Challenges faced by African healthcare workers during the third wave of the pandemic
Nawaz, Faisal A.
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Abstract: Africa experienced the third wave of the coronavirus disease in 2019, which caused an 18% rise in cases in most parts of the continent. As of January 2022, the region had an estimated 10.4 million cumulative cases and more than 233,000 deaths, which add up to the burden on the fragile healthcare system, which continues to face a shortage of staff and resources. In addition, the progression of the pandemic further threatens the supply of healthcare workers in Africa due to the increased risk of infection and death, where more than 10,000 healthcare workers in 40 countries have been infected with the virus. This is amid low vaccination coverage, with only 27% of healthcare workers in Africa being fully vaccinated against the disease. Despite the delayed start and slow progression of the pandemic in Africa, there are increasing concerns over the challenges on the African healthcare workers such as economic insecurity and stressful working conditions, which are associated with limited access to personal protective equipment and other vital resources such as ventilators. In addition, the pandemic further predisposes African healthcare workers to social stigma, burnout, insomnia, depression, and fear of safety in their families. The aim of this study is to highlight the challenges faced by African healthcare workers, provide recommendations for change, and emphasize the need to prioritize their physical and mental well‐being.