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One in four Bangladesh's health workers who treated Covid patients suffered from stress disorder

Even nurses and technologists, often working for abnormally long hours, were affected during the pandemic. The risk and fear of contracting Covid and lack of protecting gears compounded the impact.

May 26, 2022
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One in four health workers in Bangladesh who were engaged in treating Covid patients during the pandemic suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a study conducted by the government finds. PTSD can develop from traumatic events, and symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

The study titled "Psychological impacts, well-being, associated factors and coping strategies of health professionals during Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh", was conducted between January last year to June and included 1394 health professionals. The findings revealed the psychological impacts on health professionals during the pandemic period.

During this period, several healthcare professionals started self-isolating or quitting their jobs or had developed suicidal tendencies, said Professor Baizid Khoorshid Riaz, the principal investigator of the study and director of the National Institute of Preventive and Social Medicine (NIPSOM).

Females professionals were found to be more vulnerable to PTSD, as almost 63 percent of those interviewed had PTSD, according to the findings of the study. "PTSD was more prevalent in healthcare professionals with children (24.3 percent) than those without children (21.4 percent)," it found.

Even nurses and technologists, often working for abnormally long hours, were affected during the pandemic. The risk and fear of contracting Covid and lack of protecting gears compounded the impact.

"As it is an infectious disease, we had the same fear as the patients. Many things were unknown to us. The hospitals were not ready to treat this type of new disease,” the study quoted one of the professionals as saying. “Threats of duty-induced infection along with a negative attitude of the society, including patients, the media and mass people aggravated our mental stress."

Furthermore, the study also finds that most of the participants were stressed, and tired and many had difficulty sleeping. “Some were worried about their families and relatives, which aggravated their tension and anxiety," the report added. Many participants adopted strategies, including regular prayers, watching TV, reading, surfing the internet, and spending time on social media, to mitigate the effects of the disorder. Some even resorted to taking sedatives.

(SAM)

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