Maintaining paediatric cardiac services during the COVID-19 pandemic in a developing country in sub-Saharan Africa: guidelines for a “scale up” in the face of a global “scale down”

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Maintaining paediatric cardiac services during the COVID-19 pandemic in a developing country in sub-Saharan Africa: guidelines for a “scale up” in the face of a global “scale down”


JournalCardiology in the Young
Article typeJournal research article – Clinical research
Publication date – Nov – 2020
Authors – Ogochukwu J. Sokunbi [Opens in a new window] , Ogadinma Mgbajah , Augustine Olugbemi , Bassey O. Udom , Ariyo Idowu and Michael O. Sanusi
KeywordsCOVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria, paediatric cardiac surgery, Paediatric cardiology, Sub-Saharan Africa
Open access – Yes
SpecialityCardiothoracic surgery, Paediatric surgery
World region Western Africa
Country: Nigeria
Language – English
Submitted to the One Surgery Index on November 23, 2020 at 7:49 pm
Abstract:

The COVID-19 pandemic is currently ravaging the globe and the African continent is not left out. While the direct effects of the pandemic in regard to morbidity and mortality appear to be more significant in the developed world, the indirect harmful effects on already insufficient healthcare infrastructure on the African continent would in the long term be more detrimental to the populace. Women and children form a significant vulnerable population in underserved areas such as the sub-Saharan region, and expectedly will experience the disadvantages of limited healthcare coverage which is a major fall out of the pandemic. Paediatric cardiac services that are already sparse in various sub-Saharan countries are not left out of this downsizing. Restrictions on international travel for patients out of the continent to seek medical care and for international experts into the continent for regular mission programmes leave few options for children with cardiac defects to get the much-needed care.

There is a need for a region-adapted guideline to scale-up services to cater for more children with congenital heart disease (CHD) while providing a safe environment for healthcare workers, patients, and their caregivers. This article outlines measures adapted to maintain paediatric cardiac care in a sub-Saharan tertiary centre in Nigeria during the COVID-19 pandemic and will serve as a guide for other institutions in the region who will inadvertently need to provide these services as the demand increases.

OSI Number – 20774

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