Introduction: A novel coronavirus (now termed as SARS-CoV 2) was detected as causative agent of severe pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. Declared by the WHO as a global pandemic in March 2020, it has created profound changes in global economy and healthcare systems. COVID-19 is transmitted through close contact and droplets with healthcare professionals at significant risk of acquiring the infection, thus requiring to protect themselves. Various measures help in protecting the professionals from contracting the infection. These include hand hygiene, N95 masks, goggles, gloves, gowns, face shields, coveralls and frequent sanitization. Healthcare professionals need to be educated in these various modalities with proper protocols and policies enacted by the health institutions. This study evaluates the knowledge, attitude and practice of various personal safety measures used by the healthcare professionals.
Materials and Methods: After institution ethical committee approval, we conducted an online survey with a preformatted questionnaire consisting of multiple choice questions which assessed the knowledge, attitude and practices adopted by the various healthcare professionals. The survey was done between 1st - 30th of June 2020 and a total of 536 responses were analyzed.
Results: 58.4% of the participants were females, 66% of the healthcare workers worked at a private hospital/ private medical college with 82.1% being located in urban areas. Of the 536 respondents, 90.1% practiced bathing immediately after returning home and 86.8% sanitized their accessories. 86.9% of the professionals used frequent sanitization with use of mask and gloves whereas only 12.3% used full personal protective equipment. 58% of females had used Hydroxychloroquine as prophylaxis whereas only 41% of males used it ( statistically significant, p = 0.005 ). Healthcare workers in younger age group ( 23-40 years ) were more likely to maintain distance with family members and government doctors were significantly more likely to do so ( p< 0.001 ) as compared to private practitioners.
Conclusion: With the medical professionals being at high risk for contracting the infection, the need to provide the healthcare professionals with adequate personal protective equipment is of utmost importance. There is also a need to maintain the well-being of the healthcare professionals as they are the weakest link in the chain.