The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by an infectious pathogen known as Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). COVID-19 cases surge across the globe and the situation is beyond heartbreaking. World Health Organization (WHO) 2020, announced that Until the 13 July, 2020 around 13 million people have been infected people with this virus in 213 countries. SARS-CoV-2 mutates rapidly and its evolution is unpredictable which makes it very hard for researchers to make proper management strategies in order to combat the COVID-19 disease caused by this virus. Especially in developing countries, with limited resources and poor health infrastructure healthcare workers are facing various problems.
Pakistan is a middle income developing country that is located in South Asian region between China and Iran. Ministry of National Institute of Health (2020) Islamabad, Pakistan confirmed that there are 240,175 cases in Pakistan and 5,266 reported deaths as of July 13, 2020. COVID-19 ravages the country resulted in huge pressure on healthcare system. According to Government of Pakistan, in 2019, Pakistan had 233,261 registered physicians and 112,123 nurses working in different hospitals and health units available for serving more than 200 million populations. The government’s expenditure on health in 2019 was 1.1% of the Gross Domestic Product.
Healthcare workers are on the frontlines of battling the COVID-19 disease under dangerous conditions during the pandemic.Healthcare workers playing a pivotal role by providing services and selfless labor where they are most needed particularly in remote area. In Pakistan, healthcare system is not well established and resources are not sufficient, there is a dire need to protect the healthcare workers because they are at high risk of acquiring an infection. Frontline physicians also put their lives at stake and treating COVID-19 patients in a stressful environment. It is the need of the hour to put spotlight on the frontline physicians to know their experiences and needs that will help to make good management strategies in order to cope up with this devastating surge of COVID-19 disease.
Wajiha Haqet al., 2020 designed a study that is published in The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries. The central idea of this study was to investigate the experience of physicians in Pakistan as frontline workers for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The study employed a qualitative design and used Haas’s adaptation of Colaizzi method for analysis. For this study only those physicians were contacted who were treating COVID-19 patients in Lahore, Pakistan and the respondents for the interview were selected based on purposive sampling.
The results of this study demonstrated numerous physical and psychological challenges faced by physicians and also highlighted the infrastructural flaws. The crux of the matter is there is a need to direct short-term policies for facilitating physicians in order to mitigate the physical and psychological stress like physical stress of the physicians can be reduced by recruiting more physicians.
The healthcare workers and physicians are the assets of our country who are working selflessly, in order to provide protection to them healthcare system should be upgraded and provided absolute resources like personal protection equipment (PPE), N95 masks, ventilators, oxygen cylinders and proper medications should be to treat COVID-19 patients. It is necessary to pay attention to the development of health infrastructure and system. Lastly, every individual should follow safety precautions and standard operating procedures (SOP) which will lead to manage the COVID-19 crisis successfully.
Physicians, frontlines healthcare workers, COVID-19, physical stress, limted resources, developing countries, qualitative.