WHO lauds efforts of Iranian nurses in COVID-19 battle

August 24, 2020 - 17:7

TEHRAN – The World Health Organization (WHO) has praised the Iranian nurses for playing an effective role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the 8th “Triad Meeting” of the International Council of Nurses (ICN), the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), and the WHO which was held online on June 16-18, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom said that in many countries, nurses make up half of the total people providing care, and at the frontline, they are responsible for the quality of the initial care assessment in the health system.

He made the remarks while emphasizing the need to invest in nursing and midwifery and to define nursing as a profession that requires education and management.

Over 600 government chief nursing and midwifery officers, leaders and representatives of national nursing and midwifery associations from more than 145 countries attended the meeting.

The event took place under the dual spotlight of the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife and the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on actions that participants in their respective roles agree to take to support WHO Member States in strengthening nursing and midwifery towards priority health targets, including responding to COVID-19 and achieving universal health coverage.

Maryam Hazrati, the Iranian deputy health minister for nursing, said for her part “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, more than 120,000 nurses have provided direct services to the infected patients and intensive care units in the ICU, as well as providing care at the patients’ houses.

Training and empowerment of nursing groups and other service groups in the form of 1,283 courses held by educational supervisors of infection control in hospitals, development of instructions and a standard package of medical and nursing services for patients with mild COVID-19 at home with the aim of reducing out-of-pocket payments, were among the actions taken by the ministry, she explained.

She went on to add that more than 1,300 faculty members, nursing students, and retired nurses joined us as volunteers to provide training and counseling services.

The importance of collaborating and sharing information on the status of nursing to prepare the roadmap and investment priorities and empower nurses and midwives to reduce costs, as well as challenges related to personal protective equipment and protection of health care personnel against violence were other issues discussed at this meeting.

The shortage of 18 million health workers by 2030 in low- and middle-income countries and in other countries and the problems of education, employment, and retention of labor in these countries were also addressed.

The mismatch between the training of human resources and the needs of the population and the problems caused by sending health workers to remote areas are known causes of labor shortages, and in addition, the migration of health workers from developing countries contributes to these shortages.

Hazrati also said in May that some 65 percent of 200,000 nurses in the country was at the forefront of coronavirus fight.

Since March 25, it is reported that 164 healthcare workers in the country have lost their lives due to the coronavirus infection, according to Es’haq Jahangiri, Iran's first vice president.

Doctors, nurses, and other staff are making efforts in overwhelming and frightening conditions, not only because the virus is new or invisible, but because mostly they are overworked and vulnerable to the infection.

Richard Brennan, WHO Regional Emergency Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region and mission team lead earlier in March said that “Iran’s strategies and priorities to control COVID-19 are evolving in the right direction, a comprehensive coordinated approach is being applied, and solid work is being done especially in the areas of case management, laboratories, and risk communications. We are also impressed by the engagement from other sectors of the community. 

Health officials and health workers are clearly working very hard, and are committed to controlling this outbreak and saving lives. The government is leveraging the strong national health system and disaster management capacities to respond to the outbreak.”

Barbara Rizzoli, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Tehran, also said in May that the actions taken by the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) to battle COVID-19 outbreak were very significant in various fields, including prevention and treatment.

In the fight against coronavirus, the IRCS, along with the Ministry of Health and other responsible organizations, has undertaken important activities, from rapid diagnosis and screening to providing medical services and shelter, she noted, adding, but the most important activity of this population has been informing the public about healthcare and treatment.


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