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Over 10,000 Health Workers Infected with COVID-19 in Africa - WHO

According to WHO, nurses are the most affected group of health workers accounting for more than 40 percent of infected cadres.The UN health agency attributes the high number of infections of health workers within Africa to the lack of personal protective equipment and weak infection and prevention control measures


The World Health Organisation - WHO has said over 10,000 health workers have been infected with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the African continent.

With over 750,000 cases of the disease and 15,000 deaths reported on the continent, the number of infected health workers is expected to increase.

Dr. Moeti Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Africa director says that with an increase in cases being recorded on the continent, its important for all countries to have strong health systems.

She says the death of health workers weakens health systems which will affect the COVID-19 fight on the continent. "The increase we are seeing in COVID-19 cases in Africa is placing an ever-greater strain on health services across the continent. This has very real consequences for the individuals who work in them."

According to WHO, nurses are the most affected group of health workers accounting for more than 40 percent of infected cadres. The UN health agency attributes the high number of infections of health workers within Africa to the lack of personal protective equipment -PPEs and weak infection and prevention control measures.


In many African countries infection prevention and control measures aimed at preventing infections in health facilities are still not fully implemented according to the health agency. Findings from a WHO assessment of clinics and hospitals across the continent for these measures, show only 16% of the nearly 30 000 facilities surveyed had assessment scores above 75%.

Many health centres were found to lack the infrastructure necessary to implement key infection prevention measures, or to prevent overcrowding. Only 7.8% (2213) had isolation capacities and just a third had the capacity to triage patients.



In Uganda, 27 health workers have been infected by the disease. 14 of the 27 are medical workers, while 13 are hospital staff. To reduce on the risk of infections, the Uganda Medical Association has resorted to distributing PPE to registered health workers.



The Vice President of the association, Dr. Stephen Ataro Ayella says infections among health workers are a wake up call to the need of PPE.

" While we are happy that none of the 27 have died, their infection shines a light on how important PPE is for all health workers in the country now. Whether they are stationed in places with cases or not," added Dr. Ayella.

Dr. Moeti urges all African countries to protect health workers, “One infection among health workers is one too many. Doctors, nurses and other health professionals are our mothers, brothers and sisters. They are helping to save lives endangered by COVID-19. We must make sure that they have the equipment, skills and information they need to keep themselves, their patients and colleagues safe.”



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