Healthcare workers (HCWs) suffered in silence from mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent report by the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) says.
ZADHR secretary Norman Matara said HCWs in government hospitals face challenges in accessing mental health services and they also have to cope with stressful conditions of service which further strains their mental well-being. Said Matara:
Barriers to accessing mental health services make it more difficult for health personnel, especially those who were at the frontline during the COVID-19 peak period, to cope.
There are no mental health structures for people working in government hospitals, there is need to prioritise their mental health.
(There is need to) invest in mental health. Recruitment of healthcare workers to ease the burden on those already in service is vital to ease the pressure.
There is need to increase remuneration so as to keep those still in service. It is also important to deal with the challenges at hand.
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association president Tawanda Zvakada said:
Losing colleagues was a very painful experience and it was very scary to diagnose yourself after experiencing symptoms aligned to COVID-19.
It was also very depressing trying to save others while not properly protected from the same.