Parental Outlook and Problems Faced during Lockdown in COVID-19 Pandemic: Experience from a Paediatric Haematology-Oncology Unit in a Developing Country- A Questionnaire-Based Survey SC01-SC04
House No. 4614, Sector-B, Pocket-5 and 6,
Vasant Kunj, South West, Delhi-110070, India.
E-mail : email@example.com
Introduction: Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in disruption of essential health care services. Children with cancer are very vulnerable group and delay in seeking treatment or defaulting scheduled medications adversely affects the outcome.
Aim: To obtain insight into barriers and to evaluate concerns, outlook and challenges faced by parents of children suffering with malignancy in accessing the health care services during lockdown imposed due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Materials and Methods: A questionnaire-based survey was conducted from parents of children newly diagnosed (during lockdown restrictions) with malignancy and previously diagnosed and under treatment at Paediatric Haematology Oncology unit in a Tertiary care centre. The responses were recorded in pre-designed proforma during fifteen days period after restrictions were relaxed.
Results: Fifty-five responses were recorded and analysed. Father was respondent in most cases. Acute Leukaemia (n=37) and Lymphoma (n=14) patients comprised majority of the patients. Major challenges faced were transportation (98.2%), financial burden (96.4%) and loss of job (65.4%). Fear of contracting COVID-19 infection was a primary barrier in seeking treatment for most respondents.
Conclusion: The success and outcome of children with malignancy has been suboptimal in low-income and middle-income countries due to effect of lack of timely access of health care services, delayed diagnosis, treatment abandonment, poor compliance and financial constraints. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated setbacks have accentuated these factors and may have long term impact in final outcome for such patients.