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Preliminary findings of COVID-19 infection in health workers in Somalia: A reason for concern

Authors
  • Abdi, Abdulkadir1
  • Ahmed, Abdulrazaq Yusuf2
  • Abdulmunim, Mohamed1
  • Karanja, Mary Joan1
  • Solomon, Abera1
  • Muhammad, Farid1
  • Kumlachew, Mengistu1
  • Obtel, Majdouline1, 3
  • Malik, Sk Md Mamunur Rahman1
  • 1 World Health Organization, Country Office, Mogadishu, Somalia
  • 2 Demartino Hospital, Ministry of Health and Human Services, Federal Government of Somalia, Mogadishu, Somalia
  • 3 & Laboratory of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, University Mohamed V, Rabat, Morocco
Type
Published Article
Journal
International Journal of Infectious Diseases
Publisher
The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of International Society for Infectious Diseases.
Publication Date
Feb 10, 2021
Volume
104
Pages
734–736
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijid.2021.01.066
PMID: 33578016
PMCID: PMC7872860
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Short Communication
License
Unknown

Abstract

Background Somalia, a country with a long history of instability, has a fragile healthcare system that is consistently understaffed. A large number of healthcare workers (HCWs) have become infected during the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic. Objective This report presents the preliminary findings of COVID-19 infection in Somali HCWs, the first of such information from Somalia. Methods This preliminary retrospective study analysed available data on infection rates among Somali HCWs. Results As of 30 September 2020, 3700 cases of COVID-19, including 98 deaths, had been reported in Somalia; 191 (5%) of these cases were HCWs. During the first 180 days of the outbreak, 311 HCWs were tested for COVID-19 and 191 tested positive (positivity rate: 61%). During the epidemic’s peak, HCWs represented at least 5% of cases. Of the 191 infected cases, 52 (27%) were doctors, 63 (33%) were nurses, seven (4%) were laboratory technicians, and 36% were other staff. Conclusion More information must be sought to put measures in place to protect the health and safety of HCWs in Somalia’s already understaffed and fragile healthcare system.

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