Global physician leaders call for urgent action to protect health professionals and carers

Leaders of the World Medical Association have described as ‘deplorable’ the fact that even in the world’s most affluent countries, health care professionals are having to deal with the coronavirus pandemic with insufficient personal protection. And they say that when the pandemic ends, there must be a political investigation into the availability and effectiveness of supply chains.

Dr. Miguel Jorge, President of the WMA, and Dr. Frank Montgomery, Chair of the WMA Council, have issued a statement mourning the loss of physicians and all health care professionals, describing it as ‘a bitter toll’.

They add: ‘We express our solidarity with the physicians and all the health professionals, care workers, and informal caregivers who are looking after patients every day. Much of the time they are doing their work without minimum standards of personal protection. It is deplorable that even in the world’s most affluent countries the simplest standards of protection cannot be maintained and health care professionals are sent defenceless into the burning fire of infection.

‘Furthermore, there are not enough staff, not enough equipment, and not enough places in intensive care units’.

The WMA leaders urge governments across the world and the World Health Organisation to urgently provide all health care units in need with the necessary protective equipment (PPE), and to set up sustainable supply chains for PPE. They also call for action to build and distribute a sufficient number of ventilators to care for ailing patients and for an assurance that there is a sufficient amount of beds in intensive care units to treat all patients without compromising ethical decisions.

They end by demanding that at the end of the pandemic there should be a political investigation into the availability and effectiveness of supply chains and the risks of globalization in world threatening pandemic situations.

In January, the WMA issued an urgent call to governments and the World Health Organisation to set up an international supply chain for medicines and supplies to help health professionals fight the spread of coronavirus. It warned about a dangerous shortage in the Asian region of medical supplies, such as gloves, masks, detergents, single use coats and cloaks.


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