Friday Olokor, Abuja
Over 41,000 health workers have been infected with coronavirus in Africa, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday.
This is just as the Federal Government commended the heroic roles played by healthcare workers at the frontline of COVID-19 fight, including working at odd hours.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti and Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, stated this in separate messages to mark this year’s World Patient Safety Day with the theme, ‘Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety.”
Moeti said, “In the WHO African Region, more than 41,000 health workers have been infected with COVID-19, accounting for 3.8 per cent of all reported cases. Some countries, like Sierra-Leone and Cote d’Ivoire have made progress in reducing the proportion of health worker infections. Others such as Eritrea, Rwanda and Seychelles have not recorded a single case of COVID-19 among health workers.
“To protect health workers from COVID-19 and contribute to enhanced patient safety, in collaboration with partners and national and provincial authorities, WHO has trained more than 50, 000 health workers in the African Region in infection prevention and control, with plans to train over 200,000 more.”
Moeti further called for collaborative efforts to protect health workers to enable them protect patients, in supportive, enabling environments for the delivery of quality health care.
Ehanire said the Ministry would work on creating a specific policy on patient safety, adding that the National Health Act (2014) and Patients’ Bill of Rights (2018) also advocated for the safety of patients.
He said, “Global experience from the pandemic response exposed the fragility of most health systems and humbled even those thought to be the most robust. It also bared deficits in infrastructure, equipment, manpower and management. The fatigue of overburdened care providers and the psychosocial impact of covid19 on both patients and caregivers were apparent.
“Since only healthy and safe health workers can provide care and safety to patients, the government of Nigeria made it a point of duty to ramp up training of health workers in infection prevention and control and supplied barrier personal protective equipment to avoid virus transmission and risk to our staff. Infected healthcare workers would face quarantine, which could mean manpower shortage and interrupt essential healthcare services.”
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