Are doctors protected enough during COVID-19 in South Asia?

Nadia Nazir Jatoi, Saniya Ahmad, Emad ud din Sajid, Farah Yasmin, Muhammad Sohaib Asghar, Syed Ali Farhan, Bushra Zafar Sayeed, Momina Mariam Marufi, Kaneez Fatima, Syed Faisal Mahmood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The highly contagious nature of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) places physicians in South Asia at high risk of contracting the infection. Accordingly, we conducted this study to provide an updated account of physician deaths in South Asia during the COVID-19 pandemic and to analyze and compare the different characteristics associated with physician mortality amongst the countries of the region. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study by using published news reports on the websites of news agencies from 9 selected countries in South Asia. Our study included only those physicians and doctors who died after contracting COVID-19 from their respective workplaces. All available data about the country of origin, type of, sex, age, medical or surgical specialty, and date of death were included. Results: The total number of physician deaths reported due to COVID-19 in our study was 170, with half (87/170, 51%) of the deaths reported from Iran. Male physician deaths were reported to be 145 (145/170 = 85%). Internal Medicine (58.43%) was the most severely affected sub-specialty. The highest physician mortality rate in the general population recorded in Afghanistan (27/1000 deaths). General physicians from India [OR = 11.00(95% CI = 1.06–114.08), p = 0.045] and public sector medical practitioners from Pakistan [aOR = 4.52 (95% CI = 1.18–17.33), p = 0.028] were showing significant mortality when compared with other regions in multivariate logistic regression. Conclusion: An increased number of physician deaths, owing to COVID-19, has been shown in South Asia. This could be due to decreased personal protective equipment and the poor health care management systems of the countries in the region to combat the pandemic. Future studies should provide detailed information of characteristics associated with physician mortalities along with the main complications arising due to the virus.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36
JournalGlobal Health Research and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Are doctors protected enough during COVID-19 in South Asia?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this