Coronavirus Covid may erase decades of health advancement: WHO

Reuters

Geneva / 31.08.2020 09:37:47

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More than 90 percent of countries have seen ordinary health services disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, leaving decades-long advances in health care vulnerable to disappearing in a short period of time, a survey by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed.

The Geneva-based body has frequently warned of other vital programs that have been affected by the pandemic and has sent mitigation advice to countries, but the survey yielded the first WHO data so far on the scale of outages.

“The impact of the pandemic on essential health services is a source of great concern,” the agency said in a report on the study released Monday. “The main advances in health achieved in the last two decades can disappear in a short period of time (…)”.

The survey includes responses from May to July from more than 100 countries. Among the most affected services are the routine immunizations (70 percent), family planning (68 percent), and cancer diagnosis and treatment (55 percent), while the emergency services were disrupted in almost a quarter of the responding countries.

The eastern Mediterranean region, which includes Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen, was hit the hardest, followed by regions in Africa and Southeast Asia, it showed. America was not part of the survey.

Since covid-19 cases were first identified in December last year, the virus is believed to have killed nearly 850,000 people, according to the latest Reuters tally.

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