Philippine Journal of Surgical Specialties Vol. 75, No. 1, January-June 2020, pp 27-29

AFNI Advisory for Neurosurgery During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author(s): The Academy of Filipino Neurosurgeons, Inc.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a highly infectious viral illness originating from Wuhan, China that can lead to respiratory failure, multiple organ failure, and death. On March 11, 2020 COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the WHO and shortly thereafter, on March 16, 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte declared the entire island of Luzon, Philippines under “Enhanced Community Quarantine” (ECQ). The Luzon-wide ECQ was then extended up to April 30, 2020 upon the recommendation of the COVID-19 Interagency Task Force (IATF) to further control the spread of the infection and to prevent the country’s health facilities and resources from being overwhelmed by the potential surge of seriously ill COVID-19 patients. In line with the ECQ proclamation, the Philippine College of Surgeons (PCS) released a March 14, 2020 recommendation for the management of elective surgeries to “Minimize all elective and urgent procedures, including cancellation of already scheduled surgeries and all other procedures such as endoscopy or interventional procedures…”

As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine health system is challenged on many fronts: the virus infecting scores of people, the handicap of scarcity of supplies for protection of health care workers, the government’s efforts to contain the virus and mitigate its effects, and for the physicians, the added burden of treating the usual number of patients suffering from other illnesses who may or may not be infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The neurosurgeons working in the Philippines, the majority of whom are members of the Academy of Filipino Neurosurgeons, Inc (AFNI) are as equally affected with the same problems as the rest of the medical community working within the Philippine health system. Added to this is the small population of neurosurgeons who typically take care of huge volumes of patients. These neurosurgeons still need to take care of patients suffering from the usual neurosurgical conditions but
who now may or may not be suffering from COVID-19.

The following AFN Advisories were formulated to guide the local neurosurgeons in carrying out their task of treating patients suffering from neurosurgical conditions during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, while minimizing the risks to themselves and their patients.

Key words: Neurosurgical Operations During the Covid-19 Pandemic, neurosurgeon surgical