Doha, 31 May, 2020: Since being designated a COVID-19 facility for the treatment of children at the start of April, Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Al Sadd Pediatric Emergency Center (PEC) has provided high-quality care for children with the virus.
“What we have seen, both in Qatar and around the world, is that people of all ages can contract COVID-19, but the evidence to date shows that very few children experience severe symptoms if they become infected. While this is encouraging, it does not mean that children are immune to the virus and we are seeing a number of children being admitted to Al Sadd PEC a result of moderate to severe COVID-19 symptoms,” said Dr. Mohammed Al Amri, Acting Chairman of Pediatrics and Director of Pediatric Emergency Centers.
The designation of Al Sadd PEC as a COVID-19 facility is part of the healthcare sector’s comprehensive plan to ensure that COVID-19 pediatric patients are given the very best medical care. Al Sadd PEC is a state-of-the-art medical facility and is enabling HMC to provide high-quality care for young patients with COVID-19 in one single facility.
“Our patient data shows that in Qatar more than 60 percent of people with COVID-19 are between 25 and 44 years of age but around three to four percent of positive cases are confirmed in children under the age of 14 years old,” explained Dr. Al Amri.
“For this reason, it is still extremely important for children to follow preventive measures to protect themselves from COVID-19. These include regular hand washing, not touching their eyes, nose, and mouth and adhering to physical distancing guidelines,” added Dr. Al Amri.
He also stressed that while children are at low risk of experiencing severe symptoms from the virus, they are just as likely as anyone else to pass the virus on to other family members.
“Children can act as carriers of COVID-19 and transmit the virus to parents or elderly relatives who may have chronic medial conditions and be more vulnerable to severe symptoms. As with many of the positive cases we are seeing in Qatar, children may be asymptomatic, meaning they have the virus but display no symptoms. Because of this it is important that all children stay at home as much as possible, even if they appear healthy, and adhere to social and physical distancing recommendations,” said Dr. Al Amri.
Dr. Al Amri explained that for many children it can be difficult to fully understand how their lives have been changed due to COVID-19. He said it is important that parents and caregivers take the time to explain what is happening to children and answer any questions they may have.