The Covid-19 outbreak has brought many new challenges to the management of childhood cancer patients. Our partners at Mbingo Baptist Hospital give an update from the front line.
Words by Tony Vinyoh.
Even behind her new mask from World Child Cancer Dr Francine Kouya can’t hide her delight. One of her patients from Douala in Cameroon was discharged and sent home. Normally that’s routine, except this child suffering from lymphoma had also caught the coronavirus.
At Mbingo Baptist Hospital Dr Kouya and her team face a new challenge. Their patients are more vulnerable to the coronavirus, and if they get infected they have to be isolated with the rest of the patients in a building that has been set aside to manage coronavirus cases.
High quality PPE for hospital staff
World Child Cancer has donated masks, gloves, buckets with taps, and infrared thermometers to Mbingo Baptist Hospital, and continues to hold remote sessions with Mbingo staff to share the latest updates on how to handle the twin challenge of cancer and Covid-19. The equipment has had the added benefit of boosting morale among staff who were scared they might get infected while caring for patients. Now they feel secure going into work every morning.
Training and new ways of working
Plans have been put in place to provide support for childhood cancer patients with Covid-19, and staff are regularly drilled on the new partnership put in place to tackle the pandemic. Nurses at the isolation ward have received training on how to administer chemo and other drugs to children with cancer. Oncology staff inform nurses before they approach the isolation ward. Adequately protected, they deliver medication at the door where they are picked up by isolation ward staff. The drugs are properly labelled with dose and instructions on how to administer, but when necessary oncology staff go into the ward to see for themselves how their patients are doing.
The partnership extends to patients, caregivers and nonclinical staff as they have to protect themselves to help everyone at the hospital fight Covid-19.