The Economic Burden of SARS-CoV-2 Infection Amongst Health Care Workers in the First Year of the Pandemic in Kenya, Colombia, Eswatini, and South Africa.

Wang H, Zeng H, Kabubei KM, Rasanathan J, Kazungu J, Ginindza S, Mtshali S, Salinas LE, McClelland A, Buissonniere M, Lee CT, Chuma J, Veillard J, Matsebula T, Chopra M
World Bank Report. 2023;

Permenent descriptor

Health care workers (HCWs) face disproportionate risk of exposure and becoming ill in any infectious disease outbreak. SARS-CoV-2 has proven to be no exception: From Wuhan to Manaus, London to Tehran, and Delhi to Johannesburg, HCWs working in clinics and hospitals have been at heightened risk of developing COVID-19 disease, especially at the beginning of the pandemic when little was known about the then-novel pathogen. This study thus aims to estimate the economic costs of SARS-CoV-2 infections in HCWs during the first year of the pandemic from the societal perspective in four low or middle- income countries. The authors propose a framework to translate SARS-CoV-2 infection amongst HCWs into economic costs along three pathways, provide the estimated burden of HCW infections, and offer recommendations to mitigate against future economic losses due to HCW infections. The economic burden due to SARS-CoV-2 infection among HCWs makes a compelling investment case for pandemic preparedness, particularly the protection of HCWs, and resilient health systems going forward.