Questionnaire Based Study to Explore the Barriers of Willingness and Ability to Work among Indian Doctors during Initial Phase of COVID-19 Pandemic IC01-IC05
Dr. Suyog Sindhu,
48 Gulistan Colony, Hazratganj, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Introduction: Numerous doctors have been infected while treating the patients of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-2019). Expecting doctors to treat without any regard to their safety is an extreme and unrealistic approach. Apart from professional obligations, doctors have personal obligations to their families too.
Aim: To understand the barriers of willingness and ability to serve during pandemics for Indian doctors.
Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, Peer-tested web-based questionnaire, along with informed consent form incorporated into Google form, was posted on a WhatsApp group. Study was conducted from April 2020 to June 2020. The group included 400 Indian medical practitioners, selected randomly. It comprised of total 49 questions, including open and close ended type, in English language. Out of these, 14 questions were pertaining to the present study. The exploratory data analysis was used to analyse and interpret the data.
Results: Responses were submitted by 256 doctors (64% response rate) out of which 121 were from males, 134 from females and 1 person preferred not to disclose the gender. Majority (64.8%) of the responses were obtained from doctors in age group of 20-40 years and 49% of the total responses were from faculty in government medical college. It was revealed that 9% doctors were willing to quit medical profession and 23%doctors preferred not to serve patients during pandemic of contagious disease. As many as 58.6% expressed that incidences of doctors facing public harassments abuse and social discrimination dissuaded them from serving COVID-19 patients. A 59.4% and 58.2% of doctors had responsibility of child-care and elderly-care respectively which was acting barrier to ability to serve during the pandemic. As many as 49.2% brought it to light that the infrastructure at their workplace was not up to the mark to deal with COVID-19 patients.
Conclusion: This study has brought into light that fear of contracting the disease due to lack of Personal protective equipment (PPE), risking one’s family for getting infected, responsibility of child-care and elderly-care along with social ostracism as untouchables are the major deterrents for willingness to work. Distance from workplace, one’s illness and lack of proper infrastructure at workplace are barriers to ability to work during COVID-19 for Indian doctors.