Health workers question quality of safety equipment

Anxiety about safety affecting their performance: survey

Staff Correspondent | Published: 13:56, Apr 18,2020 | Updated: 01:43, Apr 19,2020


A file photo shows pathologists test samples of suspected COVID-19 patients at the Fever Clinic of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in Dhaka. — New Age photo

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers are in fear of coronavirus infection as they have doubt about the quality and efficacy of personal protective equipment supplied to them to handle COVID-19 patients in Bangladesh, finds a survey.

About 75 per cent of the doctors and nurses and 40 per cent of other health workers received at least one PPE, but they were sceptical about their quality, finds the survey carried out by Bangladesh Health Watch and BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University.

Till Friday, at least 75 died of COVID-19 and 1,838 contracted the disease in Bangladesh. A Sylhet doctor already died of COVID-19 and several doctors and nurses were already infected with the novel coronavirus.

The survey found that the frontline healthcare providers got PPEs like rain-coat and that they had to reuse those although the World Health Organisation suggests disposal of PPEs after a single use.

The doctors said they got some training about how to handle the COVID-19 patients, its management and prevention, and use of PPEs, but the nurses said they received no training in this regard.

‘The interviewed healthcare providers said that they preferred proper protection rather than monetary incentives,’ said researcher Bushra Islam.

The survey found that the healthcare providers were concerned about spreading of the virus among their family members. They were also suffering from mental health problems like stress, anxiety, insomnia.

Their concerns are affecting their performance, found the study.

They were becoming physically exhausted from continued duty without proper rest and foods, the survey finds.

Besides, the respondents were not happy about the role played by different professional associations.

The findings of the survey, ‘Front Line health workers’ perceptions and opinions on their personal safety while attending suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients in Bangladesh’, were disclosed in an online press conference on Saturday.

The respondents comprised 60 doctors, nurses and midwives, paramedics and other staff from 14 districts and 43 health facilities.

They were interviewed over telephone in six days from April 9 to 14.

The survey recommended adequate supply of PPEs of appropriate quality for all healthcare providers, arrange accommodation and food for them to prevent the spread of infection to their family, rotation of duty with seven-day work and 14-day quarantine after their duty, standard training to all categories of healthcare providers about handling patients of COVID-19 and its prevention as per WHO guideline.

Bangladesh on March 8 confirmed its first COVID-19 patient and the first death was reported on March 18.

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