PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON PUBLIC HEALTH INSPECTORS IN WESTERN PROVINCE, SRI LANKA
Disaster situations can cause adverse psychological impact on the healthcare workers. Therefore, it is important to study about these adverse effects, risk factors, causative and protective factors.
To assess psychological impact of COVID-19 on Public Health Inspectors in Western province, Sri Lanka
A cross-sectional study was conducted among public health Inspectors of Western Province during February-March 2021. A self-administered questionnaire was used to assess the data. SPSS software was used to analyse the data. Percentages of the participants with adverse psychological effects, possible risk factors, causative factors were analysed. Association correlations were made between psychological outcomes and risk/causative/protective factors. P value <0.05 was taken as statistically significant level.
Results showed that 147 (71.7%) participants had no increase in anxiety levels. 17.1% mild anxiety, 6.3% moderate anxiety and 4.9% severe anxiety levels were observed.
Prevalence of depressive symptoms among the participants showed similar pattern 147(71.7%) showed no significant depressive symptoms, 42(20.5%) mild symptoms ,14(6.8%) moderate symptoms, 2(1%) severe symptoms were seen among the participants.
Based on the analysis of Distress, it was evident that 102 (49.8%) of them were normal cases, 30 (14.6%)of them were in mild distress state, 44 (21.5%) were in moderate distress and 29 (14.1%) severe distress cases were identified.
Majority, 160 (45%) stated that the amount of work exhausted them physically.
Participants stated that COVID-19 related stigma from family and society, 11.7% and 37.1% respectively.
Unavailability of Personal Protective Equipment caused anxiety among 56.6% of participants. The percentages of participants who have received proper guidance during the field work were 165 (80.5%).
Conclusion and Recommendations
Even though the extensive workload in the work field caused physical exhaustion in majority of the Public Health Inspectors, it did not increase the anxiety levels among the participants. Reducing the social stigma of the frontline health workers, assuring the wellbeing of the families of the healthcare workers, proper guidance during field work, ensuring availability of Personal protective equipment are some of the factors which can help in better psychological outcome in future disaster situations.
Sri Lankan health care workers should be encouraged to seek professional psychological help as and when required and these professional help should be made available at times of need.
Key Words – PHI, Psychological Impact, COVID-19, Sri Lanka