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COVID-19 and the practice of rheumatology in Africa: big changes to services from the shockwave of a pandemic
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  1. Richard Oluyinka Akintayo1 COVID-19 African Rheumatology Study Group,
  2. Akpabio Akpabio2,
  3. Asgar Kalla3,
  4. Dzifa Dey4,
  5. Angela Migowa5,
  6. Hakeem Olaosebikan6,
  7. Rachid Bahiri7,
  8. Yasser El Miedany8,
  9. Djohra Hadef9,
  10. Wafa Hamdi10,
  11. Omondi Oyoo11,
  12. Samy Slimani12,
  13. Abubakar Yerima13,
  14. Yassmin Taha14,
  15. Adewale Adebajo15,
  16. Olufemi Adelowo6,
  17. Mohammed Tikly16,
  18. Imad Ghozlani17,
  19. Kawther Ben Abdelghani18,
  20. Nermeen Ahmed Fouad19,
  21. Doaa Mosad20,
  22. Dalia El Mikkawy8,
  23. Mohamed Hassan Abu-Zaid21,
  24. Rasha A Abdel-Magied22
  1. 1 Rheumatology, Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen, UK
  2. 2 Internal Medicine, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo, Nigeria
  3. 3 Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  4. 4 Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Ghana Medical School, Korle bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana
  5. 5 Paediatrics and Child Health, Aga Khan University Faculty of Health Sciences East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya
  6. 6 Medicine, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Nigeria
  7. 7 Rheumatology, El Ayachi Hospital, Medical university, Rabat, Morocco
  8. 8 Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt
  9. 9 Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Batna 2 University, Batna, Algeria
  10. 10 Kassab institute of orthopedics, Faculty of Medicine, Tunis El Manar University, Tunis, Tunisia
  11. 11 Department of clinical medicine and therapeutics, University of Nairobi College of Health Sciences, Nairobi, Kenya
  12. 12 Rheumatology, Atlas Clinic of Rheumatology, Batna, Algeria
  13. 13 Medicine, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri, Nigeria
  14. 14 Department of Paediatrics, Ahmed Gasim Children’s Hospital, Khartoum, Sudan
  15. 15 Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  16. 16 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
  17. 17 Rheumatology, Military Hospital, Agadir, Morocco
  18. 18 Mongi Slim Hospital - faculty of Medicine, University of Tunis El Manar, Tunis, Tunisia
  19. 19 Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Fayoum University, Fayoum, Egypt
  20. 20 Pediatrics Department, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt
  21. 21 Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt
  22. 22 Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Elminia University, El Minia, Egypt
  1. Correspondence to Dr Richard Oluyinka Akintayo, Rheumatology, Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen DG2 8RX, UK; richocounlimited{at}gmail.com

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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.

Supplemental material

[annrheumdis-2020-218273supp001.pdf]

Supplemental material

[annrheumdis-2020-218273supp002.pdf]

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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