Initial Experience Using 3-Dimensional Printed Models for Head and Neck Reconstruction in Haiti

This report describes the first use of a novel workflow for in-house computer-aided design (CAD) for application in a resource-limited surgical outreach setting. Preoperative computed tomography imaging obtained locally in Haiti was used to produce rapid-prototyped 3-dimensional (3D) mandibular models for 2 patients with large ameloblastomas. Models were used for patient consent, surgical education, and surgical planning. Computer-aided design and 3D models have the potential to significantly aid the process of complex surgery in the outreach setting by aiding in surgical consent and education, in addition to expected surgical applications of improved anatomic reconstruction.

Using critical care physicians to deliver anesthesia and boost surgical caseload in austere environments: the Critical Care General Anesthesia Syllabus (CC GAS)

Despite an often severe lack of surgeons and surgical equipment, the rate-limiting step in surgical care for the nearly five billion people living in resource-limited areas is frequently the absence of safe anesthesia. During disaster relief and surgical missions, critical care physicians (CCPs), who are already competent in complex airway and ventilator management, can help address the need for skilled anesthetists in these settings.

We provided a descriptive analysis that CCPs were trained to provide safe general anesthesia, monitored anesthesia care (MAC), and spinal anesthesia using a specifically designed and simple syllabus.

Six CCPs provided anesthesia under the supervision of a board-certified anesthesiologist for 58 (32%) cases of a total of 183 surgical cases performed by a surgical mission team at St. Luc Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 2013, 2017, and 2018. There were no reported complications.

Given CCPs’ competencies in complex airway and ventilator management, a CCP, with minimal training from a simple syllabus, may be able to act as an anesthesiologist-extender and safely administer anesthesia in the austere environment, increasing the number of surgical cases that can be performed. Further studies are necessary to confirm our observation.

Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy With Choroid Plexus Cauterization for the Treatment of Infantile Hydrocephalus in Haiti

Objective: Untreated hydrocephalus poses a significant health risk to children in the developing world. In response to this risk, global neurosurgical efforts have increasingly focused on endoscopic third ventriculostomy with choroid plexus cauterization (ETV/CPC) in the management of infantile hydrocephalus in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Here, the authors report their experience with ETV/CPC at the Hospital Bernard-Mevs/Project Medishare (HBMPM) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Methods: The authors conducted a retrospective review of a series of consecutive children who had undergone ETV/CPC for hydrocephalus over a 1-year period at HBMPM. The primary outcome of interest was time to ETV/CPC failure. Univariate and multivariate analyses using a Cox proportional hazards regression were performed to identify preoperative factors that were associated with outcomes.

Results: Of the 82 children who underwent ETV/CPC, 52.2% remained shunt free at the last follow-up (mean 6.4 months). On univariate analysis, the ETV success score (ETVSS; p = 0.002), success of the attempted ETV (p = 0.018), and bilateral CPC (p = 0.045) were associated with shunt freedom. In the multivariate models, a lower ETVSS was independently associated with a poor outcome (HR 0.072, 95% CI 0.016-0.32, p < 0.001). Two children (2.4%) died of postoperative seizures.

Conclusions: As in other LMICs, ETV/CPC is an effective treatment for hydrocephalus in children in Haiti, with a low but significant risk profile. Larger multinational prospective databases may further elucidate the ideal candidate for ETV/CPC in resource-poor settings.

Abortion care in Haiti: A secondary analysis of demographic and health data.

Abortion-related mortality accounts for 8% of all global maternal deaths and 97% of the estimated 25 million unsafe abortions performed each year occur in low- and middle-income countries. Haiti has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the western hemisphere and to further understand the circumstances of induced abortion in Haiti, the current work uses data from the 2012 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) to describe the methods of induced abortion in Haiti between 2007-2012 and to identify potential factors associated with use of different abortion methods.

This is a secondary analysis of nationally representative cross-sectional data from the 2012 Haitian DHS, a two-stage cluster randomized household survey. Analysis included descriptive statistics on participant demographics, methods of abortion, and location of / assistant for the abortion. Multivariate regression was conducted to determine if demographic characteristics were associated with: 1) increased or decreased odds of having an abortion; or 2) increased or decreased odds of reporting an evidence based or non-evidence based method of abortion.

Among the 14,287 women of childbearing age who completed the 2012 Haiti DHS survey, 289 women reported having an induced abortion in the previous five years. Recommended methods, manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) or misoprostol alone, were used in 26.6% of the abortions (n = 77). Additionally, 13.8% (n = 40) of abortions used these recommended methods in combination with a non-evidenced based method such as injections, plants or tablets. A total of 92 women had a dilation and curettage (D&C) abortion, either alone (n = 77) or in combination with another method (n = 15) and over a quarter (n = 80) of reported abortions were conducted by non-evidence based methods (n = 80). A majority of abortions using a recommended method were assisted by a relative/friend (n = 28) or were unassisted (n = 34). Most abortions occurred in private homes (n = 174) with hospitals/clinics being the second most common location (n = 84). Women in the middle (OR = 3.3, 95% CI = 2.0-5.6) and highest (OR = 7.4, 95% CI = 4.4-12.3) wealth brackets were more likely to have had an abortion in comparison to women in the lowest wealth bracket. Women who had ever been in a marital union were more likely to have had an abortion than those who had not. The only demographic factor predictive of aborting using a recommended method was living in an urban area, with urban-dwelling women being less likely to use a recommended abortion method (OR = 0.4, 95% CI = 0.2-0.9) in comparison with women living in rural settings.

In a nationally representative survey in Haiti, 2% of women of childbearing age reported having an abortion in the five years prior to the survey. A large proportion of these abortions were carried out using non-evidence based methods and over half occurred outside of the formal health care system. Understanding women’s attitudes, knowledge and barriers around abortion is paramount to improving knowledge and access to evidence-based abortion care in an effort to decrease maternal morbidity and mortality in Haiti.

Linking household and health facility surveys to assess obstetric service availability, readiness and coverage: evidence from 17 low- and middle-income countries.

Improving access and quality of obstetric service has the potential to avert preventable maternal, neonatal and stillborn deaths, yet little is known about the quality of care received. This study sought to assess obstetric service availability, readiness and coverage within and between 17 low- and middle-income countries.We linked health facility data from the Service Provision Assessments and Service Availability and Readiness Assessments, with corresponding household survey data obtained from the Demographic and Health Surveys and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys. Based on performance of obstetric signal functions, we defined four levels of facility emergency obstetric care (EmOC) functionality: comprehensive (CEmOC), basic (BEmOC), BEmOC-2, and low/substandard. Facility readiness was evaluated based on the direct observation of 23 essential items; facilities “ready to provide obstetric services” had ?20 of 23 items available. Across countries, we used medians to characterize service availability and readiness, overall and by urban-rural location; analyses also adjusted for care-seeking patterns to estimate population-level coverage of obstetric services.Of the 111?500 health facilities surveyed, 7545 offered obstetric services and were included in the analysis. The median percentages of facilities offering EmOC and “ready to provide obstetric services” were 19% and 10%, respectively. There were considerable urban-rural differences, with absolute differences of 19% and 29% in the availability of facilities offering EmOC and “ready to provide obstetric services”, respectively. Adjusting for care-seeking patterns, results from the linking approach indicated that among women delivering in a facility, a median of 40% delivered in facilities offering EmOC, and 28% delivered in facilities “ready to provide obstetric services”. Relatively higher coverage of facility deliveries (?65%) and coverage of deliveries in facilities “ready to provide obstetric services” (?30% of facility deliveries) were only found in three countries.The low levels of availability, readiness and coverage of obstetric services documented represent substantial missed opportunities within health systems. Global and national efforts need to prioritize upgrading EmOC functionality and improving readiness to deliver obstetric service, particularly in rural areas. The approach of linking health facility and household surveys described here could facilitate the tracking of progress towards quality obstetric care.

Women’s and Healthcare Workers’ Beliefs and Experiences Surrounding Abortion: The Case of Haiti.

Women in developing countries usually encounter serious inequities in terms of women’s health. To date, there is limited understanding of abortion from the perspective of Haitian women. As a limited-resource country, Haiti faces complex social issues and healthcare challenges. With abortion being illegal, many adult and teenage women seek clandestine abortions. The aim of this study was to explore and gain a greater understanding of women’s and healthcare workers’ beliefs and experiences about abortion in Haiti.Descriptive qualitative design was used to elicit information for the study. Eight focus groups were conducted with Haitian women and healthcare workers in five communities in the south of Haiti: Les Cayes, Aquin, St. Louis du Sud, Cavaillon, Maniche, and Ile a Vache. Participants were purposively selected and consented to participate and to be tape recorded. Content analysis followed using the verbatim transcripts, with triangulation of four researchers; saturation was reached with this number of focus groups.The transcripts revealed six main themes regarding beliefs and experiences about abortion in Haiti: cultural aspects, consumers, perils of care, and legal concerns. Both women and healthcare workers discussed the repercussions of illegal abortion and the role of the government and hospitals. Participants identified similar perils and complications of unsafe abortions, such as postpartum hemorrhage and infection.Results showed an urgent need to create a public health response that addresses different dimensions of abortion by engaging women and healthcare providers in rapid and concrete actions that promote access and safe care of women. It is imperative to conduct more research related to abortion in order to examine other associated factors to better understand the links between abortion and sexual health disparities among Haitian women. These results highlight the need for a rapid response to the need of this vulnerable group, who are experiencing high rates of mortality. This can also serve as a directive to approach this issue in other developing countries in the Caribbean region, particularly from its clinical relevance.Unsafe abortions are prevalent in developing countries; yet limited research exists on the topic. It is paramount to gain an understanding of the women’s and healthcare workers’ beliefs and experiences surrounding abortion, in order to develop interventions that prevent abortion complications in Haitian women.

The Orthopedic Trauma Symposium: improving care of orthopedic injuries in Haiti.

Although single-trip volunteer medical teams can provide much-needed acute trauma care following natural disasters, their ability to leave a legacy of improved care in the region is often limited. One way to improve treatment of traumatic injuries is through conference-based teaching, such as the Orthopedic Trauma Symposium (OTS), which took place in Haiti in 2014. However, there is little research evaluating the effectiveness of such teaching tools. We evaluated the OTS and the potential benefits of future iterations of the course.A survey consisting of 5-point Likert scale questions as well as qualitative open feedback assessed respondents’ opinions regarding the value, content and delivery of the OTS. Respondents were classified dichotomously in terms of their role in the OTS (instructor v. participant) to measure any meaningful difference in feedback.In total, 84% of all participants agreed that course content was clearly communicated, and 98% agreed that instructors were knowledgeable in the topics covered. Moreover, 87% of all participants responded that they would apply the training in their medical practices going forward.Haitian physicians, residents and medical students responded favourably to the OTS. Open-ended questions offered concise, attainable improvements for future iterations of the course. Organizations committed to improving medical care in low- and middle-income countries should take note of these findings while continuing to develop the OTS and similar initiatives globally.Les équipes médicales bénévoles qui font des interventions ponctuelles sont en mesure de prodiguer des soins essentiels en traumatologie aigüe après des désastres naturels, mais elles laissent souvent un héritage limité pour ce qui est de l’amélioration des soins dans la région touchée. Or, il est possible d’améliorer le traitement des blessures post-traumatismes par le biais de conférences didactiques, telles que le Symposium de traumatologie-orthopédie (STO) tenu en Haïti en 2014. Peu de recherches ont toutefois mesuré l’efficacité de ce type d’outil didactique. Nous avons voulu faire un bilan du STO et des avantages potentiels qu’il y aurait à répéter l’expérience.Un questionnaire prenant la forme d’une échelle de Likert en 5 points, ainsi que des questions qualitatives ouvertes, ont permis de recueillir l’opinion des répondeurs au sujet de l’utilité, du contenu et du déroulement du STO. Nous avons scindé les répondeurs en 2 groupes en fonction de leur rôle lors du STO (soit instructeurs, soit participants) pour mesurer les différences notables sur le plan des perceptions.En tout, 84 % de l’ensemble des participants ont affirmé que le contenu du cours avait été clairement communiqué et 98 % ont affirmé que les instructeurs connaissaient les thèmes abordés. En outre, 87 % de tous les participants ont répondu avoir l’intention d’appliquer dorénavant la formation à leur pratique médicale.Les médecins, résidents et étudiants en médecine haïtiens ont répondu favorablement au STO. Les questions ouvertes ont suscité des suggestions concises et réalistes pour améliorer les futures éditions du cours. Les organisations vouées à l’amélioration des soins médicaux dans les pays à revenu faible et moyen devraient prendre note de ces observations tout en continuant d’exploiter la formule des STO et autres initiatives similaires ailleurs dans le monde.

Simplified Negative Pressure Wound Therapy Device for Application in Low-Resource Settings.

Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) provides proven wound healing benefits and is often a desirable wound treatment methodology. Unfortunately, NPWT devices are not widely available in low-resource settings. To overcome the identified NPWT barriers, a simplified NPWT (sNPWT) system was designed and iteratively improved during field-based testing. The sNPWT technology, our device design iterations, and the design-based results of our field tests are described in this article. The sNPWT system includes a bellows hand pump, an occlusive drape, and a tube with tube connectors, connecting the drape to the pump. The most critical property of an sNPWT system is that it must be airtight. The details of the design iterations, which are needed to achieve an occlusive system, are explained. During the design process, the sNPWT system was tested during the earthquake relief in Haiti. This testing found that a liquid sealant was necessary to seal the drape to the periwound skin. A study conducted in Rwanda verified that a liquid latex sealant was safe to use, and that the tube connector must be connected to the drape with an airtight method during the manufacturing process. This work has shown that sNPWT is feasible in low-resource settings. Since the completion of the clinical testing, the design has been further evolved, and the developers are working with contract manufacturers to produce the final design and preparing for regulatory approval applications.