Authors:Tafadzwa Dzinamarira, Sphamandla Josias Nkambule, Mbuzeleni Hlongwa, Malizgani Mhango, Patrick Gad Iradukunda, Itai Chitungo, Mathias Dzobo, Munyaradzi Paul Mapingure, Innocent Chingombe, Moreblessing Mashora, Roda Madziva, Helena Herrera, Pelagia Makanda, James Atwine, Elliot Mbunge, Godfrey Musuka, Grant Murewanhema, Bernard Ngara
Health care workers (HCWs) are more than ten times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 compared to the general population, thus demonstrating the burden of COVID-19 among HCWs. Factors that expose HCWs to a differentially high-risk of COVID-19 acquisition are important to elucidate, to enable appropriate public health interventions to mitigate against high risk and reduce adverse outcomes from the infection. We conducted a systematic review and meta analysis to summarise and critically analyse the existing evidence on SARS-CoV-2 risk factors among HCWs. With no geographical limitation, we included studies, in any country, that reported (i) PCR laboratory diagnosis of COVID—19 as an independent variable (ii) one or more COVID-19 risk factors among health care workers with risk estimates (relative risk, odds ratio or harzard ratio) (iii) original, quantitative study design and published in English or Mandarian. Our initial search resulted in 470 articles overall, however, only 10 studies met the inclusion criteria for this review. Out of the 10 studies included in the review, inadequate/lack of protective personal equipment (PPE), performing tracheal intubation (PTI) and gender were the most common risk factors of COVID-19. Based on the random effects adjusted pooled relative risk, HCWs who reported use PPE were 29% (95% CI: 16% to 41%) less likely to test positive for COVID-19. The study also revealed that HCWs who performed tracheal intubations were 34% (95% CI: 14% to 57%) more likely to test positive for COVID-19. Interestingly, this study showed that female HCWs are at 11% higher risk (RR 1.11 95% CI 1.01-1.21) of COVID-19 than their male counterparts. This paper presents initial findings from a living systematic review and meta-analysis, therefore, did not yield many studies, however, it revealed a significant insight to better understand COVID-19 risk factors among HCWs; insights important for devising preventive strategies that protect them from this infection.