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Violence against healthcare workers (HCWs) and lack of public trust threatens the foundation of the physician-patient relationship in Trinidad. The primary aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of violence against Trinbagonian HCWs in the public sector. Secondary objectives included determining risk factors for violence and mistrust between the public and providers.
A cross-sectional analysis of 434 Trinbagonian HCWs in the public sector was conducted using a modified World Health Organization (WHO) data collection tool, distributed via social media and administrative emails, and snowballed for two months. Fifteen semi-structured interviews were conducted regarding trust in the healthcare system with patients selected from various communities.
Of the 434 respondents, 45.2% experienced violence and 75.8% witnessed violence against HCWs in the past 2 years. Verbal abuse (41.5%) was most common. Perpetrators were patients (42.2%) and patients’ relatives (35.5%). Chi-square analysis highlighted that HCWs with the highest probability of being abused were aged 25-39 (63.8%), had 2-5 years of work experience (24.9%), specialized in emergency & internal medicine (48.6%), and cared for psychiatric & physically disabled patients (p-value <0.001). HCWs believed the threat of violence negatively impacted their performance (64.5%), and further action was necessary for mitigation (86.4%). Patients interviewed doubted physicians' altruism, competence (80%) and honesty (53.3%), expressed mistrust in their physician (46.7%), and cited poor infrastructure/management (66.7%) and dissatisfaction with care (60.0%) as factors that contributed to violence.
Analysis revealed that violence against Trinbagonian HCWs in the public sector deteriorated patient experience and adversely affected psychological well-being, efficiency, and job satisfaction. Results suggested mistrust of HCWs by the population. Interventions should be instituted to support at-risk HCWs and educate the public to avoid recurrence.
The United Nations (UN) recognizes Small Island Developing States (SIDS) as a heterogenous group with common geographic and socio-economic challenges. Their vulnerability to disasters was exacerbated during COVID-19 because of emerging nationalism and protectionism towards supply chains and resources. This study aimed to determine if multilateralism engagement improved COVID-19 outcomes and if Foreign Affairs investment improved short term COVID-19 outcomes.
Metrics were developed to reflect country parameters, clinical impact of COVID-19, engagement in multilateralism, health systems strength and integration in the International Political Economy. Open-source information was used to quantify proxy measures with the calculated percent spent on foreign affairs being the major proxy of multilateralism and disaster impact as lag time to vaccination, case burden and deaths in the first six months of 2020. Data was collected for each of the 38 SIDS. SPSS was used to assess possible correlations with short- and long-term clinical outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SIDS were noted to have an average lag of 4.1 months to begin vaccination rollout compared with developed nations and prolonged below global average vaccination rates. Expenditure on Foreign Affairs reduced the vaccination lag (p=0.03), decreased short-term cases (p<0.001) and deaths (p<0.001), Human Development Index improved vaccination rates (p<0.001) and lowered total cases (p=0.03). Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow also decreased vaccination lag (0.02). Dependence on Foreign Aid decreased vaccination rates (p=0.01).
These relationships suggest that there were multiple factors that determined short- and long-term health outcomes in SIDS. Mitigating the impact of a disaster therefore requires a multiple level investment solution that recognizes the importance of other actors in the global system. The COVID-19 experience suggests that engagement in multilateralism is important in countries that have a high vulnerability to disasters such as SIDS. This is valuable for future disasters in vulnerable states.