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CHALLENGES FOR PEDIATRIC HEMATOLOGY ONCOLOGY IN PAKISTAN DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
  • Thumbnail
  • Rahat Ul AinOrcid,
  • Mahwish Faizan
Rahat Ul Ain
Orcid
The Children's Hospital and the Institute of Child Health
Author Profile
Medium
Mahwish Faizan
The Children's Hospital and the Institute of Child Health
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Abstract

Background: During COVID-19 pandemic, as the prime care is directed towards the management of infected cases, patients with non-communicable diseases are subject to lack of attention. Pediatric Hematology Oncology patients demand holistic care therefore might get affected tremendously during this pandemic. Procedure: An online cross-sectional survey was carried out among the Pediatric Hematologists-Oncologists from all over Pakistan in order to assess the pandemic effects. Responses were received online and data analyzed in SPSS 16.0. Results: Survey was sent to 96 Pediatric Hematologists-Oncologists from 14 different centers with 50% response rate. Majority (62%) were working in public sector hospitals, 14% reported to have stopped registering new patients, 68% reported reduced overall number of patients and 64% reported reduction of patients for scheduled chemotherapies; 78% reported affected supportive care services while 70% reported closure of various units of the department. Affected supplies, specialized investigations, tumor boards, oncological surgeries, radiation therapies, stem cell transplant and academic activities were also reported. Availability of PPE was satisfactory, 62% reported unavailability of isolated febrile neutropenia rooms, 58% reported inability to exercise social distancing in ward while 90% reported to exercise short staff rosters. Significant level of personal and family health concern (M>2.5) and stress (>3.0) during the pandemic were reported by pediatric hematologists/oncologists. Conclusion: Apart from overwhelming issues of COVID-19 patients and their doctors, patients with non-communicable diseases and their treating physicians are also tremendously affected during the pandemic and interrupted management of pediatric hematology oncology patients during pandemic may lead to devastating long term effects.