Coronavirus (203) The Lancet: Protecting health-care workers

24 March, 2020

This Lancet editorial (21 March) notes:

'Worldwide, as millions of people stay at home to minimise transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, health-care workers prepare to do the exact opposite. They will go to clinics and hospitals, putting themselves at high risk from COVID-2019. Figures from China's National Health Commission show that more than 3300 health-care workers have been infected as of early March and, according to local media, by the end of February at least 22 had died. In Italy, 20% of responding health-care workers were infected, and some have died. Reports from medical staff describe physical and mental exhaustion, the torment of difficult triage decisions, and the pain of losing patients and colleagues, all in addition to the infection risk...

'In the global response, the safety of health-care workers must be ensured. Adequate provision of PPE is just the first step; other practical measures must be considered, including cancelling non-essential events to prioritise resources; provision of food, rest, and family support; and psychological support. Presently, health-care workers are every country's most valuable resource.'

CITATION: Editorial| volume 395, issue 10228, p922, march 21, 2020

COVID-19: protecting health-care workers

The Lancet

Published: March 21, 2020

DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30644-9

Comment (NPW): The coronavirus pandemic underlines more than ever the need for health systems to be health-worker-centred. Their basic needs are fundamental. http://www.hifa.org/about-hifa/hifa-universal-health-coverage-and-human-...

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org