Psychological Resilience, Fragility and the Health Workforce: Lessons on Pandemic Preparedness from Liberia and Sierra Leone
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COVID-19 presents a time to redefine vulnerability; however, in discussions of vulnerability, the health workforce, particularly in regard to their psychosocial well-being, is often forgotten. Healthcare workers (HCWs) in fragile settings are constantly exposed to health system shocks, including; conflict, disease outbreaks and natural disasters, which compound the everyday challenges of working in an under-resourced health system. Based on a commitment to serve their communities, they often cope with repeated shocks and protracted crises through innovation and creative thinking. However, they also experience repeated acute and chronic stressors that can lead to psychological distress. For some, prolonged exposure to risk of psychological distress can lead to personal growth, for others, continuous exposure to chronic stress and uncertainty can lead to psychological injury.