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PLoS One ; 17(6): e0268386, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1879306


BACKGROUND: During rapidly evolving outbreaks, health services and essential medical care are interrupted as facilities have become overwhelmed responding to COVID-19. In the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), more than half of countries are affected by emergencies, hospitals face complex challenges as they respond to humanitarian crises, maintain essential services, and fight the pandemic. While hospitals in the EMR have adapted to combat COVID-19, evidence-based and context-specific recommendations are needed to guide policymakers and hospital managers on best practices to strengthen hospitals' readiness, limit the impact of the pandemic, and create lasting hospital sector improvements towards recovery and resilience. AIM: Guided by the WHO/EMR's "Hospital readiness checklist for COVID-19", this study presents the experiences of EMR hospitals in combatting COVID-19 across the 22 EMR countries, including their challenges and interventions across the checklist domains, to inform improvements to pandemic preparedness, response, policy, and practice. METHODS: To collect in-depth and comprehensive information on hospital experiences, qualitative and descriptive quantitative data was collected between May-October 2020. To increase breadth of responses, this comprehensive qualitative study triangulated findings from a regional literature review with the findings of an open-ended online survey (n = 139), and virtual in-depth key informant interviews with 46 policymakers and hospital managers from 18 out of 22 EMR countries. Purposeful sampling supported by snowballing was used and continued until reaching data saturation, measures were taken to increase the trustworthiness of the results. Led by the checklist domains, qualitative data was thematically analyzed using MAXQDA. FINDINGS: Hospitals faced continuously changing challenges and needed to adapt to maintain operations and provide essential services. This thematic analysis revealed major themes for the challenges and interventions utilized by hospitals for each of hospital readiness domains: Preparedness, Leadership, Operational support, logistics, supply management, Communications and Information, Human Resources, Continuity of Essential Services and Surge Capacity, Rapid Identification and Diagnosis, Isolation and Case Management, and Infection, Prevention and Control. CONCLUSION: Hospitals are the backbone of COVID-19 response, and their resilience is essential for achieving universal health coverage. Multi-pronged (across each of the hospitals readiness domains) and multi-level policies are required to strengthen hospitals resilience and prepare health systems for future outbreaks and shocks.

COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Personnel , Hospitals , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Surge Capacity
Afr J Prim Health Care Fam Med ; 13(1): e1-e9, 2021 Dec 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580227


BACKGROUND: The coronavirus pandemic has put extreme pressure on health care services in South Africa. AIM: To describe the design, patients and outcomes of a field hospital during the first wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. SETTING: The Cape Town International Convention Centre was the first location in Cape Town to be commissioned as a field hospital that would serve as an intermediate care bed facility. METHODS: This was a retrospective descriptive study of patients admitted to this facility between 8th June 2020 and 14th August 2020 using deidentified data extracted from patient records. RESULTS: There were 1502 patients admitted, 56.4% female, with a mean age of 58.6 years (standard deviation [s.d.]: 14.2). The majority of patients (82.9%) had at least one comorbidity, whilst 15.4% had three or more. Nearly 80.0% (79.8%) of patients required oxygen and 63.5% received steroids, and only 5.7% of patients were required to be transferred for escalation of care. The mean length of stay was 6 days (s.d.: 4.8) with an overall mortality of 5.7%. CONCLUSION: This study highlights the role of a field hospital in providing surge capacity. Its use halved the predicted duration of stay at acute care hospitals, allowing them the capacity to manage more unstable and critical patients. Adaptability and responsivity as well as adequate referral platforms proved to be crucial. Daily communication with the whole health care service platform was a critical success factor. This study provides information to assist future health planning and strategy development in the current pandemic and future disease outbreaks.

COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Mobile Health Units , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , South Africa/epidemiology , United States