Management of Healthcare Resources in the Gauteng Province, South Africa, During the COVID-19 Pandemic
32 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2022
Date Written: March 3, 2022
We conducted an observational retrospective study on patients hospitalized with COVID-19, during March 05, 2020, to October 28, 2021, and developed an agent-based model to evaluate effectiveness of recommended healthcare resource management strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic in Gauteng, South Africa. We measured the effectiveness of these strategies by calculating the number of deaths prevented by implementing them. We observed differences between the epidemic waves. The length of hospital stay (LOS) during the third wave was lower than the first two waves. The median of the LOS, was 6.73 days for the first wave, 6.63 days for the second wave and 6.78 days for the third wave. A combination of public and private sector provided hospital care to COVID-19 patients requiring ward and Intensive Care Units (ICU) beds. The private sector provided 88.4% of High care (HC)/ICU beds and 49.4% of ward beds during the first wave, 73.9% and 51.4% during the second wave, 71.8% and 58.3% during the third wave. Our simulation results showed that with a high maximum capacity, i.e., 10,000 general and isolation ward beds, 4,000 high care and ICU beds and 1,200 ventilators, increasing the resource capacity allocated to COVID-19 patients by 25% was enough to maintain bed availability throughout the epidemic waves. With a medium resource capacity (8,500 general and isolation ward beds, 3,000 high care and ICU beds and 1,000 ventilators) a combination of resource management strategies and their timing and criteria were very effective in maintaining bed availability and therefore preventing excess deaths. With a low number of maximum available resources (7,000 general and isolation ward beds, 2,000 high care and ICU beds and 800 ventilators) and a severe epidemic wave, these strategies were effective in maintaining the bed availability and minimizing the number of excess deaths for the entire province and throughout the epidemic wave.
Funding Information: This research is funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) (Grant No. 109559-001).
Conflict of Interests: None declared.
Keywords: COVID-19, healthcare resources management, Gauteng Province
JEL Classification: C63
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation