“Staff members, and especially those with comorbidities, were afraid when another staff member tested positive. Those who showed symptoms of Covid-19 and were tested positive spread fear of infection among their colleagues,” noted lead researcher Dr Peter Delobelle and colleagues whose paper has been published in the African Journal of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine.
The researchers said healthcare workers also faced threats when delivering medication, and in some instances were stoned by people who viewed them as carriers of Covid-19.
“Some patients were particularly apprehensive in the beginning of lockdown because of the fear of the virus being passed on to them,” researchers noted.
A community healthcare worker who took part in the study said: “For me it was a bit stressful because of going out to the clients. You have to go back to your house, you can get the virus, you can take it back home. But in the end I just did what I had to do and provide support for the family.”
Another said: “I did it out of love. I have a love for my work, for the community. I care. I’m going to try to help where I can.”