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  • Health workers of Italian Navy at one of two new drive-in swab test centers of the Italian Army in Florence and Versilia, Lucca's area in Florence, Italy, 16 November 2020.

    Health workers of Italian Navy at one of two new drive-in swab test centers of the Italian Army in Florence and Versilia, Lucca's area in Florence, Italy, 16 November 2020. | Photo: EFE/EPA/ Italian Ministry of Defense

Published 16 November 2020
Opinion

According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), in the region alone, the COVID-19 pandemic had killed at least 2.500 health workers and infected over 570.000 as of September. 
 

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Monday that 2021 was designated as the International Year of Health and Care Workers, "recognizing the dedication and sacrifice of the millions of health and care workers at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic."

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The WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said via Twitter that he was "very pleased to see the decision to designate next year as the International Year of Healthcare and Care Workers. We need to collectively strengthen our investment in training healthcare personnel to end the Covid-19 pandemic and achieve health for all."

Health Workers are at the forefront in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and are also the most vulnerable to get infected. Hence, the WHO has said that vaccinating the entire sector worldwide is a priority.

According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in the region alone, the COVID-19 pandemic had killed at least 2.500 health workers and infected over 570.000 as of September.

On the other hand, the latest data from the International Labor Organization (ILO) shows that globally, "women make up 70% of those employed in the health sector and, based on data available for close to 100 countries, 72% of skilled health occupations."

However, although the sector is a cornerstone to bit the COVID-19 pandemic, most countries face a critical shortage of these professionals due to a lack of policies to foster employment, alongside with ow pay and occupational safety and health risks.

The International Council of Nurses, after collecting data from 44 of the world’s 195 countries, estimated in October that at least 1,097 nurses have died since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and COVID-19 health workers fatalities worldwide could surpass 20.000.

   

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