A study by the APPNA Institute of Public Health (AIPH) at Jinnah Sindh Medical University, Karachi, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has revealed that over 41 percent of healthcare workers in Pakistan have undergone verbal and physical violence while combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study was conducted in May and June of 2020 when the first wave of COVID-19 in Pakistan was at its peak and interviewed 356 healthcare workers including doctors, nurses, physicians’ assistants, lab technicians, and emergency workers employed at various hospitals, testing centers, COVID-19 isolation wards, and camps in Lahore, Peshawar, and Karachi.
The findings released this Wednesday revealed that 41.9 percent of participants had experienced some form of violence and six percent of them reported being physically assaulted while dealing with COVID-19 patients. One-third of the interviewees said that they had been falsely blamed for causing either injury to or the deaths of patients.
The Head of the Healthcare in Danger Initiative at the International Committee of the Red Cross, Dr. Mirwais Khan, said, “There is an erosion of trust between patients and health care workers in Pakistan. We needed to see if COVID-19 was making it worse”.