The World Health Organisation says that about half of countries surveyed in a new analysis have had partial or complete disruption of services for people with high blood pressure and diabetes treatment during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In a survey of 155 countries last month, the UN health agency found worrying problems in the provision of health care for people with non-communicable diseases, many of whom are at higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19.
“Many people who need treatment for diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes have not been receiving the health services and medicines they need since the COVID-19 pandemic began,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement.
“It’s vital that countries find innovative ways to ensure that essential services…continue even as they fight COVID-19.”
The survey also found that 42% of countries had interrupted services for cancer patients and 31% for heart emergencies. In more than 90% of countries, health care staff had been partially or fully reassigned to pandemic duties.