Introduction: The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has put some health systems under pressure, especially in low- and middle-income countries. We aimed at evaluating the impact of COVID-19 emergency on the management of people with epilepsy (PWE) living in the rural communities of the Gran Chaco area of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. Materials and methods: We selected a sample of PWE living in the rural communities of the Bolivian Chaco. A standardized questionnaire was developed, consisting of six questions addressing drug availability, drug discontinuation, personnel responsible for drug retrieval during the lockdown, and the presence of seizures in the two months preceding the interview. Questionnaires were administered by community health workers of the rural health centers in September 2020. Results: Seventy PWE (38 men, 54.3%; mean age 26.9 ± 16.7) were interviewed. During the lockdown the large majority of them (n = 51, 73.9%) reported an irregular medication intake mainly due to the lack of antiseizure medications in the local health posts, leading to an increase in seizure frequency. Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has unmasked the frailty of the Bolivian health system, especially for the management of chronic diseases such as epilepsy in the rural communities.

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on frail health systems of low- and middle-income countries: The case of epilepsy in the rural areas of the Bolivian Chaco

Nicoletti A.;Todaro V.;Cicero C. E.;Zappia M.;
2021-01-01

Abstract

Introduction: The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has put some health systems under pressure, especially in low- and middle-income countries. We aimed at evaluating the impact of COVID-19 emergency on the management of people with epilepsy (PWE) living in the rural communities of the Gran Chaco area of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. Materials and methods: We selected a sample of PWE living in the rural communities of the Bolivian Chaco. A standardized questionnaire was developed, consisting of six questions addressing drug availability, drug discontinuation, personnel responsible for drug retrieval during the lockdown, and the presence of seizures in the two months preceding the interview. Questionnaires were administered by community health workers of the rural health centers in September 2020. Results: Seventy PWE (38 men, 54.3%; mean age 26.9 ± 16.7) were interviewed. During the lockdown the large majority of them (n = 51, 73.9%) reported an irregular medication intake mainly due to the lack of antiseizure medications in the local health posts, leading to an increase in seizure frequency. Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has unmasked the frailty of the Bolivian health system, especially for the management of chronic diseases such as epilepsy in the rural communities.
Bolivia
COVID-19
Epilepsy
Health systems
Adolescent
Adult
Aged
Bolivia
Child
Communicable Disease Control
Developing Countries
Frail Elderly
Humans
Male
Pandemics
Rural Population
SARS-CoV-2
Surveys and Questionnaires
Young Adult
COVID-19
Epilepsy
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/511870
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