More than 41,000 African health workers infected with virus, says WHO

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No fewer than 41,000 health workers across Africa have been infected with the COVID-19 disease, the World Health Organisation has said.

It stated that there was an urgent need to make healthcare safer by pursuing patient-centred policies, redesigning processes, ramping-up hygiene practices and transforming organisational cultures, because the impact has led to the death of 2.6 million patients globally.

WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, stated these in a statement on Thursday in Abuja to commemorate the World Patient Safety Day.

She said: “On 17 September, we celebrate World Patient Safety Day because to realise quality health care, the first step is to do no harm; yet in hospitals in low- and middle-income countries globally, every year, there are 134 million adverse events due to unsafe care, contributing to 2.6 million lives lost.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reaffirmed that to keep patients safe, health workers must be protected, and so, this year’s theme is ‘Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety.’

“Front-line health workers are at greater risk of infection because of the care they provide to patients. 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.”

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