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PLoS One ; 16(11): e0260261, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528726


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.

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
EClinicalMedicine ; 41: 101172, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1474488


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.