02 Dec 2022
30 Nov 2022
Many healthcare workers received inadequate infection prevention and control training while facing shortages of personal protective equipment. Community exposure, however, is often overlooked when exposure assessment of infection risk is applied. The overall level of exposure of healthcare workers in Kuwait remains understudied. This study aimed at identifying and quantifying the risks of COVID-19 exposure to healthcare workers using the WHO-developed risk assessment tool before an in-house online training. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in July 2020. Healthcare workers from governmental hospitals in Kuwait were recruited by convenience due to lockdowns. The recruited individuals were offered in-house comprehensive online training. Out of 115 healthcare workers, 68.7% were female, 47.8% were aged 31-40 and 44.4% were doctors. Community exposure was identified in 53% of participants. About 80.8% were considered highly exposed to COVID-19. During interactions with patients, 95.5% wore N95 masks and 59.5% wore face shields ‘always as recommended’ and only 11.8% wore gloves ‘most of the time’. Removal of PPEs according to IPC protocol was reported by 72.2% of healthcare workers. Healthcare workers in Kuwait face an extra risk of exposure to COVID-19 from the community, not only from healthcare facilities. The causes of the suboptimal level of adherence to PPEs warrants further investigation. The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the significant additive biohazard risk healthcare workers face from the community. Many countries including Kuwait are following through on the International Labor Organization and the World Health Organization recommendation to establish an occupational health and safety program for healthcare workers.