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Association says heroic nurses need complete protection against coronavirus


GENEVA (Reuters)-Executives of the International Council of Nurses Need More Equipment to Protect the World’s Nurses Working at the Frontline of the Coronavirus Pandemic to Save Life I said.

CEO of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) during an interview with Reuters on March 30, 2020 in Geneva, Switzerland, regarding a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Howard Catton made a gesture. / Cecil Mantovani

“They are heroic. I don’t think there is any other way to explain what they are doing at the moment,” said Howard Catton, a British nurse who is ICN’s CEO .

He reported that 9% and 12-14% infection rates have been reported among Italian and Spanish healthcare workers, respectively, where nurses and deaths in Iran and Indonesia have occurred.

“The infection rate is undoubtedly related to the lack of PPE-personal protective equipment,” he told Reuters at the ICN office along Lake Geneva.

“There is a global shortfall and nurses are clearly at higher risk given the people they care for.”

The federation represents 130 national associations and over 20 million registered nurses.

The World Health Organization has repeatedly called on countries and manufacturers to strengthen their production of masks, gloves, gowns and other equipment for healthcare workers who are vulnerable in a severe shortage.

According to the WHO, a large outbreak in China last December affected nearly 700,000 people worldwide and killed more than 33,000 people.

Catton said there was a problem with the supply chain in Italy and Spain, which had been hit hard, and that their healthcare system was “overwhelmed.”

Nurses around the world collect samples from COVID-19 patients, give them medicine and oxygen, and help care for critically ill patients.

“They are under intense pressure, often working long hours, working several days in a back-to-back shift, even sleeping at the hospital or facility where they work.”

He added that some nurses had to reuse gears and create their own masks and gowns.

“It’s not easy to wear personal protective equipment when available … simple things like going to the toilet and eating are of course much more difficult,” he said.

Nurses in Africa and South Asia can be at greater risk when the virus moves to a poorer environment.

“We are very worried that countries that have weak and fragile health systems will soon be overwhelmed by the virus if they settle in this country,” said Cutton.

He said that Zimbabwe nurses were afraid of their safety and were on strike due to a lack of information and protective equipment.

Additional report by Cecil Mantovani in Geneva. Edited by Angus MacSwan


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