World Health Organization

The World Health Organization says there is a need to speed up vaccination for health workers in Africa.

The document, which collected data from 25 countries, noted that 1.3 million healthcare workers have been fully immunized since March of this year,  with just six countries scoring over 90%, while nine others have fully vaccinated less than 40%. A recent World Health Organization global study of 22 mostly high-income countries found that more than 80 % of their health and care workers are fully vaccinated. World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa noted: “With a new surge of cases looming in Africa following the end-of-year festive season, countries must urgently speed up the rollout of vaccines to health workers. 

Most African health workers are still missing vaccines and remain dangerously exposed to severe COVID19 infection. Unless doctors, nurses and other frontline workers are fully protected, there is a risk of a blowback backlash in our efforts to contain this disease. 

There is a need to make sure that our healthcare facilities are safe working environments. According to the global agency, the shortage of health workers in Africa is acute and profound, with only one country in the region having the necessary manpower (10.9 per 1,000 population) to provide essential services. 

Any loss of these essential workers due to COVID19 due to illness or death, therefore, has a significant impact on the ability to provide services because sixteen countries in the area have less than one health worker per 1,000 population. Five countries, namely Algeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe, account for almost 70% of all  COVID19 infections reported among health workers on the continent. 

Based on data reported to World Health Organization by countries in the African region, there have been more than 150,400 COVID19 infections among health workers since March 2020, accounting for 2.5% of all confirmed cases and 2.6% of the total number of health workers in the region.

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