Cancer Groundshot: Building a Robust Cancer Control Platform in Addition To Launching the Cancer Moonshot

Cancer Groundshot is a philosophy that calls for prioritization of strategies in global cancer control. The underlying principle of Cancer Groundshot is that one must ensure access to interventions that are already proven to work before focusing on the development of new interventions. In this article, we discuss the philosophy of Cancer Groundshot as it pertains to priorities in cancer care and research in low- and middle-income countries and the utility of technology in addressing global cancer disparities; we also address disparities seen in high-income countries. The oncology community needs to realign our priorities and focus on improving access to high-value cancer control strategies, rather than allocating resources primarily to the development of technologies that provide only marginal gains at a high cost. There are several “low-hanging fruit” actions that will improve access to quality cancer care in low- and middle-income countries and in high-income countries. Worldwide, cancer morbidity and mortality can be averted by implementing highly effective, low-cost interventions that are already known to work, rather than investing in the development of resource-intensive interventions to which most patients will not have access (i.e., we can use Cancer Groundshot to first save more lives before we focus on the “moonshots”).

The impact of socio-economic factors on parental non-adherence to the Ponseti protocol for clubfoot treatment in low- and middle-income countries: A scoping review

The Ponseti treatment is considered the gold standard for clubfoot globally, but requires strong engagement from parents. The aim of this review is to assess the impact of socio-economic factors on the presence of drop-out, relapse or non-compliance during Ponseti treatment in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

This scoping review includes all articles available from inception until 4.4.2022. All articles describing an association between one or more socio-economic factors and one or more adverse outcomes during the Ponseti treatment in an LMICs were considered for inclusion. Studies were identified by searching Medline/PubMed, Embase, Global Health and Global Index Medicus. Data extraction was done using Covidence extraction 2.0 by two independent reviewers.

A total of 281 unique references were retrieved from the database searches, 59 abstracts were retained for full-text review, of which 19 studies were included in the final review. We grouped the identified socio-economic factors into 4 larger themes: poverty and physical accessibility of clubfoot clinics, presence of support systems, educational level of the parents, and household-level factors and cultural norms. Reduced access to care for girls was considered an important risk factor in South Asia and the Caribbean. Lack of family and community support was an issue raised more often in studies from Eastern Africa. The extreme heterogeneity among collected variables within a small sample of papers made it not possible to perform a meta-analysis.

The identified factors are very similar to the socio-economic factors identified in studies looking at the barriers parents and children face when seeking care initially. Poverty was identified as a cross-cutting risk factor in all 4 domains and the most important socio-economic risk factor based on this review, reconfirming poverty eradication as the challenge for the 21st century.

Effective interventions to ensure MCH (Maternal and Child Health) services during pandemic related health emergencies (Zika, Ebola, and COVID-19): A systematic review

Ensuring accessible and quality health care for women and children is an existing challenge, which is further exacerbated during pandemics. There is a knowledge gap about the effect of pandemics on maternal, newborn, and child well-being. This systematic review was conducted to study maternal and child health (MCH) services utilization during pandemics (Zika, Ebola, and COVID-19) and the effectiveness of various interventions undertaken for ensuring utilization of MCH services.

A systematic and comprehensive search was conducted in MEDLINE/PubMed, Cochrane CENTRAL, Embase, Epistemonikos, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar. Of 5643 citations, 60 potential studies were finally included for analysis. The included studies were appraised using JBI Critical appraisal tools. Study selection and data extraction were done independently and in duplicate. Findings are presented narratively based on the RMNCHA framework by World Health Organization (WHO).

Maternal and child health services such as antenatal care (ANC) visits, institutional deliveries, immunization uptake, were greatly affected during a pandemic situation. Innovative approaches in form of health care services through virtual consultation, patient triaging, developing dedicated COVID maternity centers and maternity schools were implemented in different places for ensuring continuity of MCH care during pandemics. None of the studies reported the effectiveness of these interventions during pandemic-related health emergencies.

The findings suggest that during pandemics, MCH care utilization often gets affected. Many innovative interventions were adopted to ensure MCH services. However, they lack evidence about their effectiveness. It is critically important to implement evidence-based appropriate interventions for better MCH care utilization.

Establishing collaborations in global neurosurgery: The role of InterSurgeon

The global deficiency in surgical care has been highlighted in the past several years, through the publication of the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery in 2015, the passage of WHA Resolution 68.15, and concerted efforts by advocacy organizations such as the G4 Alliance. Approximately 23,300 additional neurosurgeons are estimated to be needed to address the greater than 5 million essential neurosurgical cases that are not performed annually, most in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

However, increasing recognition of the ease and feasibility of virtual technology prompted a shift towards virtual modes of communication. InterSurgeon (, an independent, internet-based social network platform, has allowed for formal connection between global surgery advocates who may have complementary needs and resources. This manuscript aims to: 1) characterize the current progress of InterSurgeon, 2) describe lessons learned from the creation and use of InterSurgeon, and 3) discuss future directions for InterSurgeon.

Equitable, well-designed collaborations are central to progress in global neurosurgery. InterSurgeon has catalyzed collaborations within global neurosurgery across world regions and country income status. In addition to its role in facilitating traditional in person collaborations, InterSurgeon will become an increasingly important tool for connecting surgeons worldwide as virtual collaboration and augmented reality training paradigms become important components of global surgery capacity building.

Cervical cancer therapies: Current challenges and future perspectives

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common female cancer worldwide and results in over 300 000 deaths globally. The causative agent of cervical cancer is persistent infection with high-risk subtypes of the human papillomavirus and the E5, E6 and E7 viral oncoproteins cooperate with host factors to induce and maintain the malignant phenotype. Cervical cancer is a largely preventable disease and early-stage detection is associated with significantly improved survival rates. Indeed, in high-income countries with established vaccination and screening programs it is a rare disease. However, the disease is a killer for women in low- and middle-income countries who, due to limited resources, often present with advanced and untreatable disease. Treatment options include surgical interventions, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy either alone or in combination. This review describes the initiation and progression of cervical cancer and discusses in depth the advantages and challenges faced by current cervical cancer therapies, followed by a discussion of promising and efficacious new therapies to treat cervical cancer including immunotherapies, targeted therapies, combination therapies, and genetic treatment approaches.

Disadvantaged Subgroups Within the Global Head and Neck Cancer Population: How Can We Optimize Care?

Within the global head and neck cancer population, there are subgroups of patients with poorer cancer outcomes independent from tumor characteristics. In this article, we review three such groups. The first group comprises patients with nasopharyngeal cancer in low- and middle-income countries where access to high-volume, well-resourced radiotherapy centers is limited. We discuss a recent study that is aiming to improve outcomes through the instigation of a comprehensive radiotherapy quality assurance program. The second group comprises patients with low socioeconomic status in a high-income country who experience substantial financial toxicity, defined as financial hardship for patients due to health care costs. We review causes and consequences of financial toxicity and discuss how it can be mitigated. The third group comprises older patients who may poorly tolerate and not benefit from intensive standard-of-care treatment. We discuss the role of geriatric assessment, particularly in relation to the use of chemotherapy. Through better recognition and understanding of disadvantaged groups within the global head and neck cancer population, we will be better placed to instigate the necessary changes to improve outcomes and quality of life for patients with head and neck cancer.

Estimating c-section coverage: Assessing method performance and characterizing variations in coverage

Cesarean section (c-section) is an essential tool for preventing, stillbirths, maternal, and newborn death. However, data on coverage of medically necessary c-section is limited in low- and middle-income settings.

We estimated national c-section coverage using household survey data from 98 low- and middle-income countries. To disaggregate elective and medically necessary c-sections, we estimated the proportion of women in each survey wealth quintile who gave birth via c-section assuming a denominator that 12.5% of births necessitate a c-section delivery. We capped stratum coverage at 100%. We estimated national c-section coverage weighting for the proportion of births occurring in each wealth quintile. We examined 1) variation in estimated c-section by wealth quintile, national income classification, and stage in the obstetric transition, 2) how varying definitions impact the classification of countries’ access to c-section, and 3) correlation between c-section and related mortality outcomes.

Both increasing national and household wealth are associated with increasing levels of c-section coverage and c-section rate. C-section coverage was highly inequitable by wealth within a country. Differentials in coverage were most pronounced in countries with c-section rates below 10%; however, some countries showed significant gaps in c-section coverage in poor subpopulations despite high c-section rates nationally. The choice of indicator and threshold altered whether a country was classified as having adequate access to c-section services. C-section coverage estimates showed a stronger relationship with closely related health outcomes than national c-section rates.

Generating estimates of c-section coverage is crucial for gauging gaps in c-section access. Our approach for calculating c-section coverage using stratification by wealth to adjust for potential elective c-sections is supported by the strong correlations between household wealth and subnational c-section rate, and the association between our coverage estimates and health outcomes at a national level. Looking at national c-section rates alone may paint an inaccurate picture of c-section access and mask subnational inequities in coverage. The need to accurately measure access to c-section will continue to increase as growth in LMICs drives inequities in coverage and introduces dual concerns related to c-section overuse in some populations while others lack access to care.

Lower limb amputations among individuals living with diabetes mellitus in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review protocol

The burden of diabetes mellitus (DM) and its associated complications continue to burgeon, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Lower limb amputation (LLA) is one of the most life-altering complications of DM, associated with significant morbidity, mortality and socio-economic impacts. High-income countries have reported a decreasing incidence of DM-associated LLA, but the situation in many LMICs is unknown. We aim to conduct a systematic review to determine the incidence and prevalence of DM-associated LLA in LMICs to better inform appropriate interventions and health system response.

Methods and analysis
A systematic search of the literature will be conducted on five databases: MEDLINE, Embase, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Scopus and African Journal Online (AJOL). Only observational, quantitative studies reporting the incidence and/or prevalence of DM-related LLA will be considered. A validated study design-specific critical appraisal tool will be used to assess the risk of bias in individual studies. We will determine the incidence of LLA by examining the number of new cases of LLA among individuals with confirmed DM diagnosis during the specified period, while the prevalence will be based on the total number of all new and existing LLAs in a population. LLA will be considered as the resection of the lower limb from just above the knee to any point down to the toe. If heterogeneity is low to moderate, a random-effects meta-analysis will be conducted on extracted crude prevalence/incidence rates, with the median and interquartile range also reported. The systematic review will be performed in accordance with the JBI guideline for prevalence and incidence review. Study reporting will follow the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guideline.

Prospero registration number

Physicians’ Perceptions of and Satisfaction With Artificial Intelligence in Cancer Treatment: A Clinical Decision Support System Experience and Implications for Low-Middle–Income Countries

As technology continues to improve, health care systems have the opportunity to use a variety of innovative tools for decision-making, including artificial intelligence (AI) applications. However, there has been little research on the feasibility and efficacy of integrating AI systems into real-world clinical practice, especially from the perspectives of clinicians who use such tools. In this paper, we review physicians’ perceptions of and satisfaction with an AI tool, Watson for Oncology, which is used for the treatment of cancer. Watson for Oncology has been implemented in several different settings, including Brazil, China, India, South Korea, and Mexico. By focusing on the implementation of an AI-based clinical decision support system for oncology, we aim to demonstrate how AI can be both beneficial and challenging for cancer management globally and particularly for low-middle–income countries. By doing so, we hope to highlight the need for additional research on user experience and the unique social, cultural, and political barriers to the successful implementation of AI in low-middle–income countries for cancer care.

Real-world visual outcomes of cataract surgery based on population-based studies: a systematic review

Background/aims Quantity of cataract surgery has long been an important public health indicator to assess health accessibility, however the quality of care has been less investigated. We aimed to summarise the up-to-date evidences to assess the real-world visual outcomes after cataract surgery in different settings.

Methods A systematic review was undertaken in October 2021. Population-based cross-sectional and longitudinal studies reporting vision-related outcomes after cataract surgery published from 2006 onward were included. A meta-analysis was not planned.

Results Twenty-six cross-sectional studies from low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) and five cross-sectional studies from high-income countries (HICs) were included. The proportions of participants with postoperative presenting visual acuity (VA) ≥0.32 (20/60) were all over 70% in all HICS studies, but mostly below 70% in LMICS studies, ranging from 29.9% to 80.5%. Significant difference in postoperative VA was also observed within countries. The leading causes for postoperative visual impairment (defined mostly as presenting VA <20/60) mainly included refractive error, ocular comorbidities and surgical complications including posterior capsule opacification, except for one study in Nigeria wherein the leading cause was aphakia. Only four population-based cohort studies were included with 5–20 years of follow-up time, generally demonstrating no significant changes in postoperative visual outcomes during the follow-up.

Conclusions We observed large inequality in the visual outcomes and principal causes of visual impairment after cataract surgery among different countries and regions. Structured quality control and enhancement programmes are needed to improve the outcomes of cataract surgery and reduce inequality.