The Scourge of Pandemics, and the Imperative for Health Policy for Frontline Health Workers in Nigeria

Authors : Dr. Ibrahim Dinju Choji; Dr. Nkereuwem Sunday Etukudoh

Volume/Issue : Volume 6 - 2021, Issue 2 - February

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Despite all efforts to combat the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, there has yet been no deliberate effort to consider a mental health policy for frontline health workers. As a result, this study was set to look into the imperative for health policy for frontline health workers in Nigeria. A qualitative cross sectional survey of 400 frontline health workers drawn from four geographical zones of the country, using a google form was carried out, and the data were analyzed using simple statistics, and SPSS. The results showed that majority of the healthcare workers were females 280(70) most of who were within the age range of 41-50 years 180(45). Some of the respondents who lost a patient or more to COVID-19,140(35) during treatment, confessed to being depressed 80(42.9) or withdrawn 60(57.1). Most 280(70) of the respondents claimed they did not have all they needed to manage the patients. Majority of those who lost patients to the pandemic 80(57.1), claimed they discussed it with some other person(s), and most of those who discussed it were mostly females who claimed they discussed it with their spouses 40(50). Obviously, majority of those who discussed it, 80(80) claimed they felt better after the discussion, while 180(45) of the respondents claimed that isolation from their families left them in emotional distress. Hazard allowance 120(30) and lack of incentives 200(50) were more of concern to them. Most of the respondents 240(60) rated government performance in tackling the pandemic to be on the average. A Pearson Correlation analysis was conducted between government’s performance, and the areas that raised more concerns to the frontline health workers, showed a significant but negative relationship, −0.099 at 0.05 level of significance, which has a negative impact on the mental health of the frontline health workers. A regression analysis of the two variables, was also found to be negative and significant at t-1.989, with a value coefficient of −0.099 showing that only 1% of the areas that raised concern was attended to by government's performance at p<0.5 level of significance. The results demonstrate clearly the need for mental health policies to address issues of anxiety, depression and psychological distress among frontline health workers in Nigeria with a suggestion that such policies should encapsulate the federal, state, and local government areas, as all frontline health workers in Nigeria are at risk of a mental burden during this pandemic crisis.

Keywords : Mental Health, Frontline Health Workers, COVID-19, Health Policy


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31 - August - 2022

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