Original Research

Frontline healthcare workers’ experiences of providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic at a COVID-19 centre in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe: A phenomenological study

Idah Moyo, Azwihangwisi H. Mavhandu-Mudzusi, Clara Haruzivishe
Curationis | Vol 45, No 1 | a2292 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v45i1.2292 | © 2022 Idah Moyo, Azwihangwisi H. Mavhandu-Mudzusi, Clara Haruzivishe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 October 2021 | Published: 30 June 2022

About the author(s)

Idah Moyo, Department of HIV Services, Population Solutions for Health, Harare, Zimbabwe; and, Department of Health Science, College of Human Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Azwihangwisi H. Mavhandu-Mudzusi, Department of Graduate Studies and Research, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Clara Haruzivishe, College of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe


Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a far-reaching, negative impact on healthcare systems worldwide. Healthcare workers play a critical role in the country’s healthcare delivery system, as they facilitate a continuum of care and containment of diseases such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore and describe the experiences of healthcare workers who provided care to COVID-19 patients at a central hospital in Zimbabwe.

Method: The researchers used an interpretative phenomenological analysis design. In-depth interviews were conducted virtually with 10 frontline healthcare workers working at a COVID-19 centre in Zimbabwe. Data collection was guided by an interview guide. All audio-recorded interview data were transcribed verbatim into written text. Data analysis was conducted using an interpretative phenomenological analysis framework. An expert in qualitative research acted as an independent co-coder and conducted the open coding of each transcript.

Results: Findings reveal inadequate preparation and training of healthcare providers before the commencement of duty, resources-related challenges and a lack of support as significant experiences of healthcare providers. Moreover, healthcare providers have been subjected to stigma and discrimination attached to COVID-19, resulting in psychological effects on frontline healthcare providers.

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic brings unique and challenging experiences for frontline healthcare workers, resulting in a physically and emotionally drained workforce. This study calls for comprehensive support in the form of counselling, reasonable work schedules, training and adequate provision of personal protective equipment.


COVID-19; healthcare workers; experiences; phenomenology; providers of care


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Crossref Citations

1. Mapping the needs of healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients using the socio-ecological framework: a rapid scoping review
Pinelopi Konstantinou, Vaso Theofanous, Maria Karekla, Angelos P. Kassianos
Human Resources for Health  vol: 22  issue: 1  year: 2024  
doi: 10.1186/s12960-024-00919-8