The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that between 80,000 and 180,000 health and care workers may have died from Coronavirus (COVID-19) globally between Jan. 2020 and May 2021.
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 coronavirus-related deaths reported globally.
This figure, according to WHO might well be at least 60 percent lower than the actual number of victims.
To highlight the need for better protection, WHO on Thursday, was joined 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 journalists in Geneva, WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, reiterated that “the backbone of every health system is its workforce.
“COVID-19 is a powerful demonstration of just how much we rely on these men and women, and how vulnerable we all are when the people who protect our health are themselves unprotected,” he said.
WHO and partners said that apart from huge concern over deaths, an increasing proportion of the workforce continued to suffer from burnout, stress, anxiety and fatigue.
They are calling on leaders and policymakers to ensure equitable access to vaccines so that health and care workers are prioritised.
By the end of September, on average, two in five of these workers are fully vaccinated, but with a considerable difference across regions.
“In Africa, less than one in ten health workers have been fully vaccinated while in most high-income countries, more than 80 per cent of health workers are fully vaccinated,” the WHO chief said.
For him, after over 10 months since the first vaccines were approved, the fact that millions of health workers still haven’t been vaccinated is an indictment on the countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the G20 leading industrialised nations will meet in 10 days’ time. Between now and then, roughly 500 million vaccine doses will be produced.
That’s the number needed to achieve the target of vaccinating 40 percent of the population of every country, by the end of 2021.
Currently, 82 nations are at risk of missing that target. For about 75 percent of those countries, it is a problem of insufficient supply. The others have some limitations that WHO is helping solve.
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