Too many yet too few caesarean section deliveries in Bangladesh: Evidence from Bangladesh Demographic and Health Surveys data

Caesarean section (CS) use is rising rapidly in Bangladesh, though lack of CS use remains common among disadvantage women. This increases risks of long-term obstetric complications as well as maternal and child deaths among disadvantage women. We aimed to determine the interaction effects of women’s disadvantage characteristics on CS use in Bangladesh. For this we have analysed a total of 27,093 women’s data extracted from five rounds of Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey conducted during 2004 and 2017/18. The outcome variable was CS use, coded as use (1) and non-use (0). The major exposure variables were individual level, household level, and community level characteristics. Multilevel logistic regression model was used to determine association of CS use with socio-demographic characteristics and the interactions of three variables: working status, wealth quintile, and place of residence. We found a 751% increase of CS use over the last 13 years—from 3.88% in 2004 to 33% in 2017/18. Nearly, 80% of the total CS operation occurred in the private health facilities followed by the government health facilities (15%). Women living in rural areas with no engagement in formal income generating activities showed a 11% (OR, 0.89, 95% CI, 0.71–0.99) lower use of CS in 2004. This association was further strengthened over time, and a 51% (OR, 0.49, 0.03–0.65) lower in CS use was reported in 2017/18. Similarly, around 12%-83% lower likelihoods of CS use were found among rural poor and poorer women. These indicate Bangladesh is facing a double burden of CS use, that is a group of women with improved socio-economic condition are using this life saving procedure without medical necessity while their counterpart of disadvantage characteristics could not access the service. Improved monitoring from the government along with support to use CS services for the disadvantage groups on necessity are important.

Factors Explaining Quality of Life among People with Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury in Bangladesh: A Cross-Sectional Study

Traumatic brain injury leads to mortality and disability with consequences for the poor quality of life of people. Little study regarding the quality of life of people with traumatic brain injury in Bangladesh exists. This cross-sectional study aims to examine the quality of life and its influencing factors among people with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. The participants were 249 people with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury, and their caregivers recruited from three public hospitals in Bangladesh. Data were collected through questionnaires including socio-demographic, the Injury Related Illness and Injury Severity Score questionnaire, the Charlson Comorbidity Index, the Modified Barthel Index, the Patients Health Questionnaire-9, the MOS-Social Support Survey, the Quality of Life after Brain Injury (QOLIBRI), the caregiver socio-demographic, and the Caregiver Preparedness Scale. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Pearson’s correlation test, and stepwise multiple regression model.
Results showed that majority of the people reported a poor quality of life. Stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed that social support, caregiver preparedness, depression, and income, were significant factors and could explain 37% variance of quality of life. To improve the quality of life among people with traumatic brain injury, nurses should seek significant resources to support them, perform emotional support to prevent depression and prepare their caregivers with knowledge and proper skills for patients’ care. Eventually, they can have healthy transition and obtain desirable health outcomes with good quality of life.

Exploring the lived experiences of pregnant women and community health care providers during the pandemic of COVID-19 in Bangladesh through a phenomenological analysis

Like many countries, the government of Bangladesh also imposed stay-at-home orders to restrict the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (COVID-19) in March, 2020. Epidemiological studies were undertaken to estimate the early possible unforeseen effects on maternal mortality due to the disruption of services during the lockdown. Little is known about the constraints faced by the pregnant women and community health workers in accessing and providing basic obstetric services during the pandemic in the country. This study was conducted to explore the lived experience of pregnant women and community health care providers from two southern districts of Bangladesh during the pandemic of COVID-19.

The study participants were recruited through purposive sampling and non-structured in-depth interviews were conducted. Data was collected over the telephone from April to June, 2020. The data collected was analyzed through a phenomenological approach.

Our analysis shows that community health care providers are working under tremendous strains of work load, fear of getting infected and physical and mental fatigue in a widely disrupted health system. Despite the fear of getting infected, the health workers are reluctant to wear personal protective suits because of gender norms. Similarly, the lived experience of pregnant women shows that they are feeling helpless; the joyful event of pregnancy has suddenly turned into a constant fear and stress. They are living in a limbo of hope and despair with a belief that only God could save their lives.

The results of the study present the vulnerability of pregnant women and health workers during the pandemic. It recognizes the challenges and constraints, emphasizing the crucial need for government and non-government organizations to improve maternal and newborn health services to protect the pregnant women and health workers as they face predicted waves of the pandemic in the futur

Barriers and facilitators to adherence to national drug policies on antibiotic prescribing and dispensing in Bangladesh

The National Drug Policy in Bangladesh prohibits the sale and distribution of antibiotics without prescription from a registered physician. Compliance with this policy is poor; prescribing antibiotics by unqualified practitioners is common and over-the-counter dispensing widespread. In Bangladesh, unqualified practitioners such as drug shop operators are a major source of healthcare for the poor and disadvantaged. This paper reports on policy awareness among drug shop operators and their customers and identifies current dispensing practices, barriers and facilitators to policy adherence.

We conducted a qualitative study in rural and urban Bangladesh from June 2019 to August 2020. This included co-design workshops (n = 4) and in-depth interviews (n = 24) with drug shop operators and customers/household members, key informant interviews (n = 12) with key personnel involved in aspects of the antibiotic supply chain including pharmaceutical company representatives, and model drug shop operators; and a group discussion with stakeholders representing key actors in informal market systems namely: representatives from the government, private sector, not-for-profit sector and membership organizations.

Barriers to policy compliance among drug shop operators included limited knowledge of government drug policies, or the government-led Bangladesh Pharmacy Model Initiative (BPMI), a national guideline piloted to regulate drug sales. Drug shop operators had no clear knowledge of different antibiotic generations, how and for what diseases antibiotics work contributing to inappropriate antibiotic dispensing. Nonetheless, drug shop operators wanted the right to prescribe antibiotics based on having completed related training. Drug shop customers cited poor healthcare facilities and inadequate numbers of attending physician as a barrier to obtaining prescriptions and they described difficulties differentiating between qualified and unqualified providers.

Awareness of the National Drug Policy and the BPMI was limited among urban and rural drug shop operators. Poor antibiotic prescribing practice is additionally hampered by a shortage of qualified physicians; cultural and economic barriers to accessing qualified physicians, and poor implementation of regulations. Increasing qualified physician access and increasing training and certification of drug shop operators could improve the alignment of practices with national policy.

Duration of intervals in the care seeking pathway for lung cancer in Bangladesh: A journey from symptoms triggering consultation to receipt of treatment

Timeliness in seeking care is critical for lung cancer patients’ survival and better prognosis. The care seeking trajectory of patients with lung cancer in Bangladesh has not been explored, despite the differences in health systems and structures compared to high income countries. This study investigated the symptoms triggering healthcare seeking, preferred healthcare providers (including informal healthcare providers such as pharmacy retailers, village doctors, and “traditional healers”), and the duration of intervals in the lung cancer care pathway of patients in Bangladesh. A cross-sectional study was conducted in three tertiary care hospitals in Bangladesh among diagnosed lung cancer patients through face-to-face interview and medical record review. Time intervals from onset of symptom and care seeking events were calculated and compared between those who sought initial care from different providers using Wilcoxon rank sum tests. Among 418 study participants, the majority (90%) of whom were males, with a mean age of 57 ±9.86 years, cough and chest pain were the most common (23%) combination of symptoms triggering healthcare seeking. About two-thirds of the total respondents (60%) went to informal healthcare providers as their first point of contact. Living in rural areas, lower levels of education and lower income were associated with seeking care from such providers. The median duration between onset of symptom to confirmation of diagnosis was 121 days, between confirmation of diagnosis and initiation of treatment was 22 days, and between onset of symptom and initiation of treatment was 151 days. Pre-diagnosis durations were longer for those who had sought initial care from an informal provider (p<0.05). Time to first contact with a health provider was shorter in this study compared to other developed and developing countries but utilizing informal healthcare providers caused delays in diagnosis and initiation of treatment. Encouraging people to seek care from a formal healthcare provider may reduce the overall duration of the care seeking pathway.

Predictors of Rehabilitation Service Utilisation among Children with Cerebral Palsy (CP) in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC): Findings from the Global LMIC CP Register

Background: We assessed the rehabilitation status and predictors of rehabilitation service utilisation among children with cerebral palsy (CP) in selected low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Methods: Data from the Global LMIC CP Register (GLM-CPR), a multi-country register of children with CP aged <18 years in selected countries, were used. Descriptive and inferential statistics (e.g., adjusted odds ratios) were reported. Results: Between January 2015 and December 2019, 3441 children were registered from Bangladesh (n = 2852), Indonesia (n = 130), Nepal (n = 182), and Ghana (n = 277). The proportion of children who never received rehabilitation was 49.8% (n = 1411) in Bangladesh, 45.8% (n = 82) in Nepal, 66.2% (n = 86) in Indonesia, and 26.7% (n = 74) in Ghana. The mean (Standard Deviation) age of commencing rehabilitation services was relatively delayed in Nepal (3.9 (3.1) year). Lack of awareness was the most frequently reported reason for not receiving rehabilitation in all four countries. Common predictors of not receiving rehabilitation were older age at assessment (i.e., age of children at the time of the data collection), low parental education and family income, mild functional limitation, and associated impairments (i.e., hearing and/or intellectual impairments). Additionally, gender of the children significantly influenced rehabilitation service utilisation in Bangladesh. Conclusions: Child’s age, functional limitation and associated impairments, and parental education and economic status influenced the rehabilitation utilisation among children with CP in LMICs. Policymakers and service providers could use these findings to increase access to rehabilitation and improve equity in rehabilitation service utilisation for better functional outcome of children with CP

Evaluation of a surgical treatment algorithm for neglected clubfoot in low-resource settings

Idiopathic clubfoot affects approximately 1/1000 alive-born infants, of whom 80–91% are born in low- or middle-income countries (LMICs). This retrospective study aimed to evaluate the morphological, functional, and social outcomes in patients with neglected clubfoot in rural Bangladesh, after receiving surgical treatment.

Patients received a posteromedial release (PMR) with or without an additional soft tissue intervention (group 1), a PMR with an additional bony intervention (group 2), or a triple arthrodesis (group 3) according to our surgical algorithm. Patients were followed until two year post-intervention. Evaluation was done using a modified International Clubfoot Study Group Outcome evaluation score and the Laaveg-Ponseti score.

Twenty-two patients with 32 neglected clubfeet (ages 2–24 years) received surgical treatment. Nineteen patients with 29 clubfeet attended follow-up. At two year follow-up an excellent, good, or fair Laaveg-Ponseti score was obtained in 81% (group 1), 80% (group 2), and 0% (group 3) of the patients (p value 0.0038). Age at intervention is inversely correlated with the Laaveg-Ponseti score at two year follow-up (p < 0.0001). All patients attended school or work and were able to wear normal shoes.

Our treatment algorithm is in line with other surgical algorithms used in LMICs. Our data reconfirms that excellent results can be obtained with a PMR regardless of age. Our algorithm follows a pragmatic approach that takes into account the reality on the ground in many LMICs. Good functional outcomes can be achieved with PMR for neglected clubfoot. Further research is needed to investigate the possible role of triple arthrodesis.

Assessing service availability and readiness to manage cervical cancer in Bangladesh

The second most common cancer among females in Bangladesh is cervical cancer. The national strategy for cervical cancer needs monitoring to ensure that patients have access to care. In order to provide accurate information to policymakers in Bangladesh and other low and middle income countries, it is vital to assess current service availability and readiness to manage cervical cancer at health facilities in Bangladesh.

An interviewer-administered questionnaire adapted from the World Health Organization Service Availability and Readiness Assessment Standard Tool was used to collect cross-sectional data from health administrators of 323 health facilities in Bangladesh. Services provided were categorized into domains and service readiness was determined by mean readiness index (RI) scores. Data analysis was conducted using STATA version 13.

There were seven tertiary and specialized hospitals, 118 secondary level health facilities, 124 primary level health facilities, and 74 NGO/private hospitals included in the study. Twenty-six per cent of the health facilities provided services to cancer patients. Among the 34 tracer items used to assess cancer management capacity of health facilities, four cervical cancer-specific tracer items were used to determine service readiness for cervical cancer. On average, tertiary and specialized hospitals surpassed the readiness index cutoff of 70% with adequate staff and training (100%), equipment (100%), and diagnostic facilities (85.7%), indicating that they were ready to manage cervical cancer. The mean RI scores for the rest of the health facilities were below the cutoff value, meaning that they were not prepared to provide adequate cervical cancer services.

The health facilities in Bangladesh (except for some tertiary hospitals) lack readiness in cervical cancer management in terms of guidelines on diagnosis and treatment, training of staff, and shortage of equipment. Given that cervical cancer accounts for more than one-fourth of all female cancers in Bangladesh, management of cervical cancer needs to be available at all levels of health facilities, with primary level facilities focusing on early diagnosis. It is recommended that appropriate standard operating procedures on cervical cancer be developed for each level of health facilities to contribute towards attaining sustainable developmental goals.

Global neurosurgery, Bangladesh and COVID-19 era

Background. COVID-19 has become an alarming pandemic for our earth. It has created panic not only in China but also in developing countries like Bangladesh. Bangladesh has adequate confinements to constrain the spread of the infection and in this circumstance, overall healthcare workers including neurosurgeons are confronting a ton of difficulties. The purpose of this paper is to depict the proficiency of Global neurosurgery in this COVID-19 time.

Method. Global neurosurgery offers the chance of fusing the best proof-based guidelines of care. This paper demonstrated that, in low to middle-income countries, Global medical procedure has been received to address the issues of residents who lack critical surgical care.

Results. Inappropriate and insufficient asset allotment has been a significant obstacle for the health system for decently giving security to the patients. The fundamental training process has been genuinely hampered in the current circumstance. Worldwide health activities have set to an alternate centre and Global neurosurgery as an assurance is slowed down.

Conclusion. This paper recommended that Global neurosurgical activities need to come forward and increase the workforce to emphasize surgical service.

Epidemiological characteristics of child injury in a tertiary paediatric surgical centre in Bangladesh

While high income countries (HICs) have reduced the mortality from child injury, it is increasing in the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, injury registry and reporting are inconsistent and not well developed in the LMICs. This study aims at describing the epidemiology of child injury in a tertiary paediatric surgical centre in Bangladesh. We retrospectively analysed all patients of injury between 0 and 12 years of age admitted in the Department of Paediatric Surgery, Chattogram Medical College Hospital during January 2017 to June 2020. Analysis was done for the hospital prevalence, age and sex distribution, seasonal variations, mechanism of injury, site of involvement, and mortality from injury. There were a total of 538 patients and male to female ratio was 2.01:1. Hospital prevalence was 6.71%. Mean age was 6.60 ± 3.32 years. School age children were affected more (51.7%); and “6-10 years” age group had the highest number injuries (251 patients, 46.65%). The most common mechanisms of injuries were road-traffic accident (RTA, 35.32%), followed by fall (26.39%) and „stab or cut injury‟ (20.63%). Males experienced more abdominal injuries and females had more perineal injuries (P=0.00). RTA was the commonest mechanism in males (37.05%) and falls were the commonest mechanism in females (32.96%). „Stab or cut injury‟ was the commonest mechanism in infants and toddlers, and RTA was commonest among pre-school and school age children. There were no significant seasonal variations (P=0.09). There were 5.76% intentional injuries. Mortality was 2.60% and major causes of mortality were RTA and animal assaults. Injuries were more prevalent during the mid-childhood with an overall increasing trend with age. Mechanism of injury and site of involvement were different among different age groups and between sexes.