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The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to far-reaching changes in the delivery of healthcare services across Africa. A number of drugs used in the management of rheumatic diseases have been touted to have roles to play in the treatment and/or exacerbation of COVID-19 symptoms and this has resulted in significant changes in the practice of rheumatology. The global rheumatology community has risen to this challenge by demonstrating collaborative partnership, resulting in the establishment of the global rheumatology registry to collect data on rheumatic patients infected with COVID-19.1 In view of the study by Gianfrancesco et al ,2 an online survey consisting of 40 practice and experience questions ((online supplementary file 1) and (online supplementary file 2)) was created by the COVID-19 African Rheumatology Study Group which was formed through the network of the African League of Associations for Rheumatology (AFLAR). The aim of the study was to identify the changes in rheumatology practice and patient behaviour, as well as to highlight key concerns of rheumatologists across Africa resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 554 completed responses were received from 20 African countries. There were 431 (77.8%) responses from Northern Africa, 43 (7.8%) from West Africa, 6 (1%) from Central Africa, 20 (3.6%) from East Africa and 54 (9.8%) from Southern Africa. The scope of practice was adult only in 296 (53.4%), paediatric only in 15 (2.7%) and both in 243 (43.9%). A total of 288 (52.9%) of the respondents practised in academic institutions, while 162 (29.2%) practised primarily in a private setting. Forty-four (7.9%) were using hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) more than before, 19 (3.4%) admitted to have prescribed HCQ to prevent severe COVID-19 disease, 92 (16.6%) …
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