, discrimination and even violence.”
The WHO head urged all countries and hospitals around the world to commit to maintaining a safe workplace and environment for healthcare staff.
Now more than ever, we have a duty to give health workers the safe working conditions, the training, the pay and the respect they deserve.
Many hospitals were quickly overwhelmed with the sudden influx of Covid-19 patients, especially during the first months of the outbreak. Doctors and nurses were widely lauded as heroes as they worked long, grueling shifts, often with depleting resources. Some were forced to wear makeshift protective gear as they struggled to get vital supplies.
News website Medscape keeps a list of over 1,800 healthcare and other frontline workers from different countries that have died during pandemic. More than 600 healthcare staff died in the US alone, according to the CDC data from August.
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