Gynecological hysterectomy in Northern Tanzania: a cross- sectional study on the outcomes and correlation between clinical and histological diagnoses

Background
Hysterectomy is one of the most common gynaecological procedures performed worldwide. The magnitude of the complications related to hysterectomy and their risk factors are bound to differ based on locations, availability of resources and level of surgical training. Documented complications rates and their correlates are reported from high income countries while data from low- and middle-income countries including Tanzania is scare.
Methods
This was a hospital based cross-sectional study conducted at a tertiary facility in northern Tanzania where 178 women who underwent elective gynecological hysterectomies in the department of obstetrics and gynecology within the study period were enrolled. Logistic regression was performed to determine the association between risk factors and occurrence of surgical complication where p-value of  2 h) (OR 5.02; 95% CI 2.18–11.5). Both uterine fibroid and adenomyosis had good correlation of clinical and histological diagnosis (p-value < 0.001).
Conclusion
Bleeding and blood transfusion were the most common complications observed in this study. Obesity, previous abdominal operation and prolonged duration of operation were the most significant risk factors for the complications. Local tailored interventions to reduce surgical complications of hysterectomy are thus pivotal. Clinicians in this locality should have resources at their disposal to enhance definitive diagnosis attainment before surgical interventions.

Aetiologies and Outcomes of Patients With Abdominal Pain Presenting to an Emergency Department of a Tertiary Hospital in Tanzania: A Prospective Cohort Study

Background: Abdominal pain in adults represents a wide range of illnesses, often warranting immediate intervention. This study is to fill the gap in the knowledge about incidence, presentation, causes and mortality from abdominal pain in an established emergency department of a tertiary hospital in Tanzania.

Methods: This was a prospective cohort study of adult (age ≥ 18 years) patients presenting to the Emergency Medicine Department of Muhimbili National Hospital (EMD-MNH) in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania with non-traumatic abdominal pain from September 2017 to October 2017. A case report form was used to record data on demographics, clinical presentation, management, diagnosis, outcomes and patient follow-up. The primary outcome of mortality was summarized using descriptive statistics; secondary outcome was, risks for mortality.

Results: Among 3381 adult patients present during the study period, 288 (8.5%) presented with abdominal pain, and of these 199 (69%) patients were enrolled in our study. Median age was 47 years (IQR 35-60 years), 126 (63%) were female, and 118 (59%) were referred from another hospital. Most common final diagnoses were malignancies 71 (36%), intestinal obstruction 11 (6%) and peptic ulcer disease 9 (5%). Most common EMD interventions given were intravenous fluids 57 (21%), analgesia 49 (25%) and antibiotics 40 (20%). 160 (80%) were admitted of which 15 (8%) underwent surgery directly from EMD. 24-h and 7-day mortality were 4 (2%) and 7 (4%) respectively, while overall in hospital-mortality was 16 (8%). Among the risk factors for mortality were male sex Relative Risk (RR) 2.88 (p = 0.03), hypoglycemia (RR) 5.7 (p = 0.004), ICU admission (RR) 14 (p < 0.0001), receipt of IV fluids (RR) 3.2 (p = 0.0151) and need for surgery (RR) 6.6 (p = 0.0001). Conclusion: Abdominal pain was associated with significant morbidity and mortality as evidenced by a very high admission rate, need for surgical intervention and a high in-hospital mortality rate. Future studies and quality improvement efforts should focus on identifying why such differences exist and how to reduce the mortality.

Impact of nursing education and a monitoring tool on outcomes in traumatic brain injury

Introduction
Throughout the world, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Low-and middle-income countries experience an especially high burden of TBI. While guidelines for TBI management exist in high income countries, little is known about the optimal management of TBI in low resource settings. Prevention of secondary injuries is feasible in these settings and has potential to improve mortality.

Methods
A pragmatic quasi-experimental study was conducted in the emergency centre (EC) of Mulago National Referral Hospital to evaluate the impact of TBI nursing education and use of a monitoring tool on mortality. Over 24 months, data was collected on 541 patients with moderate (GCS9-13) to severe (GCS≤8) TBI. The primary outcome was in-hospital mortality and secondary outcomes included time to imaging, time to surgical intervention, time to advanced airway, length of stay and number of vital signs recorded.

Results
Data were collected on 286 patients before the intervention and 255 after. Unadjusted mortality was higher in the post-intervention group but appeared to be related to severity of TBI, not the intervention itself. Apart from number of vital signs, secondary outcomes did not differ significantly between groups. In the post-intervention group, vital signs were recorded an average of 2.85 times compared to 0.49 in the pre-intervention group (95% CI 2.08-2.62, p ≤ 0.001). The median time interval between vital signs in the post-intervention group was 4.5 h (IQR 2.1-10.6).

Conclusion
Monitoring of vital signs in the EC improved with nursing education and use of a monitoring tool, however, there was no detectable impact on mortality. The high mortality among patients with TBI underscores the need for treatment strategies that can be implemented in low resource settings. Promising approaches include improved monitoring, organized trauma systems and protocols with an emphasis on early aggressive care and primary prevention.

Emergency department management of traumatic brain injuries: A resource tiered review

Introduction
Traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of death and disability globally with an estimated African incidence of approximately 8 million cases annually. A person suffering from a TBI is often aged 20–30, contributing to sustained disability and large negative economic impacts of TBI. Effective emergency care has the potential to decrease morbidity from this multisystem trauma.

Objectives
Identify and summarize key recommendations for emergency care of patients with traumatic brain injuries using a resource tiered framework.

Methods
A literature review was conducted on clinical care of brain-injured patients in resource-limited settings, with a focus on the first 48 h of injury. Using the AfJEM resource tiered review and PRISMA guidelines, articles were identified and used to describe best practice care and management of the brain-injured patient in resource-limited settings.

Key recommendations
Optimal management of the brain-injured patient begins with early and appropriate triage. A complete history and physical can identify high-risk patients who present with mild or moderate TBI. Clinical decision rules can aid in the identification of low-risk patients who require no neuroimaging or only a brief period of observation. The management of the severely brain-injured patient requires a systematic approach focused on the avoidance of secondary injury, including hypotension, hypoxia, and hypoglycaemia. Most interventions to prevent secondary injury can be implemented at all facility levels. Urgent neuroimaging is recommended for patients with severe TBI followed by consultation with a neurosurgeon and transfer to an intensive care unit. The high incidence and poor outcomes of traumatic brain injury in Africa make this subject an important focus for future research and intervention to further guide optimal clinical care.

Predictors of prolonged length of hospital stay and in-hospital mortality among adult patients admitted at the surgical ward of Jimma University medical center, Ethiopia: prospective observational study

Background
Data regarding prolonged length of hospital stay (PLOS) and in-hospital mortality are paramount to evaluate efficiency and quality of surgical care as well as for rational resource utilization, allocation, and administration. Thus, PLOS and in-hospital mortality have been used as a surrogate indicator of satisfactory treatment outcome and efficient utilization of resources for a given health institution. However, there was a scarcity of data regarding these issues in Ethiopia. Therefore, this study aimed to assess treatment outcome, length of hospital stay, in-hospital mortality, and their determinants.

Methods
Health facility-based prospective observational study was used for three consecutive months among adult patients hospitalized for the surgical case. Socio-demographic, clinical history, medication history, in-hospital complications, and overall treatment outcomes were collected from the medical charts’ of the patients, using a checklist from the day of admission to discharge. PLOS is defined as hospital stay > 75th percentile (≥33 days for the current study). To identify predictor variables for both PLOS and in-hospital mortality, multivariate logistic regression was performed at p-value  2 antibiotic exposure (p  7 days (p < 0.0001) were independent predictors for PLOS.

Conclusion
In-hospital mortality rate was almost comparable to reports from developing countries, though it was higher than the developed countries. However, the length of hospital stay was extremely higher than that of reports from other parts of the world. Besides, different socio-demographic, health facility’s and patients’ clinical conditions (baseline and in-hospital complications) were identified as independent predictors for both in-hospital mortality and PLOS. Therefore, the clinician and stakeholders have to emphasize to avoid the modifiable factors to reduce in-hospital mortality and PLOS in the study area; to improve the quality of surgical care.

The Millennial Generation Plastic Surgery Trainees in sub-Saharan Africa and Social Media: A Review of the Application of Blogs, Podcasts, and Twitter as Web-Based Learning Tools

The delivery of education and training in plastic surgery in Sub-Saharan Africa face increasing challenges. These include endemic shortages of plastic surgeons within postgraduate medical school faculties, the erosion of financial and clinical resources for teaching, and more recently, the millennial generation paradigm shift. It is generally accepted that the millennial generation will be more discerning and comfortable in their requirements for web-based learning content to support their education and training in plastic surgery. We reviewed current literature including original and review articles obtained through a search of PubMed database, Medline, Google Scholar, and hand searching of bibliographies of published articles using the keywords: social media, Blogs, Twitter, plastic surgery, and millennial generation. This article defines and explores Blogs, Podcasts, and Twitter, as web-based learning tools, and discusses how to leverage social media to maximize their educational value and effectiveness.

Mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on children’s surgery in Africa

An outbreak of the disease known as COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan in the Hubei province of China, has rapidly spread to all continents of the globe. First detected via local hospital surveillance systems as a ‘pneumonia of unknown aetiology’ in late December 2019, the disease has since been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the WHO and reached pandemic status.

It is uncertain what the eventual toll of the pandemic will be in Africa; however, there has been a suspicion that the looming pandemic may hit harder than it has the rest of the world. Africa has baseline weaknesses in healthcare resource allocation, and her fragile healthcare systems are particularly vulnerable to being overwhelmed by this illness. Available statistics, to date, however, seem to show that the pandemic has been slow to begin. As of 26 May, 115 346 cases and 3471 deaths have been reported across the whole African continent, constituting 2% of all cases in the globe. African nations have had an opportunity to prepare for the coming onslaught, learn from the experience in other countries and choose interventions that are tailor-made for the unique socioeconomic context.

Full text continued on open access link

Current Efforts and Challenges Facing Responses to 2019-nCoV in Africa

The novel coronavirus is a pandemic that has started to creep into Africa thus making the virus a truly global, health security threat. The number of new 2019-nCoV cases has been rising in Africa, though currently lower than the cases reported outside the region. African countries have activated their Emergency Operations Centres to coordinate responses and preparedness activities to the pandemic. A series of measures such as restricting travel, case detection and contact tracing, mandatory quarantine, guidance and information to the public among other efforts are being implemented across Africa. However, the presence of porous borders, the double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, poverty, poor health literacy, infodemic and family clustering, and most of all, weak health systems, may make containment challenging. It is important for African countries to continue to intensify efforts and address the challenges to effectively respond to the uncertainty the pandemic poses.

Morbidity and Mortality of Typhoid Intestinal Perforation Among Children in Sub-Saharan Africa 1995-2019: A Scoping Review

Background: Typhoid fever incidence and complications, including intestinal perforation, have declined significantly in high-income countries, with mortality rates <1%. However, an estimated 10.9 million cases still occur annually, most in low- and middle-income countries. With the availability of a new typhoid conjugate vaccine licensed for children and recommended by the World Health Organization, understanding severe complications, including associated mortality rates, is essential to inform country-level decisions on introduction of this vaccine. This scoping review summarizes over 20 years of the literature on typhoid intestinal perforation in sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods: We searched EMBASE, PubMed, Medline, and Cochrane databases for studies reporting mortality rates due to typhoid intestinal perforation in children, under 18 years old, in sub-Saharan Africa published from January 1995 through June 2019.

Results: Twenty-four papers from six countries were included. Reported mortality rates ranged from 4.6-75%, with 16 of the 24 studies between 11 and 30%. Thirteen papers included postoperative morbidity rates, ranging from 16-100%. The most documented complications included surgical site infections, intra-abdominal abscesses, and enterocutaneous fistulas. High mortality rates can be attributed to late presentation to tertiary centers, sepsis and electrolyte abnormalities requiring preoperative resuscitation, prolonged perforation-to-surgery interval, and lack of access to critical care or an intensive care unit postoperatively.

Conclusions: Current estimates of mortality related to typhoid intestinal perforation among children in sub-Saharan Africa remain unacceptably high. Prevention of typhoid fever is essential to reduce mortality, with the ultimate goal of a comprehensive approach that utilizes vaccination, improvements in water, sanitation, and hygiene, and greater access to surgical care.

Improving Quality of Surgical and Anaesthesia Care at Hospital Level in sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review Protocol of Health System Strengthening Interventions

Introduction: Over 5 billion people in the world do not have access to safe, affordable surgical and anaesthesia care when needed. In order to improve health outcomes in patients with surgical conditions, both access to care and the quality of care need to be improved. A recent commission on high-quality health systems highlighted that poor-quality care is now a bigger barrier than non-utilisation of the health system for reducing mortality.

Aim: To carry out a systematic review to provide an evidence-based summary of hospital-based interventions associated with improved quality of surgical and anaesthesia care in sub-Saharan African countries (SSACs).

Methods and analysis: Three search strings (1) surgery and anaesthesia, (2) quality improvement hospital-based interventions and (3) SSACs will be combined. The following databases EMBASE, Global Health, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Web of Science and Scopus will be searched. Further relevant studies will be identified from national and international health organisations and publications and reference lists of all selected full-text articles. The review will include all type of original articles in English published between 2008 and 2019. Article screening, data extraction and assessment of methodological quality will be done by two reviewers independently and any disputes will be resolved by a third reviewer or team consensus. Three types of outcomes will be collected including clinical, process and implementation outcomes. The primary outcome will be mortality. Secondary outcomes will include other clinical outcomes (major and minor complications), as well as process and implementation outcomes. Descriptive statistics and outcomes will be summarised and discussed. For the primary outcome, the methodological rigour will be assessed.

Ethics and dissemination: The results will be published in a peer reviewed open access journal and presented at national and international conferences. As this is a review of secondary data no formal ethical approval is required.