WHO survey finds 90% of counties report disruptions to essential health services

08 September 2020

Article: 54/3606

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a survey on the impact of COVID-19 on health systems, based on reports from 105 countries. Data collected from five WHO regions over the period March to June 2020, illustrates that almost every country (90%) has experienced disruption to its health services, with low- and middle-income countries reporting the greatest difficulties.

The WHO found that the most frequently disrupted areas reported included:

• routine immunization outreach services (70%) and facility-based services (61%)
• non-communicable diseases diagnosis and treatment (69%)
• family planning and contraception (68%)
• treatment for mental health disorders (61%)
• cancer diagnosis and treatment (55%)

Countries also reported disruptions in:

• malaria diagnosis and treatment (46%)
• tuberculosis case detection and treatment (42%)
• antiretroviral treatment (32%)

While some areas of health care, such as dental care and rehabilitation, may have been deliberately suspended in-line with government protocols, the WHO predicts that the disruption to many of the other services may have harmful effects on population health in the short, medium and long-term.

Source: WHO, 31 August 2020