As of 30 March 2020, the world has reported over 731000 cases of people infected with COVID 19, and about at least 34000 deaths from the same. The deadly virus has adversely affected the economy forcing major industries like manufacturing, tourism and travel, healthcare, supply chains to cease operations. Governments of nations affected by the virus have been issued restrictive measures including travel restrictions, social distancing self-quarantine, curfews and in extreme cases lockdown.
While the rest of the world is with their families, staying home and ashing hands with soaps and running water as many times as humanly possible, healthcare workers are busy attending to COVID-19 patients day in day out as the numbers surge, causing others to contract the virus and in some instances die in their line of duty. While the government of nations affected by the virus have been pumping resources towards supporting healthcare workers in this battle against the virus, its slowly taking atoll on their mental health and their physical being as well.
A new study published on Sunday in the ”Journal of the American Medical Association has revealed that healthcare workers attending to coronavirus patients are reporting high rates of depression and anxiety. The study which focused on the mental health outcomes of 1,257 workers attending to Covid-19 patients in 34 hospitals in China, revealed that a large proportion of them depicted depression symptoms, with female healthcare workers and nurses among most affected.
Higher chances of contracting because if the nature of their work and infecting their loved ones with the virus is said to have triggered the depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
“Protecting healthcare workers is an important component of public health measures for addressing Covid-19 pandemic. Special interventions to promote mental well-being in health workers exposed to Covid-19 need to be immediately implemented, with women, nurses, and frontline workers requiring particular attention and psychological support,” the study recommended.
These sentiments were reiterated by The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Secretary-General Seth Panyako saying that the pandemic can exert a serious mental health toll on anyone regardless of whether [or not] they work in hospitals. Necessitating the need to take care of health workers all the time.