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Background: A novel coronavirus had a profound physiological and psychological burden with regards to contracting the disease or uncertainties in the care of infected patients. Especially, at risk are frontline healthcare workers who are participating in the care of such patients.
Aim: This study investigated the burden of mental health problems amongst the frontline health workers during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in Ethiopia.
Setting: East Hararghe Zone of Oromia Region and Harari Regional State, Ethiopia.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in three selected hospitals of COVID-19 treatment centers. Simple random sampling was used to select a sample of 423 participants from each hospital. The self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ-20) was used to assess the presence of common mental disorders. Binary and multivariable logistic regressions were fitted to identify factors associated with common mental disorders. Statistical significance was declared at a p-value less than 0.05.
Results: The prevalence of common mental disorders amongst frontline healthcare workers was 22.6%. Being female, married, having had direct contact with COVID-19 patients, working in COVID-19 treatment centers and ICU, having any symptoms of COVID-19, current threemonth use of any substances, and poor social support were found to be strong predictors of common mental disorders in frontline health workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Ethiopia.
Conclusion: The considerable proportions of frontline health care workers have common mental health problems. Strategies need to address COVID-19 related mental health problems, and integrate psychosocial intervention to support the frontline health workers is paramount.