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Opas warns of high rates of depression and anxiety in conjunction with the Covid pandemic

Opas warns of high rates of depression and anxiety in conjunction with the Covid pandemic

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday (4) that there is an ongoing psychiatric epidemic on the continent due to the increase in cases of depression and anxiety due to Covid-19 and demanded the strengthening of care systems in this area.

“As we go through a pandemic that continues to affect our region, with cases of illness and deaths, we are witnessing a simultaneous publicly acknowledged mental health pandemic in the region,” Pan American Health Organization Director Carissa Etienne said in a virtual press conference. .

The organization explained that high rates of depression and anxiety occur in many countries on the American continent, and that these mental and neurological symptoms, associated with post-Covid-19, have become a challenge to overcome the epidemic.

She added that this period demonstrated “the fragility of mental health systems in the countries of the region” and informed the launch of a high-level committee on this topic, which will convene on May 6 to address this situation.

Etienne admitted that “the pandemic has endangered the psychological distress of all of us,” adding that it is necessary to address and build better health systems that deal with these disorders.

More cases, fewer deaths

Last week, there were 616,000 new cases of Covid-19 in the Americas, a 12.7% increase from the previous week, and 4,200 deaths from the disease, down less than 1%.

In general, the continent has seen in recent weeks an increase in the number of infections and hospitalizations, but a decrease in the number of deaths.

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“It is important that we do not lose sight of the virus, that we follow its development and maintain testing capacity to enhance procedures,” the director said, stressing the importance of having good information that allows each country to design preventive measures and strengthen measures and hospital care.

The Inter-American Foundation praised the work of nurses, both in difficult times of the epidemic and during this vaccination period, and highlighted that thousands of these professionals suffer from psychological disorders linked to fatigue, stress and depression.

Acute hepatitis and influenza

PAHO also reported that investigations are continuing into the 15 April alert issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding an outbreak of severe acute hepatitis, idiopathic, in previously healthy children under 10 years of age in the UK.

The coordinator of the Pan American Health Organization’s events for Covid-19, Enrique Pérez, explained that hypotheses about the relationship between this outbreak, which affects the liver of children, and the side effects of vaccines against Covid-19 are “ruled”, because many infected children did not even receive a dose of this Vaccines.

Since the warning, 228 probable outbreaks of severe acute hepatitis have been reported in 20 countries, mostly in Europe.

“The PAHO’s recommendation for countries is to stay informed and monitor their issues,” Perez said, noting that the organization provides technical support in generating and disseminating information in a timely manner during these investigations.

They also noted the importance of vaccination against the influenza virus, which “causes hundreds of thousands of deaths” each year.

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The PAHO also indicated that the Cuban vaccines Soberana 02 and Abdala are in the process of accessing the emergency vaccine card.