With 472 million children, India has the largest child population in the world with a birth cohort of 2.8 crore per year. In the times of social distancing, telemedicine has emerged as the preferred means of seeking quality healthcare, especially for children. Shweta, a working mother, while juggling between work and home, prefers to consult her pediatrician on Practo over a video or voice call to seek advice on vaccination and other issues for her 2-year-old.
Vaccinations play a vital part in a child’s health routine and while various regular immunization programs have been impacted, any subsequent delay of a vaccine dose may impact the overall vaccination cycle. This makes the child susceptible to a disease which they would otherwise be protected from, if vaccinated as per the World Health Organization’s 2020 campaign for the World Immunization Week 2020 – #VaccineWorks for All. Hence, it is important for parents to consult doctors who can guide them on the next steps on vaccination.
Not just vaccinations or coronavirus symptoms, telemedicine is also helping parents by addressing their common queries related to routine check-ups, precautionary measures, diagnosis and treatment of pre-existing medical problems — all from the comfort of their homes.
According to Practo Health Insights:
- Online queries for Pediatrics on Practo’s eConsult platform witnessed a growth of 350% since March 1st
- Pediatrics is the fastest growing speciality on Practo’s telemedicine platform
- Top queries discussed were Cough and cold in babies, impact of delayed vaccination, fever and headache in toddlers and motion problems during summer
- Most common queries on vaccination include BCG vaccination, Painless vaccination for infants, Impact of delay on administering influenza vaccine, Missed PCV vaccination cycle, and typhoid vaccination for affected children during lockdown
- People in the age group of 31-40 top the chart, accounting for almost 50% of all pediatric queries
- This is closely followed by people in the age group of 21-30 and people aged 60 and above
- 67% of all pediatrics-related consults come from men, while 33% were from women
- Among women, pediatrics grew more than 150% in both metros and tier 2+ cities
- Most of the queries related to pediatrics were from Bangalore, followed by Hyderabad, Delhi NCR, Chennai, and Mumbai
- Tier 2+ cities where most of the queries came from are Chandigarh, Patna, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, and Indore
Dr Alexander Kuruvilla, Chief Healthcare Strategy Officer, Practo, said, “In the current times of social distancing and lockdown, it is important that we choose platforms that help us manage our health from home rather than visiting hospitals. Telemedicine is the best way for a preliminary check-up or a follow-up consultation, especially for children and infants, as even the smallest of symptoms can cause immense worry to the parents. Seeking timely medical help in such situations is a must. Parents residing in any corner of the country can clarify their queries with the best pediatricians available on our platform, 24*7. We are continuously working towards providing parents non-stop access to verified doctors and will introduce more initiatives in the coming days to ensure that.”
“Telemedicine is a great way to respond to parents who have questions around issues like feeding, vaccinations, minor issues or their child’s behavior—issues that really matter to parents but, because of lockdown, may have had to wait to be addressed if not for telemedicine. If their kids are due for vaccinations, they should as a first step consult a doctor online and check with them on the best possible ways to get it done on time. To avoid the delay, home vaccination is being offered. But parents should be very cautious before opting for it as reaction to vaccines can become serious and it will be difficult to treat such emergencies during home administration. More importantly, it is vital that parents are well-informed in order to take the right decision for their infants, because every vaccine contributes to their overall healthy well-being,” says Dr Prashanth S Urs, HOD, Sr Consultant Neonatologist and Pediatrician, Department of Neonatology, Apollo Hospital, Bangalore.