Ebola Workers Lack Protective Gear: WHO

Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 07:53 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Health care workers in poor nations often do not have enough protective gear to keep them safe from being infected with blood-borne viruses such as Ebola and HIV, a new study shows.
 
While the study was conducted before the current Ebola outbreak began in West Africa last spring, its findings are confirmed in statistics released Monday by the World Health Organization (WHO).
 
The international health agency reported that an "unprecedented" number of health care workers have lost their lives in the Ebola outbreak due in large part to a shortage of protective equipment; roughly 240 of the 2,615 infections reported since March have been doctors and nurses, and 120 of them have died, according to WHO.
 
"Ebola has taken the lives of prominent doctors in Sierra Leone and Liberia, depriving these countries not only of experienced and dedicated medical care, but also of inspiring national heroes," the health agency said in its statement.
 
"In many cases, medical staff are at risk because no protective equipment is available -- not even gloves and face masks," the WHO statement added.
 
However, in the study reported online Aug. 26 in the journal Tropical Medicine and International Health, Johns Hopkins researchers found these shortages existed long before this latest Ebola outbreak.
 
In Liberia, only 56 percent of hospitals had protective eyewear for doctors and nurses and only 63 percent had sterile gloves. In Sierra Leone, those figures were 30 percent and 70 percent, respectively, the researchers found.
 
"Sadly, one of the only benefits of the Ebola crisis in West Africa may be to highlight the baseline lack of personal protective equipment such as eye protection, gloves and aprons for health care workers," study leader Dr. Adam Kushner, an associate in the department of international health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said in a Hopkins news release.
 
"These items are crucial to protect health care workers today, but were lacking long before the current crisis. We've seen this for many years with HIV," he added.
 
The Hopkins researchers analyzed data from 399 hospitals in 13 low- and middle-income nations: Afghanistan, Bolivia, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mongolia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Zambia.
 
Overall, only 29 percent of the hospitals in the study always had eye protection for staff, 64 percent always had sterilizing equipment and 75 percent always had sterile gloves, according to the study.
 
Rates varied widely among countries. For example, all hospitals in Bolivia and Nigeria had sterile gloves, compared with one-quarter of hospitals in Afghanistan. None of the countries had 100 percent availability of all the protective items, which are standard in American hospitals.
 
Prevention of HIV infection was the focus of this study, but the Ebola virus is spread in the same way, through direct contact with bodily fluids of infected people or contact with items contaminated with such fluids, the researchers noted.
 
In the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, many health care workers have become infected, often due to a lack of proper infection-control procedures when working closely with patients.
 
"We can all learn from this new epidemic and be better prepared for the next one by remembering that inexpensive protective equipment can keep doctors and nurses safe from infection -- and better able to care for patients who need them," Kushner said. "It is imperative that we make this a priority."

© HealthDay

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Female Bosses Prone to Depression: Study

Friday, 21 Nov 2014 23:11 PM

Being the boss at work seems to raise the odds for symptoms of depression among women, but not men, a new study finds.  . . .

Olive Oil Linked to Dramatic Heart Benefits

Friday, 21 Nov 2014 17:45 PM

Regular consumption of olive oil can drastically improve heart health - especially in people who have recently switched  . . .

Woman Dies After Metal Detector Causes Pacemaker to Malfunction

Friday, 21 Nov 2014 17:38 PM

An airport metal detector caused a woman's pacemaker to malfunction and kill her while she was traveling with her husban . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved