How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the services that the Foundation provides to children with cancer?
At the beginning of the pandemic, Alexandra Matos relates, they coordinated with the Onco-Hematology department of the Dr. Robert Reíd Cabral Children's Hospital, where children used to go, to give them continuity with their consultation and chemotherapy services. During the two months that they have been in quarantine, they have had 437 consultations and have applied chemotherapy to 274 children. The children's transport service to the hospital and back to their homes is maintained, but the accommodation service was suspended.
In addition, together with the hospital, they developed a protocol so that the treatment of boys and girls was not so intense; COVID-19 prevention measures were disseminated, and the cleaning of the facilities was supported. In these seven months, the specialist explained that thanks to the emergency plan, which began in March and has continued through October 2020, 197 children were admitted in a timely manner to the national referral center to receive their intense chemotherapy cycles and another 767 outpatients received chemotherapy in the area called Hospital of the Day, "Hospital del Día."
What are the main challenges you are currently facing?
Alexandra Matos points out that blood provision is one of the main challenges today because the number of donors has tended to decrease, for example, from 14 in one day to 8 the next day. To address this challenge, the Foundation installed a mobile unit to facilitate blood donation.
For now, it is essential to maintain the transport service and ensure access to medicines.
They would also like to advance in digitizing in the medical aspect and, later on, continue with a project to build a pediatric hospital, which was being organized before the pandemic and they had received support from various sponsors.