New WHO/ILO guide urges greater precautions to protect health workers

The World Health Organization(WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) have published a new guideline on developing and implementing stronger occupational health and safety for health workers as Covid-19 continues to exert great pressure on them.

In a joint statement, WHO and ILO have indicated that the Covid-19 pandemic has taken an additional heavy toll on health workers and demonstrated dangerous neglect of their health, safety and wellbeing.

WHO director in the department of environment, climate change and health Dr Maria Neira is quoted in the statement saying: “Even before the pandemic, the health sector was among the most hazardous sectors to work in.”

Neira added: “Health workers suffered from infections, injuries, workplace violence and harassment, burnout, and allergies from the poor working environment.”

On the other hand, Alette van Leur, Director, ILO Sectoral Policies Department, indicated that: “Effective mechanisms should be put in place to ensure continuous collaboration between employers, managers and health workers, with the aim of protecting health and safety at work.”

Furthermore, van Leur said Health workers, like all other workers, should enjoy their right to decent work, safe and healthy working environments and social protection for health care, sickness absence and occupational diseases and injuries.

WHO and ILO will continue to provide guidance and assistance to countries to develop and implement occupational health and safety programmes for health workers.

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