The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Mental Health Status of Healthcare Providers in the Primary Health Care Sector in Dubai

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Manal Taryam, Dhoha Alawadhi, Amina Al Marzouqi, Ahmad Aburayya, Ala' Albaqa'een, Alanood Alfarsi, Ibtehal Makki, Najma Rahmani, Maryam Aljasmi, Sara Mubarak, Said A. Salloum, Nader Alaali


The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has greatly exhausted and stunned healthcare systems and healthcare workers in many ways. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for action to address the extreme burden the COVID-19 pandemic places on healthcare professionals. According to WHO, appropriate measures would save lives and prevent significant adverse mental and physical health of healthcare workers.  This research intends to assess the levels of depression and anxiety among the healthcare providers working in the Primary Health Care Sector (PHCS) in Dubai. The study further assessed whether the depression and anxiety levels have worsened or improved during the COVID-19 pandemic's peak. Data were gathered from 12 primary healthcare centers and 4 airport clinics (Dubai International Airports) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), particularly in Dubai. A questionnaire as the primary quantitative approach was used to gather required data via an online method using the healthcare providers’ official emails. A total of 401 questionnaires were distributed, and 349 frontline healthcare providers participated, leading an 87% response rate. In this study, a cross-tabulation of the healthcare workers' data with anxiety and depression was carried to determine the correlation between the variables. A chi-square test was used to test the correlation between the variables. The study also employed a dependent sample t-test to assess any significant difference between anxiety and depression levels during the initial outbreak and the pandemic’s peak. The study findings indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly and negatively affected healthcare workers' mental status working in PHCS in Dubai at p-value (.000). It further indicated that during the COVID-19 pandemic’s peak, most of the healthcare providers (45.6%) were in the mild anxiety category, and 36.1% of them were in the moderate depression category. During the initial outbreak, the mean anxiety (5.22) was significantly lower than the mean anxiety (22.68) during the pandemic’s peak (P<.001). The results also indicated that the severity of depression developed from a normal range of depression during the initial outbreak with a mean of 1.63 to mild depression during the COVID-19 pandemic's peak with a mean of 10.63 (P<.001).This study indicated that COVID-19 has a considerable adverse effect on healthcare workers and overburdened them in many ways. The study provided the necessary information on the effect of emerging infectious diseases such as SARS-Cov2 on healthcare workers. It also highlights programs that can prevent mental and physical distress among healthcare workers.

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