Prevention, identification and management of infections in health workers in the context of COVID-19

All healthcare facilities should establish or strengthen and implement IPC programmes and Occupational Health and Safety programmes to ensure health worker safety and prevent health worker infections while in the work environment. This course will highlight the epidemiology and risk factors associated with health worker infections with SARS-CoV-2, review measures that can be put in place to reduce risks, support identification of infection in health workers and review strategies for managing health workers to safely return to work post infection.

Photo credits: WHO / Lindsay Mackenzie

Language: English

Course information

Overview: During the COVID-19 pandemic health workers, in particular those in contact with and/or who care for COVID-19 patients, are at higher risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 than the general population. As the pandemic evolves, studies indicate that transmission involving health workers is also occurring in community settings (such as in households) in addition to health care settings. COVID-19 infections among health workers may lead to a depleted workforce during a time when the demand on the health care system has increased. In addition, health workers who are infected are at risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 virus to others in households and other community settings.This discourse provides an overview of strategies for the prevention, surveillance and testing of COVID-19 in health workers including the management following exposure and eventual safe return to work of health workers who have had suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Learning objectives: By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Describe the epidemiology and risk factors associated with health worker infections
  • Describe infection, prevention, control (IPC) principles in the health setting for prevention of infections
  • Describe screening and testing strategies to identify possible COVID-19 cases in health workers
  • Describe the management of exposures and infection in health workers including a review of the exposure risk assessment
  • Describe when it is safe for health workers to return to work post COVID-19 exposure or infections

Course duration: Approximately 1 hour.

Certificates: A Record of Achievement will be available to participants who score at least 80% of the total points available across all of the quizzes.

Course contents

  • Module 1: Understanding SARS-CoV-2 infection in health workers:

    This module provides an overview of the epidemiology and risk factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infections in health workers.
  • Module 2: Preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections in health workers:

    This module provides an overview of the importance of infection prevention and control and occupational health programmes in preventing transmission in the workplace. By the end of the module, you should be able to describe strategies for screening for COVID-19 symptoms and testing of health workers are also discussed.
  • Module 3: Managing SARS-CoV-2 infections in health workers:

    In this module, the importance of having a blame-free confidential process for health workers to report exposures and symptoms is discussed. By the end of this final module, you should be able to describe strategies to implement for reporting and assessment of health worker exposures and list actions required to facilitate safe return to work for health workers who were exposed to or infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Enroll me for this course

The course is free. Just register for an account on OpenWHO and take the course!
Enroll me now
Learners enrolled: 7482

Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 80% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.