Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly mpacted frontline health workers. However, a neglected dimension of this discourse was the extent to which the pandemic impacted frontline healthcare workers providing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) care. This study aims to understand the experiences of healthcare workers with no prior exposure to pandemics who provided care to people living with NCDs (PLWNCDs). Methods A qualitative study design was employed, using a face-to-face in-depth interviews. Interviews were conducted in primary healthcare facilities in three administrative regions of Ghana, representing the Northern, Southern and Middle Belts. Only frontline health workers with roles in providing care for PLWNCDs were included. Purposive snowballing and convenience sampling methods were employed to select frontline health workers. An open-ended interview guide was used to facilitate data collection, and thematic content analysis was used to analyse the data. Results A total of 47 frontline health workers were nterviewed. Overall, these workers experienced diverse patient-driven and organisational challenges. Patient-level challenges included a decline in healthcare utilisation, non-adherence to treatment, a lack of continuity, fear and stigma. At the organisational levels, there was a lack of medical logistics, increased infection of workers and absenteeism, increased workload and burnout, limited motivational packages and inadequate guidelines and protocols. Workers coped and responded to the pandemic by postponing reviews and consultations, reducing inpatient and outpatient visits, changing their prescription practices, using teleconsultation and moving to long-shift systems. Conclusion This study has brought to the fore the experiences that adversely affected frontline health workers and, in many ways, affected the care provided to PLWNCDs. Policymakers and health managers should take these experiences into account in plans to mitigate the mpact of future pandemics.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date