Quality of emergency obstetric and newborn care services in Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia

Globally, nearly 295,000 women die every year during and following pregnancy and childbirth. Emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC) can avert 75% of maternal mortality if all mothers get quality healthcare. Improving maternal health needs identification and addressing of barriers that limit access to quality maternal health services. Hence, this study aimed to assess the quality of EmONC service and its predictors in Wolaita Zone, southern Ethiopia.

A facility-based cross-sectional study was conducted in 14 health facilities. A facility audit was conducted on 14 health facilities, and 423 women were randomly selected to participate in observation of care and exit interview. The Open Data Kit (ODK) platform and Stata version 17 were used for data entry and analysis, respectively. Frequencies and summary statistics were used to describe the study population. Simple and multiple linear regressions were done to identify candidate and predictor variables of service quality. Coefficients with 95% confidence intervals were used to declare the significance and strength of association. Input, process, and output quality indices were created by calculating the means of standard items available or actions performed by each category and were used to describe the quality of EmONC.

The mean input, process, and output EmONC services qualities were 74.2, 69.4, and 79.6%, respectively. Of the study participants, 59.2% received below 75% of the standard clinical actions (observed quality) of EmONC services. Women’s educational status (B = 5.35, 95% C.I: 0.56, 10.14), and (B = 8.38, 95% C.I: 2.92, 13.85), age (B = 3.86, 95% C.I: 0.39, 7.33), duration of stay at the facility (B = 3.58, 95% C.I: 2.66, 4.9), number of patients in the delivery room (B = − 4.14, 95% C.I: − 6.14, − 2.13), and care provider’s experience (B = 1.26, 95% C.I: 0.83, 1.69) were independent predictors of observed service quality.

The EmONC services quality was suboptimal in Wolaita Zone. Every three-in-five women received less than three-fourths of the standard clinical actions. The health system, care providers, and other stakeholders should emphasize improving the quality of care by availing medical infrastructure, adhering to standard procedures, enhancing human resources for health, and providing standard care regardless of women’s characteristics.

Abdominal Packing for Obstetric Surgical Uncontrollable Hemorrhage

Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), which makes up the bulk of the 14 million occurrences of obstetric hemorrhage that happen yearly, is the most prevalent type. Obstetric emergencies must be promptly identified and treated because most PPH-related deaths occur within four hours of delivery and even after hysterectomy. This literature study tries to elucidate abdominal packing in reducing obstetrical bleeding in greater detail. Pads or roller gauze (sterile pads bound by suture threads, wrapped in a sterile bag, or stacked gauze) and balloon pack (Foley catheter or Bakri balloon), and abdominal packs retrieved within 24-48 hours, are two categories of abdominal packing techniques for controlling bleeding after hysterectomy. Due to its ease of use, minimal risk of complications, and usefulness in environments with limited resources, abdominal packing continues to be a valuable technique in the arsenal of the modern obstetrician.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Utilization in Zimbabwe: Retrospective Review of Harare Ambulance System Reports

Background: Emergency medical services (EMS) are a critical but often overlooked component of essential public health care delivery in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Few countries in Africa have established EMS and there is scant literature to provide guidance for EMS growth.

Objective: This study aimed to characterize EMS utilization in Harare, Zimbabwe in order to guide system strengthening efforts.

Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of patient care reports (PCR) generated by the City of Harare ambulance system for patients transported and/or treated in the prehospital setting over a 14-month period (February 2018 – March 2019).

Findings: A total of 875 PCRs were reviewed representing approximately 8% of the calls to EMS. The majority of patients were age 15 to 49 (76%) and 61% were female patients. In general, trauma and pregnancy were the most common chief complaints, comprising 56% of all transports. More than half (51%) of transports were for inter-facility transfers (IFTs) and 52% of these IFTs were maternity-related. Transports for trauma were mostly for male patients (63%), and 75% of the trauma patients were age 15–49. EMTs assessed and documented pulse and blood pressure for 72% of patients.

Conclusion: In this study, EMS cared primarily for obstetric and trauma emergencies, which mirrors the leading causes of premature death in LMICs. The predominance of requests for maternity-related IFTs emphasizes the role for EMS as an integral player in peripartum maternal health care. Targeted public health efforts and chief complaint-specific training for EMTs in these priority areas could improve quality of care and patient outcomes. Moreover, a focus on strengthening prehospital data collection and research is critical to advancing EMS development in Zimbabwe and the region through quality improvement and epidemiologic surveillance.

Latin American surgical outcomes study: study protocol for a multicentre international observational cohort study of patient outcomes after surgery in Latin American countries

Reported data suggest that 4.2 million deaths will occur within 30 days of surgery worldwide each year, half of which are in low- and middle-income countries. Postoperative complications are a leading cause of long-term morbidity and mortality. Patients who survive and leave the hospital after surgical complications regularly experience reductions in long-term survival and functional independence, resulting in increased costs. With a high volume of surgery performed, there is a growing perception of the substantial impact of even minor enhancements in perioperative care. The Latin American Surgical Outcomes Study (LASOS) is an international, multicentre, prospective cohort study of adults submitted to in-patient surgery in Latin America aiming to provide detailed data describing postoperative complications and surgical mortality.

LASOS is a 7 day cohort study of adults undergoing surgery in Latin America. Details of preoperative risk factors, intraoperative care, and postoperative outcomes will be collected. The primary outcome will be in-hospital postoperative complications of any cause. Secondary outcomes include in-hospital all-cause mortality, duration of hospital stay after surgery, and admission to a critical care unit within 30 days after surgery during the index hospitalisation.

The LASOS results will be published in peer-reviewed journals, reported and presented at international meetings, and widely disseminated to patients and public in participating countries via mainstream and social media.

The LASOS may augment our understanding of postoperative complications and surgial mortality in Latin America.

Clinical trial registration

Scarf Injury: a qualitative examination of the emergency response and acute care pathway from a unique mechanism of road traffic injury in Bangladesh

Road traffic injuries (RTI) are the leading cause of death worldwide in children over 5 and adults aged 18–29. Nonfatal RTIs result in 20–50 million annual injuries. In Bangladesh, a new mechanism of RTI has emerged over the past decade known as a ‘scarf injury.’ Scarf injuries occur when scarves, part of traditional female dress, are caught in the driveshaft of an autorickshaw. The mechanism of injury results in novel, strangulation-like cervical spine trauma. This study aimed to understand the immediate emergency response, acute care pathway, and subsequent functional and health outcomes for survivors of scarf injuries.

Key informant interviews were conducted with female scarf injury survivors (n = 12), caregivers (n = 6), and health care workers (n = 15). Themes and subthemes were identified via inductive content analysis, then applied to the three-delay model to examine specific breakdowns in pre-hospital care and provide a basis for future interventions.

Over half of the scarf injury patients were between the ages of 10 and 15. All but two were tetraplegic. Participants emphasized less than optimal patient outcomes were due to unawareness of scarf injuries and spinal cord injuries among the general public and health professionals; unsafe and inefficient bystander first aid and transportation; and high cost of acute health care.

Females in Bangladesh are at significant risk of sustaining serious and life-threatening trauma through scarf injuries in autorickshaws, further worsened through inadequate care along the trauma care pathway. Interventions designed to increase awareness and knowledge of basic SCI care at the community and provider level would likely improve health and functional outcomes

International Perspectives of Prehospital and Hospital Trauma Services: A Literature Review

Background: Evidence suggests that reductions in the incidence in trauma observed in some countries are related to interventions including legislation around road and vehicle safety measures, public behaviour change campaigns, and changes in trauma response systems. This study aims to briefly review recent refereed and grey literature about prehospital and hospital trauma care services in different regions around the world and describe similarities and differences in identified systems to demonstrate the diversity of characteristics present. Methods: Articles published between 2000 and 2020 were retrieved from MEDLINE and EMBASE. Since detailed comparable information was lacking in the published literature, prehospital emergency service providers’ annual performance reports from selected example countries or regions were reviewed to obtain additional information about the performance of prehospital care. Results: The review retained 34 studies from refereed literature related to trauma systems in different regions. In the U.S. and Canada, the trauma care facilities consisted of five different levels of trauma centres ranging from Level I to Level IV and Level I to Level V, respectively. Hospital care and organisation in Japan is different from the U.S. model, with no dedicated trauma centres; however, patients with severe injury are transported to university hospitals’ emergency departments. Other similarities and differences in regional examples were observed. Conclusions: The refereed literature was dominated by research from developed countries such as Australia, Canada, and the U.S., which all have organised trauma systems. Many European countries have implemented trauma systems between the 1990s and 2000s; however, some countries, such as France and Greece, are still forming an integrated system. This review aims to encourage countries with immature trauma systems to consider the similarities and differences in approaches of other countries to implementing a trauma system. View Full-Text

The Impact of Delayed Surgical Care on Patient Outcomes With Alimentary Tract Perforation: Insight From a Low-Middle Income Country

In-patient delay is associated with increased mortality in patients with alimentary tract perforations. Access to surgical care is a glaring health issue in low-middle income countries (LMICs), where patient presentation is also delayed for a myriad of reasons, which can be broadly categorized as social/cultural, financial, and structural in their nature. The impact these delays have on surgical outcomes in low-middle income countries is not known.

A retrospective cohort study of patients who underwent emergency laparotomy for alimentary tract perforation from July 2015 to June 2018 was conducted at a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. Time was recorded in two variables: symptom onset to emergency room presentation (ERT) and emergency room to operation room time (ORT).

Overall, 80 patients were included in the study. The 12 (15%) patients who expired were significantly older (57 ± 17.7 years of age), had a higher Charlson Comorbidity Index and had longer ORT [median ORT in hours-discharged vs expired: 8.2 (IQR 5-15) vs 16 (IQR 12-28) p=0.02]. ERT was also longer but lacked statistical significance [median ERT in hours-discharged vs expired: 24 (IQR 22-72) vs 48 (IQR 24-120) p=0.19]. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed ORT to be significantly associated with mortality [odds ratio (OR): 1.02, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.003-1.041; p=0.02]. Adjusted Cox regression analysis showed that each hour of ORT increased the risk of mortality by 1.5% [hazard ratio (HR) 1.015, 95% CI 1.001-1.030].

Inpatient delays increased the risk of mortality for patients undergoing emergency laparotomy for alimentary tract perforation. Larger sample sizes and prospective studies are needed to better understand this relationship and the impact pre-hospital delays have on outcomes.

Estimating the health burden of road traffic injuries in Malawi using an individual based model


Road traffic injuries are a significant cause of death and disability globally. However, in some countries the exact health burden caused by road traffic injuries is unknown. In Malawi, there is no central reporting mechanism for road traffic injuries and so the exact extent of the health burden caused by road traffic injuries is hard to determine. A limited number of models predict the incidence of death due to road traffic injury in Malawi. These estimates vary greatly, owing to differences in assumptions and so the health burden caused on the population by road traffic injuries remains unclear.


We use an individual based model and combine an epidemiological model of road traffic injuries with a health seeking behaviour and health system model. We provide a detailed representation of road traffic injuries in Malawi, from the onset of the injury through to the final health outcome. We also investigate the effects of an assumption made by other models, that multiple injuries do not contribute to health burden caused by road accidents.


Our model estimates an overall average incidence of death between 23.5 to 29.8 deaths per 100,000 person years due to road traffic injuries and an average of 180,000 to 225,000 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) per year between 2010 and 2020 in an estimated average population size of 1,364,000 over the 10-year period. Our estimated incidence of death falls within the range of other estimates currently available for Malawi, whereas our estimated number of DALYs is greater than the only other estimate available for Malawi, the GBD estimate predicting and average of 126,200 DALYs per year over the same time period. Our estimates, which account for multiple injuries, predict a 22-58% increase in overall health burden compared to the model ran as a single injury model.


Road traffic injuries are difficult to model with conventional modelling methods, owing to the numerous types of injuries that occur. Using an individual based model framework, we can provide a detailed representation of road traffic injuries. Our results indicate a higher health burden caused by road traffic injuries than previously estimated.

Factors Affecting Survival in Nontraumatic Pediatric Abdominal Surgical Emergencies: A Contemporary Review

Surgically curable illnesses in the pediatric population are a major public health issue with a high prevalence of 10%-33% of all pediatric admissions, and emergency situations account for 50%-78% of surgical cases. Emergency abdominal surgery in children necessitates proper and prompt surgical and perioperative supportive care. When compared to elective operations, emergency surgery has a greater rate of morbidity and fatality. Staffing concerns, access to operating theaters, and access to diagnostic investigations are all possible causes of this high fatality rate, in addition to patient-related factors. Literature from high-income countries (HICs) discusses the problem, and recommendations are available for high-quality setups with good infrastructure. However, surgical care facilities from resource-poor countries have altogether different challenges and bottlenecks when dealing with children requiring emergency surgical operative procedures to save lives. This review aims to discuss factors affecting the survival of children being operated on for abdominal emergencies in resource-poor setups and suggest recommendations.

Essential Emergency and Critical Care as a health system response to critical illness and the COVID19 pandemic: What does it cost?

Essential Emergency and Critical Care (EECC) is a novel approach to the care of critically ill patients, focusing on first-tier, low-cost care and designed to be feasible even in low-resourced and low-staffed settings. This is distinct from advanced critical care, usually conducted in ICUs with specialised staff, facilities and technologies. This paper estimates the incremental cost of EECC and advanced critical care for the planning of care for critically ill patients in low resource settings with Kenya and Tanzania as case studies.

The incremental costing took a health systems perspective. A normative approach based on the ingredients defined through the recently published global consensus on EECC was used. The setting was a district hospital in which the patient is provided with the definitive care typically provided at that level for their condition. Quantification of resource use was based on COVID-19 as a tracer condition using clinical expertise. Local prices were used where available, and all costs were converted to USD2020.

The costs per patient day of EECC is estimated to be 1.01 USD, 10.83 USD and 32.84 USD in Tanzania and 1.76 USD, 14.86 USD and 37.43 USD in Kenya, for moderate, severe and critical COVID-19 patients respectively. The cost per patient day of advanced critical care is estimated to be 13.11 USD and 17.33 USD for severe and 297.30 USD and 369.64 USD for critical COVID-19 patients in Tanzania and Kenya, respectively.

EECC, an approach of providing the essential care to all critically ill patients, is low-cost. The components of EECC are basic and universal and, when assessed against the existing gaps in critical care coverage and costs of advanced critical care, suggest that it should be a priority area of investment for health systems around the globe.