COVID-19 Effects: More than 90% of countries have seen ordinary health services disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with significant gains in medical care attained over decades vulnerable to being wiped out in a short period, a World Health Organization survey showed.
The Geneva-based body has frequently warned about other life-saving programs being affected by the pandemic and has sent nations mitigation information, but the survey yielded the first WHO data so far on the scale of disruptions.
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on essential health services is a source of great concern,” said a report on the study published on Monday. “Major health benefits achieved over the past two decades may be wiped out in a brief time period…”
The poll includes responses from between May and July from over 100 countries. One of the most affected services were routine immunizations (70%), family planning (68 percent ), and cancer diagnosis and therapy (55%), while emergency services were disturbed in almost a quarter of responding countries.
The Eastern Mediterranean Region, which includes Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen, was affected followed by the African and Southeast Asian regions, it showed. The Americas weren’t part of this survey.
Since COVID-19 cases were first identified in December last year, the virus is thought to have killed nearly 850,000 people.
Researchers think that non-COVID deaths have also increased in certain areas due partially to health service disruptions, although these may be more difficult to calculate.
The WHO poll said it was”reasonable to anticipate that even a small disruption in essential health services could lead to an increase in morbidity and mortality from causes other than COVID-19 in the short to medium and long-term.” Further study was needed.
It also cautioned that the disruptions could be felt even after the pandemic finishes. “The impact may be felt beyond the immediate pandemic as, in trying to catch up on solutions, countries may realize that resources are overwhelmed.”