Psychological Status of Frontline Healthcare Workers During the Covid-19 Pandemic- Nigeria, 2020

  • Respiratory Diseases
  • Mental health
  • Occupational and environmental health
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Large-scale disease epidemics pose various challenges to individuals of all ages and cultures, but the emotional stress experienced by frontline health care workers (HCWs) can be severe and enduring. We demonstrate increased stress-related disorders, depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic and its psychological implications among HCWs.

We conducted a cross-sectional observational study between 29th July 2020 and 29th August 2020 among HCWs participating in the emergency response. By deploying an internet-based adapted self-administered, pre-tested, semi-structured questionnaire asking risk perception and Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS21). We analyzed the data using frequencies and percentages for categorical variables and means and standard deviation for continuous measures at the univariate level. At bivariate level of analysis, Chi-square or Fisher’s exact test was used where appropriate, while logistic regression was used to determine predictors.

We had 429 respondents, with a mean age of 34.8 years. The response stations of respondents included hospital [186 (43.4%)], isolation center [76 (17.7%)], laboratory [45 (10.5%)], and contact tracing [42 (9.8%)]. More than three-quarters (76.9%) were found to have no depression, 28.4% were found to have anxiety, and 14.2% were found to be stressed. Doctors were found to be 1.6 times less likely to have depression compared to other cadres among HCWs (AOR: 0.61, 95% CI: 0.38-0.98). However, respondents who felt their family and friends avoided contacting them because of their work were about two folds more likely to have depression (AOR: 1.78, 95% CI: 1.10-2.83), anxiety (AOR: 1.84, 95% CI: 1.16-2.91) and stress (AOR: 2.67, 95% CI: 1.15-4.75).

Depression, stress and anxiety were prevalent among HCWs. Challenging times require healthcare employers to better identify and support these professionals with needs by tailored formal and informal support. We informed respondents of their status and provided link to psychological support.

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