KARACHI: The Director General of World Health Organization, Dr Tedros has said that more than one million confirmed cases of Corona virus, while the death toll has crossed 50,000 mark.
Addressing a media briefing on Friday, he said the issue of Corona virus had become more than a health crisis, casting profound social and economic consequences.
Dr Tedros said restrictions applied by many countries to protect health are taking a heavy toll on the income of individuals and the economies of communities and nations. “We are in a shared struggle to protect both lives and livelihoods,” he said, adding that in the short term, countries could ease the burden on their populations through social welfare programs to ensure people have food and other life essentials.
Dr Tedros said the best way for countries to end restrictions and ease their economic effects is to attack the Corona virus with the aggressive and comprehensive package of measures, discussed earlier, : find, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact.
He warned that if countries rush to lift restrictions quickly, the Corona virus could resurge & the economic impact could be more severe and prolonged. “Financing the health response is an essential investment not just in saving lives, but in the longer-term social & economic recovery,” he added.
He advised countries to focus on 3 main areas. 1) To ensure core public health measures are fully funded, including case-finding, testing, contact tracing, collecting data, and communication and information campaigns, 2) to strengthen the foundations of health systems. That means health workers must be paid their salaries, and health facilities need a reliable supply of funding to purchase essential medical supplies, 3) to remove financial barriers to care. If people delay or forego care because they can’t afford it, they not only harm themselves, they make the Covid-19 pandemic harder to control and put society at risk.
The WHO DG drew attention of Covid-19 having effect on the fight against other diseases, like polio, and said to reduce the increasing transmission of Corona virus, the polio oversight board had made the hard decision to suspend house-to-house vaccination campaigns, knowing that this may lead to an increase in polio cases. He said ” to reduce this risk, we will support countries to maintain essential immunization for all vaccine preventable diseases. WHO has published guidance for countries on how to maintain essential health services even while responding to this crisis.”
Dr Tedros said the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was working to ensure that once it was safe to do so, countries could be supported to rapidly restart polio vaccination campaigns.