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Psychological Impact of COVID-19 on Community Pharmacists: A Cross-Sectional Study in Lusaka District, Zambia

Author(s): Steward Mudenda, Patrick Mainza, Ruth Lindizyani Mfune, Webrod Mufwambi, Jimmy Hangoma, Ronald Mutati Kampamba, Tyson Lungwani Muungo, Christabel Nang’andu Hikaambo, Martin Kampamba, Shafiq Mohamed, Victor Daka

Introduction: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused serious health problems globally. This has included increased psychological challenges among frontline healthcare workers (HCWs). Community pharmacists are critical in the fight against COVID-19 and in sensitising the public about vaccinations and other public health interventions. However, little is known about the psychological impact of COVID-19 and the acceptance of vaccinations among community pharmacists in Zambia. Therefore, this study assessed the psychological impact of COVID-19 among community pharmacists in Lusaka, Zambia.

Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among 188 community pharmacists from August to October 2021 using a structured questionnaire. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22.0 was used to analyse the data. The statistical significance was conducted at a 95% confidence level.

Results: Of the 188 participants, 108 (57.4%) were male, while 80 (42.6%) were female. Most of the participants were in the age group of 20−30 years (n=109, 58.0%). The study found that 36.7% of the participants experienced anxiety, while 50.5% experienced depression. Anxiety was associated with fear of dying from COVID-19 if one contracted it (p=0.001), fear of infecting loved ones if infected (p=0.003) and experiencing a traumatic event (p=0.036). Depression was associated with a fear of dying if one contracted COVID-19 (p=0.001). Overall, about 70.2% of the participants expressed willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Conclusion: Community pharmacists experienced anxiety and depression due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the community pharmacists were willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. There is a need for urgent interventions to address the mental health challenges of community pharmacists during pandemics.

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