Dr Tedros the Director-General of the World Health Organization delivered a statement around how valuable health care workers are to society.
The pandemic has shown us that there is no health without health workers.
I was especially touched in Madrid yesterday by a speech given by a nurse called Aroa López.
I want to read you some of what she said:
“We have given it our all. We have worked to the brink of exhaustion. And once again we have understood – may be better than ever – why we chose this profession: to care for people and to save lives.
“We have been the messengers of the last goodbye to older people who died alone, hearing their children’s voices on the telephone. We have made video calls, we have held their hand and we have had to fight back the tears when someone said, ‘Don’t let me die alone.’”
Ms López finished her remarks with this appeal:
“I want to ask the authorities to defend everyone’s health care. To remember that there is no better tribute to those who are no longer with us than to protect our health and ensure the dignity of our professions.”
We all owe health workers an enormous debt – not just because they have cared for the sick. But because they have risked their own lives in the line of duty.
So far, about 10% of all cases globally are among health workers.
Many health workers are also suffering physical and psychological exhaustion after months of working in extremely stressful environments.
To support health workers, WHO has published guidance and training packages on how they can protect themselves.
We’re also driving research to better understand the extent of infection among health workers and the risk factors for infection.
We’re also shipping millions of items of protective gear around the world and ensuring health facilities are properly equipped.
Countries with Limited Resources
Our global society has a much larger problem that can affect the efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. Poverty and hunger is going to work against any strides we make against this virus. Lack of leads to health problem and lower immunity which can lead to spikes in the spread of the disease. We should be working with our governments in richer countries help the poorer countries find the resource to feed people and aid humanitarian efforts. When resources become lean it can lead to conflicts and civil war. Problems like lead to conditions of crowding in camps where refugees are trying to escape danger. We know that we be crowd together the virus and disease will spread.
Although COVID-19 has rightly captured the world’s attention, we must also remember it is not the only crisis the world is facing.
Many countries, especially in Africa and the Middle East, are still reeling from years of conflict and other humanitarian crises.
COVID-19 threatens to exacerbate many of these crises.
The pandemic, and the restrictions put in place to suppress it, are taking a heavy toll on 220 million people in protracted emergencies.
While it is too early to assess the full impact of so-called lockdowns and other containment measures, up to 132 million more people may go hungry in 2020, in addition to the 690 million who went hungry last year.
Deep budget cuts to education and rising poverty caused by the pandemic could force at least 9.7 million children out of school forever by the end of this year, with millions more falling behind in learning.
The economic impact of the pandemic in humanitarian settings can aggravate already dire living conditions – more displacement, food shortages, risk of malnutrition, decrease in access to essential services, mental health problems, and so on.
WHO is working through our 150 country offices to support the response to COVID-19, to support the continuity of essential health services, and to engage communities to ensure demand for these services is maintained.
It’s also vital that as an international community, we use this opportunity not only to respond to the pandemic, but to build health systems that are more resilient, and more able to withstand the impact of health emergencies.
The pandemic is teaching us that health is not a luxury item; it’s the foundation of social, economic and political stability.
Three months ago, WHO launched its updated Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, which estimates the resources needed to support WHO’s work on the pandemic.
But we all know that the impacts of the pandemic go far beyond health, and so do the needs, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable countries. That’s why the UN launched the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19 in March.