Delays in the treatment of diseases such as cancer due to the covid-19 pandemic will cause some 473,000 Latin Americans to fall into financial catastrophe, impoverishment and, in extreme cases, lead to death, according to a study carried out on Tuesday. region.
“The periods of interruption of health services, as well as their economic impact for the prioritization of covid-19 care, have generated a tsunami of patients who are not being treated regularly in health services”, said Fernando Giannoni, leader of Public Affairs and Communications for Latin America at Roche.
The specialist thus referred to the study “The impact of the covid-19 pandemic on cancer care in Latin America” developed by the Americas Health Foundation and a team of medical experts in conjunction with EY-Parthenon and the Catalyst Consulting Group and sponsored by Roche.RELATED
Said document specified that the economic impact of the pandemic on cancer care in Latin America will be 5,000 million dollars, due to delays in diagnosis and treatment in the region.
Added to this is the direct impact on patients, as the study also revealed that some 473,000 Latin Americans will be affected by a change in the clinical stage of cancer.
“They will die due to delayed treatment or fall into financial catastrophe and impoverishment,” warns the study.
In this regard, Giannoni specified that these interruptions in health services have “currently generated late diagnoses and will probably continue to impact the remission rates of the disease in cancer patients.”
He also said that a real contribution for patients should be considered, however, this brings with it the importance of combating the poor distribution of resources in the region by optimizing existing capacities.
“Including the use of technology and the use of data that inform decisions that return better results for patients and for health systems,” he deepened.
And he stressed that the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the ability of health systems to provide care to patients with pathologies and non-communicable diseases, such as cancer.
“For this reason, investment in health focused on this type of condition needs to be prioritized, since healthy populations are the cornerstone for the development of prosperous societies and sustainable health systems,” he asserted.
Currently, cancer is the second leading cause of death in Latin America, with more than 700,000 deaths recorded in 2020.
Finally, the expert said that, although it is important to recognize the figures of the economic impact, the crisis that this has generated in the lives of patients should be a focus of attention.
For this reason, the study carried out in the region highlights some measures to be implemented to strengthen health systems and improve their response capacity, such as prioritizing early detection and timely access to treatment.
It also suggests avoiding treatment interruptions for all types of cancer to reduce mortality rates and mitigate the economic impact.
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