Preparing healthcare facilities to operate safely and effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic: The missing piece in the puzzle

S Afr Med J. 2020 Aug 12;110(9):835-836. doi: 10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i9.150.


The stated objective of the COVID-19 lockdown was to allow time to prepare healthcare facilities. Preparation must include administrative and environmental measures, which when combined with personal protective equipment, minimise the risk of the spread of infection to patients and healthcare workers (HCWs) in facilities, allowing HCWs to safely provide essential services during the pandemic and limit the indirect effects of COVID-19 caused by healthcare disruption. We present our model for facility preparation based on colour-coded zones, social distancing, hand hygiene, rapid triage and separate management of symptomatic patients, and attention to infection transmission prevention between HCWs in communal staff areas. This model specifically addresses the challenges in preparing a facility for COVID-19 in a low-resource setting and in rural areas. In addition, we include links to resources to allow workers in low-resource settings to prepare their facilities adequately.

PMID:32880262 | DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i9.150