Placental pathology and maternal factors associated with stillbirth: An institutional based case-control study in Northern Tanzania

Objective
To determine the placental pathologies and maternal factors associated with stillbirth at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, a tertiary referral hospital in Northern Tanzania.

Methods
A 1:2 unmatched case-control study was carried out among deliveries over an 8-month period. Stillbirths were a case group and live births were the control group. Respective placentas of the newborns from both groups were histopathologically analyzed. Maternal information was collected via chart review. Mean and standard deviation were used to summarize the numerical variables while frequency and percentage were used to summarize categorical variables. Crude and adjusted logistic regressions were done to test the association between each variable and the risk of stillbirth.

Results
A total of 2305 women delivered during the study period. Their mean age was 30 ± 5.9 years. Of all deliveries, 2207 (95.8%) were live births while 98 (4.2%) were stillbirths. Of these, 96 stillbirths (cases) and 192 live births (controls) were enrolled. The average gestational age for the enrolled cases was 33.8 ±3.2 weeks while that of the controls was 36.3±3.6 weeks, (p-value 0.244). Of all stillbirths, nearly two thirds 61(63.5%) were males while the females were 35(36.5%). Of the stillbirth, 41were fresh stillbirths while 55 were macerated. The risk of stillbirth was significantly associated with lower maternal education [aOR (95% CI): 5.22(2.01–13.58)], history of stillbirth [aOR (95%CI): 3.17(1.20–8.36)], lower number of antenatal visits [aOR (95%CI): 6.68(2.71–16.48), pre/eclampsia [aOR (95%CI): 4.06(2.03–8.13)], and ante partum haemorrhage [OR (95%CI): 2.39(1.04–5.53)]. Placental pathology associated with stillbirth included utero-placental vascular pathology and acute chorioamnionitis.

Conclusions
Educating the mothers on the importance of regular antenatal clinic attendance, monitoring and managing maternal conditions during antenatal periods should be emphasized. Placentas from stillbirths should be histo-pathologically evaluated to better understand the possible aetiology of stillbirths.

A Situational Analysis of the Specialist Anaesthesia Workforce of East, Central and Southern Africa

Background:
An accurate account of the distribution of qualied anaesthesiologists in East, Central and Southern Africa has been lacking with most of the current publications being estimates of headline gures. As university training programmes, and more recently the College of Anaesthesiologists of East, Central and Southern Africa (CANECSA), work to scale up the anaesthesiology workforce, it is crucial to understand the scope of the need by carrying out an extensive survey. This is key to informing policymakers and stakeholders for tackling the problem of human resources for anaesthesia.
Methods:
The anaesthesiologist distribution in the eight CANECSA member countries was determined using a combination existing databases and collection of new data from sources such as CANECSA records, national medical council registers, national anaesthesiology society records, as well as data validation through direct and indirect contact with the anaesthesiologists. Data collation and analysis was performed using Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets and SPSS by assessing relevant frequencies and crosstabulations. Data
was stored in a cloud-based database managed by CANECSA.
Results:
411 qualied anaesthesiologists were identied within the CANECSA member countries, a rate of 0.21 anaesthesiologists per 100,000 population compared to 333 (0.17 anaesthesiologists per 100,000 population) reported by the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiology (WFSA) in 2015/2016. Newly quantied details on the distribution of anesthesiologists in the region include: the majority (89.5%) of anaesthesiologists perform clinical work and most (69.3%) are based in the main commercial cities of their countries of practice; only about one third (35.5%) are female; the majority are employed by government institutions (61.6%) and medical-training institutions (59.4%); and almost half (49.2%) of anaesthesiologists whose age was recorded ranged from 30 to 39 years.
Conclusion:
The numbers of anaesthesiologists in CANECSA member countries are still far below all international recommendations constituting only about 5% of the minimum recommended gures for LMICs. Anaesthesiologist are highly concentrated in the major cities of the region, with few in provincial and rural areas. Nonetheless, all trends suggest huge opportunities for advancing training of more anaesthesiologists through collaborative efforts.

Implementation Science Protocol for a participatory, theory-informed implementation research programme in the context of health system strengthening in sub-Saharan Africa (ASSET-ImplementER)

Background ASSET (Health System Strengthening in Sub-Saharan Africa) is a health system strengthening (HSS) programme that aims to develop and evaluate effective and sustainable solutions that support high-quality care that involve eight work packages across four sub-Saharan African countries. Here we present the protocol for the implementation science (IS) theme within ASSET that aims to (1) understand what HSS interventions work, for whom and how; and (2) how implementation science methodologies can be adapted to improve the design and evaluation of HSS interventions within resource-poor contexts.

Pre-implementation phase The IS theme, jointly with ASSET work-packages, applies IS determinant frameworks to identify factors that influence the effectiveness of delivering evidence-informed care. Determinants are used to select a set of HSS interventions for further evaluation, where work packages also theorise selective mechanisms to achieve the expected outcomes.

Piloting phase and rolling implementation phase Work-packages pilot the HSS interventions. An iterative process then begins involving evaluation, refection and adaptation. Throughout this phase, IS determinant frameworks are applied to monitor and identify barriers and enablers to implementation in a series of workshops, surveys and interviews. Selective mechanisms of action are also investigated. In a final workshop, ASSET teams come together, to reflect and explore the utility of the selected IS methods and provide suggestions for future use.

Structured templates are used to organise and analyse common and heterogeneous patterns across work-packages. Qualitative data are analysed using thematic analysis and quantitative data is analysed using means and proportions.

Conclusions We use a novel combination of implementation science methods at a programmatic level to facilitate comparisons of determinants and mechanisms that influence the effectiveness of HSS interventions in achieving implementation outcomes across different contexts. The study will also contribute conceptual development and clarification at the underdeveloped interface of implementation science, HSS and global health.

Neglected tropical diseases activities in Africa in the COVID-19 era: the need for a “hybrid” approach in COVID-endemic times

With the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic showing no signs of abating, resuming neglected tropical disease (NTD) activities, particularly mass drug administration (MDA), is vital. Failure to resume activities will not only enhance the risk of NTD transmission, but will fail to leverage behaviour change messaging on the importance of hand and face washing and improved sanitation—a common strategy for several NTDs that also reduces the risk of COVID-19 spread. This so-called “hybrid approach” will demonstrate best practices for mitigating the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by incorporating physical distancing, use of masks, and frequent hand-washing in the delivery of medicines to endemic communities and support action against the transmission of the virus through water, sanitation and hygiene interventions promoted by NTD programmes. Unless MDA and morbidity management activities resume, achievement of NTD targets as projected in the WHO/NTD Roadmap (2021–2030) will be deferred, the aspirational goal of NTD programmes to enhance universal health coverage jeopardised and the call to ‘leave no one behind’ a hollow one. We outline what implementing this hybrid approach, which aims to strengthen health systems, and facilitate integration and cross-sector collaboration, can achieve based on work undertaken in several African countries.

Organ Donation and Transplantation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Opportunities and Challenges

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), occupying about 80% of the African continent is a heterogeneous region with estimated population of 1.1 billion people in 47 countries. Most belong to the low resource countries (LRCs). The high prevalence of end-organ diseases of kidney, liver, lung and heart makes provision of organ donation and transplantation necessary. Although kidney and heart transplantations were performed in South Africa in the 1960s, transplant activity in SSA lags behind the developed world. Peculiar challenges militating against successful development of transplant programmes include high cost of treatment, low GDP of most countries, inadequate infrastructural and institutional support, absence of subsidy, poor knowledge of the disease condition, poor accessibility to health-care facilities, religious and trado-cultural practices. Many people in the region patronize alternative healthcare as first choice. Opportunities that if harnessed may alter the unfavorable landscape are: implementation of the 2007 WHO Regional Consultation recommendations for establishment of national legal framework and self-sufficient organ donation/transplantation in each country and adoption of their 2020 proposed actions for organ/transplantation for member states, national registries with sharing of data with GODT, prevention of transplant commercialization and tourism. Additionally, adapting some aspects of proven successful models in LRCs will improve transplantation programmes in SSA.

Efficacy of Trans-abdominis Plane Block for Post Cesarean Delivery Analgesia in Low-income Countries: a Phase Three Feasibility Study.

Background: Optimal pain control in a parturient woman undergoing caesarean section is essential for preventing complications such as venous thrombo-embolism and improving maternal satisfaction, early
functional recovery, mother-baby bond and breastfeeding. Intentional pain assessment and adequate management to acceptable pain severity using multimodal methods can be achieved in low-middle
income countries (LMICs).

Aim: Is to assess the efficacy of transversus abdominis plane (TAP) block and satisfaction post-cesarean delivery analgesia at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Low-Income countries.
Methods: The study population consisted of 72 participants who met criteria posted for elective and emergency caesarean section. They were blindly assigned into two groups: group A was the interventional group which received TAP block and standard pain management according to local protocols and consisted of 41 participants and group B was the control group which received standard pain management without TAP block and consisted of 31 participants. In Group A 30ml of 0.25% bupivacaine single shot was deposited in the TAP plane bilaterally for postoperative analgesia. Participants were randomized using a parallel method. Their demographics were recorded before surgery and visual analogue scale was used to assess postoperative pain at rest and on movement, and maternal satisfaction at 0hrs, 6hrs, 12hrs and 24hrs.
Results: Total of 72 patients were analyzed using NRS with pain score at 0hr, 6hr and 12hr was significantly low by about 50% in Intervened group as compared to control group with (p-value (2 tail) of <0.001 however at 24 hrs. was 0.272. Participant in group A had extra movements at 0hr, 6hrs and 12hrs with p-value <0.001 as compare to control cut had no significant difference when coughing. Maternal
satisfaction with pain management was 95.1% with no reported adverse event.

Conclusions: Trans Abdominis Plane block when used as part of multimodal pain management is more effective in managing post-cesarean pain resulting in less physical limitation and high maternal satisfaction.

Analysing the Operative Experience of Paediatric Surgical Trainees in Sub-Saharan Africa Using a Web-Based Logbook

Background
The expansion of local training programmes is crucial to address the shortages of specialist paediatric surgeons across Sub-Saharan Africa. This study assesses whether the current training programme for paediatric surgery at the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) is exposing trainees to adequate numbers and types of surgical procedures, as defined by local and international guidelines.
Methods
Using data from the COSECSA web-based logbook, we retrospectively analysed numbers and types of operations carried out by paediatric surgical trainees at each stage of training between 2015 and 2019, comparing results with indicative case numbers from regional (COSECSA) and international (Joint Commission on Surgical Training) guidelines.
Results
A total of 7,616 paediatric surgical operations were recorded by 15 trainees, at different stages of training, working across five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Each trainee recorded a median number of 456 operations (range 56–1111), with operative experience increasing between the first and final year of training. The most commonly recorded operation was inguinal hernia (n = 1051, 13.8%). Trainees performed the majority (n = 5607, 73.6%) of operations recorded in the eLogbook themselves, assisting in the remainder. Trainees exceeded both local and international recommended case numbers for general surgical procedures, with little exposure to sub-specialities.
Conclusions
Trainees obtain a wide experience in common and general paediatric surgical procedures, the number of which increases during training. Post-certification may be required for those who wish to sub-specialise. The data from the logbook are useful in identifying individuals who may require additional experience and centres which should be offering increased levels of supervised surgical exposure.

Surgical data strengthening in Ethiopia: results of a Kirkpatrick framework evaluation of a data quality intervention

Background: One key challenge in improving surgical care in resource-limited settings is the lack of high-quality and informative data. In Ethiopia, the Safe Surgery 2020 (SS2020) project developed surgical key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate surgical care within the country. New data collection methods were developed and piloted in 10 SS2020 intervention hospitals in the Amhara and Tigray regions of Ethiopia.

Objective: To assess the feasibility of collecting and reporting new surgical indicators and measure the impact of a surgical Data Quality Intervention (DQI) in rural Ethiopian hospitals.

Methods: An 8-week DQI was implemented to roll-out new data collection tools in SS2020 hospitals. The Kirkpatrick Method, a widely used mixed-method evaluation framework for training programs, was used to assess the impact of the DQI. Feedback surveys and focus groups at various timepoints evaluated the impact of the intervention on surgical data quality, the feasibility of a new data collection system, and the potential for national scale-up.

Results: Results of the evaluation are largely positive and promising. DQI participants reported knowledge gain, behavior change, and improved surgical data quality, as well as greater teamwork, communication, leadership, and accountability among surgical staff. Barriers remained in collection of high-quality data, such as lack of adequate human resources and electronic data reporting infrastructure.

Conclusions: Study results are largely positive and make evident that surgical data capture is feasible in low-resource settings and warrants more investment in global surgery efforts. This type of training and mentorship model can be successful in changing individual behavior and institutional culture regarding surgical data collection and reporting. Use of the Kirkpatrick Framework for evaluation of a surgical DQI is an innovative contribution to literature and can be easily adapted and expanded for use within global surgery.

Surgical candidacy and treatment initiation among women with cervical cancer at public referral hospitals in Kampala, Uganda: a descriptive cohort study

Objectives This study aimed to report the proportion of women with a new diagnosis of cervical cancer recommended for curative hysterectomy as well as associated factors. We also report recommended treatments by stage and patterns of treatment initiation.

Design This was an observational cohort study. Inperson surveys were followed by a phone call.

Setting Participants were recruited at the two public tertiary care referral hospitals in Kampala, Uganda.

Participants Adult women with a new diagnosis of cervical cancer were eligible: 332 were invited to participate, 268 met the criteria and enrolled, and 255 completed both surveys.

Primary and secondary outcomes measures The primary outcome of interest was surgical candidacy; a secondary outcome was treatment initiation. Descriptive and multivariate statistical analyses examined the associations between predictors and outcomes. Sensitivity analyses were performed to examine outcomes in subgroups, including stage and availability of radiation.

Results Among 268 participants, 76% were diagnosed at an advanced stage (IIB–IVB). In total, 12% were recommended for hysterectomy. In adjusted analysis, living within 15 km of Kampala (OR 3.10, 95% CI 1.20 to 8.03) and prior screening (OR 2.89, 95% CI 1.22 to 6.83) were significantly associated with surgical candidacy. Radiotherapy availability was not significantly associated with treatment recommendations for early-stage disease (IA–IIA), but was associated with recommended treatment modality (chemoradiation vs primary chemotherapy) for locally advanced stage (IIB–IIIB). Most (67%) had started treatment. No demographic or health factor, treatment recommendation, or radiation availability was associated with treatment initiation. Among those recommended for hysterectomy, 55% underwent surgery. Among those who had initiated treatment, 82% started the modality that was recommended.

Conclusion Women presented to public referral centres in Kampala with mostly advanced-stage cervical cancer and few were recommended for surgery. Most were able to initiate treatment. Lack of access to radiation did not significantly increase the proportion of early-stage cancers recommended for hysterectomy.

Effectiveness of interventions for improving timely diagnosis of breast and cervical cancers in low and middle-income countries: a systematic review protocol

Introduction
Breast and cervical cancers pose a major public health burden globally, with disproportionately high incidence, morbidity and mortality in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The majority of women diagnosed with cancer in LMICs present with late-stage disease, the treatment of which is often costlier and less effective. While interventions to improve the timely diagnosis of these cancers are increasingly being implemented in LMICs, there is uncertainty about their role and effectiveness. The aim of this review is to systematically synthesise available evidence on the nature and effectiveness of interventions for improving timely diagnosis of breast and cervical cancers in LMICs.

Methods
and analysis A comprehensive search of published and relevant grey literature will be conducted. The following electronic databases will be searched: MEDLINE (via PubMed), Cochrane Library, Scopus, CINAHL, Web of Science and the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). Evidence will be synthesised in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). Two reviewers will independently screen the search outputs, select studies using predefined inclusion criteria and assess each included study for risk of bias. If sufficient data are available and studies are comparable in terms of interventions and outcomes, a meta-analysis will be conducted. Where studies are not comparable and a meta-analysis is not appropriate, a narrative synthesis of findings will be reported.

Ethics and dissemination
As this will be a systematic review of publicly available data, with no primary data collection, it will not require ethical approval. Findings will be disseminated widely through a peer-reviewed publication and forums such as conferences, workshops and community engagement sessions. This review will provide a user-friendly evidence summary for informing further efforts at developing and implementing interventions for addressing delays in breast and cervical cancer diagnosis in LMICs.