The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it has inaugurated a new course for health workers on how to put on and remove Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), in their fight against COVID-19.

WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said this in a speech posted on the agency’s website on Wednesday.

“There are more than 1.5 million enrollments in WHO’s online courses through, and we will continue to expand this platform to train many more millions so we can fight COVID-19 effectively.

“Every day we bring together thousands of clinicians, epidemiologists, educators, researchers, lab technicians, infection prevention specialists and others, to exchange knowledge on COVID-19.

“Our technical guidance brings together the most up-to-date evidence for health ministers, health workers and individuals.

“Yesterday, I had the honour of speaking to heads of states and government from the 13 ASEAN-plus-three nations.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that ASEAN+3 countries include the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

They are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam, plus China, Japan and Korea.

“It was inspiring to hear their experiences and their commitment to working together to secure a shared future.

“As a result of their experiences with SARS and avian influenza, these countries have put in place measures and systems that are now helping them to detect and respond to COVID-19,’’ Ghebreyesus said.

The director general said the agency would continue to work with partners all over the world to accelerate research and development.

“More than 90 countries have joined, or have expressed interest in joining the Solidarity Trial, and more than 900 patients have now been enrolled to evaluate the safety and efficacy of four drugs and drug combinations.

“Three vaccines have already started clinical trials, more than 70 others are in development, and we are working with partners to accelerate the development, production and distribution of vaccines.

“In addition to the Solidarity Trial, I am glad to say that WHO has convened groups of clinicians to look at the impact of corticosteroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs on treatment outcomes.

“Specifically, we are looking at oxygen use and ventilation strategies in patients.

“Any intervention that reduces the need for ventilation and improves outcomes for critically ill patients is important – especially in low-resource settings, to save lives,’’ he said.

The WHO helmsman further disclosed that the organisation had announced the United Nations Supply Chain Task Force, to scale up the distribution of essential medical equipment last week.

“The first United Nations Solidarity Flight took off, transporting personal protective equipment, ventilators and lab supplies to many countries across Africa on Tuesday.

“The Solidarity Flight is part of a massive efforts to ship lifesaving medical supplies to 95 countries across the globe, in conjunction with the World Food Programme and other agencies.

“Whether it is by land, sea or air, WHO staff are working around the clock to deliver to health workers and communities everywhere.

“I would like to thank the African Union, the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Ethiopia, the Jack Ma Foundation, and all our partners for their solidarity with African countries at this critical moment in history.”

The director general also thanked South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and Moussa Faki, former Chadian Prime Minister and Chairperson of the African Union Commission, for their leadership examples.

Ghebreyesus said the Solidarity Response Fund had now generated almost 150 million dollars from 240,000 individuals and organisations.

“This Saturday, some of the biggest names in music are coming together for the One World: Together at Home concert, to generate further funds for the Solidarity Response Fund.

“But not just to raise funds, to bring the world together, because we are one world, one humanity fighting a common enemy.

“I thank Lady Gaga, Global Citizens, and many others, are collaborating to put this concert together.

“We will continue to work with every country and every partner, to serve the people of the world, with a relentless commitment to science, solutions and solidarity.

“Since the beginning, WHO has been fighting the pandemic with every ounce of our soul and spirit.

“We will continue to do that until the end. That is our commitment to the whole world,’’ Ghebreyesus said. NAN


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