The Psychological Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Health Professionals in Sudan 2020
Background: The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is highly contagious with pandemic transmission, and is therefore associated with severe health problems and high public anxiety, with healthcare community speculation to be the most distressed because they are at the highest risk of infection. This study aimed to investigate the psychological impact on frontline medical staff in Khartoum state, Sudan, during the COVID-19 pandemic between January and March 2020.
Materials and Methods: Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) scale, Generalized Anxiety Disorders (GAD-7) scale, and the Revised Impact of Event Scale (IES-R) were used to assess depression, anxiety, and Post-traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) on the participants, respectively, through an online questionnaire. The data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 24.
Results: PHQ-9 depression scale showed that 285 (82%) staff members had some degree of depression, with mild depression being the most frequent, seen in 96 (24.2%), whereas, severe depression was found to be more common among the age group between 45 and 65 years and was associated with working in the emergency room (ER) (P = 0.03). The PTSD among our participants was assessed by the IES-R that showed that 116 (29.3%) had subclinical PTSD, 124 (31.3%) had mild PTSD symptoms, 98 (24.7%) had moderate PTSD symptoms, and 58 (14.6%) had severe PTSD symptoms. Also, a statistical association was seen between the IES-R mean score and the age group between 25 and 34 years (P < 0.0001), having a friend or family member infected with the disease (P < 0.0001), and having a history of contact with a positive case of COVID-19 (P < 0.0001). We used GAD-7 anxiety score that showed mild anxiety in 32 (23.2%) participants, moderate anxiety in 53 (13.4%), and severe anxiety 66 (16.7%).
Conclusion: This study aimed to explore the psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic on medical staff’s perception and its determinants. Most of our participants were found to be suffering from anxiety and depression with combining personal variables and working conditions as predictors.
Keywords: COVID-19, psychological impact, health workers, Sudan, GAD-7, PHQ-9, IES-R
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