As per the United Nations health and labour agencies, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many health teams globally needed much safer working conditions to fight the “dangerous neglect”; they put their lives at risk when treating any COVID positive patient.
According to the sources, nearly 115,500 doctors lost their lives due to COVID-19 in the initial 18 months of the pandemic, linked to a “systemic lack of safeguards”.
During a phone call between the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization ( ILO), the UN bodies demanded the coronavirus crisis had contributed to “an additional heavy toll” on health workers.
According to the ‘Maria Neira’ WHO Director Department of Environmental, Climate Change and Health before the pandemic, the Health Department was also dangerous, but it is more difficult now.
As per Dr Neira, there is the only department who are facilitated with good programmes of managing health and safety at work because it is quite common for health workers to suffer from infections, musculoskeletal disorders and injuries, violence at the workplace and harassment, burnout, and allergies due to the poor working environment.
Furthermore, she added that now WHO and ILO have released new country guidelines for health institutions at the national level and some for local levels to address this.
The new guidelines will cover all occupational hazards- infectious, ergonomic, physical, chemical, and psycho-social,” the agencies also adding that states that have either developed or are actively executing health and safety programmes in health settings had been a reduction in work-related injuries and absences due to sickness and improvements in the work environment, productivity and retention of health workers.
According to the ILO’s ‘Alette van Leur’, Director, ILO Sectoral Policies Department stated that all workers should enjoy their right to decent work, safe and healthy work environments, social protection for health care, sickness absence, and occupational diseases and injuries.
They demanded the development when they saw a lack of hygiene stations at the point of care. At the same time, fewer than one in six countries had a national policy for healthy and safe working environments within the health sector.
According to the ‘James Campbell‘ Director of WHO Health Workforce Department’, Sickness, absence and fatigue worsened pre-existing shortages of health workers. They undermined health systems’ capacities to respond to the demand for care and prevention during the crises.