Psycho-behavioral responses of Nigerian health workers to an initial human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus disease


Submitted: 12 May 2021
Accepted: 25 April 2022
Published: 24 May 2022
Abstract Views: 565
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Authors

  • Justus Onu Department of Mental Health, College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State; EPAC Research Team, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Ituku-Ozalla Campus, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria.
  • Tonia Onyeka EPAC Research Team, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Ituku-Ozalla Campus, Enugu, Enugu State; Department of Anaesthesia/Pain and Palliative Care Unit, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Ituku-Ozalla Campus, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8138-3100
  • Ngozichukwu Nneka Unaogu Department of Clinical Services, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria.
  • Alhassan Datti Mohammed Department of Anaesthesia, College of Health Sciences, Bayero University/Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Kano State, Nigeria.
  • Kehinde Okunade Oncology and Pathological Studies (OPS) Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Medicine, University of Lagos/ Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria.
  • Sunday Oriji Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.
  • David Agom Department of Anaesthesia/Pain and Palliative Care Unit, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Ituku-Ozalla Campus, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria; School of Nursing and Health Education, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, United Kingdom. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9389-512X
  • Dorothy Ekewuba EPAC Research Team, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Ituku-Ozalla Campus, Enugu, Enugu State; Nursing Services Division, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria.
  • Cajetan Okwudili Alumona EPAC Research Team; Oncology Pharmacy, Multidisciplinary Oncology Centre, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria.
  • Chidiebere Peter Echieh Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.
  • Adaeze Ozoagu College of Medicine, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria.

Previous pandemics have had significant impact on psychological well-being of front-line health care workers. Issues such as fear of contracting the disease, high workload as a result of high numbers of infected cases, increased job stress and unavailability of personal protective equipment have been implicated in development of psychological distress in this subset of individuals. The aim of the present paper is to describe psychobehavioral responses of health care workers and potential predictors of emotional response at onset of COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria. Cross-sectional web-based survey and 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire (GAD-7) were administered anonymously to 444 respondents comprising various categories of frontline healthcare workers. Stepwise multiple linear regression was used to determine predictors of anxiety scores. Participants were mostly young adults (mean age 38 years), females (57%), living with a partner (78.2%) and medical doctors (56.8%). Restrictions in clinical activities and use of hand sanitizers were commonest precautionary behaviors. Commonest emotional responses were anger and despair (27.0% and 25.7%), respectively. About 42.8% had clinically significant anxiety symptoms with highest burden among nurses. Perception of likelihood of 2nd wave (p=0.03), self-preparedness (p=0.04), gender (p=0.01) and cadre (p=0.02) were significant predictors of emotional response of anxiety. Study findings highlighted diverse psychological reactions of health care workers with a large proportion screening positive for significant anxiety symptoms. This has implications for planning a comprehensive psychosocial response to COVID-19 pandemic and for future pandemics among frontline health care workers in lowresource settings.


Onu, J., Onyeka, T., Unaogu, N. N., Mohammed, A. D., Okunade, K., Oriji, S., Agom, D. ., Ekewuba, D. ., Alumona, C. O., Echieh, C. P., & Ozoagu, A. (2022). Psycho-behavioral responses of Nigerian health workers to an initial human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus disease. Journal of Public Health in Africa, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.4081/jphia.2022.1856

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