Over 17,000 health workers died from covid-19 worldwide
Fotografia dois enfermeiros em serviço
Photo: Lusa


A report presented by Amnesty International, Public Services International and UNI Global Union concluded that during the pandemic, many health professionals did not have access to adequate means of protection and at least 17,000 health professionals died with covid last year.

The report denounces that in more than 100 countries, no one has been vaccinated yet,  and, so far, more than half of the doses have been administered in only ten countries considered rich, representing less than ten percent of the world population.

“It is a tragedy and an injustice that, every 30 minutes, a health professional dies with COVID-19, ”said Steve Cockburn, head of Economic and Social Justice at Amnesty International. He added that “governments must ensure that all health care professionals, everywhere, are protected against COVID-19.

But let's go to the numbers that mirror the different realities.

According to the Amnesty International's report, so far at least 1,576 health workers have died from covid-19 in the United States. In the UK last year, 494 social workers died, “those who worked in nursing homes and community care were three times more likely to die than the working population in general”. In Brazil, where around 1000 professionals have died from the infection, there are reports of administrative teams receiving the vaccine before those on the front lines. The same applies to Peru with regard to the poor distribution of vaccines. The same report says that in South Africa, over 492 health workers died this year alone.

Data released by the Directorate General of Health (DGS) indicate that in Portugal, about 28 thousand health professionals have been infected since the beginning of the pandemic, of whom 19 died and more than 16 thousand recovered. Half of the deaths of health professionals in the country occurred in February (nine), with a further six deaths recorded in January.

The poor distribution of vaccines within the structure of each country, as well as the scarcity of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), constitute some of the most pressing problems in this report.

In the coming weeks, the countries considered to be the poorest should receive the first doses of vaccines. Amnesty International, Public Services International and UNI Global Union urge governments to include all frontline healthcare professionals in their distribution plans to save lives and provide safe working conditions.

The scenario appears to be more positive in Europe, where health professionals have generally been considered a priority, although supply challenges have slowed the implementation pace of vaccination plans.

It is precisely for all on the front line, and in particular the Portuguese teams, that we publish this note. For all those who, every day, went to the hospital, risking their lives to save others. Even if not always in the best conditions, some away from their families, some more hidden than others in suits that left them unrecognizable. It is for those who left their clinical areas and learned new actions, those who kept their services working with the possible routines, those who continued to motivate their medical teams. Those whose only background “music” was that of the vital signs that each machine reproduced. To all, our deep THANK YOU.

We shall continue to report and mirror the work that is so often invisible and that few eyes see.

Fotografia de vários profissionais de saúde

Source: Amnesty International Report -  https://www.amnistia.pt/covid-19-17-mil-profissionais-de-saude-morreram-em-2020/