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Guidelines to improve healthcare worker response to COVID-19 pandemic


Many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have limited capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This challenge is exacerbated by under-financed healthcare systems, overburdened healthcare workers, and the limited ability of communities and NGOs to intervene.

Updating and contextualizing guidelines and training 

The World Health Organization has produced broad technical guidance for pandemics, but it must be updated with new developments and translated into practical guidelines for doctors, nurses, and community health workers in hospitals, primary care facilities, and community-run health centres in LMICs. This situation is even more urgent in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, where there is a clear need to continue updating information about COVID-19 transmission, infection control measures, clinical and community management, and to produce role-specific guidelines for community healthcare workers and those working in hospitals and primary care in LMICs.

The team will learn from frontline experiences in China, but the work will be focused in the Philippines and Sri Lanka, where COVID-19 cases have been reported. Working with policymakers, healthcare workers, and non-governmental organizations in both countries, the team will develop guidelines and training modules that provide role-specific instruction to manage hospital patient flow, infection control, patient supervision, and support in communities for suspected COVID-19 cases. 

Once the integrated plan and associated tools are tested and evaluated in the Philippines and Sri Lanka, the work will be used to produce a generic version of the plan to respond to COVID-19 and related disease outbreaks in other countries.

Expected outcomes

This project aims to develop an integrated plan for healthcare workers in LMICs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as role-specific guidelines to manage hospital patient flow, infection control, patient supervision, and community support to reduce transmission, public panic, and stigma. 

Lead institutions

The research is led by the University of Toronto and involves researchers and collaborating organizations from Canada, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

  • Duration: 24 months

  • Budget: CA$498,000