WHO: Around 3.5 mn health care workers in Eastern Mediterranean engaged in COVID-19 response

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Tue, 12 May 2020 - 01:23 GMT

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gestures during a press briefing on evolution of new coronavirus epidemic on January 29, 2020 in Geneva.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gestures during a press briefing on evolution of new coronavirus epidemic on January 29, 2020 in Geneva.

WHO: Around 3.5 mn health care workers in Eastern Mediterranean engaged in COVID-19 response
2020-05-12 12:50:38 GMT
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CAIRO, May 12 (MENA) - World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Ahmed Al-Mandhari said that around 3.5 million health care workers in the region are directly or indirectly engaged in the COVID-19 response, which has brought to light the massive risks they face.

Today marks 134 days since the first case of COVID-19 was reported from China, and 105 days since the first case was reported from the Eastern Mediterranean region, Al-Mandhari added in a press conference held on Tuesday by the WHO via video conference.

"During this time, almost 4 million people have been infected globally, including almost 300,000 deaths," Al-Mandhari said.

"In our Region, the proportion of infected health care workers varies from 1% to 20%. However, there is no systematic reporting of health care worker infections to WHO, & we believe this number under-represents COVID-19 infections among health workers," he added.

"Data indicates that 90%+ of health workers in our Region become infected with COVID-19 within health facilities where they are exposed to the virus. The average age of health workers infected is 35 years, with infections reported more among females," he pointed out.

"In some cases, health workers are faced with stigma & discrimination as they are accused of being carriers of COVID-19 & are subjected to physical & psychological violence along with the already increased workloads & highly stressful working environment," he said.

To address the different challenges facing health workers, WHO has developed regional guidance identifying strategic actions for policy-makers and managers at the national, sub-national and facility level, he added.

The WHO calls to ensure the well-being, safety and protection of all health care workers, he asserted.

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