April 4, 2024

New publication:  Social cohesion among healthcare workers during COVID-19: Qualitative research in Indonesia, Nepal, and Vietnam

It has been well-documented that healthcare workers (HCWs) were significantly affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. They faced increased risks, shortage of protective equipment, heavy workloads, and severe mental distress. However, most existing studies explored HCWs’ experiences at the individual level rather than examining the collective responses. Exploring these experiences can highlight the local culture and social influence during the pandemic and point out system limits during public health crises. 

We studied the pandemic impacts on HCWs in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Nepal from 2020 to 2021. 

Read more about SPEAR (Social Science and Public Engagement Action Research): Understanding the Socio-Cultural Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Three Countries in Asia 

Using a sociological framework by Baehr(1), we found five main themes that explain how HCWs came together and supported each other during tough times. The first three themes show how HCWs formed a ‘community of fate’ during the pandemic: 

  1. They recognised the extreme work-related danger 
  1. They isolated themselves from the outside world to mitigate transmission risks 
  1. They faced constant challenges with heavy workloads and mental health issues 

In response to these difficulties, two following themes showed how they bonded and became resilient: 

  1. They felt a shared duty to protect their communities 
  1. They worked together across different levels and departments 

We explore these challenges while advocating for more investment in public health and collaboration across government sectors, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where HCWs in primary care settings extensively shoulder most of the responsibility in combating outbreaks. 

The solidarity across different levels of healthcare and government sectors together with the support from the public show potential models for future changes and responses during health crises such as future pandemics. 

Read full article here https://bit.ly/HCW-social-cohesion  


(1) Baehr, P. (2005). Social extremity, communities of fate, and the sociology of SARS. 

*Archives Europ* ́*eennes de Sociologie, 46*(2), 179–211. https://doi.org/10.1017/ 


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