Sickness absenteeism among primary health care workers in Qatar before and during the COVID-19 pandemic
AuthorAl-Nuaimi, Asma Ali
Abed Alah, Muna
Al-Kuwari, Mohamed Ghaith
MetadataShow full item record
Objectives: To explore the patterns, trends, nature, and extent of changes in sickness absence among health care workers (HCWs) at the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) in Qatar-during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to previous years and uncover the main associated factors. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of all sick leaves' records of PHCC HCWs regardless of their profession from January 2019 till August 2021. Results: A total of 41,132 sick leaves were taken during the studied period. The majority of HCWs who availed sick leaves were between 30-39 years (45.9%), females (65.1%), and expatriates (65.1%). Compared with pre-COVID-19 (Jan 2019-Feb 2020), Wave 1 of COVID-19 had significantly less incidence of sick leaves per day per 1000 HCWs. While wave 2 had significantly higher incidence of sick leaves compared to both pre-COVID-19 and wave 1. The number of sick leaves per person among female HCWs was significantly higher than that of male HCWs. Moreover, the number of sick leaves per person among locals were about two times the number among expatriate HCWs. Physicians and nurses had significantly lower number of sick leave per person compared to other professions. The rates of sick leaves due to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection, back/neck pain and gastroenteritis were significantly higher in the second wave compared to the first wave of COVID-19. Conclusion: Overall and cause specific sick leave rates among HCWs varied significantly across different periods of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 related sick leave rate was higher during the second wave compared to first one. By addressing the root causes of sick leaves, it is possible to reduce the burden on HCWs and ensure their continued ability to provide essential care to those in need. 2023, The Author(s).