Neglected clubfoot deformity is a major cause of disability in low-income countries. Most children with clubfoot have little access to treatment in these countries, and they are often inadequately treated. We evaluated the effectiveness of Ponseti’s technique in neglected clubfoot in children in a rural setting in Ethiopia.A prospective study was conducted from June 2007 through July 2010. 22 consecutive children aged 2-10 years (32 feet) with neglected clubfoot were treated by the Ponseti method. The deformity was assessed using the Pirani scoring system. The average follow-up time was 3 years.A plantigrade functional foot was obtained in all patients by Ponseti casting and limited surgical intervention. 2 patients (4 feet) had recurrent deformity. They required re-manipulation and re-tenotomy of the Achilles tendon and 1 other patient required tibialis anterior transfer for dynamic supination deformity of the foot.This study shows that the Ponseti method with some additional surgery can be used successfully as the primary treatment in neglected clubfoot, and that it minimizes the need for extensive corrective surgery.
Provision of surgical care in Ethiopia: Challenges and solutions.
With the lowest measured rate of surgery in the world, Ethiopia is faced with a number of challenges in providing surgical care. The aim of this study was to elucidate challenges in providing safe surgical care in Ethiopia, and solutions providers have created to overcome them. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 practicing surgeons in Ethiopia. Following de-identification and immersion into field notes, topical coding was completed with an existing coding manual. Codes were adapted and expanded as necessary, and the primary data analyst confirmed reproducibility with a secondary analyst. Qualitative analysis revealed topics in access to care, in-hospital care delivery, and health policy. Patient financial constraints were identified as a challenge to accessing care. Surgeons were overwhelmed by patient volume and frustrated by lack of material resources and equipment. Numerous surgeons commented on the inadequacy of training and felt that medical education is not a government priority. They reported an insufficient number of anaesthesiologists, nurses, and support staff. Perceived inadequate financial compensation and high workload led to low morale among surgeons. Our study describes specific challenges surgeons encounter in Ethiopia and demonstrates the need for prioritisation of surgical care in the Ethiopian health agenda. LCoGS: The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery; LMIC: low- and middle-income country.
Competency-Based Education in Low Resource Settings: Development of a Novel Surgical Training Program.
The unmet burden of surgical disease represents a major global health concern, and a lack of trained providers is a critical component of the inadequacy of surgical care worldwide. Competency-based training has been advanced in high-income countries, improving technical skills and decreasing training time, but it is poorly understood how this model might be applied to low- and middle-income countries. We describe the development of a competency-based program to accelerate specialty training of in-country providers in cleft surgery techniques.
The program was designed and piloted among eight trainees at five international cleft lip and palate surgical mission sites in Latin America and Africa. A competency-based evaluation form, designed for the program, was utilized to grade general technical and procedure-specific competencies, and pre- and post-training scores were analyzed using a paired t test.
Trainees demonstrated improvement in average procedure-specific competency scores for both lip repairs (60.4-71.0%, p < 0.01) and palate (50.6-66.0%, p < 0.01). General technical competency scores also improved (63.6-72.0%, p < 0.01). Among the procedural competencies assessed, surgical markings showed the greatest improvement (19.0 and 22.8% for lip and palate, respectively), followed by nasal floor/mucosal approximation (15.0%) and hard palate dissection (17.1%).
Surgical delivery models in LMICs are varied, and trade-offs often exist between goals of case throughput, quality and training. Pilot program results show that procedure-specific and general technical competencies can be improved over a relatively short time and demonstrate the feasibility of incorporating such a training program into surgical outreach missions.
Towards effective Ponseti clubfoot care: the Uganda Sustainable Clubfoot Care Project.
Neglected clubfoot is common, disabling, and contributes to poverty in developing nations. The Ponseti clubfoot treatment has high efficacy in correcting the clubfoot deformity in ideal conditions but is demanding on parents and on developing nations’ healthcare systems. Its effectiveness and the best method of care delivery remain unknown in this context. The 6-year Uganda Sustainable Clubfoot Care Project (USCCP) aims to build the Ugandan healthcare system’s capacity to treat children with the Ponseti method and assess its effectiveness. We describe the Project and its achievements to date (March 2008). The Ugandan Ministry of Health has approved the Ponseti method as the preferred treatment for congenital clubfoot in all its hospitals. USCCP has trained 798 healthcare professionals to identify and treat foot deformities at birth. Ponseti clubfoot care is now available in 21 hospitals; in 2006-2007, 872 children with clubfeet were seen. USCCP-designed teaching modules on clubfoot and the Ponseti method are in use at two medical and three paramedical schools. 1152 students in various health disciplines have benefited. USCCP surveys have (1) determined the incidence of clubfoot in Uganda as 1.2 per 1000 live births, (2) gained knowledge surrounding attitudes, beliefs, and practices about clubfoot across different regions, and (3) identified barriers to adherence to Ponseti treatment protocols. USCCP is now following a cohort of treated children to evaluate its effectiveness in the Ugandan context.Level IV, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
Musculoskeletal trauma services in Uganda.
Approximately 2000 lives are lost in Uganda annually through road traffic accidents. In Kampala, they account for 39% of all injuries, primarily in males aged 16-44 years. They are a result of rapid motorization and urbanization in a country with a poor economy. Uganda’s population is an estimated 28 million with a growth rate of 3.4% per year. Motorcycles and omnibuses, the main taxi vehicles, are the primary contributors to the accidents. Poor roads and drivers compound the situation. Twenty-three orthopaedic surgeons (one for every 1,300,000 people) provide specialist services that are available only at three regional hospitals and the National Referral Hospital in Kampala. The majority of musculoskeletal injuries are managed nonoperatively by 200 orthopaedic officers distributed at the district, regional and national referral hospitals. Because of the poor economy, 9% of the national budget is allocated to the health sector. Patients with musculoskeletal injuries in Uganda frequently fail to receive immediate care due to inadequate resources and most are treated by traditional bonesetters. Neglected injuries typically result in poor outcomes. Possible solutions include a public health approach for prevention of road traffic injuries, training of adequate human resources, and infrastructure development.
Patterns and Causes of Amputation in Ayder Referral Hospital, Mekelle, Ethiopia: A Three-Year Experience
Amputation is a surgical procedure for the removal of a limb which is indicated when limb recovery is impossible. There are different types of amputation, and their causes can vary from one area to the other. Therefor, the aim of this study is to find out the patterns and causes of amputations in patients presented to Ayder Referral Hospital, Mekelle, Ethiopia.
the record of 87 patients who had amputation at different sites after admission to Ayder referral hospital, Mekelle, Ethiopia in three years period were reviewed retrospectively.
A total of 87 patients had amputation of which 78.2% were males. The age range was from 3 to 95 years, and the mean age was 40.6 in years. The most common indications were trauma (37.7%), tumor (24.1%), and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) (20.7%). The commonest type of amputation was major lower limb amputation (58.6%) which includes above knee amputation (35.6%)and below knee amputation (23%) followed by digital amputation (17.2%). There was 11.4% major upper limb amputation of which there was one patient who had re-amputation.
Most of the indications for amputations in our setup are potentially preventable by increasing awareness in the society on safety measures both at home and at work and early presentation to health facilities.
A Prospective Observational Study of Anesthesia-Related Adverse Events and Postoperative Complications Occurring During a Surgical Mission in Madagascar
Two-thirds of the world’s population lack access to safe anesthesia and surgical care. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) play an important role in bridging the gap, but surgical outcomes vary. After complex surgeries, up to 20-fold higher postoperative complication rates are reported and the reasons for poor outcomes are undefined. Little is known concerning the incidence of anesthesia complications. Mercy Ships uses fully trained staff, and infrastructure and equipment resources similar to that of high-income countries, allowing the influence of these factors to be disentangled from patient factors when evaluating anesthesia and surgical outcomes after NGO sponsored surgery. We aimed to estimate the incidence of anesthesia-related and postoperative complications during a 2-year surgical mission in Madagascar.
As part of quality assurance and participation in a new American Society of Anesthesiologists Anesthesia Quality Institute sponsored NGO Outcomes registry, Mercy Ships prospectively recorded anesthesia-related adverse events. Adverse events were grouped into 6 categories: airway, cardiac, medication, regional, neurological, and equipment. Postoperative complications were predefined as 16 adverse events and graded for patient impact using the Dindo-Clavien classification.
Data were evaluated for 2037 episodes of surgical care. The overall anesthesia adverse event rate was 2.0% (confidence interval [CI], 1.4-2.6). The majority (85% CI, 74-96) of adverse events occurred intraoperatively with 15% (CI, 3-26) occurring in postanesthesia care unit. The most common intraoperative adverse event, occurring 7 times, was failed regional (spinal) anesthesia that was due to unexpectedly long surgery in 6 cases; bronchospasm and arrhythmias were the second most common, occurring 5 times each. There were 217 postoperative complications in 191 patients giving an overall complication rate of 10.7% (CI, 9.3-12.0) per surgery and 9.4% (CI, 8.1-10.7) per patient. The most common postoperative complication was unexpected return to the operating room and the second most common was surgical site infection (39.2%; CI, 37.0-41.3 and 33.2%; CI, 31.1-35.3 of all complications, respectively). The most common (42.9%; CI, 40.7-45.1) grade of complication was grade II. There was 1 death.
This study adds to the scarce literature on anesthesia outcomes after mission surgery in low- and middle-income countries. We join others in calling for an international NGO anesthesia and surgical outcome registry and for all surgical NGOs to adopt international standards for the safe practice of anesthesia.
Cardiac surgery in low-income settings: 10 years of experience from two countries.
Access to cardiac surgery is limited in low-income settings, and data on patient outcomes are scarce.
To assess characteristics, surgical procedures and outcomes in patients undergoing open-heart surgery in low-income settings.
This was a cohort study (2001-2011) in two low-income countries, Cambodia and Mozambique, where cardiac surgery had been promoted by visiting non-governmental organizations.
In Cambodia and Mozambique, respectively, 1332 and 767 consecutive patients were included; 547 (41.16%) and 385 (50.20%) were men; median age at first surgery was 11 years (interquartile range [IQR] 4-14) and 11 years (IQR 3-18); rheumatic heart disease affected 490 (36.79%) and 268 (34.94%) patients; congenital heart disease (CHD) affected 834 (62.61%) and 390 (50.85%) patients, with increasingly more CHD patients over time (P<0.001); and the number of patients lost to follow-up reached 741 (55.63%) and 112 (14.6%) at 30 days. A total of 249 (32.46%) patients were lost to follow-up in Mozambique, remoteness being the only influencing factor (P<0.001). Among patients with known vital status, the early (<30 days) postoperative mortality rate was 6.10% (n=40) in Mozambique and 3.05% (n=18) in Cambodia. Overall, 109 (8.18%) patients in Cambodia and 94 (12.26%) patients in Mozambique underwent re-do surgery. In Mozambique, a further 50/518 (9.65%) patients died at a median of 23months (IQR 7-43); in Cambodia, a further 34/591 (5.75%) patients died at a median of 11.5months (IQR 6-54.5).
Cardiac surgery is feasible in low-income countries with acceptable in-hospital mortality and proof of capacity building. Patient outcomes after cardiac surgery in low-income countries remain unknown, given the strikingly high numbers of lost to follow-u
An assessment of orofacial clefts in Tanzania
Clefts of the lip (CL), the palate (CP), or both (CLP) are the most common orofacial congenital malformations found among live births, accounting for 65% of all head and neck anomalies. The frequency and pattern of orofacial clefts in different parts of the world and among different human groups varies widely. Generally, populations of Asian or Native American origin have the highest prevalence, while Caucasian populations show intermediate prevalence and African populations the lowest. To date, little is known regarding the epidemiology and pattern of orofacial clefts in Tanzania.
A retrospective descriptive study was conducted at Bugando Medical Centre to identify all children with orofacial clefts that attended or were treated during a period of five years. Cleft lip and/or palate records were obtained from patient files in the Hospital’s Departments of Surgery, Paediatrics and medical records. Age at presentation, sex, region of origin, type and laterality of the cleft were recorded. In addition, presence of associated congenital anomalies or syndromes was recorded.
A total of 240 orofacial cleft cases were seen during this period. Isolated cleft lip was the most common cleft type followed closely by cleft lip and palate (CLP). This is a departure from the pattern of clefting reported for Caucasian and Asian populations, where CLP or isolated cleft palate is the most common type. The distribution of clefts by side showed a statistically significant preponderance of the left side (43.7%) (χ2 = 92.4, p < 0.001), followed by the right (28.8%) and bilateral sides (18.3%). Patients with isolated cleft palate presented at very early age (mean age 1.00 years, SE 0.56). Associated congenital anomalies were observed in 2.8% of all patients with orofacial clefts, and included neural tube defects, Talipes and persistent ductus arteriosus.
Unilateral orofacial clefts were significantly more common than bilateral clefts; with the left side being the most common affected side. Most of the other findings did not show marked differences with orofacial cleft distributions in other African populations.
Life after pelvic organ prolapse surgery: a qualitative study in Amhara region, Ethiopia
Women living in resource constrained settings often have limited knowledge of and access to surgical treatment for pelvic organ prolapse. Additionally, little is known about experiences during recovery periods or about the reintegration process for women who do gain access to medical services, including surgery. This study aimed to explore women’s experiences related to recovery and reintegration after free surgical treatment for pelvic organ prolapse in a resource-constrained setting.
The study had a qualitative design and used in-depth interviews in the data collection with a purposive sample of 25 participants, including 12 women with pelvic organ prolapse. Recruitment took place at the University of Gondar Hospital, Ethiopia, where women with pelvic organ prolapse had been admitted for free surgical treatment. In-depth interviews were carried out with women at the hospital prior to surgery and in their homes 5-9 months following surgery. Interviews were also conducted with health-care providers (8), representatives from relevant organizations (3), and health authorities (2). The fieldwork was carried out in close collaboration with a local female interpreter.
The majority of the women experienced a transformation after prolapse surgery. They went from a life dominated by fear of disclosure, discrimination, and divorce due to what was perceived as a shameful and strongly prohibitive condition both physically and socially, to a life of gradually regained physical health and reintegration into a social life. The strong mobilization of family-networks for most of the women facilitated work-related help and social support during the immediate post-surgery period as well as on a long-term basis. The women with less extensive social networks expressed greater challenges, and some struggled to meet their basic needs. All the women openly disclosed their health condition after surgery, and several actively engaged in creating awareness about the condition.
Free surgical treatment substantially improved the health and social life for most of the study participants. The impact of the surgery extended to the communities in which the women lived through increased openness and awareness and thus had the potential to ensure increased disclosure among other women who suffer from this treatable condition.