EHS-COVID (78) Q1 How has COVID-19 affected the delivery of essential health services? (14) WHO survey (2)

21 November, 2020

In an earlier message I highlighted the WHO publication 'Pulse survey on continuity of essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic: interim report, 27 August 2020'

Almost every country in the world has experienced disruption in the delivery of essential health services. Below are some selected extracts.

'Demand and supply factors may both play a role. People may stay away from health services out of fear of catching COVID-19. The operation of health services may be affected by shifting resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic or by closures of health services or facilities. Supplies of medicines and commodities can be disrupted. In addition, societal measures such as a strict lockdown to combat the pandemic may affect people’s socioeconomic situation as well as their ability to reach the health services they need.'

'80% of countries had a defined an essential health services package prior to the outbreak, and 66% of all countries had identified a core set of services to be maintained during the COVID-19 pandemic'

'Only 55% of the 105 countries had allocated additional government funding to assure essential health services. This response was more common in upper-middle- and higher-income countries.'

'Noncommunicable disease (NCD) services, essential for a wide range of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory conditions, diabetes and cancer, were affected in more than half of the reporting countries (Fig. 9). NCD diagnosis and treatment was disrupted 69% of countries, with 5% reporting severe/complete disruptions. Cancer diagnosis and treatment was adversely affected in 55% of countries.'


Do these observations resonate with you in relation to your country or healthcare facilitiy?

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, WHO-HIFA Collaboration: HIFA project on Essential Health Services and COVID-19

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: