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COVID-19 significantly affects health services for non-communicable diseases

JNVA – Prevention and treatment services for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have been severely disrupted since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to a WHO survey released today. A survey completed by 155 countries over a 3-week period in May confirmed that the impact is global, but low-income countries are the most affected.

This condition is of significant concern as people living with NCD are at greater risk of severe COVID-19 related illness and death.

Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. "The results of this survey confirm what we have been hearing from countries for several weeks," said Tedros Adenom Ghebius. “Many people who require treatment for diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes are not getting the health services and medicines they need since the COVID-19 epidemic began. It is important that countries find innovative ways to ensure that essential services for NCDs continue, even as they fight COVID-19. "

Service interruptions are widespread

The main finding is that health services have been partially or completely disrupted in many countries. More than half (53%) of the countries surveyed have partial or completely interrupted services for the treatment of hypertension; 49% for the treatment of diabetes and diabetes-related complications; 42% for the treatment of cancer, and 31% for cardiac emergencies.

Rehabilitation services have been disrupted in about two-thirds (63%) of countries, even though rehabilitation is critical to a healthy recovery from COVID-19 after severe illness.

Staff revaluation and postpone screening

In the majority (94%) of the responding countries, health workers working in the field of NCDs were partially or fully convinced to support COVID-19.

Postponement of public screening programs (for example for breast and cervical cancer) was also widespread by more than 50% of countries. This was in line with the initial WHO recommendations to reduce non-essential facility-based care to combat the epidemic.

But the most common reasons for discontinuing or reducing services were the cancellation of planned treatments, a decrease in available public transport, and a shortage of staff as health workers were convinced to support COVID19 services. In one of the five countries (20%) disbanding, lack of medicines, diagnostics and other technologies was a main reason for discontinuing services.

Unexpectedly, there appears to be a correlation between the level of disruption of services for the treatment of NCDs and the development of an outbreak of COVID-19 in one country. Sporadic cases of coronary virus in the country increasingly disrupt services in the form of community transmission.

Globally, two-thirds of countries reported that they included NCD services in their national COVID-19 preparations and response plans; Income2% of high income countries comprise income2% compared to low income countries. Services addressing heart disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory illness were the most frequently involved. According to country reports, dental services, rehabilitation and tobacco cessation activities were not widely included in response plans.

Seventeen percent Reporting countries have started allocating additional funds from the government budget to include the provision of NCD services in their national COVID-19 scheme.

Alternative strategy for continuing care is being implemented

The survey's findings were encouraging that an alternative strategy has been established in most countries to support those at highest risk to continue receiving treatment for NCDs. Among countries reporting service disruptions, 58% of countries globally are now replacing in-person consultations for using telemedicine (advice via telephone or online means); The figure is 42% in low-income countries. Reporting has been widely used to set priorities in two-thirds of countries that prioritize reporting.

It is also encouraging that more than 70% of countries reported collecting data on the number of COVID-19 patients who also have NCDs.

Director of WHO's Department of Non-Communicable Diseases, Dr. "Some time ago we know the full extent of the impact of health care disruption during COVID-19 on people with non-infectious diseases," said Bente Mikkelsen. “What we now know is that not only are people with NCDs more susceptible to becoming seriously ill with the virus, but many are unable to use the treatment necessary to manage their illnesses. It is very important that caring not only for people living with NCDs is included in the national response and preparedness plans for COVID-19-ways, but that innovative ways are found to implement those plans. We find "better construction Must be prepared to "strengthen health services so that they are better equipped to provide prevention, diagnosis and care for NCDs under any circumstances in the future."

Editor's Note

Non-communicable diseases kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally. Each year, 15 million people die from an NCD between the ages of 30 and 69; More than 85% of these "premature" deaths occur in low and middle income countries.

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