10 low-cost workplace measures that all organizations in Cameroon should implement during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Whether COVID-19 disease is already present in your community or not, organizations should begin to implement some measures in the workplace to prepare themselves and curb the spread of the new Coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2). These 10 low-cost measures can help keep the workforce and community safe while maintaining business operations. Organizations should implement these measures and adapt them according to their business environments.
1. Determine areas where work can continue, areas where work should reduce or change, and areas where work should be paused and implement these strictly.
2. Only essential employees should be allowed to the workplace. All non-essential employees should work from home. Examples of Essential employees include service providers like doctors and nurses (for the health care sector) and non-essential employees include most administrative staff like secretaries.
3. No employee should come to the workplace with any of these symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose or nasal congestion, or diarrhea. If you have any of these symptoms, stay at home and contact your healthcare provider. If you do not have a dedicated primary care provider, click here to get advice from a Keafon Health physician.
4. If You have been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, observe the 14-day quarantine period recommended by the WHO and CDC and contact your healthcare provider if you develop any of the above symptoms. If any employee recently returned from travel (especially from highly affected countries), they should observe a 14-day quarantine period and return to work if they do not develop symptoms.
5. Implement basic screening procedures like measurement of temperature prior to admitting anyone in the workplace environment. Do not admit anyone in the workplace environment who has a temperature of 38oC or greater. Individuals are also encouraged to measure their body temperature twice a day. If 38oC or greater, stay home and contact your healthcare provider. If you do not have a thermometer handy, subjective fever can count (meaning if you feel feverish).
6. All team activities should be done virtually – Zoom, Skype, WebEx, phone etc. conference rooms and common areas should be used sparingly, if at all.
7. Regularly clean surfaces and objects at the workplace (desks, tables, telephone, keyboards) with disinfectants.
8. Social/physical distancing: If you must meet face to face, strictly adhere to a 2-meter (about 6 feet) distance space between those involved.
9. Establish a department to monitor adherence in real-time and provide immediate feedback to the organizations’ leadership.
10. Address COVID-19 anxiety: A lot of employees may not adhere to preventive measures for fear of losing their jobs or not getting paid. Organizations are encouraged to make it clear to employees that they will be able to count justified time off as sick leave.
Do you have any other workplace measures that can be put in place? Feel free to share in the comments section.
Dr. Dzekem is a physician, researcher and a health policy advocate. He obtained his Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree from the University of Buea and practiced as a primary care physician in Cameroon before moving to the University of Ibadan, Nigeria for post graduate studies and eventually to the United States as an Inaugural Obama Scholar where he obtained a Master in Public Health Policy and International Development, with focus on global health and health systems from the Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago. He is completing residency training at UChicago Medicine. Dr. Dzekem has served as a speaker at international conferences, he is the author/co-author to several articles in peer-reviewed journals and a reviewer for the Cardiovascular Journal of Africa. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Keafon Health. He has special interest in strengthening health systems and improving access to primary care in underserved communities.