PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) said this Wednesday (4) that there is an ongoing mental health pandemic on the continent due to the increase in cases of depression and anxiety due to Covid-19 and asked for reinforcement of care systems in this field.
“While we are going through a pandemic that continues to affect our region, with cases of illness and deaths, we are witnessing a simultaneous mental health pandemic that has been openly recognized in the region,” PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said at a virtual press conference.
The organization explained that high rates of depression and anxiety are occurring in many countries on the American continent and that these mental and neurological symptoms, associated with post-Covid, are becoming a challenge to overcome the pandemic.
She added that this period showed “the fragility of mental health systems in the countries of the region” and reported on the launch of a high-level commission on this topic, which will take place on May 6 to address this situation.
“The pandemic has jeopardized the psychological discomfort of all of us,” acknowledged Etienne, adding that it is necessary to address and build better health systems that deal with these disorders.
More cases, less deaths
Last week, there were 616,000 new cases of Covid-19 in the Americas, an increase of 12.7% over the previous week, and 4,200 deaths from the disease, a decrease of less than 1%.
Overall, in recent weeks the continent has seen an increase in the number of infections and hospitalizations, but a decrease in the number of deaths.
“It is crucial that we do not lose sight of the virus, that we follow its evolution and maintain the testing capacity to reinforce the measures”, said the director, stressing the importance of having good information that allows each country to design prevention measures and reinforce measures. hospital care.
The Pan American institution praised the work of nurses, both during the difficult times of the pandemic and during this period of vaccination, and highlighted that thousands of these professionals suffered psychological disorders related to exhaustion, stress and depression.
Acute hepatitis and flu
PAHO also reported that investigations are continuing into the alert issued by the WHO (World Health Organization) on 15 April regarding an outbreak of severe acute hepatitis, of unknown etiology, in previously healthy children under 10 years of age in the United Kingdom. .
The PAHO incident coordinator for Covid-19, Enrique Pérez, explained that the hypotheses about a relationship between this outbreak, which affects children’s livers, with the side effects of vaccines against Covid-19 are “excluded”, since that many of the affected children did not even receive a dose of these vaccines.
Since the alert, 228 probable cases of the outbreak of severe acute hepatitis have been reported in 20 countries, most of them in Europe.
“PAHO’s recommendation to countries is to stay informed and monitor their cases,” Pérez said, noting that the organization is providing technical support in generating and disseminating timely information during these investigations.
They also recalled the importance of getting vaccinated against the flu virus, which “causes hundreds of thousands of deaths” every year.
PAHO also clarified that the vaccines of Cuban origin, Soberana 02 and Abdala, are in the process of reaching the emergency vaccine label.