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General Surgery: Open Access

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Assessing anxiety levels amongst surgeons during covid-19 pandemic

Author(s): Nneka A Sunday-Nweke1*, Monday N Igwe2,3, Akputa A Obasi1

Background: The novel Corona Virus disease (COVID-19) originated from Wuhan in china. This virus has rapidly spread across the borders to several countries in the world affecting many people both young and old, making the spread pandemic. This pandemic has led to a massive public reaction, with the social media creating so much awareness to keep people informed about the situation. The pandemic, with the social media is creating a lot of concern for people leading to some level of heightened anxiety and stressful response. The pandemic has also necessitated some measures by the countries with the disease to control the spread which included locking down of borders and restrictions of human movements and traffic of nonessential goods, closure of places of worship and learning for several weeks to months. The effects have ranged from social impacts to economic affectation of individuals, families and organizations. It has led to overwhelming impact on healthcare workers, making them change their work pattern, increased demand and unavailability of working materials to combat the increased workload and loss of lives. Amongst specialists, surgeons are known to be involved in work related activities that expose them significantly to infection with COVID-19. Objective: This study assessed the level of anxiety in a group of healthcare providers (surgeons) in a tertiary institution in Nigeria during the period of COVID-19 pandemic. Method: This is an observational study. A non-probability snowball sampling technique was used. Consented participants were assessed with an online sociodemographic/clinical and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) questionnaires. Participants with ages ranging from 21-60 years who gave consent were included. The anxiety level was graded using the GADs score. Results: A total of 76 responses were received. All the participants were surgeons of Nigerian origin practicing in Alex-Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, with 56 males and 20 females. Of all respondents, consultants were made up of 59.2%, senior registrars :21.1%, registrars:7.9% and post MBBS were 11.8%. Department respondents are surgery: 26.3%, dental/maxillofacial:26.3%, ophthalmology:21.1%, obstetrics and gynaecology:18.4%, and otorhinlaryngology:7.9%. Amongst all the surgeons, 94.7% are anxious of infecting their loved ones with COVID-19. Conclusion: Epidemics and pandemics of community infections periodically occur and the challenges abound ranging from health workers to non-health workers.