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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 102-109

Impact of corona virus disease 2019 pandemic on paediatric surgery in a sub-saharan tertiary hospital: An observational study

1 Paediatric Surgery Unit, Department of Surgery, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria
2 Paediatric Surgery Unit, Department of Surgery, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, 2Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Justina O Seyi-Olajide
Department of Surgery, Paediatric Surgery Unit, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/npmj.npmj_761_21

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Background: The impact of the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on global health, has reached far beyond that caused by the disease itself. With ongoing mutations and the emergence of new strains of the virus alongside repeated waves of the pandemic, the full impact of the pandemic is still evolving and remains difficult to predict or evaluate. In paediatric surgery, it has led to significant disruptions in patient care, the extent and consequence of which are not fully documented in Nigeria. Aim: This study aims to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on services, training and research in a busy paediatric surgery unit during the initial 3-month period of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Methods: This study was an ambispective evaluation of the preceding 3 months before lockdown and the initial 3 months of lockdown. Clinic cancellations, elective and emergency surgeries, delays in access, extra cost of care to patients, impact on training and research, and the psychologic impact of the pandemic on staff and guardians were evaluated. Results: During the 3-month lockdown period, an estimated 78 new cases and 637 follow-up cases could not access care. Ninety-seven elective surgeries in 91 patients were postponed. Two (2.2%) patients' symptoms progressed. All emergency patients received care. Out-of-pocket expenditure increased averagely by $124. The pandemic contributed to delays in seeking (13%), reaching (20%) and receiving care (6%). Trainee participation in surgeries was reduced and academic programmes were suspended. Five staff were exposed to the virus and 3 infected. Conclusion: Paediatric surgery has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Efforts must focus on planning and implementing interventions to mitigate the long-term impact.

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