What would it feel like having to risk your life in the midst of a pandemic to provide care for pregnant women?

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a major toll on the lives of health workers worldwide.

Healthcare workers have to adjust to the daily stress of caring for clients, not only physically, but mentally as well.

A joint study by KNUST and University of Turku-Turku, Finland conducted among 10 midwives and a community health nurse in four hospitals in the Ashanti region focused on unravelling the challenges encountered by healthcare workers during the pandemic.

The participants, aged 28-55 years, had practiced in the ANC unit for 1-10 years.

The participants were interviewed individually and the data analysed.

The health workers pointed out 3 main challenges, “the demanding nature of antenatal care”, “balancing benefits with risks” and “changes in care” which all need to be discussed and addressed in order to improve the efficiency of the health system. 

The healthcare workers spoke about various scenarios where some of their colleagues were affected by the deadly virus leading to an increased burden of work on them.

This led to them being burnt out as well as being denied their annual break in order to keep up with the healthcare worker to patient ratio.

They also had to come up with strategies to modify the routine and means of administering antenatal care to the pregnant women in order to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

The authors recommended strengthening community-based ANC, which will go a long way to reduce the workload on care providers at higher levels of the health system.

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