WHO calls for more investment in the health sector

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for countries across the globe to invest in their health workforce as part of measures to recover from the devastating effects of Covid-19, which has claimed many lives including health workers.

Despite the administering of vaccines by many countries all over the world, Covid-19 is still a burden far from being over as lives continue to be lost to the pandemic.

To date over 131 million people have contracted the Coronavirus, 2.85 million of which have succumbed to it while 74.5 million have since recovered.

In Zimbabwe, over 36 900 cases of the disease have been reported so far with more than 1 500 have since died of Covid-19-related complications while over 34 000 have recovered.

Briefing the media on Covid-19 recently, WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, emphasized the need for the world to invest in the health workforce, which he said was the very essence of health systems resilience.

“This is the year of the health and care worker and we know that even before the pandemic, there was a shortfall of at least 18 million health workers,” said Ghebreyesus.

“As we work to end the pandemic and recover together, health and care workers must come first. Investing in the health workforce is an investment in women and youth: almost 70% of the global health workforce are women. In particular, we must support countries with fewer resources to expand their workforce capacity and pay decent salaries.”

The WHO chief said there was an acknowledgement and humility from world leaders that collectively the world was not prepared for the first coronavirus pandemic ever seen and that going forward the world must collectively do better in future outbreaks. 

“An effective health workforce is a key element to pandemic proofing our health systems,” said Ghebreyesus.

“Health and care workers are at the forefront of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and they play the critical role in protecting us all. Far too many health and care workers have died in the pandemic, millions have been infected and the pandemic has taken a huge toll on their physical and mental health with devastating effects on their families and communities.

He further bemoaned: “Anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress have all increased; exhaustion is commonplace and there have been cases of stigma and even abuse. As we work to end the pandemic and recover together, health and care workers must come first. We must ensure that they are trained, protected and supported to do their job safely and effectively.”

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