Awareness and preparedness of healthcare workers against the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional survey across 57 countries

PLoS One. 2021 Dec 22;16(12):e0258348. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0258348. eCollection 2021.

Abstract

Background: Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there have been concerns related to the preparedness of healthcare workers (HCWs). This study aimed to describe the level of awareness and preparedness of hospital HCWs at the time of the first wave.

Methods: This multinational, multicenter, cross-sectional survey was conducted among hospital HCWs from February to May 2020. We used a hierarchical logistic regression multivariate analysis to adjust the influence of variables based on awareness and preparedness. We then used association rule mining to identify relationships between HCW confidence in handling suspected COVID-19 patients and prior COVID-19 case-management training.

Results: We surveyed 24,653 HCWs from 371 hospitals across 57 countries and received 17,302 responses from 70.2% HCWs overall. The median COVID-19 preparedness score was 11.0 (interquartile range [IQR] = 6.0-14.0) and the median awareness score was 29.6 (IQR = 26.6-32.6). HCWs at COVID-19 designated facilities with previous outbreak experience, or HCWs who were trained for dealing with the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, had significantly higher levels of preparedness and awareness (p<0.001). Association rule mining suggests that nurses and doctors who had a 'great-extent-of-confidence' in handling suspected COVID-19 patients had participated in COVID-19 training courses. Male participants (mean difference = 0.34; 95% CI = 0.22, 0.46; p<0.001) and nurses (mean difference = 0.67; 95% CI = 0.53, 0.81; p<0.001) had higher preparedness scores compared to women participants and doctors.

Interpretation: There was an unsurprising high level of awareness and preparedness among HCWs who participated in COVID-19 training courses. However, disparity existed along the lines of gender and type of HCW. It is unknown whether the difference in COVID-19 preparedness that we detected early in the pandemic may have translated into disproportionate SARS-CoV-2 burden of disease by gender or HCW type.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personnel, Hospital* / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Grant support

• TMGH-Global COVID19 project was supported in part by the School of Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Nagasaki University. • E.O.B (Emmanuel Oluwadare Balogun) is a FLAIR Research Fellow of the Royal Society, UK., and supported by the UK Government as part of the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) through a partnership between the African Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, UK (no. FLR\R1\190353 to EOB). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. • The funders (Lower Westchester Medical Associates, Asia Shine Trading & Service CO. LTD and P.N. Lee Statistics and Computing Ltd, UK) provided support in the form of salaries for authors [A.T.A.Q., D.N.H.T., P.N.L.], but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the ‘Author Contributions’ section.