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Effect of COVID-19-related lockdown on functional urology practice and patient care in Gulf Cooperation Council region

1 Department of Urology, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, International Medical Center, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Surgery, Urology Unit, Amiri Hospital, Kuwait City, Kuwait
4 Department of Urology, University Hospital Sharjah, Medical College, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
5 Department of Urology, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
6 Department of Urology, Royal Oman Police Hospital, Mina Al Fahal, Muscat, Oman
7 Department of Urology, Bahrain Defence Force Hospital, Manama, Bahrain
8 Department of Urology, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Ad Dawhah, Qatar

Correspondence Address:
Mai Ahmed Banakhar,
Department of Urology, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ua.ua_54_21

Background: This survey was designed and conducted during the lockdown period to assess its effect on urology practice dealing with patients with voiding dysfunction and their care in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. Methods: An online survey was sent across to urologists managing patients with voiding dysfunction in countries of the GCC region through various social media platforms. All valid responses were tabulated and analyzed. Results: A total of 202 responses were received. Higher proportion of urologists in private sector (98.2%) were treating patients in comparison to those in public or governmental hospitals (82.7%); (P = 0.007). Telemedicine was used by 72% of the respondents. Telephone calls were preferred With regard to perception of risk while examining patients, 65% of the respondents felt that their risk was equal to other specialties. Their preferred prevention strategy would be pre-operative screening. Financial impact affected only 10% claimed major catastrophic effect. There was a significant difference between private and public government urology services provided, with a higher proportion of patients seen, operations performed, fees charged for telemedicine, and financial effect in the private sector with P = 0.012, P = 0.037, P = 0.004, and P = 0.001, respectively. Conclusion: Our survey showed that majority of urologists in the GCC region were seeing patients during COVID-19 lockdown. Emergency services were prioritized. A large proportion of urologists had switched over to telephonic communication. Most of the responding urologists were uncertain about when and how to resume surgical procedures upon easing of the COVID-19-related restrictions.

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