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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 21-27

Measures taken by Indian hospitals toward healthcare worker and workplace safety during COVID-19 pandemic

1 Department of Quality Management Cell, Christian Medical College Vellore, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of President, Consortium of Accredited Healthcare Organization, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Governing Medical Advisor, Global Society of HSE Professionals, New Delhi, India
4 Departmentof Non-Communicable Diseases, ICMR-Centre for Ageing and Mental Health, Kolkata, India
5 Department of Microbiology, KMCH Institute of Health Sciences and Research, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Lallu Joseph
Department of Quality Management Cell, Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/QAIJ.QAIJ_17_22

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Background: Healthcare workers at hospital settings were increasingly vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus and it was therefore essential to ensure that steps were taken to reduce the risk of both nosocomial transmissions to patients under their care as well as to each other. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of measures taken by various Indian hospitals, toward the safety of their healthcare workers during the pandemic. Materials and Methods: The data were collected as the part of a competition conducted among the interested healthcare organizations (HCOs) on measures taken by Indian hospitals toward healthcare worker and workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Information about the various health and safety measures undertaken was collected from 93 Indian hospitals, through a self-reported questionnaire, which were compiled and analyzed. Results: The HCOs demonstrated 100% compliance with providing adequate personal-protective equipment based on risk stratification and physical distancing precautions, with 94% of organizations redesigning their workflows, accordingly. They also showed 97% compliance to mandatory handwashing protocols and 99% compliance to thermal screening. However, only 52% provided psychological counseling for workers, 35% provided medical care for dependents, 31% undertook WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) certifications, and 40% obtained feedback from staff for areas of improvement. Out of the 110,679 staff involved in clinical care among the 93 HCO, 6189 staff (6%) tested positive for COVID-19, being higher (13%) among staff working in the COVID-19 wards compared to 4% among those working in the non-COVID-19 wards. Conclusion: Healthcare workers are at a higher risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 infection and can also transmit infections to the community. The HCOs surveyed incorporated innovative solutions to tackle the threat of COVID-19, which demonstrated success with relatively low incidence of infections among the staff evaluated. This study highlights strengths and exposes weaknesses, which should be considered for disaster mitigation plans as an effective step toward future pandemic preparedness.

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