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Imaging and Diagnostic Radiology (East Africa); Internal Medicine (East Africa); Brain and Mind Institute


Background: Healthcare workers, including residents, are prone to various mental health disorders especially given the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents, particularly, are already under undue stress due to their respective training program demands.

Methods: This cross-sectional, online survey-based study from August to November 2020 collected demographic and mental health measurements from all residents at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi. The questionnaire investigated demographic variables, information regarding direct care of COVID-19 patients, prior history of mental health and mental health outcomes using the Patient Health Questionnaire, Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale, Insomnia Severity Index, Impact of Event Scale–Revised Questionnaire and Stanford Professional Fulfillment Index Questionnaire.

Results: A total of 100 residents completed the survey (participation rate 77.5%). Participants were about equal in gender (women [53%]), with a median age of 31.28 years, and majority were single (66.7%). A total of 66 participants (66%) were directly engaged in COVID-19 care. Depression: 64.3%, anxiety: 51.5%, insomnia: 40.5%, distress: 35.4%, and burnout: 51.0% were reported in all participants. Statistical significance was found in median depression, professional fulfillment and interpersonal disengagement when comparing frontline resident directly involved in care of COVID-19 patient versus second line residents.

Conclusion: Residents directly involved with caring for COVID-19 patients had statistically higher incidences of depression and interpersonal disengagement and lower professional fulfillment compared to second line residents. Keeping in mind the limited resources in sub-Saharan Africa, urgent and geographically specific strategies are needed to help combat mental health disorders in this specific population.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.