Developing integrated guidelines for health care workers in hospital and primary healthcare facilities in response to Covid-19 pandemic in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs)

Wei, Xiaolin | $498,188

Ontario University of Toronto 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

The proposal responds to the CIHR call regarding public health responses to the 2019 novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. We recognise the gap in LMICs where there is an under financed health system and low capacity of health care workers (HCWs) in hospitals, public and private primary care facilities and the community/ NGO to respond to the pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) has produced technical guidance, but the guidance documents are broad, they have to be updated with new developments, and translated into guidelines for HCWs, i.e., doctors, nurses and community health workers for hospitals, primary care and community in LMICs. Here we choose the Philippines and Sri Lanka because they both reported Covid-19 cases, and we can quickly mobilize resources. We aim to develop an integrated plan for HCWs to respond to the pandemic, as well as role-specific guidelines to manage Covid-19 suspects and cases regarding hospital patient flow, infection control, patient supervision and support in communities. We will learn from frontline experiences in China and update our understanding. We will work with policymakers, HCWs and NGOs in the Philippines and Sri Lanka to develop the guidelines and training modules. We will pilot test the tools for feasibility and acceptability among HCWs in the Philippines, adapt in Sri Lanka, and generate a generic version for LMICs to respond to Covid-19 and any future similar pandemic. Our integrated response strategy aims to update skills of HCWs, reduce patient overload at hospitals, avoid hospital transmission, reduce community transmission and public panic, provide patient support and reduce stigma. Our professional team consists of researchers from Canada, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. The team has strong related experience and can quickly produce a draft guideline and materials within 2 months and finalize all work in 24 months.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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