EHS-COVID (451) Joint statement on WHO’s estimates of health and care worker deaths due to COVID-19

23 October, 2021

Extracts below. Read the full statement online: https://cdn.who.int/media/docs/default-source/health-workforce/year2021/...

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We, the Steering Committee for the International Year of Health and Care Workers in 2021, call for immediate and concrete action to protect health and care workers from the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

WHO estimates that between 80 000 and 180 000 health and care workers could have died from COVID-19 in the period between January 2020 to May 2021...

Health and care workers are experiencing heavy workloads and working long hours. They are exposed daily to human suffering and death. Levels of anxiety, distress, fatigue, occupational burnout, stigmatization, physical and psychological violence have all increased significantly...

Shortages of health and care workers are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic: 66% of countries have reported health workforce shortages as the primary cause of disruption to essential health services...

We therefore call for urgent, multisectoral commitment, coordination and action on the following recommendations:

(1) Strengthen data collection and reporting on infections, ill-health and deaths among health and care workers due to COVID-19...

(2) Protection of health and care workers during and beyond the current global COVID-19 pandemic...

(3) Accelerate the vaccination of all health and care workers in all countries...

It is our moral obligation to protect and invest in health and care workers. And we must move forward together.

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Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org