ICN reaction: WHO DG Dr Tedros confirms at least 115,000 health workers have died due to pandemic

24 May 2021

During World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros’ opening address at the 74th World Health Assembly in Geneva this morning, he announced that at least 115,000 healthcare workers (HCWs) have died during the pandemic to date, and pointed to the "scanty reporting" on HWC deaths and infection rates.

International Council of Nurses (ICN) Chief Executive Officer Howard Catton commenting on Dr Tedros’ address said:

“Tragically Dr Tedros’s confirmation that at least 115,000 healthcare workers have died due to COVID-19 backs-up what ICN has been saying since the beginning of the pandemic, that reporting on nurse and other healthcare worker deaths and infection rates has been inadequate and represents a catastrophic failure to take their safety seriously. It is also the hallmark of a serious lack of investment in healthcare and the lack of prioritisation of our nurses and other HCWs.

'These workers are our most valuable health assets and we must protect them in a spirit of compassion and humanity or face dire repercussions not only for our health systems but also our economies and security. But let’s not try to diminish our shock and anger upon learning that at least 115,000 of our colleagues and friends have given the ultimate sacrifice. These 115,000 deaths are the equivalent of a commercial airliner crashing with no survivors every day for the past 17 months since the pandemic started. It is a disgrace.”