Predicting mortality in adults with suspected infection in a Rwandan hospital: an evaluation of the adapted MEWS, qSOFA and UVA scores

Rationale: Mortality prediction scores are increasingly being evaluated in low and middle income countries (LMICs) for research comparisons, quality improvement and clinical decision-making. The modified early warning score (MEWS), quick Sequential (Sepsis-Related) Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA), and Universal Vital Assessment (UVA) score use variables that are feasible to obtain, and have demonstrated potential to predict mortality in LMIC cohorts.

Objective: To determine the predictive capacity of adapted MEWS, qSOFA and UVA in a Rwandan hospital.

Design, setting, participants and outcome measures: We prospectively collected data on all adult patients admitted to a tertiary hospital in Rwanda with suspected infection over 7 months. We calculated an adapted MEWS, qSOFA and UVA score for each participant. The predictive capacity of each score was assessed including sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value, OR, area under the receiver operating curve (AUROC) and performance by underlying risk quartile.

Results: We screened 19 178 patient days, and enrolled 647 unique patients. Median age was 35 years, and in-hospital mortality was 18.1%. The proportion of data missing for each variable ranged from 0% to 11.7%. The sensitivities and specificities of the scores were: adapted MEWS >4, 50.4% and 74.9%, respectively; qSOFA >2, 24.8% and 90.4%, respectively; and UVA >4, 28.2% and 91.1%, respectively. The scores as continuous variables demonstrated the following AUROCs: adapted MEWS 0.69 (95% CI 0.64 to 0.74), qSOFA 0.65 (95% CI 0.60 to 0.70), and UVA 0.71 (95% CI 0.66 to 0.76); there was no statistically significant difference between the discriminative capacities of the scores.

Conclusion: Three scores demonstrated a modest ability to predict mortality in a prospective study of inpatients with suspected infection at a Rwandan tertiary hospital. Careful consideration must be given to their adequacy before using them in research comparisons, quality improvement or clinical decision-making.

Perception and Attitude of Surgical Trainees in Nigeria to Trauma Care

Background. Trauma is still the leading cause of death in individuals between the ages of 1 and 44 years. Establishment of good trauma centres and systems has been shown to have a significant positive impact on outcomes. Surgical specialties, particularly trauma, are becoming less attractive in different parts of the world for a variety of reasons. Aim.  The aim of this study is to ascertain the perception and attitude of future surgeons towards trauma care in Nigeria. Materials and methods. This is a cross-sectional study using a pretested, structured, paper-based questionnaire which was administered to consecutive surgical trainees at the annual revision course of West African College of Surgeons. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 12, and results are presented in tables and figures. Results. One hundred and fifty-seven questionnaires were adequately completed with a male-to-female ratio of 18 : 1 and median age of 30 years. There is a general agreement among the respondents that trauma incidence in Nigeria is high or very high. While about 70% of the respondents believe that the Nigerian trauma system is poorly planned, about 19% think it is nonexistent. 81 (53.7%) agree or strongly agree that managing trauma patients is too stressful. A good number, 116 (74.4%), strongly agree that having a separate dedicated trauma unit will improve care and outcome. While 82% of the surgical trainees support post fellowship training in trauma, only 62.2% will like to have the training. There is no significant difference between the proportion of males and females who would like to have the training. Conclusion. Surgical trainees in Nigeria have good perception and positive attitude towards trauma care. Primary prevention measures must be emphasized during surgical trainees’ training in trauma.

A baseline review of the ability of hospitals in Kenya to provide emergency and critical care services for COVID-19 patients

As the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Kenya begin to rise, the number of severe and critical COVID-19 patients has the potential to quickly overload the local healthcare system beyond its capacity to treat people.

The purpose of this study was to gather information about the ability of hospitals in Kenya to provide emergency and critical care services and to identify priority actions for use by policymakers and other stakeholders as a roadmap toward strengthening the COVID-19 response in the country.

This was a comprehensive review of the published and grey literature on emergency and critical care services in Kenya published in the last three years through April 2020. Screening of articles was conducted independently by the authors and the final decision for inclusion was made collaboratively. A total of 15 papers and documents were included in the review.

Key recommendations.

There is an urgent need to strengthen prehospital emergency care in Kenya by establishing a single toll-free ambulance access number and an integrated public Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system to respond to severe and critical COVID-19 patients in the community and other emergency cases. Functional 24-h emergency departments (EDs) need to be established in all the level 4, 5 and 6 hospitals in the country to ensure these patients receive immediate lifesaving emergency care when they arrive at the hospitals. The EDs should be equipped with pulse oximeters and functioning oxygen systems and have the necessary resources and skills to perform endotracheal intubation to manage COVID-19-induced respiratory distress and hypoxia. Additional intensive care unit (ICU) beds and ventilators are also needed to ensure continuity of care for the critically ill patients seen in the ED. Appropriate practical interventions should be instituted to limit the spread of COVID-19 to healthcare personnel and other patients within the healthcare system. Further research with individual facility levels of assessment around infrastructure and service provision is necessary to more narrowly define areas with significant shortfalls in emergency and critical care services as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country increase.

The influence of travel time to health facilities on stillbirths: A geospatial case-control analysis of facility-based data in Gombe, Nigeria

Access to quality emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC); having a skilled attendant at birth (SBA); adequate antenatal care; and efficient referral systems are considered the most effective interventions in preventing stillbirths. We determined the influence of travel time from mother’s area of residence to a tertiary health facility where women sought care on the likelihood of delivering a stillbirth. We carried out a prospective matched case-control study between 1st January 2019 and 31st December 2019 at the Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe (FTHG), Nigeria. All women who experienced a stillbirth after hospital admission during the study period were included as cases while controls were consecutive age-matched (ratio 1:1) women who experienced a live birth. We modelled travel time to health facilities. To determine how travel time to the nearest health facility and the FTHG were predictive of the likelihood of stillbirths, we fitted a conditional logistic regression model. A total of 318 women, including 159 who had stillborn babies (cases) and 159 age-matched women who had live births (controls) were included. We did not observe any significant difference in the mean travel time to the nearest government health facility for women who had experienced a stillbirth compared to those who had a live birth [9.3 mins (SD 7.3, 11.2) vs 6.9 mins (SD 5.1, 8.7) respectively, p = 0.077]. However, women who experienced a stillbirth had twice the mean travel time of women who had a live birth (26.3 vs 14.5 mins) when measured from their area of residence to the FTHG where deliveries occurred. Women who lived farther than 60 minutes were 12 times more likely of having a stillborn [OR = 12 (1.8, 24.3), p = 0.011] compared to those who lived within 15 minutes travel time to the FTHG. We have shown for the first time, the influence of travel time to a major tertiary referral health facility on the occurrence of stillbirths in an urban city in, northeast Nigeria

Recommendations for the Management of COVID-19 in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

At the conclusion of its first year, the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic are still fluid. Today’s global and regional numbers on incidence and mortality are outdated just a few weeks later. Effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are becoming available, but the exact timeline of their availability, in particular in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), is still unclear. What has become clear, albeit not completely understood, is that many poorer countries have been hit less by the pandemic than high-income countries (HICs), even when accounting for underreporting related to more limited testing capacity. Many LMICs need to be commended for their generally faster public health responses at much earlier stages in their epidemics than their HIC counterparts. Also, likely because of the relatively younger population in LMICs than HICs, the estimated COVID-19 infection/ fatality ratio is typically around two to three deaths per 1,000 infections in LMICs, contrasted to six to 10 deaths per 1,000 infections observed in HICs with older populations.

Epidemiological Characteristics, Ventilator Management, and Clinical Outcome in Patients Receiving Invasive Ventilation in Intensive Care Units from 10 Asian Middle-Income Countries (PRoVENT-iMiC): An International, Multicenter, Prospective Study

Epidemiology, ventilator management, and outcome in patients receiving invasive ventilation in intensive care units (ICUs) in middle-income countries are largely unknown. PRactice of VENTilation in Middle-income Countries is an international multicenter 4-week observational study of invasively ventilated adult patients in 54 ICUs from 10 Asian countries conducted in 2017/18. Study outcomes included major ventilator settings (including tidal volume [V T ] and positive end-expiratory pressure [PEEP]); the proportion of patients at risk for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), according to the lung injury prediction score (LIPS), or with ARDS; the incidence of pulmonary complications; and ICU mortality. In 1,315 patients included, median V T was similar in patients with LIPS < 4 and patients with LIPS ≥ 4, but lower in patients with ARDS (7.90 [6.8–8.9], 8.0 [6.8–9.2], and 7.0 [5.8–8.4] mL/kg Predicted body weight; P = 0.0001). Median PEEP was similar in patients with LIPS < 4 and LIPS ≥ 4, but higher in patients with ARDS (five [5–7], five [5–8], and 10 [5–12] cmH2O; P < 0.0001). The proportions of patients with LIPS ≥ 4 or with ARDS were 68% (95% CI: 66–71) and 7% (95% CI: 6–8), respectively. Pulmonary complications increased stepwise from patients with LIPS < 4 to patients with LIPS ≥ 4 and patients with ARDS (19%, 21%, and 38% respectively; P = 0.0002), with a similar trend in ICU mortality (17%, 34%, and 45% respectively; P < 0.0001). The capacity of the LIPS to predict development of ARDS was poor (ROC AUC of 0.62, 95% CI: 0.54–0.70). In Asian middle-income countries, where two-thirds of ventilated patients are at risk for ARDS according to the LIPS and pulmonary complications are frequent, setting of V T is globally in line with current recommendations.

“Hanging in a balance”: A qualitative study exploring clinicians’ experiences of providing care at the end of life in the burn unit

Although the culture in burns/critical care units is gradually evolving to support the delivery of palliative/end of life care, how clinicians experience the end of life phase in the burn unit remains minimally explored with a general lack of guidelines to support them.

To explore the end of life care experiences of burn care staff and ascertain how their experiences can facilitate the development of clinical guidelines.

Interpretive-descriptive qualitative approach with a sequential two phased multiple data collection strategies was employed (face to face semi-structured in-depth interviews and follow-up consultative meeting). Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data.

The study was undertaken in a large teaching hospital in Ghana. Twenty burn care staff who had a minimum of 6 months working experience completed the interviews and 22 practitioners participated in the consultative meeting.

Experiences of burn care staff are complex with four themes emerging: (1) evaluating injury severity and prognostication, (2) nature of existing system of care, (3) perceived patient needs, and (4) considerations for palliative care in burns. Guidelines in this regard should focus on facilitating communication between the patient and family and staff, holistic symptom management at the end of life, and post-bereavement support for family members and burn care practitioners.

The end of life period in the burn unit is poorly defined coupled with prognostic uncertainty. Collaborative model of practice and further training are required to support the integration of palliative care in the burn unit.

Assessment of Knowledge and Compliance to Evidence-Based Guidelines for VAP Prevention among ICU Nurses in Tanzania

Background: Implementation of evidence-based guidelines (EBGs) related to VAP is an effective measure for the prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). While low knowledge regarding the EBGs related to VAP prevention among ICU nurses is still a major concern among nurses in ICUs globally, the situation in Tanzania is scarcely known. This study aimed to assess the ICU nurses’ knowledge, compliance, and barriers toward evidence-based guidelines for the prevention of VAP in Tanzania.

Methods: A cross-sectional study, involving ICU nurses of major hospitals in Tanzania, was conducted. A structured questionnaire was administered among 116 ICU. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and independent t-test.

Results: The mean knowledge score was 38.6% which is lower than the lowest ever reported knowledge score for EBGs for VAP prevention. Nurses with a degree or higher level of nursing education performed significantly better than the nurses with a diploma or lower level of nursing education(p=0.004). The mean self-reported adherence score for EBGs for the prevention of VAP was 60.8%. The main barriers to the implementation of EBGs for VAP prevention were lack of skills (96.6%), lack of adequate staff (95.5%), and lack of knowledge (79.3%).

Conclusion: Considering the severity and impact of VAP, and the higher risks of HAIs in resource-limited countries like Tanzania, the lower level of knowledge and compliance implies the need for on-going educational interventions and evaluation of the implementation of the EBGs for VAP prevention by considering the local context.

Potential impact of midwives in preventing and reducing maternal and neonatal mortality and stillbirths: a Lives Saved Tool modelling study

Strengthening the capacity of midwives to deliver high-quality maternal and newborn health services has been highlighted as a priority by global health organisations. To support low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) in their decisions about investments in health, we aimed to estimate the potential impact of midwives on reducing maternal and neonatal deaths and stillbirths under several intervention coverage scenarios.

For this modelling study, we used the Lives Saved Tool to estimate the number of deaths that would be averted by 2035, if coverage of health interventions that can be delivered by professional midwives were scaled up in 88 countries that account for the vast majority of the world’s maternal and neonatal deaths and stillbirths. We used four scenarios to assess the effects of increasing the coverage of midwife-delivered interventions by a modest amount (10% every 5 years), a substantial amount (25% every 5 years), and the amount needed to reach universal coverage of these interventions (ie, to 95%); and the effects of coverage attrition (a 2% decrease every 5 years). We grouped countries in three equal-sized groups according to their Human Development Index. Group A included the 30 countries with the lowest HDI, group B included 29 low-to-medium HDI countries, and group C included 29 medium-to-high HDI countries.

We estimated that, relative to current coverage, a substantial increase in coverage of midwife-delivered interventions could avert 41% of maternal deaths, 39% of neonatal deaths, and 26% of stillbirths, equating to 2·2 million deaths averted per year by 2035. Even a modest increase in coverage of midwife-delivered interventions could avert 22% of maternal deaths, 23% of neonatal deaths, and 14% of stillbirths, equating to 1·3 million deaths averted per year by 2035. Relative to current coverage, universal coverage of midwife-delivered interventions would avert 67% of maternal deaths, 64% of neonatal deaths, and 65% of stillbirths, allowing 4·3 million lives to be saved annually by 2035. These deaths averted would be particularly in the group B countries, which currently account for a large proportion of the world’s population and have high mortality rates compared with group C.

Midwives can help to substantially reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and stillbirths in LMICs. However, to realise this potential, midwives need to have skills and competencies in line with recommendations from the International Confederation of Midwives, to be part of a team of sufficient size and skill, and to work in an enabling environment. Our study highlights the potential of midwives but there are many challenges to the achievement of this potential. If increased coverage of midwife-delivered interventions can be achieved, health systems will be better able to provide effective coverage of essential sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, and adolescent health interventions.

New Venture Fund.

Magnitude of Surgical Site Infection and Its Associated Factors Among Patients Who Underwent a Surgical Procedure at Debre Tabor General Hospital, Northwest Ethiopia

Background: Surgical site infections are the commonest nosocomial infections and responsible for considerable morbidity and mortality as well as increased hospitalizations and treatment cost related to surgical operations. The aim of this study was to determine the magnitude and factors associated with surgical site infections at the surgical ward of Debre Tabor General Hospital, Northwest Ethiopia.

Method: Institution based cross-sectional study was conducted on patients who underwent a surgical procedure at Debre Tabor General Hospital in 2020. The sample size was determined using the single population proportion formula. Data were entered and analyzed using SPSS version 21 software. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions analysis were employed. The odds ratio and its 95% confidence interval were taken to test the association between the dependent and independent variables. A P-value of less than 0.05 will be considered statistically significant.

Result: In this study, a total of 191 patients have participated in the study yielding a response rate of 100%. The mean age of the respondents was 2.5 (SD ±0.68) years. The most age group 115(60.2%) resides at the age group greater than 40 years. More than one half(62.3) of the surgical clients were females. Most of the clients were farmers(32.5%) and unable to read and write(41.9) based on the occupation. The magnitude of surgical site infection in this study was found to be 11.5% (95% CI: 7.8%, 15.9%). The factors existence of comorbidity and antibiotic prophylaxis was given were found to be significantly associated with the magnitude of surgical site infection.

Conclusion: The magnitude of surgical site infection in this study was high. Proper management of patients with co-morbidity especially those with diabetes mellitus, proper administration of anesthesia, and delivering intravenous antimicrobial prophylaxis before surgery as ordered would significantly reduce the incidence of surgical site infection.