COVID-19 infection: NCCP issues guidelines
By Eunice Ruth
The National Cancer Control Programme(NCCP) states that measures should be taken to protect cancer patients and caregivers from COVID-19, as they are more vulnerable to infection due to having low immunity.
The Director of the Programme and Consultant Community Physician, Dr. Janaki Vidanapathirana noted that palliative care patients constitute the most vulnerable group in this regard due to receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.
“Cancer patients and their caregivers should maintain good hygiene practices by following COVID-19 health guidelines and taking protective measures such as covering the mouth and nose with a tissue or face mask, avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and sharing personal items (food, bottle, towel, among others), and by cleaning and disinfecting the surroundings and items used on a daily basis (wheelchair, walking aids),” said Vidanapathirana.
She also urged patients and caregivers to avoid leaving home as much as possible and to restrict visitors, friends and relatives from visiting their homes. Also, cancer patients should especially be given a separate room and those who are ill should not have contacts with cancer patients, she said.
“If a cancer patient or caregiver is having any respiratory symptoms like cough or sore throat or experiencing difficulty in breathing, or fever, they should immediately seek medical advice and act accordingly,” she said.