A quarter of Belgium’s health care workers say they do not have enough equipment to protect them adequately from the novel Coronavirus, according to a University of Antwerp study published on Saturday.
A total of 1,216 nurses, nurse assistants and other healthcare workers were interviewed for the study, commissioned by Belgium’s general nurses’ union.
About 18% of respondents said they did not have enough face masks to be able to protect themselves in the best manner possible, noted Filip Haegdorens of the University of Antwerp. “There is also a shortage of gowns, face visors, surgical masks and gloves,” he added.
“Moreover, healthcare staff indicated that there was a shortage of basic healthcare equipment,” the researcher said. “The figure is significantly higher for home-based care and in long-term care centres. A shortage of oxygen was also mentioned by 18% of caregivers in residential healthcare centres. Moreover, 7% of home-based care providers point to a shortage of palliative care drugs.”
Another 27% of the respondents also said they had no means of testing potentially infected patients.
Close to 9 out of 10 nurses (87%) said they were not ready to relax protective measures in their work environment, while half of all nurses and nurse assistants had no faith in the approach taken by the authorities to manage the Covid-19 crisis.