PAHO speeds up donations and technical aid to nations amid shortage of oxygen

Amid the shortages of health workers rise and oxygen supplies run perilously low, the Pan American Health Organization -PAHO increases donations and technical support to nations in Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Caribbean region: Amid the shortages of health workers rise and oxygen supplies run perilously low, the Pan American Health Organization -PAHO increases donations and technical support to nations in Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Carissa F. Etienne- director of PAHO, stated, “Following the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a rise in hospitalizations across the region that is triggering an unusual oxygen supply challenge.”

Dr Etienne added during the weekly media briefing, “In reply, PAHO is helping countries to scale up oxygen production and donating necessary supplies, including 7,000 pulse oximeters and almost 2,000 oxygen compressors.”

“We are working continuously with the ministries of health, especially in hard-hit places like – Antigua and Barbuda and Bolivia, to assist countries in redesigning their models of care and updating their clinical guidelines to optimize resources available and assure that more patients receive the oxygen they need,”- she added.

Following the statement, she asserted, “In the meantime, PAHO has helped expand 26 emergency medical teams in 23 nations and in addition, some – 400 Emergency medical team and alternative medical care places have been built, assisting nations in expanding capacity with- 14,000 new hospital beds and 1,500 more intensive care beds.”

“But considering the current spread of the virus, an additional – 20,000 doctors and more than- 30,000 nurses are expected to be needed to manage the ICU needs of half of the nations in Latin America and the Caribbean region.

The director of PAHO further cited, “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen what happens when nations deprioritize health systems. Whether it was shortages of PPE kits, ICU beds, oxygen or of health workers, nations are forced to act expeditiously to make up for years of underinvestment, and while nations have dramatically extended their health care capacity in just a few months, our health workers are continuing to feel the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

On the occasion of the – International Day of the Nurse, which is celebrated today, Dr Etienne called for improving the COVID-19 response and – building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic by investing in nurses and assuring they have the training, instruments, and resources they need to do their jobs safely.

She further asserted, “Let’s honour the sacrifice, work, and contributions of nurses around the region who are helping provide life saving care to COVID-19 patients.”