Amid COVID-19 pandemic, are non-COVID patients left in the lurch?

  • Laima Alam Bahria Town International Hospital, Rawalpindi
  • Syed Kumail Hasan Kazmi Fellow Gastroenterology, Pak Emirates Military Hospital, Rawalpindi
  • Mafaza Alam Registrar Operative Dentistry, Armed Forces Institute of Dentistry, Rawalpindi
  • Varqa Faraid General Dentist, Tooth Works Dental Clinic, Islamabad
Keywords: Covid-19, chronic disease, depression, health care, inequalities, pandemic

Abstract

Objectives: 1) To explore the possible impact of the pandemic on the health seeking behavior of the patients, 2) To explore the relation of socio-demographics on the utility of health-care facilities.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted by enrolling all patients ≥15 years of age presenting to the Out-Patient-Department of three main public-hospitals after obtaining ethical committee approval. A questionnaire with validated Urdu translation was filled by each participant that included socio-demographic data, pre-Covid and Covid-19 era health seeking behaviors and the impact of the pandemic on the utilization of healthcare facilities. Data was analyzed using SPSS V.19.

Results: A total of 393 patients were enrolled with a male preponderance (72%) and a median age range of 31-45 years. Fifty-eight percent of the study population was unemployed and 47.3% were seeking follow up care. The frequency of ER and multiple (>4 times) OPD visits were significantly decreased in the Covid-19 times whereas, the laboratory and radiology services were largely unaffected. A significant number of patients were not satisfied with the current healthcare facilities that was seen irrespective of the socio-demographic status. Emergency Room and radiology services were largely unaffected whereas, elective procedures and laboratory facilities were reported to be severely affected or delayed in relation to socio-demographic variables.

Conclusions: Healthcare inequalities have widened and depression has shown a sharp rise during this pandemic. The over-burdened healthcare facilities at the verge of collapse may miss out on the chronic non-Covid patients which would ultimately lead to increased morbidity and mortality.

doi: https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.37.2.3536

How to cite this:
Alam L, Kazmi SKH, Alam M, Faraid V. Amid COVID-19 pandemic, are non-COVID patients left in the lurch? Pak J Med Sci. 2021;37(2):---------. doi: https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.37.2.3536

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published
2021-01-01
How to Cite
Alam, L., Kazmi, S. K., Alam, M., & Faraid, V. (2021). Amid COVID-19 pandemic, are non-COVID patients left in the lurch?. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 37(2). https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.37.2.3536
Section
Original Articles

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