Delays in Care for Noncommunicable Diseases During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Lessons Learned

Thursday, April 29, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic forced countries and health facilities to close and move to telehealth visits when possible. Not surprisingly, we have seen delays in care in many countries. Sadly, these delays have been especially detrimental on people living with chronic conditions, noncommunicable diseases, and injuries. Many providers and facilities have adapted practices and process in real-time throughout the pandemic to meet, as best as possible, the needs of their patients. At the same time, a report from the United States has shown that almost two-thirds of the COVID-19 hospitalizations were attributable to cardiometabolic conditions, such as obesity; hypertension, diabetes, and heart failure. The disruption of services due to the COVID-19 outbreak have placed people living with NCDs at a higher risk of becoming severely ill or dying from COVID-19.
In this webinar, we will hear from providers and organization in cancer, diabetes, heart disease and surgical conditions. The presenters will discuss challenges faced by their organizations in providing care and support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lessons learned will highlight opportunities for long-term changes in daily operations and preparedness for future public health emergencies
Webinar Lead: Dr. Arti Patel Varanasi, PhD, MPH, Chair, CORE Group NCDs Interest Group, and President & CEO, Advancing Synergy
Webinar Moderator: Bistra Zheleva, Vice President of Global Strategy and Advocacy Children’s Heartlink
Webinar Presenters:
  • Catherine Karekezi, PhD, Medical Director of the Kenya Diabetes Management and Information Centre (DMIC) and a leading technical voice for NCD Alliance Kenya
  • Tim Kubal, MD Oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center and Co-Chair of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Best Practices Committee, USA
  • Susana Abrego, MD, pediatric anesthesiologist, Benjamin Bloom Hospital, El Salvador
  • Flavia Kamalembo Batureine, RN, Mulago Hospital, Uganda Heart Institute, Kampala, Uganda

Webinar Recording

How can we do better on NCD education and prevention during and post COVID19?

From Tim Kubal:

The addition of zoom and Facebook live is great to support NCD education and prevention. If you were doing this before the pandemic, then I would continue it. One other thing to consider is to bring fewer people in for each of the topics and to do a deeper dive on individual issues that might be occurring in a country or region.

From Susana Abrego Hasbun:

We must go for population education for people to take care of their own health, not only to avoid infectious diseases but also and especially NCDs, that could be prevented, mainly because some of them deteriorate the quality of people’s lives.
By preventing diseases like diabetes and hypertension, we will avoid the patient’s vulnerability when situations like epidemics arise.

From Catherine Karekezi:

1. Use of patient support groups – empower group leaders with information on NCD prevention (focus on modifiable risk factor modification) and management and skills to disseminate information to their group members and other community members. Due to COVID-19 restrictions – use social media, especially WhatsApp to disseminate information. Short text messages also useful for those not on WhatsApp.

2. Work through community structures:

a) Religious organisations -these are well respected and perceived to be credible sources of information. Messages can be included or appended to the sermons or time set aside for information dissemination after the main service.

b) School communities are another means of disseminating information during and after COVID-19. Teachers are considered community leaders

c) Women’s groups – informal women groups are a key feature in Kenya. Small groups of women come together for economic empowerment and social support

d) Use of community radio – messages formatted in simple language. During 2020 we sensitised media practitioners on NCDs. Some print journalists wrote on NCDs, also organised radio and TV talk shows. In rural settings, community radio and radio stations that broadcast in the local language are the most popular. Radio has the added advantage that one can listen from home – it does not have to go to a specific venue as information is relayed to individuals most times at home.