Sunday, 19 July 2020

COVID-19 Pandemic and Childhood Cancer

None of us has ever seen anything like this before. And I am not talking about a viral infection. I am talking about the emergence of a new infection and the global and national response to it which has been without parallel. Over the last few months not only has the infection affected the health of millions and taken the lives of hundreds of thousands, it has brought the world to a HALT! Individuals, businesses and countries have borne the brunt of it and continue to do so.

It will be some time before this comes to pass. Meanwhile children with cancer (like those with many other illnesses) have been caught in this maelstrom with impact on their diagnosis, their treatment and eventually outcomes. In the face of such ongoing challenges, the global and the national pediatric oncology community has got together to respond on multiple fronts in many different ways.

The Global COVID-19 Observatory and Resource Center for Childhood Cancer is one such effort. Developed by SIOP and St Jude Global, this Resource Centre provides all relevant information to those caring for children with cancer including parents and families. The reader is encouraged to browse the website for further information.

Specifically I wanted to highlight two things.

Firstly, are the weekly COVID Conversations - a live webinar to discuss difficult issues, address pressing questions, and hear the experiences of our colleagues when it comes to caring for children with cancer during this pandemic. Several such Conversations have happened with one specifically relating to Experiences in India and Pakistan.

Secondly, is the Global Registry of COVID-19 in Pediatric Cancer which provides a visualisation of the impact of the virus on our patient population.

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