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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 18-25

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Care of Non-COVID Pediatric Patients: A Healthcare Workers’ Survey from India


1 Department of Pediatrics, Maulana Azad Medical College and Lok Nayak Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Pediatrics, Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Puneet Kaur Sahi
Department of Pediatrics, Maulana Azad Medical College and Lok Nayak Hospital, New Delhi-110002
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/mamcjms.mamcjms_103_21

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<**b**>Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic-related refocusing of healthcare along with needs for social distancing, complete or partial lockdowns, and burgeoning economic crisis has created immense barriers to the access of healthcare services by the non-COVID patients. <**b**>Aim: We aimed to assess the perspectives of Indian healthcare workers taking care of pediatric patients on the barriers to healthcare delivery to pediatric non-COVID illnesses. <**b**>Methods: Indian healthcare workers, working in both public and private sectors, taking care of pediatric patients were surveyed using a predesigned pretested online questionnaire over a period of 1 month (May 2020). The impact on healthcare delivery was graded using a Likert scale. <**b**>Results: Of the total of 356 responses obtained, 75.3% reported a significant negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on delivery of healthcare to non-COVID pediatric patients. Respondents of government and COVID hospitals reported a significantly worse impact than private (<**i**>P = 0.0002) and non-COVID hospitals (<**i**>P = 0.01), respectively. Significant decline in number of non-COVID patients attending outpatient department (86.2%), admitted in wards (71.6%), number of routine (81.7%) and emergency surgeries (60.5%), number of diagnostic procedures (61.2%), and scheduled therapies (50.2%) was reported by the surveyed healthcare workers. Most important factors for disrupted healthcare delivery were restricted travel (78.3%) and fear of contracting COVID-19 (68.8%). Telemedicine (67.4%) was the commonest alternate strategy deployed for continuing care of patients. <**b**>Conclusion: Several challenges exist to maintain the continuity of healthcare services to pediatric non-COVID patients especially in those with chronic diseases, poor financial background, and follow-up in COVID government hospitals. Use of telemedicine, strategic preplanning, strengthening peripheral healthcare, and optimal resource reallocation may help reduce the broader health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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