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
House No. 4614, Sector-B, Pocket-5 and 6, Vasant Kunj,
South West, Delhi-110070, India.
Introduction: Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in disruption of essential healthcare 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 healthcare 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 predesigned proforma during 15 days period after restrictions were relaxed.
Results: Fifty-five responses were recorded and analysed. Father was the 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 healthcare 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.