Over 10, 000 health workers in Africa have been infected with COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Region.
The body also said there are 750, 000 cases of COVID-19 on the continent with over 15, 000 deaths recorded.
According to WHO Africa Region Director, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the number of infected health workers in Africa is more than 5% of cases in 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
“More than 10, 000 health workers in the 40 countries which have reported on such infections have been infected with COVID-19 so far, a sign of the challenges medical staff on the frontlines of the outbreak face,” the agency said in a post on its website.
“This comes as COVID-19 cases in Africa appear to be gathering pace. There are now more than 750, 000 cases of COVID-19, with over 15 000 deaths.”
Over 10,000 health workers in #Africa have been infected with #COVID19 – a sign of the challenges medical staff on the frontlines of the outbreak face. @WHO is supporting countries & has trained more than 50,000 health workers.
— WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) July 23, 2020
According to WHO Africa, about 10% of COVID-19 cases globally are among health workers, admitting that, “in Africa, information on health worker infections is still limited.”
“The growth we are seeing is placing an ever peg eater strain on health services across the continent,’’ Dr Moeti added. “This has very real consequences for the individuals who work in them.’’
It explained that inadequate protective equipment is one of the reasons for the rising number of infected health workers as well as patients who do not show signs of having the virus.
“One infection among health workers is one too many,” Dr Moeti explained. “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.”
As part of its efforts to reduce the number of health workers infected with the virus, the WHO Africa said it has trained 50, 000 health workers on the continent and plans to increase the number to 200, 000.
“WHO is also helping to fill gaps in the supply of personal protective equipment,” WHO said in a blog post on its website. “Currently, 41 million items of personal protective equipment are ready to ship from China to cover the needs of 47 African countries. Shipments for an initial set of 23 African countries are planned to start during this weekend.
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