Original Research

Challenges faced by healthcare workers at a central hospital in Zimbabwe after contracting COVID-19: An interpretive phenomenological analysis study

Idah Moyo, Avhatakali A. Ndou-Mammbona, Azwihangwisi H. Mavhandu-Mudzusi
South African Family Practice | Vol 64, No 1 : Part 2| a5428 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v64i1.5428 | © 2022 Idah Moyo, Avhatakali A. Ndou-Mammbona, Azwihangwisi H. Mavhandu-Mudzusi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 October 2021 | Published: 29 March 2022

About the author(s)

Idah Moyo, HIV Services, Population Services International Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe; and, Department Health Sciences, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, Zimbabwe
Avhatakali A. Ndou-Mammbona, Department of Graduate Studies and Research, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Azwihangwisi H. Mavhandu-Mudzusi, Department of Graduate Studies and Research, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Healthcare workers play a critical role in the delivery of healthcare services. Because of the high risk of exposure to healthcare workers, the emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had a significant impact as they struggled to contain the pandemic. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the challenges they faced after contracting COVID-19.

Methods: An interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) design was employed to gain insight into the lived experiences of healthcare workers who contracted COVID-19 in the course of their duties. This study involved participants who were healthcare workers based at a central hospital in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Data were collected through in-depth interviews that were audio recorded. A sample size of ten was reached based on data saturation.

Results: The study showed that healthcare workers lacked psychosocial support, experienced economic challenges as they incurred diagnostic and treatment costs. The study also found that the healthcare workers experienced stigma and discrimination both at work and in the community. Findings also indicate that healthcare workers did not receive institutional support. The study demonstrated lack of preparedness at the institution evidenced by inadequate testing for COVID-19 and shortage of personal protective equipment.

Conclusion: This study’s findings will be critical for health authorities, programmers and policymakers to facilitate planning and preparedness for pandemics. The researchers recommend setting up a differentiated service delivery support system for healthcare workers to cater for their mental health and well-being and that of their families.

 


Keywords

COVID-19; healthcare workers; IPA; phenomenology; psychosocial challenges; support system

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