What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on the care of pediatric cancer patients internationally? It depends on the country, according to Dr. Muhammed Elhadi of the University of Tripoli in Libya.
Elhadi, an assistant professor of health, behavior, and policy at the university discussed his research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pediatric cancer patients with LabPulse.com at the recent American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meeting in New Orleans.
Elhadi's study, which began in 2020, looked at mortality in pediatric cancer patients in lower- and middle-income countries compared with those of higher-income countries. His team found much higher mortality rates in lower-income countries than higher-income countries, especially among patients who were COVID-positive.
Delays and disruptions in treatment or inability to access treatment due to the pandemic were common contributing factors to these high mortality rates. To address shortcomings in care for vulnerable patient groups in lower-income countries, Elhadi recommended better access to treatments such as chemotherapy and improved training for healthcare providers.
Although this study was completed before the emergence of COVID-19 vaccination programs, Elhadi noted that his team is working on research that addresses the effects of vaccination programs on both pediatric and adult cancer patients.
Watch the video below to learn more.