WHO’s Recommendation on How to Protect Health Workers from COVID-19

By hitapnews

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), numerous healthcare workers have been infected with COVID-19. In some countries, 1 in 10 healthcare personnel already tested positive for the virus. WHO, however, believes that, in reality, the rate of infection among medical staff might be higher since there has not been systematic report on the number to WHO.

The infection among medical staff is extremely worrying as the healthcare workforce is in gradual decline. To protect unsung heroes from the virus, twofold precautions can be taken in hospitals, despite the shortage of protective equipment in many countries, and outside hospitals such as homes or communities.

The precautions recommended by WHO officials to tackle the occurring incident include:

1. Training medical personnel to understand different types of respiratory diseases

Healthcare workers should be well-informed about COVID-19, how it can be infected and how to protect themselves. In this respect, WHO has provided an online guidance for medical staff on COVID-19, including how to properly wear and take off personal protective equipment (PPE).

2. Increasing access to personal protective equipment (PPE)

The working group of United Nations (UN) will facilitate and increase the procurement and distribution of PPE supplies. In order to enhance the access, up to 500 million sets of medical masks, gloves and other healthcare equipments, such as endotracheal tubes and oxygen concentrators, will be monthly distributed by the working group.

3. Giving healthcare workers support

A number of medical workers might become stressed and exhausted from taking long, continuous shifts. This can lead some health workers to be less vigilant in using protective equipment, though the carelessness is not their fault. So, healthcare workers should be allowed to take off-duty, resting time to reduce weariness.

4. Providing strong surveillance systems in hospitals

There should be strong surveillance systems to prevent the COVID-19 infection in hospitals. For example, the report on the Ebola outbreak revealed that 70% of patients caught the virus from hospitals.

5. Acknowledging shortcomings in healthcare system

There is always room for amelioration of every healthcare system. It should be kept in mind that even countries with strong public health systems could be ill-prepared for the attack of COVID-19. Acknowledging the shortcomings of healthcare systems is a vital response to recognise weaknesses and protect both healthcare providers and society as a whole.

 

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