COVID-19: WHO says 9 in 10 countries experience disruption to health sector

 The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to health services in nine out of 10 countries, adding that low- and middle-income countries have faced the greatest difficulty.

Tedros Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, said this on Monday in a statement accompanying the results of the investigation.

The findings were taken from a fresh survey conducted by the global health body.

In total, 105 countries filed reports as part of an investigation into the impact of the COVID-19 on 25 core health services.

“Data collected from five regions over the period from March to June 2020 illustrate that almost every country (90%) experienced disruption to its health services, with low- and middle-income countries reporting the greatest difficulties,” the WHO said.

According to the survey, the COVID-19 pandemic has had the greatest impact on the delivery of routine immunisations, family planning and mental health care, and services to diagnose and treat cancer and other non-communicable illnesses.

“The survey shines a light on the cracks in our health systems, but it also serves to inform new strategies to improve healthcare provision during the pandemic and beyond,” Ghebreyesus said.

Responses from senior public health officials for the survey were collated between March and June, the WHO said.

Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic this past spring, many governments across the globe rolled back health care services.

England’s public health care provider urged hospitals in March to postpone non-urgent surgeries in order to ease the pressure on the health care sector following a rise in COVID-19 cases. 

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