COVID-19

The effect on outcomes of country-specific strategies and primary health care strength in COVID-19 pandemic response: an international study

COVID-19

The effect on outcomes of country-specific strategies and primary health care strength in COVID-19 pandemic response: an international study

Distribution and relative number of responses by country

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Study Overview

Aim:

This multinational survey aimed to understand characteristics and strategies employed by different countries to deal with COVID-19 from a PHC perspective to determine:

  • Factors most associated with national mortality rates during the pandemic period to date
  • Lessons to better address both current and future pandemics

Preliminary Results (1035 responses, 111 nations):

What factors correlated most with lower death rates?

  • Testing: Lower death rates were observed in countries where participants indicated that the following testing practices were employed:
    • Having readily available testing at the time of first COVID death
    • Testing all incoming travelers
    • Testing symptomatic persons
    • Testing those exposed to COVID positive individuals
  • Movement Restrictions: Lower death rates were observed where participants indicated that the following movement restrictions were employed:
    • Physical distancing
    • Event closures, and border closures at time of first death
    • Closure of all but essential services
    • Isolation based on contact tracing
    • Self-Isolation in households
    • Quarantine for suspected cases

Strong PHC System and Death Rates:

Existing strong PHC systems were not correlated with death rates. This may be attributed to:

  • Uncoordinated responses between public health and PC personnel
  • Lack of PPE and testing for community-based workers
  • Reduced reliance on PHC if potential carriers were stopped at the border (most relevant to small island nations)
  • PC not being engaged

Methods:

1035 surveys were collected from PHC clinicians (73.0%), researchers (16.9%), and policymakers (10.0%) across the world. The survey was distributed in both English and Spanish via PHC networks and snowballing. Participants were asked a series of questions that addressed the nature of their PHC system, how it responded to the pandemic, the use of health information technology in their country, if their country had a pandemic plan, and various strategies utilized to respond to the virus. Countries that had 10 or more surveys are referred to as the “top 21 countries

Data for Each Country:

For each country, the maximum death rate on a 7-day moving average served as the response variable in the survey.

Analyses:

Univariate and bivariate analyses were employed to arrive at the preliminary results.

Current Public Health and Primary Care Responses:

  • Implementing hygiene measures: hand washing and wearing PPE
  • Limiting person-to-person contact: physical distancing, banning mass gatherings, providing primary care remotely, self-isolating, and shutting down
  • Identifying Cases: testing, contact tracing, counsel & care for high risk groups, and surveillance

Current Approaches to Address the Pandemic:

Most countries utilized a combination of the following strategies:

  • Blocking entry to country: border control, testing and or quarantining new arrivals
  • Reducing the spread within the country: employing a variety of public health and primary care measures
  • Managing severe cases to reduce deaths: hospitalization, oxygenation, ventilation, and intensive care

Distribution and relative number of responses by country.

COVID-19 MAP: Distribution and relative number of responses by country.

Primary health care perceptions of COVID-19 responses on rate of death: an international study

Peer-reviewed Publications from the Study

Kinder K, Bazemore A, Taylor M, Mannie C, Strydom S, George J, Goodyear-Smith F. (2021) Integrating primary care and public health to enhance response to a pandemic. Primary Health Care Research & Development 22(e27): 1–7. doi: 10.1017/S1463423621000311

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Presentations from the Study at recent conferences

For further information, please contact Andrew Bazemore