Childhood Cancer Care during COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world in an unprecedented way. Even as we come to terms with the new normal, our teams have been working non-stop to ensure the safety of our children, parents, staff and volunteers.
Here are some of the steps we have taken to stay ahead of the coronavirus:
- On-campus care:Amid the lockdown, our partner hospitals had advised all children to stay away from hospitals as much as possible because of their special vulnerability to secondary infections. To help, Tata Memorial Hospital set-up an OPD unit to screen children on our Cotton Green campus itself.
- Stocking up on essentials:In addition to the ration that is provided by us, St. Judes has also been offering provisions such as eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables to our young residents and their families.
- Procuring and delivering medicines:Our children who may have to return for follow-up treatments have been advised to stay home unless there is an emergency. Some families have been calling us in distress as they are not getting essential medicines in their rural towns and villages. We have been dispatching medicines to them through different resources.
- Virtual activities:As is the need of the hour, all activities at our centres have become virtual – from teachers conducting education sessions on whatsapp to online tutoring for older children. Our virtual volunteering program allows anyone willing to spend some time with the children remotely. Our counsellors are now conducting online sessions for families.
- Staff welfare:While all the non-essential staff, visitors and volunteers have been prohibited from entering the centres, we have made special transport arrangements for our centre staff, housekeeping team and security personnel to ensure they are being picked up and dropped to and from their homes to the centres.
- Hygiene and safety:We are making sure families are more vigilant and aware of good hygiene practices and are providing them all the essentials for personal care. The use of masks by all children, parents, and staff has been made mandatory. Regular use of sanitizers, PPE suits, soaps, disinfectants has also gone up.
- Transport to send families back:We have been arranging for train tickets, travel permits and private vehicles to send some of our children, and their families, back to their hometowns. These children were discharged by the hospital and were in our centres during the lockdown.