RESEARCH PAPER
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Introduction:
Medical doctors are expected to play a proactive role during the COVID-19 pandemic through effective patient management and the implementation and adherence to best practices as per the expert consensus in their country. Strengthening the self-efficacy and addressing the reasons for risk perceptions among medical doctors is essential towards successfully combating the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we ascertained the perceived awareness, practices and perspectives regarding the COVID-19 pandemic among medical doctors in India.

Methods:
We conducted a cross-sectional study with two rounds of data collection from 3 April to 24 May 2020 among medical doctors (allopathic) and trainees (medical interns) working at any health facility across India. The data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire utilizing the Google Forms platform.

Results:
A total of 432 medical doctors responded to the survey with 251 in the first round (3–9 April), and 181 in the second round (18–24 May). Official government sources were considered as the most authentic source of information by most (84.2%) participants. However, the perceived awareness on aspects of COVID-19 epidemiology, prevention and policy was inadequate in a majority (52.8%). Moreover, 52.3% of the respondents reported never having received institutional training related to COVID-19 management protocols. The individual perceived risk of contracting COVID-19 (median score = 4) was lower than the perceived threat of disease transmission to the family members (median score = 5). Access to personal protective equipment (PPE) was suboptimal but it significantly improved with the progression of the pandemic (p<0.001).

Conclusions:
Significant awareness and training deficiencies related to COVID-19 were observed among medical doctors constituting a potential occupational risk hazard. The participant perspectives on public health aspects of COVID-19 management reflected heterogeneous stances, but were mostly aligned with the academic consensus. Most participants shared a direct medicalized perspective as opposed to the negative economic considerations in supporting the implementation of a nationwide lockdown.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We thank the participants for their valuable time in responding to the survey.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
The authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none was reported.
FUNDING
There was no source of funding for this research.
PROVENANCE AND PEER REVIEW
Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
 
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