The management of head and neck cancer in Africa. What lessons can be learned from African literature?

There is a significant dearth of contextually relevant information related to the management of head and neck cancer (HNC) in Africa. The aim of this letter was to put forward the findings from our larger systematic review to describe the current management of HNC patients in Africa and to identify gaps and present potential solutions. Sixty-six articles were included and analysed with descriptive statistics, a narrative synthesis, and thematic analysis. Surgical resection remains the primary medical intervention in Africa, whilst chemotherapy and radiation services remain limited. There was no mention of multidisciplinary team input in the management of these patients, including no description of any rehabilitative treatments. There are significant resource shortages ranging from access to medical equipment to both skilled medical and rehabilitative staff. The findings from this study imply that the management of HNC in Africa requires a possible transdisciplinary approach to improve access to services. Health professionals also need to explore a community-based level approach to care to improve access. There needs to be more context-specific research to improve contextually relevant teaching and practice in HNC.

Emergency capacity analysis in Ethiopia: Results of a baseline emergency facility assessment

In Ethiopia, the specialty of Emergency Medicine is a relatively new discipline. In the last few decades, policymakers have made Emergency Medicine a priority for improving population health. This study aims to contribute to this strengthening of Emergency Medicine, by conducting the country’s first baseline gap analysis of Emergency Medicine Capacity at the pre-hospital and hospital level in order to help identify needs and areas for intervention.

This is a cross sectional investigation that utilized a convenience sampling of 22 primary, general and tertiary hospitals. Trained personnel visited the hospitals and conducted 4-hour interviews with hospital administrators and emergency care area personnel. The tool used in the interview was the Columbia University sidHARTe Program Emergency Services Resource Assessment Tool (ESRAT) to evaluate both emergency and trauma capacity in different regions of Ethiopia. The findings of this survey were then compared against two established standards: the World Health Organization’s Essential Package of Emergency Care (EPEC), as well as those set by Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Health.

The tool assessed the services provided at each hospital and evaluated the infrastructure of emergency care at the facility. Triage systems differed amongst the hospitals surveyed though triaging and emergency unit infrastructures were relatively similar amongst the hospitals. There was a marked variability in the level of training, guidelines, staffing, disaster preparedness, drug availability, procedures performed, and quality assurance measures from hospital to hospital. Most regional and district hospitals did not have nurses or doctors trained in Emergency Medicine and over 70% of the hospitals did not have written guidelines for standardized emergency care.

This gap analysis has revealed numerous inconsistencies in health care practice, resources, and infrastructure within the scope of Emergency Medicine in Ethiopia. Major gaps were identified, and the results of this assessment were used to devise action priorities for the Ministry of Health. Much remains to be done to strengthen Emergency Medicine in Ethiopia, and numerous opportunities exist to make additional short and long-term improvements

Antibody levels and protection after Hepatitis B vaccine in adult vaccinated healthcare workers in northern Uganda

Hepatitis B vaccine has contributed to the reduction in hepatitis B virus infections and chronic disease globally. Screening to establish extent of vaccine induced immune response and provision of booster dose are limited in most low-and-middle income countries (LMICs). Our study investigated the extent of protective immune response and breakthrough hepatitis B virus infections among adult vaccinated healthcare workers in selected health facilities in northern Uganda. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 300 randomly selected adult hepatitis B vaccinated healthcare workers in Lira and Gulu regional referral hospitals in northern Uganda. Blood samples were collected and qualitative analysis of Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), Hepatitis B surface antigen antibody (HBsAb), Hepatitis B envelop antigen (HBeAg), Hepatitis B envelop antibody (HBeAb) and Hepatitis B core antibody (HBcAb) conducted using ELISA method. Quantitative assessment of anti-hepatitis B antibody (anti-HBs) levels was done using COBAS immunoassay analyzer. Multiple logistic regression was done to establish factors associated with protective anti-HBs levels (≥ 10mIU/mL) among adult vaccinate healthcare workers at 95% level of significance. A high proportion, 81.3% (244/300) of the study participants completed all three hepatitis B vaccine dose schedules. Two (0.7%, 2/300) of the study participants had active hepatitis B virus infection. Of the 300 study participants, 2.3% (7/300) had positive HBsAg; 88.7% (266/300) had detectable HBsAb; 2.3% (7/300) had positive HBeAg; 4% (12/300) had positive HBeAb and 17.7% (53/300) had positive HBcAb. Majority, 83% (249/300) had a protective hepatitis B antibody levels (≥10mIU/mL). Hepatitis B vaccine provides protective immunity against hepatitis B virus infection regardless of whether one gets a booster dose or not. Protective immune response persisted for over ten years following hepatitis B vaccination among the healthcare workers.

Predictors of facility-based delivery utilization in central Ethiopia: A case-control study

Improving access to maternal health services has been a priority for the health sector in low-income countries; the utilization of facility delivery services has remained low. Although Ethiopia provides free maternal health services in all public health facilities utilization of services has not been as expected.

This study examined predictors of facility delivery service utilization in central Ethiopia.

We conducted a community-based case-control study within the catchment areas of selected public health facilities in central Ethiopia. Women who delivered their last child in a health facility were considered as cases and women who delivered their last child at home were considered as controls. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify independent predictors of facility delivery utilization.

Facility delivery was positive and strongly associated with practicing birth preparedness and complication readiness (BPCR) (AOR = 12.3, 95%CI: 3.9, 39.1); partners’ involvement about obstetric assistance (AOR = 3.1, 95%CI: 1.0, 9.0); spending 30 or less minutes to decide on the place of delivery and 45 or less minutes to walk to health facilities (AOR = 7.4, 95%CI: 2.4, 23.2 and AOR = 8.1, 95%CI: 2.5, 26.9, respectively). Additionally, having knowledge of obstetric complication, attending ≥ 4 antenatal care (ANC) visits, birth order and the use of free ambulance service also showed significant association with facility delivery.

Despite the availability of free maternal services there are still many barriers to utilization of delivery services. Strengthening efforts to bring delivery services closer to home and enhancing BPCR are necessary to increase institutional delivery service utilization.

Magnitude of mortality and its associated factors among Burn victim children admitted to South Gondar zone government hospitals, Ethiopia, from 2015 to 2019

Burn is one of the leading causes of preventable death and disability every year in low and middle-income countries, which mainly affects those aged less than 15 years. Death from burn injuries carries the most significant losses, which often have grave consequences for the countries. Even though data from different settings are necessary to tackle it, pieces of evidence in this area are limited. Thus, this study was aimed to answer the question, what is the Magnitude of Mortality? And what are the factors associated with mortality among burn victim children admitted to South Gondar Zone Government Hospitals, Ethiopia, from 2015 to 2019?

Institutional-based cross-sectional study design was used to study 348 hospitalized burn victim pediatrics’, from 2015 to 2019. A simple random sampling method was used. Data were exported from Epidata to SPSS version 23 for analysis. Significant of the variables were declared when a p-value is < 0.05.

The mortality rate of burn victim children in this study was 8.5% (95% CI = 5.5–11.4). Medical insurance none users burn victim children were more likely (AOR 3.700; 95% CI =1.2–11.5) to die as compared with medical insurance users, burn victim children with malnutrition were more risk (AOR 3.9; 95% CI = 1.3–12.2) of mortality as compared with well-nourished child. Moreover, electrical (AOR 7.7; 95% CI = 1.8–32.5.2) and flame burn (AOR 3.3; 95% CI = 1.2–9.0), total body surface area greater than 20% of burn were more likely (AOR 4.6; 95% CI 1.8–11.8) to die compared to less than 20% burn area and burn victim children admitted with poor clinical condition at admission were four times (AOR 4.1, 95% CI = 1.3–12.0) of mortality compared to a good clinical condition.

The mortality among burn victim children was higher than most of the studies conducted all over the world. Medical insurance none users, being malnourished, burned by electrical and flame burn, having total body surface area burnt greater than 20%, and having poor clinical condition at addition were significantly associated with mortality of burn victim pediatrics. Therefore, timely identification and monitoring of burn injury should be necessary to prevent mortality of burn victim pediatrics.

Treatment outcomes of esophageal cancer in Eastern Africa: protocol of a multi-center, prospective, observational, open cohort study

Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is a major cause of cancer morbidity and mortality in Eastern Africa. The majority of patients with ESCC in Eastern Africa present with advanced disease at the time of diagnosis. Several palliative interventions for ESCC are currently in use within the region, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy with and without chemotherapy, and esophageal stenting with self-expandable metallic stents; however, the comparative effectiveness of these interventions in a low resource setting has yet to be examined.

This prospective, observational, multi-center, open cohort study aims to describe the therapeutic landscape of ESCC in Eastern Africa and investigate the outcomes of different treatment strategies within the region. The 4.5-year study will recruit at a total of six sites in Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania (Ocean Road Cancer Institute and Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center in Moshi, Tanzania; Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya; Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya; and Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi). Treatment outcomes that will be evaluated include overall survival, quality of life (QOL) and safety. All patients (≥18 years old) who present to participating sites with a histopathologically-confirmed or presumptive clinical diagnosis of ESCC based on endoscopy or barium swallow will be recruited to participate. Key clinical and treatment-related data including standardized QOL metrics will be collected at study enrollment, 1 month following treatment, 3 months following treatment, and thereafter at 3-month intervals until death. Vital status and QOL data will be collected through mobile phone outreach.

This study will be the first study to prospectively compare ESCC treatment strategies in Eastern Africa, and the first to investigate QOL benefits associated with different treatments in sub-Saharan Africa. Findings from this study will help define optimal management strategies for ESCC in Eastern Africa and other resource-limited settings and will serve as a benchmark for future research.

Trial registration
This study was retrospectively registered with the database on December 15, 2021, NCT05177393.

Competencies for Nurses Regarding Psychosocial Care of Patients With Cancer in Africa: An Imperative for Action

Psychosocial care is considered an important component of quality cancer care. Individuals treated for cancer can experience biologic or physical, emotional, spiritual, and practical consequences (eg, financial), which have an impact on their quality of living. With the establishment of cancer centers in Africa, there is growing advocacy regarding the need for psychosocial care, given the level of unmet supportive care needs and high emotional distress reported for patients. Nurses are in an ideal position to provide psychosocial care to patients with cancer and their families but must possess relevant knowledge and skills to do so. Across Africa, nurses are challenged in gaining the necessary education for psychosocial cancer care as programs vary in the amount of psychosocial content offered. This perspective article presents competencies regarding psychosocial care for nurses caring for patients with cancer in Africa. The competencies were adapted by expert consensus from existing evidenced-based competencies for oncology nurses. They are offered as a potential basis for educational program planning and curriculum development for cancer nursing in Africa. Recommendations are offered regarding use of these competencies by nursing and cancer program leaders to enhance the quality of care for African patients with cancer and their family members. The strategies emphasize building capacity of nurses to engage in effective delivery of psychosocial care for individuals with cancer and their family members.

The status and future of emergency care in the Republic of Kenya

Kenya is a rapidly developing country with a growing economy and evolving health care system. In the decade since the last publication on the state of emergency care in Kenya, significant developments have occurred in the country’s approach to emergency care. Importantly, the country decentralized most health care functions to county governments in 2013. Despite the triple burden of traumatic, communicable, and non-communicable diseases, the structure of the health care system in the Republic of Kenya is evolving to adapt to the important role for the care of emergent medical conditions. This report provides a ten-year interval update on the current state of the development of emergency medical care and training in Kenya, and looks ahead towards areas for growth and development. Of particular focus is the role emergency care plays in Universal Health Coverage, and adapting to challenges from the devolution of health care.

Cost structure of healthcare in Kaloleni Subcounty (Kilifi, Kenya) from the patient perspective: Measuring the impact of direct healthcare costs on patients

Access to quality, affordable, and reliable healthcare has been a long-standing challenge in rural areas of developing countries. Rural households often incur high out-of-pocket expenditure for healthcare, resulting in a significant cost burden when seeking treatment for an illness. This study aimed to examine the cost structure of healthcare in a rural, underserved community in the Kaloleni Subcounty of Kilifi, Kenya. We measured the impact of direct healthcare costs on a sample of 37 households, along with the coping strategies and treatment-seeking behavior arising from these costs. Direct healthcare costs were grouped into 3 categories: consultation, diagnostic, and medicine fees. Results show that medicine was the highest direct healthcare cost, accounting for 64% of all expenses paid during an episode of illness. Direct healthcare costs also comprised over 12% of the monthly household expenditure in these households, with the lowest-earning homes being disproportionately affected. Malaria was the most common illness reported in the study area, accounting for 37% of all illness cases. Several strategies are proposed to ease the burden of direct healthcare costs. These include government subsidies for community-level healthcare facilities, increasing the availability of medicines, and improving the distribution/use of treated mosquito bed nets to prevent malaria transmission.

Role of Precision Oncology in Type II Endometrial and Prostate Cancers in the African Population: Global Cancer Genomics Disparities

Precision oncology can be defined as molecular profiling of tumors to identify targetable alterations. Emerging research reports the high mortality rates associated with type II endometrial cancer in black women and with prostate cancer in men of African ancestry. The lack of adequate genetic reference information from the African genome is one of the major obstacles in exploring the benefits of precision oncology in the African context. Whilst external factors such as the geography, environment, health-care access and socio-economic status may contribute greatly towards the disparities observed in type II endometrial and prostate cancers in black populations compared to Caucasians, the contribution of African ancestry to the contribution of genetics to the etiology of these cancers cannot be ignored. Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) continue to emerge as important regulators of gene expression and the key molecular pathways involved in tumorigenesis. Particular attention is focused on activated/repressed genes and associated pathways, while the redundant pathways (pathways that have the same outcome or activate the same downstream effectors) are often ignored. However, comprehensive evidence to understand the relationship between type II endometrial cancer, prostate cancer and African ancestry remains poorly understood. The sub-Saharan African (SSA) region has both the highest incidence and mortality of both type II endometrial and prostate cancers. Understanding how the entire transcriptomic landscape of these two reproductive cancers is regulated by ncRNAs in an African cohort may help elucidate the relationship between race and pathological disparities of these two diseases. This review focuses on global disparities in medicine, PCa and ECa. The role of precision oncology in PCa and ECa in the African population will also be discussed.