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Developing integrated guidelines for healthcare workers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in low- and middle-income countries

In many low- and middle-income countries, healthcare systems are underfinanced and healthcare workers in hospitals and in public and private primary care facilities lack appropriate guidance. Technical guidance provided by the World Health Organization for pandemics is broad, therefore the team will update technical guidelines and contextualize them for use by doctors, nurses, and community health workers.

This project develops an integrated plan to provide role-specific guidelines for healthcare workers to manage suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases in terms of hospital patient flow, infection control, patient supervision, and support in communities. The team will learn from frontline experiences in China, but the focus of the work will be in the Philippines and Sri Lanka, where the team will work with policymakers, healthcare workers, and non-governmental organizations to develop guidelines and training modules.

The integrated plan and associated tools will be tested for feasibility and acceptability among healthcare workers in the Philippines and further adapted in Sri Lanka. This integrated response strategy aims to strengthen the skills of healthcare workers, reduce patient overload at hospitals, avoid hospital transmission, reduce community transmission and public panic, provide patient support, and reduce stigma. From this work, the team will develop a generic version of the plan that may be used by other countries to respond to COVID-19 and related disease outbreaks.

This project was selected for funding through the Canadian 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rapid Research Funding Opportunity, coordinated by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in partnership with IDRC, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Genome Canada.

Project ID
Project Status
24 months
IDRC Officer
David O'Brien
Total Funding
CA$ 498,200.00
Sri Lanka
Institution Country
Project Leader
Xiaolin Wei
The Governing Council of the University of Toronto



National primary care responses to COVID-19 : a rapid review of the literature