Surgical and anaesthesia data, including outcomes, remain limited in low-income countries (LIC). This study reviews the surgical burden and anaesthesia services at a tertiary care hospital in Mozambique.Information on activities within the department of anaesthesia at Maputo Central Hospital for 2014-15 was collected from its annual report and verified by the Chairman of Anaesthesia. Personnel information and health care metrics for the hospital in 2015 were collected and verified by hospital leadership.Maputo Central Hospital has 1423 beds with 50.1% allocated to primary surgical services. 39.7% of total admissions were to surgical services, and in 2015 the hospital performed 10,049 major operations requiring anaesthesia. The OB/GYN service had the most operations with 2894 (28.8%), followed by general surgery (1665, 16.6%). Inpatient surgical mortality was 4.1% and surgical-related diagnoses comprised two of the top 9 causes of death, with malignant neoplasms and hemorrhage from trauma causing the highest mortality. In 2014-15, Maputo Central Hospital employed 15 anesthesiologists, with 4 advanced and 23 basic mid-level anaesthesia providers. Of 10,897 total anaesthesia cases in 2014, 6954 were general anaesthesia and 3925 were neuraxial anaesthesia. Other anaesthesia services included chronic pain and intensive care consultation. Anaesthesia department leadership noted a strong desire to improve data collection and analysis for anaesthesia outcomes and complications, requested an additional administrator for statistical analysis.This profile of anaesthesia services at a large tertiary hospital in Mozambique highlights several features of anaesthesia care and surgical burden in LICs, including challenges of resource limitations, patient comorbidity, and social dynamics present in Mozambique that contribute to prolonged hospital stays. As noted, enhanced data collection and analysis within the department and the hospital may be useful in identifying strategies to improve outcomes and patient safety.
Developing Process Maps as a Tool for a Surgical Infection Prevention Quality Improvement Initiative in Resource-Constrained Settings.
Surgical infections cause substantial morbidity and mortality in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). To improve adherence to critical perioperative infection prevention standards, we developed Clean Cut, a checklist-based quality improvement program to improve compliance with best practices. We hypothesized that process mapping infection prevention activities can help clinicians identify strategies for improving surgical safety.We introduced Clean Cut at a tertiary hospital in Ethiopia. Infection prevention standards included skin antisepsis, ensuring a sterile field, instrument decontamination/sterilization, prophylactic antibiotic administration, routine swab/gauze counting, and use of a surgical safety checklist. Processes were mapped by a visiting surgical fellow and local operating theater staff to facilitate the development of contextually relevant solutions; processes were reassessed for improvements.Process mapping helped identify barriers to using alcohol-based hand solution due to skin irritation, inconsistent administration of prophylactic antibiotics due to variable delivery outside of the operating theater, inefficiencies in assuring sterility of surgical instruments through lack of confirmatory measures, and occurrences of retained surgical items through inappropriate guidelines, staffing, and training in proper routine gauze counting. Compliance with most processes improved significantly following organizational changes to align tasks with specific process goals.Enumerating the steps involved in surgical infection prevention using a process mapping technique helped identify opportunities for improving adherence and plotting contextually relevant solutions, resulting in superior compliance with antiseptic standards. Simplifying these process maps into an adaptable tool could be a powerful strategy for improving safe surgery delivery in LMICs.
Delayed access to care and unmet burden of pediatric surgical disease in resource-constrained African countries.
The purpose of this study was to estimate the unmet burden of surgically correctable congenital anomalies in African low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).We conducted a chart review of children operated for cryptorchidism, isolated cleft lip, hypospadias, bladder exstrophy and anorectal malformation at an Ethiopian referral hospital between January 2012 and July 2016 and a scoping review of the literature describing the management of congenital anomalies in African LMICs. Procedure numbers and age at surgery were collected to estimate mean surgical delays by country and extrapolate surgical backlog. The unmet surgical need was derived from incidence-based disease estimates, established disability weights, and actual surgical volumes.The chart review yielded 210 procedures in 207 patients from Ethiopia. The scoping review generated 42 data sets, extracted from 36 publications, encompassing: Benin, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar, Malawi, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The largest national surgical backlog was noted in Nigeria for cryptorchidism (209,260 cases) and cleft lip (4154 cases), and Ethiopia for hypospadias (20,188 cases), bladder exstrophy (575 cases) and anorectal malformation (1349 cases).These data support the need for upscaling pediatric surgical capacity in LMICs to address the significant surgical delay, surgical backlog, and unmet prevalent need.Retrospective study and review article LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: III.
International Study of the Epidemiology of Paediatric Trauma: PAPSA Research Study.
Trauma is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The literature on paediatric trauma epidemiology in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is limited. This study aims to gather epidemiological data on paediatric trauma.
This is a multicentre prospective cohort study of paediatric trauma admissions, over 1 month, from 15 paediatric surgery centres in 11 countries. Epidemiology, mechanism of injury, injuries sustained, management, morbidity and mortality data were recorded. Statistical analysis compared LMICs and high-income countries (HICs).
There were 1377 paediatric trauma admissions over 31 days; 1295 admissions across ten LMIC centres and 84 admissions across five HIC centres. Median number of admissions per centre was 15 in HICs and 43 in LMICs. Mean age was 7 years, and 62% were boys. Common mechanisms included road traffic accidents (41%), falls (41%) and interpersonal violence (11%). Frequent injuries were lacerations, fractures, head injuries and burns. Intra-abdominal and intra-thoracic injuries accounted for 3 and 2% of injuries. The mechanisms and injuries sustained differed significantly between HICs and LMICs. Median length of stay was 1 day and 19% required an operative intervention; this did not differ significantly between HICs and LMICs. No mortality and morbidity was reported from HICs. In LMICs, in-hospital morbidity was 4.0% and mortality was 0.8%.
The spectrum of paediatric trauma varies significantly, with different injury mechanisms and patterns in LMICs. Healthcare structure, access to paediatric surgery and trauma prevention strategies may account for these differences. Trauma registries are needed in LMICs for future research and to inform local policy.
The increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases in low-middle income countries: the view from Malawi.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death globally, the majority of these being due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, or diabetes. Mortality from many NCDs continues to increase worldwide, with a disproportionately larger impact in low-middle income countries (LMIs), where almost 75% of global deaths occur from these causes. As a low-income African country that consistently ranks amongst the world’s poorest nations, Malawi as a case study demonstrates how transition due to societal change and increasing urbanization is often accompanied by a rise in the rate of NCDs. Other factors apart from changing lifestyle factors can explain at least some of this increase, such as the complex relationship between communicable and NCD and growing environmental, occupational, and cultural pressures. Malawi and other LMIs are struggling to manage the increasing challenge of NCDs, in addition to an already high communicable disease burden. However, health care policy implementation, specific health promotion campaigns, and further epidemiological research may be key to attenuating this impending health crisis, both in Malawi and elsewhere. This review aims to examine the effects of the major NCDs in Malawi to help inform future public health care policy in the region.
Urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa: Declining Rates of Chronic and Recurrent Infection and Their Possible Role in the Origins of Non-communicable Diseases.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as atherosclerosis and cancers, are a leading cause of death worldwide. An important, yet poorly explained epidemiological feature of NCDs is their low incidence in under developed areas of low-income countries and rising rates in urban areas.With the goal of better understanding how urbanization increases the incidence of NCDs, we provide an overview of the urbanization process in sub-Saharan Africa, discuss gene expression differences between rural and urban populations, and review the current NCD determinant model. We conclude by identifying research priorities.Declining rates of chronic and recurrent infection are the hallmark of urbanization in sub-Saharan Africa. Gene profiling studies show urbanization results in complex molecular changes, with almost one-third of the peripheral blood leukocyte transcriptome altered. The current NCD determinant model could be improved by including a possible effect from declining rates of infection and expanding the spectrum of diseases that increase with urbanization.Urbanization in sub-Saharan Africa provides a unique opportunity to investigate the mechanism by which the environment influences disease epidemiology. Research priorities include: (1) studies to define the relationship between infection and risk factors for NCDs, (2) explaining the observed differences in the inflammatory response between rural and urban populations, and (3) identification of animal models that simulate the biological changes that occurs with urbanization. A better understanding of the biological changes that occur with urbanization could lead to new prevention and treatment strategies for some of the most common surgical diseases in high-income countries.
High Elective Surgery Cancellation Rate in Malawi Primarily Due to Infrastructural Limitations.
The provision of safe and timely surgical care is essential to global health care. Low- and middle-income countries have a disproportionate share of the global surgical disease burden and struggle to provide care with the given resources. Surgery cancellation worldwide occurs for many reasons, which are likely to differ between high-income and low-income settings. We sought to evaluate the proportion of elective surgery that is cancelled and the associated reasons for cancellation at a tertiary hospital in Malawi.This was a retrospective review of a database maintained by the Department of Anesthesiology at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi. Data were available from August 2011 to January 2015 and included weekday records for the number of scheduled surgeries, the number of cancelled surgeries, and the reasons for cancellation. Descriptive statistics were performed.Of 10,730 scheduled surgeries, 4740 (44.2%) were cancelled. The most common reason for cancellation was infrastructural limitations (84.8%), including equipment shortages (50.9%) and time constraints (33.3%). Provider limitations accounted for 16.5% of cancellations, most often due to shortages of anaesthesia providers. Preoperative medical conditions contributed to 26.3% of cancellations.This study demonstrates a high case cancellation rate at a tertiary hospital in Malawi, attributable primarily to infrastructural limitations. These data provide evidence that investments in medical infrastructure and prevention of workforce brain drain are critical to surgical services in this region.
Risk of Catastrophic Health Expenditure in Rwandan Surgical Patients with Peritonitis.
Surgical procedures are cost-effective compared with various medical and public health interventions. While peritonitis often requires surgery, little is known regarding the associated costs, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. The aim of this study was to determine in-hospital charges for patients with peritonitis and if patients are at risk of catastrophic health expenditure.
As part of a larger study examining the epidemiology and outcomes of patients with peritonitis at a referral hospital in Rwanda, patients undergoing operation for peritonitis were enrolled and hospital charges were examined. The primary outcome was the percentage of patients at risk for catastrophic health expenditure. Logistic regression was used to determine the association of various factors with risk for catastrophic health expenditure.
Over a 6-month period, 280 patients underwent operation for peritonitis. In-hospital charges were available for 245 patients. A total of 240 (98%) patients had health insurance. Median total hospital charges were 308.1 USD, and the median amount paid by patients was 26.9 USD. Thirty-three (14%) patients were at risk of catastrophic health expenditure based on direct medical expenses. Estimating out-of-pocket non-medical expenses, 68 (28%) patients were at risk of catastrophic health expenditure. Unplanned reoperation was associated with increased risk of catastrophic health expenditure (p < 0.001), whereas patients with community-based health insurance had decreased risk of catastrophic health expenditure (p < 0.001).
The median hospital charges paid out-of-pocket by patients with health insurance were small in relation to total charges. A significant number of patients with peritonitis are at risk of catastrophic health expenditure.
Ponseti clubfoot management: Experience with the Steenbeek foot abduction brace.
Clubfoot is one of the most common congenital deformities, with an incidence of one in 1000 live births worldwide. In Kenya, approximately 1200 infants are born with clubfoot every year. Left untreated, clubfoot leads to painful, disabling deformity and social stigmatization. Bracing is an integral part of the internationally accepted standard of care, and the Ponseti method of clubfoot management with compliance with bracing is considered to be the key to a successful outcome (1). This has brought the type of brace under scrutiny, with newer ‘child-friendly’ braces recommended over the traditional Dennis Brown brace (Figure 1), which has been associated with high rates of noncompliance. However, these child-friendly braces are expensive (USD$300) and out of reach for most families of affected children in Kenya and other developing countries. The Steenbeek foot abduction brace (SFAB) is made locally in Kenya at a cost of <USD$10 (Figure 2). The SFAB has been in use since the inception of the Clubfoot Care for Kenya (CCK) program in 2005. Therefore, we performed a study investigating SFAB acceptance, tolerability, compliance, complications and outcomes in the CCK program.
Establishing a children’s orthopaedic hospital for Malawi: A review after 10 years.
BEIT CURE International Hospital (BCIH) opened in 2002 providing orthopaedic surgical services to children in Malawi. This study reviews the hospital’s progress 10 years after establishment of operational services. In addition we assess the impact of the hospital’s Malawi national clubfoot programme (MNCP) and influence on orthopaedic training.All operative paediatric procedures performed by BCIH services in the 10th operative year were included. Data on clubfoot clinic locations and number of patients treated were obtained from the MNCP. BCIH records were reviewed to identify the number of healthcare professionals who have received training at the BCIH.609 new patients were operated on in the 10th year of hospital service. Patients were treated from all regions; however 60% came from Southern regions compared with the 48% in the 5th year. Clubfoot, burn contracture and angular lower limb deformities were the three most common pathologies treated surgically. In total BCIH managed 9,842 patients surgically over a 10-year period. BCIH helped to establish and co-ordinate the MNCP since 2007. At present the program has a total of 29 clinics, which have treated 5748 patients. Furthermore, BCIH has overseen the full or partial training of 5 orthopaedic surgeons and 82 orthopaedic clinical officers in Malawi.The BCIH has improved the care of paediatric patients in a country that prior to its establishment had no dedicated paediatric orthopaedic service, treating almost 10,000 patients surgically and 6,000 patients in the MNCP. This service has remained consistent over a 10-year period despite times of global austerity. Whilst the type of training placement offered at BCIH has changed in the last 10 years, the priority placed on training has remained paramount. The strategic impact of long-term training commitments are now being realised, in particular by the addition of Orthopaedic surgeons serving the nation.