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Opinion: How we can keep health care workers safe

January 25, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 19.2%. 1 min read.

Health care workers tend to a Covid-19 patient in a Covid holding pod at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California on January 11, 2021. - As Covid-19 tears through southern California, small hospitals in rural towns like Apple Valley have been overwhelmed, with coronavirus patients crammed into hallways, makeshift ICU beds and even the pediatric ward. When AFP visited St Mary hospital in this desert town of 70,000 people this week, palliative care supervisor Kari McGuire said her team were seeing "astronomical numbers of patients who are dying" from the novel coronavirus. (Photo by ARIANA DREHSLER / AFP) (Photo by ARIANA DREHSLER/AFP via Getty Images)

Tom Frieden and Amanda McClelland write that the Covid-19 pandemic has continued a long-term trend of failing to protect those who care for us. They propose four key tasks that can be put into place now and fully implemented in the next five years to prevent avoidable infection or death of medical staff needed to provide life-saving care. "We know how to keep our health workforce safe. We simply haven't done it effectively or consistently."

(CNN)During the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been well-intentioned calls to honor our health care workers.

Health care facilities, with the backing of management, should install and empower infection control leaders to take the lead on these protocols.

Health care systems should be funded with the resources necessary for facilities to hire staff members who are dedicated to supervising and supporting health workers to implement protective policies.

Health care workers need support in various forms, be it financial, physical or spiritual.

Countries, states, and health facilities will be able to more effectively curb the spread of infections if they track handwashing, hospital-associated infections, availability of PPE and adequate water and sanitation in health care facilities -- and make this information available to the public.

The World Health Organization should monitor outbreaks among health workers and other developments in health care safety and issue annual reports so we can continuously make hospitals and other facilities safer for medical workers and patients.

Nurses and other health care workers deserve to have their safety assured.

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