HomeAnalysisWorld Health Assembly applauds nurses in fight against COVID-19

World Health Assembly applauds nurses in fight against COVID-19

The World Health Assembly, convened by World Health Organisation (WHO) has applauded nurses and midwives in their fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, describing them as true health heroes.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO, said this at the ongoing two-day World Health Assembly in Geneva.

This is the first time when the assembly, WHOโ€™s main governing body, will convene virtually.

Ghebreyesus, in a speech posted on WHOโ€™s website, said nurses and midwives had been on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19, putting themselves in harmโ€™s way.

โ€œMany have made the ultimate sacrifice in service of humanity.

โ€œLast month, WHO published the first State of the Worldโ€™s Nursing report. It shows that the world is facing a shortfall of six million nurses to achieve and sustain universal health coverage.

โ€œBut it also provides a roadmap for governments to invest in nursing, to fill that gap and progress toward universal health coverage; Health for all.

โ€œNow more than ever, the world needs nurses and midwives. Please join me, wherever you are, in standing to show your appreciation for these true health heroes,โ€ he said.

According to him, 2020 is the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

โ€œThis Assembly was intended to be a moment of recognition for the incredible contribution that nurses and midwives make every day, in every country.

โ€œThe pandemic has robbed us of that opportunity. But it has only served to illustrate why nurses, midwives and all health workers are so important,โ€ said Ghebreyesus.

The director-general said, โ€œWe have come together as the nations of the world to confront the defining health crisis of our time.

โ€œWe come in grief for those we have lost; we come with concern for those still fighting for their lives; we come with determination to triumph over this common threat.

โ€œAnd we come with hope for the future. The world has confronted several pandemics before. This is the first caused by a coronavirus.

โ€œThis is a dangerous enemy, with a dangerous combination of features: this virus is efficient, fast, and fatal.

โ€œIt can operate in the dark, spread silently if weโ€™re not paying attention, then suddenly explode if we arenโ€™t ready. And moves like a bushfire.

โ€œWe have seen the same pattern repeated in cities and countries the world over; we must treat this virus with the respect and attention it deserves.โ€

According to him, more than four-and-a-half million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO, and more than 300,000 people have lost their lives.

โ€œBut numbers donโ€™t even begin to tell the story of this pandemic; each loss of life leaves a scar for families, communities and nations.

โ€œThe health impacts of the pandemic extend far beyond the sickness and death caused by the virus itself.

โ€œThe disruption to health systems threatens to unwind decades of progress against maternal and child mortality, HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, noncommunicable diseases, mental health, polio and many other of the most urgent health threats.

โ€œAnd yet this is so much more than a health crisis. Lives and livelihoods have been lost or upended. Hundreds of millions of people have lost their jobs. Fear and uncertainty abound.

โ€œThe global economy is headed for its sharpest contraction since the Great Depression. The pandemic has brought out the best โ€“ and worst โ€“ of humanity:

โ€œFortitude and fear; solidarity and suspicion; rapport and recrimination. This contagion exposes the fault lines, inequalities, injustices and contradictions of our modern world,โ€ he said.

Ghebreyesus said nations had come together as never before, and geopolitical divisions had been thrown into sharp relief.

โ€œWe have seen what is possible with cooperation, and what we risk without it. The pandemic is a reminder of the intimate and delicate relationship between people and planet.

โ€œAny efforts to make our world safer are doomed to fail unless they address the critical interface between people and pathogens, and the existential threat of climate change that is making our earth less habitable.

โ€œFor all the economic, military and technological might of nations, we have been humbled by this very small microbe. If this virus is teaching us anything, itโ€™s humility. Time for humility.

โ€œSix months ago, it would have been inconceivable to most that the worldโ€™s biggest cities would fall eerily quiet; that shops, restaurants, schools and workplaces would be closed.

โ€œThat global travel would grind to a standstill; that simply shaking hands could be life-threatening.

โ€œTerms once used only by epidemiologists, like โ€œreproduction numberโ€, โ€œphysical distancingโ€ and โ€œcontact tracingโ€ have become common parlance,โ€ he said.

Ghebreyesus further said in less than five months, the pandemic had encircled the globe.

โ€œAll countries have faced challenges in coming to grips with this virus, rich and poor, large and small.

โ€œLow-income countries, small island developing states and those suffering from violence and conflict are trying to confront this threat in the most challenging of circumstances.

โ€œHow do you practice physical distancing when you live in crowded conditions?

โ€œHow do you stay at home when you have to work to feed your family? How do you practice hand hygiene when you lack clean water?

โ€œSome countries are succeeding in preventing widespread community transmission; some have issued stay-at-home orders and imposed severe social restrictions to suppress community transmission;

โ€œSome are still bracing for the worst; and some are now assessing how to ease the restrictions that have exacted such a heavy social and economic toll,โ€ he said.

According to him, WHO fully understands and supports the desire of countries to get back on their feet and back to work.

- Advertisement -

Must Read

Related News