EHS-COVID (416) Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on paediatric services at a referral centre in Pakistan

19 June, 2021

Dear HIFA and CHIFA colleagues,

Citation and selected extracts below from a viewpoint paper in Archives of Disease in Childhood (July 2021)

CITATION: Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on paediatric services at a referral centre in Pakistan: lessons from a low-income and middle-income country setting

Salman Kirmani, Ali Saleem

Correspondence to Dr Salman Kirmani, Paediatrics & Child Health, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan; salman.kirmani@aku.edu

http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2020-319424

In a country where routine immunisation coverage was already poor prepandemic, a huge number of children have now missed and will further miss their vaccinations. The consequences unfortunately are already being seen, with multiple new measles and diphtheria cases being reported across the country. One of the serious challenges we are facing is with our National Polio Program, where approximately 25 000 polio workers have been diverted to help with the COVID-19 response... There is also a growing concern among paediatrics providers that this lack of access to preventative and specialised care to millions of children will ultimately lead to a huge surge in preventable morbidity and mortality...

Preparing a hospital facility for this COVID-19 pandemic remains challenging... We created negative pressure rooms in the emergency department, paediatric intensive care units (PICU) and neonatal intensive care units (NICU)... Extensive training of the staff on personal protective equipment (PPEs)... A comprehensive protocol for the safe delivery of newborns born to COVID-19 suspect or COVID-19 positive mothers was created, with a dedicated COVID-19 mother and baby unit...

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