According to the World Health Organization (WHO), countries are still having to make important decisions when responding to COVID-19 that may negatively affect access to care for other health issues.
It noted that redeployment of staff to provide COVID-19 relief and temporary closures of health facilities and services continue.
Moreover, it noted that although health facilities may have taken on new staff, 66% of countries continue to report health workforce-related reasons as the most common causes of service disruptions.
It said supply chains are also still disrupted in nearly one-third of countries, affecting the availability of essential medicines, diagnostics, and the PPE needed to safely and effectively provide care.
It also pointed to the lack of communications efforts noting that more than half of countries report service disruptions due to patients not seeking care and because of community mistrust and fears of becoming infected.
The organization said in its report that 43% of countries cite financial challenges as major causes for disruptions in service utilization.
It said further that millions of people are still missing out on vital health care.
WHO also observed that long-term care for chronic conditions, rehabilitation, and palliative end-of-life care, is also still badly disrupted – severely affecting older people and people living with disabilities.
And it stated that potentially life-saving emergency, critical and surgical care interventions are still disrupted in about 20% of countries, reflecting the most immediate indirect consequences of the pandemic.
The report added that two-thirds of countries also disclosed disruptions in elective surgeries, with accumulating consequences as the pandemic is prolonged.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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