The World Health Organisation on Thursday stated that Covid-19 has not only increased the risk of infection and illness among health workers and their families but has also exposed them to very high levels of psychological stress.
Data from several countries showed that Coronavirus infections among health workers were also higher than those in the general population, the WHO said on the World Patient Safety day that falls on September 17.
The WHO also released a Health Worker Safety Charter on the day that detailed about the safety of health workers, working conditions and a lot more.
Noting that medical professionals were already at higher risk of suicide even before Coronavirus pandemic, the WHO said that a recent review of health care professionals found one in four reported depression and anxiety, and one in three suffered insomnia during the global health crisis. The organisation also highlighted that there was alarming rise of verbal harassment, discrimination and physical violence among health workers in the wake of COVID-19.
The WHO said that though health workers represented less than three per cent of the population in large majority of countries and less than two per cent in almost all low and middle-income countries, around 14 per cent of COVID-19 cases reported were among health workers, with the proportion as high as 35 per cent in some countries. Moreover, they also said that thousands of health workers have also lost their lives in the pandemic.
The Health Worker Safety Charter calls on governments and those running health services at local levels to take five actions to better protect health workers. They include protecting health workers from violence, improving their mental health, protecting them from physical and biological hazards, advancing national programmes for health worker safety and connecting health worker safety policies to existing patient safety policies.