Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic extended to reach most countries in the globe during a few months. The preparedness of healthcare institutions and healthcare workers is crucial for applying effective prevention and control measures.
This study aimed to assess HCWs and institutional preparedness in facing the new emerging coronavirus (COVID-19) infection at the early phase of the pandemic, and to explore HCWs' risk perception, concerns, and risk acceptance.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among hospital HCWs in the main hospitals, in Najran city, southwestern Saudi Arabia, at the early phase of the pandemic, during March-April, 2020.
Overall, 563 completed questionnaires were received (382; 67.9% from KKH and 181; 32.1% from NNH). The majority were females (78.6%), nurses constituted (74.7%). The age range of the participants was 20-63 years, with the mean age of physicians 36.5±9.15 years and 31.8±7.48 years for nurses.
Among participants, 65.8% attended training program/s for COVID-19 infection, of whom 69.9% were satisfied with this training. Almost all (97.4%) of the participants reported reading the official circulars assigned for guidelines, case definition and, infection control measures regarding COVID-19 infection, 97.1% received basic infection control training, 98.9% checked for the best-fitted size of N95 mask, and 89.4% were influenza vaccinated.
Of the participants, 82.6% reported that they have sufficient knowledge about t COVID-19 pandemic, 82.0% being confident that they can protect themselves and their patients when dealing with COVID-19 cases, 92.9% reported that they understand the risk of COVID-19 infection for patients and healthcare staff and 83.2% reported agreement of accepting the risk of getting the infection being a part of their job. The study participants attained a 20.26±2.60 knowledge score on a scale of 26 maximum points (77.9%), of them 74.5% attained 20 points or more (>75%) indicating good working knowledge about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Exploring the participants’ perception about the preparedness of their institutions towards the COVID-19 pandemic, 70.8% agreed that institutional precautionary measures to COVID-19 in the workplace are sufficient, 71.6% agreed that all personal protective equipment (PPE) are provided and always available in the workplace, and 90.6% mentioned that the staff in their institutions have had adequate training.
Exploring risk perception and the affective aspect of the pandemic on HCWs, 79.0%, 35.2%, 64.2% of the participants felt that they, their families, and the Najran community are at high risk of getting an infection with the COVID-19 virus respectively, and 54.7% and 55.1% were concerned about their personal and family health respectively.
Findings revealed good knowledge about the COVID-19 pandemic among HCWs in Najran hospitals, Saudi Arabia. Concerns and worries were expressed regard working with the highly infectious COVID-19 patients. Participants appreciated important aspects of institutional preparedness. Experience gained from the previous MERS-CoV outbreak may explain good knowledge, risk acceptance, self-efficacy, and good and rapid institutional preparedness at the early stage of the pandemic.