COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in global health and economic crisis. We investigated the experiences of frontline health care workers recovering from COVID-19 in Lagos State Nigeria.
We conducted a qualitative study among frontline health workers recovering from COVID-19 in Lagos State, Nigeria. We interviewed 12 respondents before achieving data saturation. We used a checklist to guide the interview according to the phenomenon under study. Data obtained were analyzed using Colaizzi’s phenomenological method.
The study was summarized under five themes: knowledge of COVID-19, exposure, reactions, challenges and recommendations. The respondents were quite knowledgeable on COVID-19, their reactions when informed of their status were denial, anxiety, distress, disorientation, crying for fear of stigmatization, while some were psychologically prepared. Reactions from colleagues, family and friends were encouraging and provided solace for them with a few colleagues and families that had negative reactions. Challenges include anosmia, movement restriction, loneliness, worries about the state of their families, nondisclosure of status to family members, non-conducive isolation centre with limited space, insomnia, stigmatization by health workers at the isolation centre, extended duration of stay, delay in the release of test results and use of ambulance for evacuation to the isolation centres. Coping strategies were watching movies, phone calls, use of social media, listening to music, attending webinars, working on projects and reading spiritual books. Recommendations were early laboratory testing of samples and conveying of results, increase testing capacity, the need of health care workers to be more compassionate, better method of evacuation of people that tested positive to COVID-19, aside the use of ambulance that increases the likelihood of stigmatization and standard guideline for the case management of people recovering from COVID-19 in Lagos state.
Respondents felt stigmatized and psychologically and morally traumatized. Isolation is a difficult experience and some negative emotions as expressed by previous studies were experienced by the respondents. There is need for increased testing capacity, timely results dissemination, early evacuation and creation of more isolation centres in Lagos State due to the rising number of cases and shortage of bed space.