Friday, March 24, 2023

INITIATIVE: MAKE COVID-19 A PROFESSIONAL DISEASE

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There is proof that Covid-19 is a systematic disease that affects all organs and all tissues and due to this it should become a professional disease. At the round table organized by the CATUS it was pointed out that health workers, who were most burdened by the pandemic, were actually at most risk of getting infected.
According to the President of the Trade Union of Employees in Health and Social Care Institutions of Serbia, Zoran Savić, it is justified to establish Covid-19 as a professional disease for those working in health and social care. Even though it is difficult to determine whether employees were infected at their work place or somewhere else, it is possible to do this having state support.
CATUS Council Vice-President Duško Vuković emphasized that CATUS carried out promotional activities in various Serbian cities in order to raise public’s awareness of the importance of healthy and safe work and initiate the topic of Covid-19 as a professional disease. ‘Employees who were infected by Covid-19 at workplace and applied all the procedures to prove it should receive 100% compensation throughout their sick leave’, said Vuković.
Professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Vice Rector of the University of Belgrade, Petar Bulat confirmed that in the case of health employees we could definitely talk about a professional disease. ‘Furthermore, European data show that the risk is significantly higher for health employees than the general population. In England the risk is 3.3 times higher for health employees and in Belgium it is around 2.5 times higher’, he pointed out. He added that European countries treated Covid-19 differently, either as a professional disease or injury at work.
‘By definition, professional disease occurs due to a long-term exposure. So, Covid-19 doesn’t fit into this definition. On the other hand, Hepatitis B doesn’t occur because of long-term exposure, but is still on the list of professional disease. Consequently, there’s room to consider Covid-19 a professional disease’, explained Professor Bulat.

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