HealthDay News — Pandemic preparedness among health care workers varied not just by national wealth but also by sociodemographic characteristics during the first wave of COVID-19, according to a study published online Dec. 22 in PLOS ONE.

Nguyen Tien Huy, M.D., Ph.D., from Nagasaki University in Japan, and colleagues assessed the level of awareness and preparedness of hospital health care workers at the time of the first wave of COVID-19. The analysis included 17,302 responses from health care workers from 371 hospitals across 57 countries.

The researchers found that the median COVID-19 preparedness score was 11.0, and the median awareness score was 29.6. There were significantly higher levels of preparedness and awareness among health care workers at COVID-19-designated facilities with previous outbreak experience. Nurses and doctors who had a “great-extent-of-confidence” in handling suspected COVID-19 patients had participated in COVID-19 training courses. Compared with female participants and doctors, male participants and nurses had higher preparedness scores.


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“We found an acceptable level of awareness and preparedness among health care workers specific to COVID-19 during the time of the survey, although there was disparity along gender lines, type of health care worker, and previous experience of similar outbreaks,” the authors write. “Training opportunities need to be gender-equitable to safeguard the workforce and stem severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 transmission in health care facilities.”

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