As cases of the novel Coronavirus are on the increase by the day, with healthcare practitioners faced with unending battle with the virus, scientists have found that this is already having a negative toll on the practitioners, as some of them are down with mental health issues.
A study conducted by scientists from China suggests that significant numbers of healthcare staff are experiencing anxiety, symptoms of depression, and feelings of distress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, a new research from Italy, echoes this and found that among 1,379 survey respondents in the healthcare sector, 49.38 percent reported PTSD symptoms.
“It will take some time until the full picture of the psychological toll on healthcare staff emerges, but professional organisations have already started to provide resources specifically for this group”, MNT reported.
Reacting to this development in Nigeria, Chairman, Clinical Pharmacists Association of Nigerian (CPAN) Dr Joseph Madu, said post traumatic stress disease, PTSD is a more serious manifestation of stress and fear and is getting more common in the country today especially among health workers (including clinical pharmacists, whose work involves bedside or direct patient care) because even the PPEs claimed to have been provided by the government have not been enough or can be said to be negligible in terms of quantity.
He explained further: “We are aware of PPEs being sent to COVID-19 isolation centres, but we are not aware of much being sent to community pharmacies or hospitals, which are usually the first port of call for some of the patients.
“Some of these patients go to the community pharmacy, clinic, or non COVID-19 government hospital first to lodge complaints of the symptoms they may be experiencing before they be asked to call the NCDC lines, or get referred”.
Madu stated that healthcare worker could be infected even before the suspected patient is confirmed positive of COVID-19, due to lack of PPEs while attending to the patient.
He highlighted some ways the association has been helping to curtail this challenge, such as assisting pharmacists in urging the government through the press to provide and let the PPEs go round among health workers, training of pharmacists, on the best and most effective methods of applications of PPEs for curtailing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Psychosocial virtual training about the challenges of delivering healthcare in this period is also being delivered, to pharmacists, he noted.
Also speaking on nurses welfare, the Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) Lagos Chapter, Mrs Blessing Israel noted that the association has been giving emotional and psychological virtual trainings to nurses, to help them overcome the burden.
According to her: “The association is giving emotional and psychological support to members, as we engage them on virtual trainings, and send relieve materials to nurses in all the tiers of government and to nurses who are positive to COVID-19 at isolation centres”.