The Global Health Organization reported that currently, there is a shortage of doctors all around the world. To make matters worse, the COVID-19 crisis lay more pressure on the primary health care groups with a staggering increase of infected patients.

The Global Health Organization reported that currently, there is a shortage of doctors all around the world. To make matters worse, the COVID-19 crisis lay more pressure on the primary health care groups with a staggering increase of infected patients. Many countries across the globe are faced with the challenge of matching the ratio of health workers, against the rising number of patients. While governments ensure preventive measures to help slow the spread of the virus, reports say that health care professionals are relatively outnumbered.

Amid this global crisis, it is reassuring to know that there are still health care workers that are actively fighting the pandemic. There are still Doctors, and Nurses that administer treatment and advice, to help patients towards a full recovery. However, there are still a lot of individuals that do not have access to primary care. Health care professionals are also falling ill, and sadly, a significant number already succumbed to the virus. The Covid-19 has put a lot of weight on the world’s primary health care system.

Another factor to consider is the group of health workers that are already at their retirement age. Out of five doctors, one is already 65 or older. As we all know, the adverse effects of the virus are potentially lethal to the elderly, putting the aging doctors at high risk. The same can be said with the Nurses and other hospital staff that are in the same age group. One method to flatten the curve of the rate of infection is implementing lockdowns. The intention is to isolate the spread of the virus for effective contact tracing and to prevent primary care organizations to be overpopulated.

However, the virus is infecting health workers at an alarming rate. What happens when there aren’t enough health care professionals and support staff in primary care organizations?


Health Workers All Over the World Are Calling in Sick

  • One out of four health workers is sick or on self-isolation.
  • Similar situations all over the globe.
  • Health workers report a lack of protective equipment.


Female Health Care Workers at Risk

team of doctorsPredominantly, women are employed at primary care organizations at 70% all over the world. In other words, they make up most of the front liners in our battle against the Covid-19 virus. Perhaps, this s another reason why there is a shortage of doctors worldwide. Women are having additional challenges in trying to balance family and work. Some health professionals may resign, choosing family over the profession, especially the pregnant women, who are at a greater risk of contracting the virus, and putting both her life and her child’s at risk.


Overwork Mental Health Impact

We have witnessed the staggering numbers of overworked health professionals worldwide. Especially those who were assigned in Intensive Care Units. The level of stress from lack of adequate rest and support is overwhelming to those who are directly involved. There is a high level of transmission amongst the medical staff and a lot more fatalities. The rising number of infections is linked to the declining number of health workers. Fewer doctors mean fewer chances of the virus to be under control.


Searching for A Solution

At this stage of the pandemic, having adequate numbers of health professionals is critical in winning the struggle against the Covid-19 virus. The goal is to increase the number of health workers available. It is suggested to call the retired Doctors back from retirement and making them available online for support. Technology nowadays offers a safer way for these Doctors to provide much-needed help for the primary care system. They can still offer advice, and guide the proper administration of medicines to their patients. Another step is to let the medical students graduate early, without compromising their capabilities as health workers.

However, there are still situations that require a health worker’s physical presence. But that also means putting high-risk individuals as front liners. The all hands-on deck approach is applicable in these trying times. Another way of expanding the workforce is by allowing more physicians from abroad. Nurses are also in demand, and it will only help if more practitioners are allowed in the country. Of course, these health workers need to have valid medical credentials to pass.

Governments worldwide are also utilizing the military’s medical staff, and other medical practitioners even if they are not primarily trained in the same field as doctors. Dermatologists, dentists, plastic surgeons, and anesthesiologists, to name a few, are retrained to help with the care of COVID -19 patients. Medical students are also among the pool of people that are taken into consideration. Many medical students are not yet board-certified; however, they already have ample experience in the field. Some of these health workers have already worked under the supervision of a certified physician. It is also suggested to hire hospital staff with one-year minimum experience working in similar fields.

Safety protocols should be strictly implemented and observed at all times. To ensure the well-being of the front liners, safety protocols should be done religiously. It should not be treated as an emotional activity; it should become a habit like brushing your teeth or taking a bath. Every day, health workers in primary care organizations are at risk of getting infected. All of them are exposed to the virus multiple times. The importance of following the safety guidelines play a bigger role in helping the front liners than most think.

Team of DoctorsThe shortage of protective equipment is also a big factor to consider. Many primary care institutes lack the supplies needed for their health workers. Doctors, nurses, and the other support staff are exposed in long periods, making them prone to getting infected. Without the proper gear, they are more likely to catch the virus. Health workers raised the concern, that they are not getting enough protective supplies, that fit their needs. The number of front-liners getting sick is increasing each day, and with the shortage of health workers without the appropriate gear, the risk of them being infected will get worse. The good news is, manufacturers all over the world are working to provide the essential equipment, such as gloves, masks, and other protective gear to the health workers.

The availability of testing kits is also a big help. These will help ease the burden for both doctors and patients alike. The importance of testing kits is essential, especially to those who are asymptomatic. Early detection is a key factor in slowing the spread of the virus. Presently, Covid-19 testing kits are available to health workers. One of the reasons why there’s a decline in the number of health workers worldwide is their fear of getting infected, unaware of spreading the virus.

The pandemic has shown the world the significance of a strengthened health care system. The shortage of doctors, nurses, and medical staff have been made evident because of the sudden surge of COVID-19. The good news is, governments all over the world are currently working in utilizing the funds for vaccines, and to supply protective equipment to our health workers. As responsible individuals, we also play a significant role in the battle against the virus. We can contribute in a lot of ways, simply by staying inside our homes.


Final Note

Even before the sudden emergence of COVID-19, the shortage of doctors, and medical staff have been a looming health organization crisis. However, certain steps are considered to expand the number of available health workers worldwide. Some government suggested loosening the parameters of the state board certification, to allow more medical students in. Hopefully, the number of doctors increases in the coming days, as well as the protective equipment they need to battle the virus. In the meantime, our health organizations worldwide should make the best out of the available doctors that are actively fighting the virus. Until an effective vaccine is available, they have to trust our doctor’s capability in the treatment of Covid-19.

The shortage of doctors should not be taken lightly. We have to keep in mind that physicians, nurses, and other medically trained individuals are our greatest hope in conquering the COVID-19 virus. We should value the effort, and sacrifice our physicians undertake, to flatten the curve. Other trained professionals with specialties in the medical field should also get the credit they deserve. They also add to the overall population of workers that help battle the coronavirus.

People should be aware of these shortages across the world, not only in areas with the highest number of infected cases. Information about the current situation should be cascaded to colleges, and different classes in school that can provide online sessions. A doctor can only do so much, it’s up to us to help spread the awareness. Rural areas are usually hard to reach, however governments all over the world are doing their best to reach out to these areas.

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Agatha Hansen

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