Governments at all levels should enhance protection measures for those working in the infectious disease prevention and control sector, according to a guideline issued by the State Council on Feb 4.
According to the guideline:
Authorities should recognize the significance of protection for those dealing with and tackling infectious diseases. Members of staff in infectious disease prevention and control programs are exposed to viral risk and adequate protection is important to build a solid foundation to prevent the spread of disease.
Health authorities should establish protection standards and emergency plans for any workers exposed to a virus, hold regular training sessions and set up an efficient system of storing and distribution of medicine. The government should provide protective equipment for workers in disease research and quarantine facilities.
Hospitals should enhance infection control procedures and occupational protection during the transfer and treatment of patients with infectious diseases, paying special attention to establishing prevention facilities and key protective measures for medical workers. For designated medical institutions that regularly deal with highly contagious diseases, they should have the necessary equipment to ensure the health of patients’ relatives and medical workers. Institutions must also enhance medical regulations for combating disease and implement supervision procedures on medical work.
Laboratories should enhance the building of biosafety areas and management, establish and promote lab biosafety networks, improve detection and prevention capabilities for highly pathogenic microbes and reduce the risk of infection in transferring, storage and detection of specimens.
Local governments and relevant departments should improve their management and maintenance of biology labs to ensure effective operation. Authorities must set up management systems for biosafety labs, enhance supervision and prevent biosafety accidents from happening.
Medical institutions should deal with medical waste and bodies and enhance management of medical waste collection, delivery, storage and disposal. The illegal transferring, buying and selling of medical waste is prohibited. Remains of infectious patients must be sanitized and areas where they were in must be disinfected.
Authorities must carry out preferential policies for those involved in combating infectious diseases. For staff members working in prevention programs, treatment, scientific research, teaching and other workers directly exposed to viruses, governments should offer allowances.
Workers on the front line, such as dealing with public health emergencies, treatment and quarantine and staff members designated by governments to prevent outbreaks overseas should also have access to temporary subsidies.
The government should enhance social awareness of infectious diseases. If an employee falls ill at work to an infectious disease then that should be categorized as an occupational disease. Medical workers on the front line of an outbreak should be regarded as in high-risk occupations and governments should provide adequate financial pensions for them. Authorities should improve medical security, gradually expand basic medical insurance coverage and ease the financial burden of patients with infectious diseases.
Authorities should improve publicity and education to highlight prevention and control measures and set up an efficient information release system, informing the public about infectious diseases. The media must also boost publicity on prevention measures and public health education, publicize outstanding achievements in combating infectious diseases and create a positive image of medical workers.
The governments should play an active role in prevention work. Governments at different levels must take a leading role in protection of those staff members working in prevention and control programs and clarify tasks for different departments. Expenditure for prevention and control measures should be listed in the fiscal budget and be allocated on time. Additionally, policies regarding psychological care for medical workers on the front line and awards for outstanding institutions and individuals should be implemented.