Risking Lives to Save Others During COVID-19: A Focus on Public Health Care Workers in Bangladesh and Egypt

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Public Policy & Administration Department

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Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

International Journal of Health Services

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been spreading around the world, causing a major public health crisis that has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Street-level bureaucrats­—health workers, teachers, street cleaners, police officers­, and so forth—are at the forefront in fighting against the pandemic. Of these, public health care workers, due to the nature of their involvement, should know and understand why they are risking their lives to save others during this pandemic. Based on the preliminary data gleaned from interviews with public health care workers in Bangladesh and Egypt, this ongoing research suggests they are risking their lives for reasons such as altruistic behavior, service to profession, adherence to bureaucratic accountability, and a desire to help mankind. The findings contribute to the existing literature about street-level bureaucratic behavior in atypical times such as these of the pandemic. This study is unique in that it comprehends that public health care workers of two culturally and geographically distinct countries are risking their lives for the same public-spirited cause.

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