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1.
Comprehensive Psychiatry ; 116, 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1877307

ABSTRACT

BackgroundHealthcare workers (HCWs) have experienced anxiety and psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. We established and report findings from an occupational health programme for HCWs in Zimbabwe that offered screening for SARS-CoV-2 with integrated screening for comorbidities including common mental disorder (CMD) and referral for counselling.MethodsQuantitative outcomes were fearfulness about COVID-19, the Shona Symptom Questionnaire (SSQ-14) score (cutpoint 8/14) and the number and proportion of HCWs offered referral for counselling, accepting referral and counselled. We used chi square tests to identify factors associated with fearfulness, and logistic regression was used to model the association of fearfulness with wave, adjusting for variables identified using a DAG. Qualitative data included 18 in-depth interviews, two workshops conducted with HCWs and written feedback from counsellors, analysed concurrently with data collection using thematic analysis.ResultsBetween 27 July 2020–31 July 2021, spanning three SARS-CoV-2 waves, the occupational health programme was accessed by 3577 HCWs from 22 facilities. The median age was 37 (IQR 30–43) years, 81.9% were women, 41.7% said they felt fearful about COVID-19 and 12.1% had an SSQ-14 score ≥ 8. A total of 501 HCWs were offered referral for counselling, 78.4% accepted and 68.9% had ≥1 counselling session. Adjusting for setting and role, wave 2 was associated with increased fearfulness over wave 1 (OR = 1.26, 95% CI 1.00–1.60). Qualitative data showed high levels of anxiety, psychosomatic symptoms and burnout related to the pandemic. Mental wellbeing was affected by financial insecurity, unmet physical health needs and inability to provide quality care within a fragile health system.ConclusionsHCWs in Zimbabwe experience a high burden of mental health symptoms, intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sustainable mental health interventions must be multisectoral addressing mental, physical and financial wellbeing.

2.
Compr Psychiatry ; 116: 152321, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1814287

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Healthcare workers (HCWs) have experienced anxiety and psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. We established and report findings from an occupational health programme for HCWs in Zimbabwe that offered screening for SARS-CoV-2 with integrated screening for comorbidities including common mental disorder (CMD) and referral for counselling. METHODS: Quantitative outcomes were fearfulness about COVID-19, the Shona Symptom Questionnaire (SSQ-14) score (cutpoint 8/14) and the number and proportion of HCWs offered referral for counselling, accepting referral and counselled. We used chi square tests to identify factors associated with fearfulness, and logistic regression was used to model the association of fearfulness with wave, adjusting for variables identified using a DAG. Qualitative data included 18 in-depth interviews, two workshops conducted with HCWs and written feedback from counsellors, analysed concurrently with data collection using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Between 27 July 2020-31 July 2021, spanning three SARS-CoV-2 waves, the occupational health programme was accessed by 3577 HCWs from 22 facilities. The median age was 37 (IQR 30-43) years, 81.9% were women, 41.7% said they felt fearful about COVID-19 and 12.1% had an SSQ-14 score ≥ 8. A total of 501 HCWs were offered referral for counselling, 78.4% accepted and 68.9% had ≥1 counselling session. Adjusting for setting and role, wave 2 was associated with increased fearfulness over wave 1 (OR = 1.26, 95% CI 1.00-1.60). Qualitative data showed high levels of anxiety, psychosomatic symptoms and burnout related to the pandemic. Mental wellbeing was affected by financial insecurity, unmet physical health needs and inability to provide quality care within a fragile health system. CONCLUSIONS: HCWs in Zimbabwe experience a high burden of mental health symptoms, intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sustainable mental health interventions must be multisectoral addressing mental, physical and financial wellbeing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Occupational Health Services , Psychological Distress , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Health Personnel/psychology , Humans , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Zimbabwe/epidemiology
3.
Social Sciences ; 11(4):143, 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1810122

ABSTRACT

Women in sub-Saharan Africa report multiple impacts of menopause on daily life and have requested further information to support themselves. This study co-produced contextually relevant resources—booklets and poster—about menopause with women in Zimbabwe and South Africa. The study was conducted in four stages: interviews with women about the menopause;the development of prototype information resources;workshops with women to discuss country-specific resources;and the refinement of resources. During the interviews, women explained that they had not received or accessed much information about the menopause and thought the physical and psychological issues associated with the menopause had to be “endured”. Prototype information resources comprised booklets and a poster with contextually relevant images and information. Workshop participants suggested several changes, including the addition of more diverse images and further information about treatments. The resources were refined, translated into several African languages, and endorsed by the Ministry of Health in Zimbabwe and the South African Menopause Society in South Africa. Women will be able to access resources through healthcare clinics, community groups and churches. Working with women and other stakeholders enabled a development that was cognisant of experiences and needs. Work is now needed to improve access to treatments and support for menopause to reduce health inequities.

4.
Sex Reprod Health Matters ; 30(1): 2029338, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704003

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 threatens hard-won gains in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) through compromising the ability of services to meet needs. Youth are particularly threatened due to existing barriers to their access to services. CHIEDZA is a community-based integrated SRH intervention for youth being trialled in Zimbabwe. CHIEDZA closed in March 2020, in response to national lockdown, and reopened in May 2020, categorised as an essential service. We aimed to understand the impact of CHIEDZA's closure and its reopening, with adaptations to reduce COVID-19 transmission, on provider and youth experiences. Qualitative methods included interviews with service providers (n = 22) and youth (n = 26), and observations of CHIEDZA sites (n = 10) and intervention team meetings (n = 7). Analysis was iterative and inductive. The sudden closure of CHIEDZA impeded youth access to SRH services. The reopening of CHIEDZA was welcomed, but the necessary adaptations impacted the intervention and engagement with it. Adaptations restricted time with healthcare providers, heightening the tension between numbers of youths accessing the service and quality of service provision. The removal of social activities, which had particularly appealed to young men, impacted youth engagement and access to services, particularly for males. This paper demonstrates how a community-based youth-centred SRH intervention has been affected by and adapted to COVID-19. We demonstrate how critical ongoing service provision is, but how adaptations negatively impact service provision and youth engagement. The impact of adaptations additionally emphasises how time with non-judgemental providers, social activities, and integrated services are core components of youth-friendly services, not added extras.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Reproductive Health , Adolescent , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Zimbabwe
5.
BMC Health Serv Res ; 22(1): 106, 2022 Jan 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1703683

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite the availability of a range of contraceptive methods, young people around the world still face barriers in accessing and using them. The use of digital technology for the delivery of health interventions has expanded rapidly. Intervention delivery by mobile phone can be a useful way to address young people's needs with regard to sexual and reproductive health, because the information can be digested at a time of the recipients' choosing. This study reports the adaptation of an evidence-based contraceptive behavioural intervention for young people in Zimbabwe. METHODS: Focus group discussions and in depth interviews were used to evaluate the 'fit' of the existing intervention among young people in Harare, Zimbabwe. This involved determining how aligned the content of the existing intervention was to the knowledge and beliefs of young Zimbabweans plus identifying the most appropriate intervention deliver mode. The verbatim transcripts were analysed using a thematic analysis. The existing intervention was then adapted, tested and refined in subsequent focus group discussions and interviews with young people in Harare and Bulawayo. RESULTS: Eleven key themes resulted from the discussions evaluating the fit of the intervention. While there were many similarities to the original study population, key differences were that young people in Zimbabwe had lower levels of personal and smart mobile phone ownership and lower literacy levels. Young people were enthusiastic about receiving information about side effects/side benefits of the methods. The iterative testing and refinement resulted in adapted intervention consisting of 97 messages for female recipients (94 for male), delivered over three months and offered in English, Shona and Ndebele. CONCLUSIONS: Young people in Zimbabwe provided essential information for adapting the existing intervention. There was great support for the adapted intervention among the young people who took part in this study. The adapted intervention is now being implemented within an integrated community-based sexual and reproductive health service in Zimbabwe.


Subject(s)
Cell Phone , Contraceptive Agents , Adolescent , Contraception , Female , Humans , Male , Reproductive Health , Zimbabwe
6.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0260261, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528726

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Healthcare workers are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. In low- and middle- income countries, they may be particularly impacted by underfunded health systems, lack of personal protective equipment, challenging working conditions and barriers in accessing personal healthcare. METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, occupational health screening was implemented at the largest public sector medical centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, during the "first wave" of the country's COVID-19 epidemic. Clients were voluntarily screened for symptoms of COVID-19, and if present, offered a SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid detection assay. In addition, measurement of height, weight, blood pressure and HbA1c, HIV and TB testing, and mental health screening using the Shona Symptom Questionnaire (SSQ-14) were offered. An interviewer-administered questionnaire ascertained client knowledge and experiences related to COVID-19. RESULTS: Between 27th July and 30th October 2020, 951 healthcare workers accessed the service; 210 (22%) were tested for SARS-CoV-2, of whom 12 (5.7%) tested positive. Clients reported high levels of concern about COVID-19 which declined with time, and faced barriers including lack of resources for infection prevention and control. There was a high prevalence of largely undiagnosed non-communicable disease: 61% were overweight or obese, 34% had a blood pressure of 140/90mmHg or above, 10% had an HbA1c diagnostic of diabetes, and 7% had an SSQ-14 score consistent with a common mental disorder. Overall 8% were HIV-positive, with 97% previously diagnosed and on treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Cases of SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare workers mirrored the national epidemic curve. Implementation of comprehensive occupational health services during a pandemic was feasible, and uptake was high. Other comorbidities were highly prevalent, which may be risk factors for severe COVID-19 but are also important independent causes of morbidity and mortality. Healthcare workers are critical to combatting COVID-19; it is essential to support their physical and psychological wellbeing during the pandemic and beyond.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Delivery of Health Care/standards , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Occupational Health Services/standards , Occupational Health/standards , Personal Protective Equipment/standards , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Zimbabwe/epidemiology
7.
EClinicalMedicine ; 41: 101172, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1474488

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: By the end of July 2021 Zimbabwe, has reported over 100,000 SARS-CoV-2 infections. The true number of SARS-CoV-2 infections is likely to be much higher. We conducted a seroprevalence survey to estimate the prevalence of past SARS-CoV-2 in three high-density communities in Harare, Zimbabwe before and after the second wave of SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: Between November 2020 and April 2021 we conducted a cross-sectional study of randomly selected households in three high-density communities (Budiriro, Highfield and Mbare) in Harare. Consenting participants answered a questionnaire and a dried blood spot sample was taken. Samples were tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antibodies using the Roche e801 platform. FINDINGS: A total of 2340 individuals participated in the study. SARS-CoV-2 antibody results were available for 70·1% (620/885) and 73·1% (1530/2093) of eligible participants in 2020 and 2021. The median age was 22 (IQR 10-37) years and 978 (45·5%) were men. SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was 19·0% (95% CI 15·1-23·5%) in 2020 and 53·0% (95% CI 49·6-56·4) in 2021. The prevalence ratio was 2·47 (95% CI 1·94-3·15) comparing 2020 with 2021 after adjusting for age, sex, and community. Almost half of all participants who tested positive reported no symptoms in the preceding six months. INTERPRETATION: Following the second wave, one in two people had been infected with SARS-CoV-2 suggesting high levels of community transmission. Our results suggest that 184,800 (172,900-196,700) SARS-CoV-2 infections occurred in these three communities alone, greatly exceeding the reported number of cases for the whole city. Further seroprevalence surveys are needed to understand transmission during the current third wave despite high prevalence of past infections. FUNDING: GCRF, Government of Canada, Wellcome Trust, Bavarian State Ministry of Sciences, Research, and the Arts.

8.
Bull World Health Organ ; 99(2): 85-91, 2021 Feb 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1261333

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To investigate community and health-care workers' perspectives on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and on early pandemic responses during the first 2 weeks of national lockdown in Zimbabwe. METHODS: Rapid qualitative research was carried out between March and April 2020 via phone interviews with one representative from each of four community-based organizations and 16 health-care workers involved in a trial of community-based services for young people. In addition, information on COVID-19 was collected from social media platforms, news outlets and government announcements. Data were analysed thematically. FINDINGS: Four themes emerged: (i) individuals were overloaded with information but lacked trusted sources, which resulted in widespread fear and unanswered questions; (ii) communities had limited ability to comply with prevention measures, such as social distancing, because access to long-term food supplies and water at home was limited and because income had to be earned daily; (iii) health-care workers perceived themselves to be vulnerable and undervalued because of a shortage of personal protective equipment and inadequate pay; and (iv) other health conditions were sidelined because resources were redirected, with potentially wide-reaching implications. CONCLUSION: It is important that prevention measures against COVID-19 are appropriate for the local context. In Zimbabwe, communities require support with basic needs and access to reliable information to enable them to follow prevention measures. In addition, health-care workers urgently need personal protective equipment and adequate salaries. Essential health-care services and medications for conditions other than COVID-19 must also continue to be provided to help reduce excess mortality and morbidity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/psychology , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Community Health Services/organization & administration , Health Personnel , Access to Information , Humans , Pandemics , Personal Protective Equipment/supply & distribution , Qualitative Research , Salaries and Fringe Benefits , Zimbabwe
11.
Prev Med ; 139: 106229, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-695150

ABSTRACT

First recognized in December 2019, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19) was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. To date, the most utilized definition of 'most at risk' for COVID19 morbidity and mortality has focused on biological susceptibility to the virus. This paper argues that this dominant biomedical definition has neglected the 'fundamental social causes' of disease, constraining the effectiveness of prevention and mitigation measures; and exacerbating COVID19 morbidity and mortality for population groups living in marginalizing circumstances. It is clear - even at this early stage of the pandemic - that inequitable social conditions lead to both more infections and worse outcomes. Expanding the definition of 'most at risk' to include social factors is critical to implementing equitable interventions and saving lives. Prioritizing populations with social conditions is necessary for more effective control of the epidemic in its next phase; and should become standard in the planning for, and prevention and mitigation of all health conditions. Reversing disparities and health inequities is only possible through an expansion of our 'most-at-risk' definition to also include social factors.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Health Status Disparities , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Social Determinants of Health , COVID-19 , Humans , Pandemics , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2
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