Preparedness, Identification and Care of COVID-19 Cases by Front Line Health Workers in Selected Health Facilities in Mbale District Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Study
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Introduction: The nature of work of Health care professionals exposes them to high risks of contracting COVID-19 and spreading it among themselves, to their patients and subsequently to the general community. Thus, it is essential that frontline health workers are equipped with both material and knowledge to enable them accurately suspect, detect, isolate, and manage COVID-19 cases. Findings have indicated a high prevalence of COVID-19 infections among front-line health workers. The Current Study assessed preparedness, identification, and care of COVID-19 Cases by frontline health workers in selected health facilities in Mbale District.
Methodology: Across sectional survey was used to collect quantitative data using Google forms, An online platform for data collection. Data was collected from 189 frontline health workers in both government and private Health facilities in Mbale District between April and August 2020. Data was analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.
Findings: The study found that a good proportion of frontline health workers can identify cases by symptom and case definitions as probable case 113/189(59.8%), suspected case 60/189(36%) and confirmed case 22/189 (11.6%).
There were generally low levels of preparedness in terms of initial service care being offered with the highest being 53/189(28.2%) and 50/189(26.4%) for facilities that had places for isolation and those with intravenous fluids respectively and the least was being able to offer oxygen and Intensive Care Services at 43/189(22.0%) and 20/189(10.3%) respectively.
Conclusion and recommendations: There’s a need to ensure a continuous supply of PPEs and IPC materials to health facilities. CPD programs are essential in equipping Health workers with up-to-date information on COVID-19 Case Management. Facilities should be supported to setup isolation facilities at all levels, both permanent and temporary. Provision of Face masks to health workers should be prioritised and hand washing facilities should be installed at every serving point.