Over 6Million coronavirus cases recorded worldwide – WHO

—Research shows service delivery for NCDs affected by pandemic

DPI, Guyana, Monday, June 1, 2020

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recorded more than six million cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) across the world with more than 370,000 people succumbing to the virus.

This was announced, by WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who said that the impact of COVID-19 extends well beyond the death and disease caused by the virus itself.

WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

In his press briefing today, Dr. Ghebreyesus noted that the pandemic has forced countries to make difficult choices about suspending some health services.

Building on previous guidance on maintaining essential health services through the COVID-19 pandemic, he said WHO is providing operational guidance on how best to put that into practice.

Dr. Ghebreyesus added that ensuring coordination and development of new ways to deliver care while limiting visits to health facilities is key to keeping people safe and ensuring health systems are not overburdened.

“This means using digital technologies to deliver some routine services remotely, and expanding the number of medications delivered to the home.”

“One of the areas in which health services have been particularly affected is in care for people with noncommunicable diseases including diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease or a chronic respiratory disease,” he added,

It was highlighted that people living with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill or dying from COVID-19 and at the same time, many people living with NCDs are no longer able to access the medicines that they need.

To this end, WHO conducted a rapid assessment of service delivery for NCDs during the COVID-19 pandemic with 155 countries submitting data.

“The results released today show that more than half of the countries surveyed have partially or completely disrupted services for treatment of hypertension; half for treatment of diabetes and related complications; and 42 percent for cancer treatment, and 31 percent for cardiovascular emergencies.”

Rehabilitation services have been disrupted in almost two-thirds of countries.

According to Dr. Ghebreyesus, the COVID-19 response must, therefore, be inclusive of the health-care needs of people living with noncommunicable diseases.

He highlighted that one of the main causes of NCDs is tobacco.

This year’s WHO’s World No Tobacco Day focused on reaching young people to educate them on tobacco industry tactics used to manipulate them into using products that kill 8 million people every year.

He added that just as the organisation continues to respond to well-known health threats like tobacco, it is also responding to one of the most urgent challenges, the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

“I’m glad to say a record number of countries are now monitoring and reporting on antibiotic resistance – marking a major step forward in the global fight against drug resistance. But the data they provide reveals that a worrying number of bacterial infections are increasingly resistant to the medicines we have traditionally treated them with. As we gather more evidence, it’s clear that the world is losing its ability to use critically important antimicrobial medicines all over the world,” he reported.

Dr. Ghebreyesus explained that the COVID19 pandemic has led to increased use of antibiotics, which ultimately will lead to higher bacterial resistance rates that will impact the burden of disease and deaths during the pandemic and beyond.

In the current Clinical Management of COVID-19, Interim Guidance, WHO has outlined the appropriate use of antibiotic therapy for medical professionals to treat patients. Therefore, both tackling antimicrobial resistance, while also saving lives.

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