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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 99-106

Community surveillance of COVID-19 pandemic: Perspectives and experiences of medical trainees using mixed-methods research design

Department of Community Medicine, PES Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. B A Praveen Kumar
Department of Community Medicine, PES Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Kuppam - 517 425, Andhra Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJAM.IJAM_131_20

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Introduction: COVID-19 is an ongoing pandemic and a global public health crisis. India has been setting up multiple strategies to contain this pandemic. Active community-level surveillance is a vital strategy to prevent, control, and manage the outbreak of COVID-19. This study explores the perspectives and describes budding doctors' field experience who worked in the community surveillance activity during the pandemic. Materials and Methods: We used a mixed-method research design wherein 67 medical interns of a tertiary care teaching institute participated in the COVID-19 pandemic surveillance activity were included in the study. Their field experience, perspectives, and opinions were captured using pretested questionnaires, participants' interviews, and focused group discussions. Results: More than one-third of medical interns (41.8%) felt that the government could better handle the surveillance process, while around two-thirds (65.6%) were satisfied with their work. Notably, 40 (59%) were not happy/clear with the training and orientation on the job before engaging in surveillance activity. A majority of 47 (70.1%) interns reported inadequate personal protective equipment, which raised the fear of transmission. While they felt that surveillance provided health services close to the community and addressed the public's pandemic concerns, they said the lack of basic training, an inadequate workforce, and resources were detrimental to the response. Conclusions: This pandemic has exposed the naive interns to the community health surveillance process's ground realities. This experience has changed their perception of the profession and given them the impetus to become a future workforce. Strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis of the surveillance process provided vital inputs to act and prepare for future public health emergencies. The following core competencies are addressed in this article: Practice-based learning and improvement, Systems-based practice, Interpersonal and communication skills, and Professionalism.

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