WHO survey finds virus disrupts health services

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qThe UN health agency says a new survey found that 90 per cent of countries that responded reported fallout from COVID-19 on the provision of other health care services like immunisation, family planning services, and cancer and cardiovascular disease diagnosis and treatment.

The World Health Organization says 105 countries responded to the survey aimed at assessing the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on strained health systems, notably in low- and middle-income countries.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the survey, covering five regions between March and June, exposed “cracks in our health systems” and the need for better preparation for health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic that has produced more than 25 million confirmed cases and killed over 843,000 people by WHO’s count. Such figures are believed to far underestimate the actual totals. The survey found that routine immunisation and outreach services were among the most affected, with 70 per cent of countries reporting disruptions, followed closely by the diagnosis and treatment of non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer.