Main Article Content


Background: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has led to unprecedented challenges in healthcare systems worldwide, leading to significant economic strain and a surge in technological reliance. This heightened dependence on technology, including Internet of Things (IoT) medical devices, has introduced new risks, particularly regarding cyber threats that can disrupt healthcare services and present clinical challenges. Hospital management became more critical and sensitive in the face of the highly infectious nature of COVID-19. This study explored the intersection of healthcare, technology, and cybersecurity during the pandemic.

Methods: Using a cross-sectional study design, surveys were distributed to 20 healthcare workers, and international news media reports were analyzed to gather insights into the challenges faced by hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results: The results highlight the economic challenges faced by the healthcare sector during the pandemic and subsequent surge in technological adoption. Significant cyber risks are associated with the use of technology, particularly IoT devices. Hospitals have emerged as prime targets for cybercriminal activities during the pandemic, posing a threat to health care interventions.

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated technological integration into healthcare, presenting both opportunities and challenges. Recommendations for improved hospital management and future pandemic preparedness include implementing robust cybersecurity measures, diversifying technological solutions, and fostering awareness among health care professionals.


COVID-19 pandemic Healthcare Management Challenges Electronic Healthcare Systems Cyber Security IoT Medical devices

Article Details

Author Biography

Fredrick Ochieng’ Omogah (h.c), Uzima University, Kenya

Dr. Fredrick Ochieng' Omogah (h.c) heads the Department of Information Systems (I.S)/I.T, Sci. & Technology; and is a lecturer (Medical Informatics, I.T & Computer Sciences) at The Uzima University, Kisumu, Kenya. Email: / 

How to Cite
Omogah, F. O. (2023). COVID-19’s Healthcare Economic Struggles: A Looming Crisis in Hospitals with Growing Online Crime Threats. Pan-African Journal of Health and Environmental Science, 2(2), 42–55. Retrieved from


  1. Afriyie, D. K., Asare, G. A., Amponsah, S. K., & Godman, B. (2020). COVID-19 pandemic in resource-poor countries: challenges, experiences and opportunities in Ghana. The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries, 14(08), 838-843.
  2. Argaw, S. T., Bempong, N. E., Eshaya-Chauvin, B., & Flahault, A. (2019). The state of research on cyber-attacks against hospitals and available best practice recommendations: a scoping review. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 19(1), 1-11.
  3. Badu, K., Thorn, J. P., Goonoo, N., Dukhi, N., Fagbamigbe, A. F., Kulohoma, B. W., & Gitaka, J. (2020). Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic: A review of the nature of the virus, impacts, and implications for preparedness [version 1; peer review: 2 approved with reservations].
  4. Badu K, Thorn JPR, Goonoo N et al. Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic: A review of the nature of the virus, impacts and implications for preparedness [version 1; peer review: 2 approved with reservations]. AAS Open Res 2020, 3:19 (
  5. Bansal, P., Bingemann, T. A., Greenhawt, M., Mosnaim, G., Nanda, A., Oppenheimer, J., & Shaker, M. (2020). Clinician wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic: extraordinary times and unusual challenges for the allergist/immunologist. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: in Practice, 8(6), 1781-1790.
  6. Barasa, E., Kairu, A., Maritim, M., Were, V., Akech, S., & Mwangangi, M. (2021). Examining unit costs for COVID-19 case management in Kenya. BMJ Global Health, 6(4), e004159.
  7. Buhari, A., & Isa, Z. (2023). Social media and cyber security: protecting against online threats and attacks.
  8. Chamola, V., Hassija, V., Gupta, V., & Guizani, M. (2020). A comprehensive review of the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of IoT, drones, AI, blockchain, and 5G in managing its impact. IEEE Access, 8, 90225-90265.
  9. Chersich, M. F., Gray, G., Fairlie, L., Eichbaum, Q., Mayhew, S., Allwood, B., ... & Rees, H. (2020). COVID-19 in Africa: care and protection for frontline healthcare workers. Globalization and Health, 16, 1-6.
  10. Cohen, S. P., Baber, Z. B., Buvanendran, A., McLean, B. C., Chen, Y., Hooten, W. M., ... & Phillips, C. R. (2020). Pain management best practices from multispecialty organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic and public health crises. Pain Medicine, 21(7), 1331-1346.
  11. Connell, J. (2006). Medical tourism: Sea, sun, sand and… surgery. Tourism Management, 27(6), 1093-1100.
  12. Control Risks. (2020, March 23). COVID-19 Impact on global economy and related online threats. Retrieved from
  13. Dhama, K., Khan, S., Tiwari, R., Sircar, S., Bhat, S., Malik, Y. S., & Rodriguez-Morales, A. J. (2020). Coronavirus disease 2019–COVID-19. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 33(4), e00028-20.
  14. Donthu, N., & Gustafsson, A. (2020). Effects of COVID-19 on business and research. Journal of Business Research, 117, 284-289.
  15. Duwa, M. R. (2021). COVID-19 Crisis Management: A Content Analysis of the Kenyan Governmental Communication Strategies. (Dissertation, North Carolina State University).
  16. Earle, P. C. (Ed.). (2020). Coronavirus and disease modeling. American Institute for Economic Research.
  17. Haghani, M., Bliemer, M. C., Goerlandt, F., & Li, J. (2020). The scientific literature on Coronaviruses, COVID-19, and its associated safety-related research dimensions: A scientometric analysis and scoping review. Safety Science, 129, 104806.
  18. Haldane, V., De Foo, C., Abdalla, S. M., Jung, A. S., Tan, M., Wu, S., & Legido-Quigley, H. (2021). Health systems resilience in managing the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons from 28 countries. Nature Medicine, 27(6), 964-980.
  19. Horowitz, D. (2022). American dreams, American nightmares: Culture and crisis in residential real estate from the great recession to the COVID-19 pandemic. UNC Press Books.
  20. Huang, Y., & Zhao, N. (2020). Generalized anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms, and sleep quality during the COVID-19 outbreak in China: a web-based cross-sectional survey. Psychiatry Research, 288, 112954.
  21. Ibeh, I. N., Enitan, S. S., Akele, R. Y., Isitua, C. C., & Omorodion, F. (2020). Global impacts and Nigeria responsiveness to the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Healthcare and Medical Sciences, 6(4), 27-45.
  22. Joshpe, B. (2020). Considering Domestic and International Frameworks for Analyzing China’s Potential Legal Liability in the Aftermath of COVID-19. Available at SSRN 3598614.
  23. Kalamkar, M. D., & Prasad, R. (2023). Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cyber security issues in the healthcare domain: A Scoping Review. Cyber Security Threats and Challenges Facing Human Life, 24-41.
  24. Kazungu, J., Munge, K., Werner, K., Risko, N., Vecino-Ortiz, A. I., & Were, V. (2021). Examining the cost-effectiveness of personal protective equipment for formal healthcare workers in Kenya during the COVID-19 pandemic. BMC health services research, 21(1), 992.
  25. Kenyan Constitution. (2010). Devolved Governance and Healthcare Services in Kenya.
  26. Liu, A., Kim, Y. R., & O'Connell, J. F. (2021). COVID-19 and the aviation industry: The interrelationship between the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the frequency of flights on the EU market. Annals of Tourism Research, 91, 103298.
  27. Mulholland, R. H., Wood, R., Stagg, H. R., Fischbacher, C., Villacampa, J., Simpson, C. R., ... & Sheikh, A. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 on accident and emergency attendances and emergency and planned hospital admissions in Scotland: an interrupted time-series analysis. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 113(11), 444-453.
  28. Ochieng’-Springer, S., & Odhiambo, H. (2022). Governance during COVID-19: Kenya’s graft practices. The Round Table, 111(4), 489-505.
  29. Omogah, F. (2020). The Embryonic Covid-19 themed cyber threats: A looming tragedy to already vulnerable global electronic healthcare systems (GEHCS)! EHealth 2020, e-Health and Alternative Healthcare Innovations. Webinar, October 12-13, 2020.
  30. Omogah, F. (2020). Online Threats in Hospital Environments: Unauthorized Access, Data Interference, and the Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) Attack on Electronic Healthcare Systems.
  31. Ouma, P. N., Masai, A. N., & Nyadera, I. N. (2020). Health coverage and what Kenya can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of global health, 10(2), 020362.
  32. Rice, S., & Williams, M. (2022). Vulnerabilities in healthcare systems: consequences of the covid-19 pandemic and the role of hospitals.
  33. Salvador-Carulla, L., Rosenberg, S., Mendoza, J., Tabatabaei-Jafari, H., & Network, P. M. H. I. (2020). Rapid response to crisis: Health system lessons from the active period of COVID-19. Health Policy and Technology, 9(4), 578-586.
  34. Seh, A. H., Zarour, M., Alenezi, M., Sarkar, A. K., Agrawal, A., Kumar, R., & Khan, R. A. (2020). Healthcare Data Breaches: Insights and Implications. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 8(2), 133.
  35. Shanthanna, H., Strand, N. H., Provenzano, D. A., Lobo, C. A., Eldabe, S., Bhatia, A., & Narouze, S. (2020). Caring for patients with pain during the COVID‐19 pandemic: consensus recommendations from an international expert panel. Anaesthesia, 75(7), 935-944.
  36. Silva, A. L. P., Prata, J. C., Walker, T. R., Campos, D., Duarte, A. C., Soares, A. M., ... & Rocha-Santos, T. (2020). Rethinking and optimizing plastic waste management under COVID-19 pandemic: Policy solutions based on redesign and reduction of single-use plastics and personal protective equipment. Science of the Total Environment, 742, 140565.
  37. Sparrow, R., Dartanto, T., & Hartwig, R. (2020). Indonesia under the new normal: Challenges and the way ahead. Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, 56(3), 269-299.
  38. Stawicki, S. P., Jeanmonod, R., Miller, A. C., Paladino, L., Gaieski, D. F., Yaffee, A. Q., De Wulf, A., Grover, J., Papadimos, T. J., Bloem, C., Galwankar, S. C., Chauhan, V., Firstenberg, M. S., Di Somma, S., Jeanmonod, D., Garg, S. M., Tucci, V., Anderson, H. L., Fatimah, L., Worlton, T. J., … Garg, M. (2020). The 2019-2020 Novel Coronavirus (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) Pandemic: A Joint American College of Academic International Medicine-World Academic Council of Emergency Medicine Multidisciplinary COVID-19 Working Group Consensus Paper. Journal of Global Infectious Diseases, 12(2), 47–93.
  39. Walker, D. M., Yeager, V. A., Lawrence, J., & Mcalearney, A. S. (2021). Identifying opportunities to strengthen the public health informatics infrastructure: exploring Hospitals’ Challenges with Data Exchange. The Milbank Quarterly, 99(2), 393-425.
  40. Williams, P. A., & Woodward, A. J. (2015). Cybersecurity vulnerabilities in medical devices: a complex environment and multifaceted problem. Medical devices (Auckland, N.Z.), 8, 305–316.
  41. World Health Organization. (2003). Adherence to long-term therapies: evidence for action. World Health Organization.