THE EDITOR: The Multiple Sclerosis Support Foundation of TT (MSSFTT) was formed in May 2017 to represent the interests of people suffering from multiple sclerosis in the country.
In the context of restrictions posed by the current covid19 problem, a survey of the patients of the foundation showed high distress among them.
The survey, by telephone, was done with 20 members of the chat group of the MSSFTT (out of approximately 25 of the chat group) in order to ascertain whether and to what extent covid19 restrictions had impacted them.
The results showed that six people had no specific problems, five experienced postponement of their appointments in the public sector and six could not access recommended drugs from there as well.
In addition, one person travelled to three clinics to obtain in search of her drug – from Mt Hope to San Fernando and then to Sangre Grande but was yet unable to obtain the medication.
Additionally, seven people reported miscellaneous problems such as family restlessness, difficulty on the job, scheduled tests postponement, no treatment given, delays/cancellations, pain in the face/gums and unable to see the doctor, inability to have medical consultations for acute symptoms, emotional and psychological distress, and loss of job.
In general, almost 75 per cent of them experienced postponement of their appointments and inability to access necessary drugs or services, therefore worsening of their immediate health status. Access to drugs and services for MS people were truncated by covid19 conditions/restrictions.
An important implication of the impact of this is that non-covid19, immune-system-compromised patients have a higher risk of worsening of their conditions, and therefore a higher risk of contracting covid19 in this environment.
DR DAPHNE PHILLIPS