Global Shortage of PPE

In this crisis that we find ourselves in, one of the major concepts that opens a door of hope is our support from healthcare workers. Every day we are surrounded by courageous, sacrificing, and passionate people who make it their foremost goal to assist humanity during this pandemic. Still, we cannot disregard the efforts of the underlying issue regarding healthcare systems globally. This undiscussed issue has become a major threat to the resolution of the COVID-19 crisis and will remain the same if not treated. More and more defenseless front line workers perish due to the lack of PPE (personal protective equipment) as evidenced by the dependency of well-developed countries towards global suppliers across the world, the number of deaths and infections amongst healthcare workers, and the preparation by less-developed countries in relation to lack of PPE.

Through the events of the pandemic, well-developed countries have revealed their reliance on global suppliers for PPE, clothing, and other simple items that are manufactured from these countries. In perspective, many well-esteemed countries have already abandoned manufacturing clothing-related products, due to the fact that they could not compete with the production costs and selling prices of less-developed countries. Consumers were inclined to purchase more affordable items from less-developed countries instead of paying higher expenses for the same product manufactured by technologically advanced countries. With this, prestigious countries chose to use their profits to focus on high-end technology considering that they were not in a position to challenge undeveloped countries in production rates. According to ABC News, “Part of the problem, experts say, is the supply chain. The U.S. has been making fewer masks, gowns, and gloves domestically, and instead relied on importing those items from other countries” (Schumaker 2). This excerpt exemplifies the cause for the shortage of PPE in developed countries and how their reliance on imports from large manufactures, such as China, has resulted in the deaths of thousands of healthcare workers. The absence of manufacturers in supported regions has provoked the major lack of PPE and will continue if manufacturers do not begin producing masks, gloves, face shields, etc. Additionally, according to The Wall Street Journal, “Before the pandemic, half the world’s masks were manufactured in China; now, with production there shifting into overdrive, that figure may be as high as 85%” (Subramanian 1). This evidence accentuates how dependent most countries are on large manufacturers and how catastrophic it will be without the presence of their high production rates. With manufacturers also being affected by the pandemic, production rates are on-demand and frontline workers globally are paying the price for PPE deficiency. In summary, reputable provinces are experiencing high mortality rates of not only the infected but also of frontline workers due to the lack of PPE.

In addition to the dependency of well-developed countries, mortality rates of frontline workers continue to increase as the scarcity of PPE grows. Not only do our frontline workers save lives, but they are in physical contact with infected patients and are at high risk of being contaminated. For this reason, personal protective equipment is pivotal to the safety of our frontline and healthcare workers. As maintained by The Guardian and Kaiser Health News, “Similar trends can be seen in other hard-hit countries, such as the UK, where it has been reported that over 100 frontline healthcare workers have died of COVID-19. With an estimated 800,000 frontline staff, all-cause infection deaths should be around 30 per year. COVID-19 deaths have surpassed this number in just a few months, raising alarms that adequate PPE stores must be provided to protect frontline workers from infection” (GlobalData Healthcare 3). These statistics manifest the gravity of lack of PPE and how its repercussions have caused the intensifying dispatch for frontline heroes. Without several adequate providers for personal protective equipment, the ongoing pandemic that we are undergoing will only worsen. As claimed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention an estimated 90,626 healthcare personnel are infected with COVID-19 and 500 healthcare personnel have perished during the evolution of this Pandemic (3). How can we allow these rates to presumably increase? With COVID-19 cases increasing at an astronomical rate, it should be our main priority to at least provide satisfactory equipment to our frontline and healthcare workers, so we can put an end to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Despite developed countries experiencing insufficiency of personal protective equipment, marginalized regions across the world have proven to be more pragmatic and qualified to overcome this worldwide epidemic. Whilst esteemed countries have abandoned the manufacturing spectrum, less-developed countries are now making immense profits off of exporting essential equipment such as masks, gloves, face shields, etc., to high-income countries. For instance, the United Nations states, “Manufacturing, in particular of garments, has been the main development driver for LDCs (less developed countries) approaching graduation, such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, or Myanmar. These countries benefit not only from low production costs and effective domestic policies supporting the sector but also from trade preferences in most developed and major developing markets” (Bruckner and Mol1erus 10). This quote exemplifies the adaptation less-developed countries have concerning protection for the civilians of underdeveloped countries and how exporting PPE to foreign countries is producing high profits. Even with some less-developed countries benefiting financially from the COVID-19 outbreak, millions of innocent individuals have passed away due to PPE inadequacy and will continue to pass away if PPE is not being manufactured in more concentrated areas of infection. For this reason, the lack of PPE is a paramount ultimatum to the finalization of the Coronavirus spreading.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 virus is still at full force thanks to the lack of PPE as evidenced by the reliance of financially advanced countries in relation to global providers around the world, the mortality and infection rates of frontline heroes, and the preliminary actions that were taken by less-advanced countries towards manufacturing PPE. As the Coronavirus spreads across the globe, our loved ones fall second by second. With more healthcare workers sacrificing their lives for the benefit of our people we must awaken ourselves to the worldwide pandemic that we are currently facing. It MUST be our foremost objective to provide frontline workers with the proper personal protective equipment required to eradicate this catastrophic virus. By putting an end to the lack of PPE, we are putting an end to COVID-19!

As an Empowerandhelp Ambassador, I strive towards spreading awareness of the global issues that pollute our beloved planet! With this being said, we are currently undergoing a worldwide Pandemic. This pandemic has not only affected the lives of humanity, but has caused global devastation. For this reason, I wrote this article to hopefully inspire others’ to take action on the current global issue of lack of PPE. In addition to my passion of spreading awareness of global issues, I have also written two other articles, Poverty and Why Companies Need to Focus on Global Crisis, which are based on two major Global issues that are ongoing to this day. As a very wise woman once said, “You have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world” – Harriet Tubman

[By Carolina Rodrigues, is Global Awareness Ambassador from New Jersey]

One thought on “Global Shortage of PPE

  1. Hello Carolina,
    It is never too soon to raise awareness about a crisis that is taking place and your article is proof of that! We are currently living in the age of COVID-19 and we all faced the struggle of the PPE shortage on a personal level as well as bearing witness to the medical field struggling with the shortage as well. You have made great points and have helped educate others of the effects and consequences of the shortage of PPE during a pandemic! Good job!

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