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Original Article The Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Services in Bangladesh: A Qualitative Study on Healthcare Providers’Perspectives
Sharmin Parveen2orcid , Md. Shahriar Mahbub1corresp_iconorcid , Nasreen Nahar1orcid , KAM Morshed3, Nourin Rahman4, Ezzat Tanzila Evana4, Nazia Islam4, Abu Said Md. Juel Miah4orcid

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.24.081 [Accepted]
Published online: June 9, 2024
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1Department of Reproductive and Child Health, Bangladesh University of Health Sciences, Dhaka, Bangladesh
2Department of Health Informatics, Bangladesh University of Health Sciences, Dhaka, Bangladesh
3Advocacy, Innovation and Migration, BRAC, Dhaka, Bangladesh
4Advocacy for Social Change, BRAC, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Corresponding author:  Md. Shahriar Mahbub,
Email: shahriar04@yahoo.com
Received: 16 February 2024   • Revised: 10 May 2024   • Accepted: 22 May 2024

Objectives
The objective of this study was to explore healthcare providers' experiences in managing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and its impact on healthcare services.
Methods
A qualitative study was conducted with 34 healthcare professionals across 15 districts in Bangladesh. Among the participants, 24 were health managers or administrators stationed at the district or upazila (sub-district) level, and 10 were clinicians providing care to patients with COVID-19. The telephone interviews were conducted in Bangla, audio-recorded, transcribed, and then translated into English. Data were analyzed thematically.
Results
Most interviewees identified a range of issues within the health system. These included unpreparedness, challenges in segregating COVID-19 patients, maintaining isolation and home quarantine, a scarcity of intensive care unit (ICU) beds, and ensuring continuity of service for non-COVID-19 patients. The limited availability of personal protective equipment, a shortage of human resources, and logistical challenges, such as obtaining COVID-19 tests, were frequently cited as barriers to managing the pandemic. Additionally, changes in the behavior of health service seekers, particularly increased aggression, were reported. The primary motivating factor for healthcare providers was the willingness to continue providing health services, rather than financial incentives.
Conclusions
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a unique set of challenges for health systems, while also providing valuable lessons in managing a public health crisis. To effectively address future health crises, it is crucial to resolve a myriad of issues within the health system, including the inequitable distribution of human resources and logistical challenges.

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JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health