The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of at least 1,500 nurses and many other healthcare workers, but until now there has been no systematic, standardised collection of information about such deaths, nor on the number of staff who have become infected.
Since May 2020, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) has called for such information to be collated and held centrally, so that it can help us to understand the virus and potentially save lives, but also to be an official record of those who have died.
Now the World Health Organization Health (WHO) has published a report on the healthcare workforce during the pandemic and included the need to keep the data ICN has been asking for.
ICN Chief Executive Officer Howard Catton, who contributed to the report on behalf of the world’s nurses, said:
“We have been calling for this information to be held centrally for months, so this is very welcome news. WHO has now given clear directions about how this data should be collated and shared, and it is now up to governments to record reliable, standardised and comparable data so that we can keep track of the toll this pandemic is having on nurses and other healthcare workers. Every death from COVID-19 is a tragedy and we can ill-afford to lose nurses and other healthcare workers who are contributing to the fight against the virus.”
The WHO interim guidance on Workforce Policy and Management in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic Response can be found here.