COVID-19: Healthcare workers face “dangerous care failure”, warns WHO, ILO |
COVID-19: Healthcare workers face “dangerous care failure”, warns WHO, ILO |

COVID-19: Healthcare workers face “dangerous care failure”, warns WHO, ILO |

About 115,500 health workers died COVID-19 in the first 18 months of the pandemic, associated with a “systemic lack of security measures”, they noted.

In a joint call for action by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN agencies insisted that coronavirus crisis had contributed to “an extra heavy toll” on health workers.

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the health sector was among the most dangerous sectors to work in,” said WHO Maria Neira, Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health.

Physical injury and burnout

“Only a few health facilities had programs in place to manage health and safety in the workplace,” continued Dr. Neira. “Health workers suffered from infections, musculoskeletal disorders and injuries, violence and harassment in the workplace, burnout and allergies from the poor working environment.”

To address this, the WHO and ILO have issued new country guidelines for health centers at the national and local levels.

“Such programs should cover all occupational hazards – infectious, ergonomic, physical, chemical and psychosocial,” the agencies noted, adding that states that have either developed or actively implemented health and safety programs in health environments have seen reductions in work-related injuries and sickness absence. and improvements in the working environment, productivity and retention of healthcare professionals.

Workers’ rights

“Like all other workers, they should enjoy their right to decent work, safe and healthy working environments and social protection for health care, sick leave and occupational diseases and injuries,” insisted ILO Alette van Leur, Director of the ILO’s Sector Policy Department.

The development comes in line with the fact that the agencies indicated that more than one in three health facilities lacked hygiene stations at the place of care, while fewer than one in six countries had a national policy in place for healthy and safe working environments in the health area. sector.

“Sick leave and exhaustion exacerbated pre-existing shortages of health workers and undermined the capacity of health systems to respond to the growing demand for care and prevention during the crisis,” said James Campbell, Director, WHO Health Workforce Department.

“This guide provides recommendations on how to learn from this experience and better protect our healthcare professionals.”

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