The director-general of WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus, at a press conference said it is an alarming trend.
Mr Ghebreyesus said while some health workers are being infected at the hospitals, some are infected outside the hospital in places like their homes or within the communities.
He said the international health agency is particularly concerned by the large numbers of infections reported among health workers as in some countries more than 10 per cent of health workers have been infected.
“When health workers are at risk, we’re all at risk,” he said.
He referenced evidences from China, Italy, Singapore, Spain and the United States saying “it helps to understand why this is happening, and what we can do about it.”
“Within health facilities, common problems are the late recognition of COVID-19, or lack of training or inexperience in dealing with respiratory pathogens,” he said.
He also said the shortage of health workers in many countries have exposed them to large numbers of patients in long shifts with inadequate rest periods.
He said the evidence also shows that “when health workers wear personal protective equipment the right way, infections can be prevented.”
“That makes it even more important that health workers are able to access the masks, gloves, gowns and other PPE they need to do their jobs safely and effectively,” he said.
To support countries, WHO has launched three tools to help managers and planners calculate the health workers, supplies and equipment that will be needed for the increase in COVID-19 patients.
“On Wednesday I mentioned the new United Nations Supply Chain Task Force, to coordinate and scale up the procurement and distribution of personal protective equipment, lab diagnostics and oxygen to the countries that need it most,” he said.
Mr Ghebreyesus said the initiative will be coordinated by WHO and the World Food Programme, building on existing collaboration between multiple partners from within and outside the UN.
This system will consist of hubs in Belgium, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malaysia, Panama, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
“We urge donors to support this vitally important system. We call on all donors to support the World Food Programme.”
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