A study on risk perception, cognitive awareness and emotional responses to identify unmet training needs of frontline health care workers for COVID-19 containment in India
Keywords:capacity building, Covid-19, emotional response, FLHCWs, pandemic, social support.
Aim: Frontline Health Care Workers (FLHCWs) are the key workforce in the fight against ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They hail from the community and are responsible for supporting the health system in generating awareness, implementing preventive strategies, contact tracing and isolating potential cases. In their job responsibilities, FLHCWs thus may perceive heightened risk of exposure to the virus, leading to overwhelming emotional response and psychological distress. The objective of this study was to investigate risk perception, cognitive awareness and emotional responses among FLHCWs trained to deal with Covid 19, to identify unmet needs of this training in India.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in a total of 131 frontline workers selected by a multistage sampling process from two states (Odisha and Himachal Pradesh) of India. The FLHCWs were interviewed personally (when feasible) with the help of a predesigned pretested semi-structured questionnaire.
Results: The findings suggested that majority (90%) of the FLHCWs perceived that they are susceptible to nCoV-19 infection and 77.1% of FLHCWs felt high probability of them getting infected with the nCoV-19. Almost 90% of them responded that it is something they think about all the time and 41% of FLHCWs admitted that they feel helpless in the situation. About 63% of FLHCWs perceived that the nCoV-19 infection was a severe illness and 35% perceived it to be very severe and life threatening. Although most of them had received some unstructured and non-uniform training on preventive measures against COVID-19, yet only 38% felt that the knowledge was adequate to protect themselves from the nCoV-19 infection. The training sessions lacked psychological component for capacitating them with coping skills to address their emotional and psychological responses.
Conclusion: The FLHCWs experienced heightened risk perception and symptoms of emotional distress in significant numbers even after trainings. A more inclusive public health policy dialogue to address the emotional and psychological coping skills is needed for capacitation of these frontline workers to address the challenges of Pandemic response now and in future.
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