COVID-19 pandemic has been a high burden for health care systems and facilities. Patients at long-term health care facilities, being a particularly vulnerable group, experience more difficulties due to increased risk of infection and additional restrictive measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the WHO Country Office in Azerbaijan, as part of the European Union (EU) funded Solidarity for Health Initiative project, WHO Azerbaijan and WHO Health Emergency Programme’s South Caucasus Hub experts assessed Republican Psychiatric Hospital No. 1 of the Ministry of Health and Psycho-Neurological Social Service Facility No 1 under Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the biggest mental health facilities of the country, for infection prevention control and COVID-19 case management.
The assessment aimed to understand areas where COVID-19 has impacted on daily living of patients, to identify areas to provide support for implementing infection prevention control measures, and identifying and managing individuals with COVID-19, and to support long-term care facilities to access other health services when needed.
The project plans to continue supporting long-term mental health care facilities in the context of COVID-19 by providing medical supplies needed to prevent the spread of infections within the facilities, such as hand hygiene stations, hand sanitizers, and informative posters.
Previous discussions with national counterparts also revealed an increased need for psychosocial support for the patients in long-term facilities during the pandemic. Starting from September 1, the EU-WHO project deployed 3 psychologists and 3 social workers for 6 months to the abovementioned facilities to boost their capacities to cope with the impact of the pandemic. The deployed specialists are providing mental health and psycho-social support capacity building for healthcare workers in these facilities.