National lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19 in Nepal started in March 2020. This lockdown mandated closure of private and public transportation. The patients with hematological malignancies were at risk of delayed consultation, admission and missing scheduled chemotherapy. Since there is no official tele-health or e-health system established in hospitals, we decided to use Viber, a free text and call app to trace and provide information about patient admission and treatment schedule. This use of Viber during the pandemic was found to be very helpful, none of the patients missed chemotherapy and we were able to admit more patients than before. Patients found this strategy very convenient and cost-effective and suggested that we continue this service in future even after the lockdown is lifted. This preliminary experience of using Viber for cancer care consultations in Nepal at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic suggests the utility and acceptability of using mobile technology to improve access to health care services in a low-income country. Further pre-planned well conducted studies are needed to assess the outcomes of using this technology.© the authors; licensee ecancermedicalscience.
About The Expert
Bishesh Sharma Poudyal