EHS-COVID (390) Impact of COVID-19 on mental health of health workers (3)

8 June, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

I hope this message finds you well

Mental health all over the world has been negatively affected in response to events related to this pandemic, and among the highly affected are the health care providers; me included (as a medical doctor).

Already health care providers suffer from conditions related to stress and long working hours like chronic fatigue syndrome and burnout syndrome. However, this pandemic has taken such conditions to a whole new level!

Although health care providers have been on the front line of pandemic response, they are not only risking their own lives but the lives of their close and beloved ones as well. However, and despite this huge role, they suffered from stigma.

Some health care providers were having a really hard time in hiring a service provider like a babysitter, maid or others for fear of infection, especially in the early days of the pandemic.

In some countries; the deceased from the health team were even facing some burial issues, also from fear of infection.

Although reported incidents of such stigma have diminished after a while, they didn't vanish.

I think lack of proper understanding of infection transmission may be one of the attributing causes of these events, given such incidents are more prevalent in developing countries where health literacy is not at its optimum.

More studies on the mental health of health care providers are needed, but what is surely more urgent; is a system for mental health support for health care providers given the exposure of triggers or factors affecting their mental health due to work nature.

Thank you and best regards,

Noha

HIFA profile: Noha S Hassan (MBBCh, FETP, MPH, PhD) is a motivated and experienced public health professional with expertise in the fields of public health, preventive medicine, social medicine, epidemiology and health policy. Noha has experience as a qualified physician/ paediatrician in the areas of child's health, women's and maternal health in addition to experience in the domains of human development, humanitarian aids of vulnerable groups and global health as a volunteer medical student. Based in Cairo, Egypt, she is the regional coordinator for HIFA Country Representatives in the EMRO region. Email Noha.salah.abdelsamie AT gmail.com