Current medical predictions suggesting up to 325,000 people may be affected by Long COVID, in addition to the 250,000 living with ME/CFS, will be the foundation of a major post viral attack on the Australian community in coming years threatening national and state budgets.
Women will account for seventy-five per cent of people affected
Anne Wilson, CEO of Emerge Australia today urged Federal and State Governments to consider creation of a 7th National Health Priority Area for Post Viral Disease. Ms Wilson said we need to learn from the loss of billions of dollars to the economy and untold impact of Long COVID and ME/CFS on the Australian community.
Ms Wilson said “since 1999, the Federal Department of Health has sought to focus public attention and health policy on those areas considered to contribute significantly to the burden of disease in Australia, and for which there is potential for health gain.”
“Accordingly, as a collaborative effort involving Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, six National Health Priority Areas (NHPA’s) have been created which is exactly the approach needed now to deal efficiently with Long COVID and ME/CFS among other post viral diseases.”
This is an opportunity for the new Federal Health Minister, the Hon Mark Butler, with bipartisan support across federal and state governments to focus on post viral disease by investing in and creating a National Post Viral Disease Strategy aimed at ultimately cutting the human and financial cost to the community of Long COVID and ME/CFS.
Ms Wilson said “a National Post-Viral Disease Strategy would address the interfaces between post-viral disease efficiently, systemically, and programmatically.”
“Such a strategy would alleviate the current siloed approach, providing a platform to address the needs of Australia’s 250,000 people with ME/CFS, plus the hundreds of thousands of other people with other post-viral illnesses access to a better trained and equipped medical profession which is currently under extreme pressure.”
Emerge Australia’s Medical Director, Dr Richard Schloeffel OAM believes we should anticipate that as COVID-19 becomes endemic in the future, so too will be an ongoing stream of patients whose infections develop into Long COVID, despite vaccination.
“Our health systems must move quickly to support this growing cohort of post-viral patients, and to manage the impending public health crisis and consequent economic impacts posed by both ME/CFS and Long COVID.”