America suffers from disruptions in regular health care services caused by Covid-19
Healthcare services are disrupted in countries in America when healthcare professionals are redirected to care for COVID-1
Without doctors and nurses available to provide other important services at the first level of care – including pregnancy-related care and management of chronic conditions such as diabetes or infectious diseases such as HIV, TB and malaria – these services are severely disrupted or even worse, stopped altogether. ”
The region ”remains in the grip of this pandemic. As of August 3, America had over 9.7 million cases and over 365,000 deaths – and those numbers continue to rise, “said the PAHO director.
“More than a quarter of countries have discontinued routine vaccination campaigns,” and “weeks or months of disruption will increase the risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventing diseases, reversing our long-term development in the region,” she noted.
In 27 countries, half of the programs for diabetes and hypertension in primary care have been stopped, a survey showed and pregnancy-related visits have fallen by 40%. Today, 11 countries in America have less than three months’ supply of antiretroviral drugs. “If these are not replenished soon, people living with HIV may need to stop treatment. Running out of these deliveries is simply not an option, says the PAHO director.
A long-standing response to this pandemic must include the provision of other important life-saving services. “Countries must avoid thinking that they have to make a choice, a choice between reopened economies and protecting the health and well-being of their people,” Etienne said.
PAHO urges countries to adapt to this new situation to “reengineer how essential care is delivered and invest in the first level of care”, using telemedicine, home visits and community-wide programs to support vulnerable populations. At the same time, they must also mitigate the effects of COVID-19. “This is not an election of either / or an election – rather, governments must find the right balance for public health,” urged the PAHO director.
“Countries can respond to COVID-19 by providing testing and contact tracing while offering other important services such as immunizations and mental health support. An integrated strategy saves the patient time and resources while improving the quality of care they receive, ”she said. “Primary healthcare investments also improve efficiency, reduce healthcare costs and enable hospitals and communities to expand capacity in other healthcare areas.”
“As we continue on this path towards universal health, we must ensure that our health systems are resilient and that they have the resources, supplies and health workers they need to fight a pandemic, while keeping people healthy and protected from other diseases.” “Finished the PAHO director.