DEFCON 5: The Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital orthopaedic department’s COVID-19 proactive action plan
Background: On 11 March 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic and a threat to global public health. In this paper we aim to describe the measures implemented to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH), Soweto, Johannesburg, the largest hospital in Africa with approximately 3 200 beds and about 6 760 staff members. At the time of writing this report, we have transitioned from level 5 to level 3 lockdown.
Methods: We performed a literature review and drew on the experiences of previous pandemic response plans worldwide. A working group comprising all relevant disciplines was created to develop standard operating procedures in line with governmental policy.
Results: We found that by developing a multi-phase plan, we were able to maintain service delivery to all emergent patients while protecting medical staff and patients alike. This plan also allowed coordination with other disciplines and made provision for staff from within the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery to be made available to work within other departments as and when required. The implementation of this plan had to evolve constantly, adjusting to the changes in the national lockdown level and the demands of the developing situation.
Conclusion: We hope that by sharing our plan with our colleagues domestically and abroad, we can promote discussion and improve our ability to better prepare and deal with this unprecedented healthcare scenario. In order for us to win as individuals, we must fight as a team.
Level of evidence: Level 5