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Short and Long Term impact of COVID-19 on mental health and wellbeing of health workers in Pakistan

COVID-19 Research Area(s): Mental Health & Wellbeing

As COVID-19 continues to spread, there is growing concern about its impact in low-and middle-income countries like Pakistan. Like other western countries, Pakistan is experiencing sudden rises in the number of positive COVID-19 cases. Should the virus spread unabated, the impact could be extreme in Pakistan given its fragile economy, limited healthcare access and resources, widespread poverty, gender inequality, and poor health outcomes. As with previous disasters, epidemics and pandemics, preliminary studies from North America, Europe, and Asia show an increased occurrence of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and distress among health workers and the general public in the wake of COVID-19. Yet there has been little research to understand the impact of the pandemic on the mental health and wellbeing of health workers in Pakistan. The overall goal of this study is to assess and promote the mental wellbeing of health workers affiliated with the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), Pakistan. This study will include all HWs (from health care providers and support staff to administrators). The proposed study will consist of: (1) a baseline survey to assess the mental health and wellbeing of HWs, (2) development and dissemination of targeted resources to support wellbeing of HWs, (3) assessment of longitudinal changes in mental health burden of HWs, over a 6, 12, and 24 month period, and (4) evaluation of the use and uptake of resources provided. Results and lessons learned will be shared with local and global communities and leaders in an effort to mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the mental health of health workers.