World health professionals urge govts to prioritise support for healthcare workers

By  Chioma Obinna

The world’s health professionals have called on governments to support healthcare workers who are on the frontline to combat the novel coronavirus ravaging countries across the world.

The World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA), which represents 31 million healthcare  professionals stands in solidarity with all healthcare workers across the globe who are on the front line in the fight to contain the current coronavirus epi

They note that all around the world, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, dentists, and physicians are focusing their efforts on preventing, diagnosing, containing, and treating Covid-19 patients.

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They are putting themselves at risk as they battle to protect their communities, often without the required personal protective equipment, such as masks and hazardous material suits, that can keep them safe from infection and therefore able to carry on their vital work.

The WHPA is calling on governments and healthcare organisations to support front line healthcare workers in any way they can, but especially and urgently through the supply of crucial personal protective equipment, PPE.

They should also ensure that staff is getting adequate breaks during their shifts, and time off between shifts, to be able to carry on in what could be a long-term global crisis. Working in such conditions also takes its toll on the psychological health of staff, so appropriate support services for staff must also be put in place as a priority.

Speaking, WHPA Chair and Secretary-General of the World Medical Association, Dr. Otmar Kloiber said: ‘It is said that nurses and physicians died during this crisis and probably more will die, deaths which may have been avoidable with better emergency preparedness. This crisis should be a wakeup call for politicians and societies to make the necessary investment in emergency preparedness and to look into the vulnerability of our supply chains’:”

On his part, The International Council of Nurses, ICN, Chief Executive Officer Howard Catton said: ‘We are calling on governments to maximise support for nurses and other health professionals in the front line against coronavirus, both in terms of providing the necessary protective equipment and recognising the psychological pressures they are under and addressing them.

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‘It is also essential that governments in their top-level decision making on combating the virus, include the experience and leadership skills of nurses.  Nurses’ advice, based on their observations from the front line, is invaluable in containing the virus, as we have seen with previous epidemics’.

Speaking,  the International Pharmaceutical Federation,  FIP,  Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Catherine Duggan said: ‘Pharmacists and the pharmacy workforce at community and hospital pharmacies and clinical biology laboratories are preventing the spread of the new coronavirus disease, advising the public, and supporting the efficient management of infection by healthcare systems. Since pharmacies are often the first point of contact with the health system, we call on governments to support them in these roles.

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