WHO publishes guidelines to maintain essential healthcare amidst COVID-19 pandemic

DPI, Guyana, Monday, March 30, 2020

As the world continues to battle the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has published guidelines to help countries balance their response to the virus while maintaining the delivery of essential healthcare services.

Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in an update earlier today noted that the virus has placed a strain on the health systems around the world with the increasing demand for health services.


Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

“Previous outbreaks have demonstrated that when health systems are overwhelmed, deaths due to vaccine-preventable and treatable conditions increase dramatically,” he expressed further emphasizing that even in the middle of a global crisis, essential health services must continue,” Dr. Ghebreyesus stated.

“Babies are still being born, vaccines must still be delivered, and people still need life-saving treatment for a range of other diseases,” He added.

According to the WHO Director-General, the guidelines include “a set of targetted, immediate actions to reorganise and maintain access to high-quality essential health services, including routine vaccination; care during pregnancy and childbirth; treatment for infectious and noncommunicable diseases and mental health conditions; blood services, and more.”

This he explained includes ensuring an adequate health workforce to deal with the many health needs other than COVID-19. It will help countries manage the rise in COVID-19 cases while maintaining essential services.

The WHO has also published a detailed, practical manual on how to establish and manage treatment centres for COVID-19. This guide covers three major interventions:

    • how to set up screening and triage at health facilities, using a repurposed building or a tent.
    • how to set up community facilities to care for mild patients;
    • how to set up a treatment centre, by repurposing hospital wards or entire hospitals, or by setting up a new hospital in a tent.

Dr. Ghebreyesus underscored that in addition to having adequate health facilities, the viability of supplies of diagnostics, protective equipment and other medical supplies in a country, is vital in the fight against this pandemic.

The Director-General called for increased production and free movement of essential health products along with equitable distribution of those products, based on need with specific attention being paid to low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.


COVID-19 Alert!

Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.