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Nursing body calls for more equipment on front lines

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 31, 2020 - Duration: 01:49s

Nursing body calls for more equipment on front lines

More equipment is needed to protect the world's nurses working on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic to save lives, the head of the International Council of Nurses said.

Emer McCarthy reports.

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Nursing body calls for more equipment on front lines

A global industry group for nurses is among the latest to voice concern about protective equipment shortages for frontline medical workers against coronavirus.

This was Howard Catton, the head of the International Council of Nurses, on Monday (March 30).

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF NURSES (ICN), HOWARD CATTON, SAYING: "We have no doubt that the rate of infections is related in part to the lack of PPE - personal protective equipment.

We know that there is a global shortage and nurses obviously are at a higher risk given the people who that they are caring for and without that protection, their safety, their welfare is also at risk.

That is something that we just shouldn't be doing on a moral and ethical basis, we need to be protecting and supporting our nurses and our health care work force." Infection rates of 9% and 12-14% have been reported among health workers in Italy and Spain, as well as deaths among nurses there and in Iran and Indonesia.

But in many places they've been forced to re-use their gear -- risking contamination -- or make their own protective masks and gowns.

Catton said there had been problems with supply chains in Europe whose health systems have been "very close to being overwhelmed".

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF NURSES (ICN), HOWARD CATTON, SAYING: "They are heroic, I think there is no other way to describe what they are doing at this moment in time.

They are working under intense pressure, often long hours, some working back-to-back shifts for days on end, even sleeping over in the hospital, the facility, in which they work.

He's voiced concern for nurses in countries in Africa and South Asia as the virus moves to poorer settings.

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