Empanelment of health care facilities under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) in India

Introduction
India’s Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) is the world’s largest health assurance scheme providing health cover of 500,000 INR (about USD 6,800) per family per year. It provides financial support for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization expenses to about 500 million of India’s poorest households through various insurance models with care delivered by public and private empanelled providers. This study undertook to describe the provider empanelment of PM-JAY, a key element of its functioning and determinant of its impact.

Methods
We carried out secondary analysis of cross-sectional administrative program data publicly available in PM-JAY portal for 30 Indian states and 06 UTs. We analysed the state wise distribution, type and sector of empanelled hospitals and services offered through PM-JAY scheme across all the states and UTs.

Results
We found that out of the total facilities empanelled (N = 20,257) under the scheme in 2020, more than half (N = 11,367, 56%) were in the public sector, while 8,157 (40%) facilities were private for profit, and 733 (4%) were private not for profit entities. State wise distribution of hospitals showed that five states (Karnataka (N = 2,996, 14.9%), Gujarat (N = 2,672, 13.3%), Uttar Pradesh (N = 2,627, 13%), Tamil Nadu (N = 2315, 11.5%) and Rajasthan (N = 2,093 facilities, 10.4%) contributed to more than 60% of empanelled PMJAY facilities: We also observed that 40% of facilities were offering between two and five specialties while 14% of empanelled hospitals provided 21–24 specialties.

Conclusion
A majority of the hospital empanelled under the scheme are in states with previous experience of implementing publicly funded health insurance schemes, with the exception of Uttar Pradesh. Reasons underlying these patterns of empanelment as well as the impact of empanelment on service access, utilisation, population health and financial risk protection warrant further study. While the inclusion and regulation of the private sector is a goal that may be served by empanelment, the role of public sector remains critical, particularly in underserved areas of India.

Analysing a Global Health Education Framework for Public Health Education Programs in India

Academic global health is of increasing interest to educators and students in public health but competency domains as well as education pathways that deliver this training, are still being identified and refined. This thesis was undertaken using an education program development paradigm and aimed to analyse the factors shaping global health education in India by examining multistakeholder perspectives. The research framework consisted of four components: curriculum and content, students, faculty and key experts, and employers. Studies captured the perspectives of students through a survey and focus group discussions, faculty and other key experts through semi-structured interviews, and employers through job advertisement analysis. We identified eleven global health competency domains focussed on three aspects: foundational competencies, core public health skills and soft skills. Global health and public health were seen as interconnected, with global health having transnational context and public health having a more national focus. Global health was seen as a nascent concept in India and although integration of global health education into the public health curriculum was supported, there were concerns given that public health is still too new a discipline in India. Global health competencies were seen as a ‘step up’ from the public health competencies. Based on the results, a two-level approach to global health education is proposed for Indian public health institutions. The first approach, targeted at recent graduates, focuses on a ‘foundational global health education’ within public health programs such as an MPH. The second approach is an ‘Executive Global Health Certificate Program’, aimed at experienced public health professionals planning to enter the global health workforce. This thesis has outlined a framework for Indian and other LMIC institutions looking to expand the scope of public health education and intend to develop global health education programs.

Respiratory morbidity and mortality of traumatic cervical spinal cord injury at a level I trauma center in India

Study design
Descriptive retrospective.

Objectives
To evaluate the burden of respiratory morbidity in terms of ventilator dependence (VD) days and length of stay in neurotrauma ICU (NICU) and hospital, and to determine mortality in patients with traumatic cervical spinal cord injury (CSCI) in a low middle-income country (LMIC).

Setting
Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Center (JPNATC), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India.

Methods
A total of 135 patients admitted with CSCI in the NICU between January 2017 to December 2018 were screened. Information regarding age, gender, American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) impairment scale (AIS), level of injury, duration of VD, length of NICU, hospital stay, and outcome in terms of mortality or discharge from the hospital were obtained from the medical records.

Results
A total of 106 CSCI patients were analyzed. The mean (SD) age of patients was 40 (±16) years and male: female ratio was 5:1. The duration of VD, duration of NICU, and hospital stay was a median of 8 days (IQR 1127), 6 days (IQR 1118), and 15 days (IQR 3127) respectively. Mortality was 19% (20/106). The mortality was significantly associated with poorer AIS score, VD, and duration of ICU and hospital stay. All patients were discharged to home only after they became ventilator-free.

Conclusions
The ventilator burden, hospital stay, and mortality are high in patients with CSCI in LMICs. Poor AIS scores, prolonged VD, ICU and hospital stay are associated with mortality. There is a need for comprehensive CSCI rehabilitation programs in LMICs to improve outcome.

Does Advanced Trauma Life Support Training work? 10-Year Follow Up of Advanced Trauma Life Support India Program

Background
Studies evaluating the efficacy of ATLS in Low & Middle-income countries (LMICs) are limited. We followed up ATLS providers certified by ATLS India program over a decade (2008-2018), aiming at measuring the benefits, if any, in knowledge, skills & attitude (KSA) from ATLS, and attrition over time.

Methods
Survey instrument was developed taking a cue from published literature on ATLS and improvised using the Delphi method. Randomly selected ATLS providers were sent the survey instrument via email, as a Google form along with a statement of purpose. Results are presented descriptively.

Results
1030 (41.2%) doctors responded. Improvement in knowledge (n=1013; 98.3%), psychomotor skills (n=986; 95.7%), organizational skills (n=998; 96.9%), overall trauma management (n=1013; 98.7%), self-confidence (n= 939; 91%) and ATLS promulgation at workplace in personal capacity (904; 87.8%) were reported. More than 60% opined benefits lasting beyond two years; more than 40% opined cognitive (492; 47.8%), psychomotor (433; 42%), and organizational benefits (499; 48.4%) lasting beyond three years. The Faculty-ATLS subgroup reported significantly more improvement in confidence, tendency to teach ATLS at the workplace, and retention of organizational skills than the providers’ subgroup. Lack of trained manpower (660; 64.1%) & attitude issues (n-495; 48.1%) were the major impediments at workplace. One third (n=373; 36.2%) recalled & enumerated life/ limb saving incidents applying ATLS principles.

Conclusion
Cognitive, psychomotor, organizational, and affective impact of ATLS is overwhelmingly positive in the Indian scenario. Till establishing formal trauma systems, ATLS remains the best hope for critically injured patients in LMICs.

Assessment of feasibility and acceptability of family-centered care implemented at a neonatal intensive care unit in India

Background
A family-centered care (FCC) parent participation program that ensures an infant is not separated from parents against their will was developed for the caring of their small or sick newborn at a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Delhi, India. Healthcare provider sensitization training directed at psychosocial and tangible support and an audio-visual training tool for parent-attendants were developed that included: 1) handwashing, infection prevention, protocol for entry; 2) developmentally supportive care, breastfeeding, expression of breastmilk and assisted feeding; 3) kangaroo mother care; and 4) preparation for discharge and care at home. The study aimed to examine the feasibility and acceptability of the FCC model in a NICU in India.

Methods
A prospective cohort design collected quantitative data on each parent-attendant/infant dyad at enrollment, during the NICU stay, and at discharge. Feasibility of the FCC program was measured by assessing the participation of parent-attendants and healthcare providers, and whether training components were implemented as intended. Acceptability was measured by the proportion of parent-attendants who participated in the trainings and their ability to accurately complete program activities.

Results
Of 395 NICU admissions during the study period, eligible participants included 333 parent-attendant/infant dyads, 24 doctors, and 21 nurses. Of the 1242 planned parent-attendant training sessions, 939 (75.6%) were held, indicating that program fidelity was high, and the majority of trainings were implemented as intended. While 50% of parent-attendants completed all 4 FCC training sessions, 95% completed sessions 1 and 2; 60% of the total participating parent-attendants completed session 3, and 75% completed session 4. Compliance rates were over 96% for 5 of 10 FCC parent-attendant activities, and 60 to 78% for the remaining 5 activities.

Conclusions
FCC was feasible to implement in this setting and was acceptable to participating parent-attendants and healthcare providers. Parents participated in trainings conducted by NICU providers and engaged in essential care to their infants in the NICU. A standard care approach and behavior norms for healthcare providers directed psychosocial and tangible support to parent-attendants so that a child is not separated from his or her parents against their will while receiving advanced care in the NICU.

Did COVID-19 Pandemic change Anaesthesia Practices in India: A Multi-centre Cross-sectional Study

Introduction
The anaesthetic management for surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic has posed unique challenges. Safety of all healthcare workers is an additional concern along with heightened risk to patients during General Anesthesia (GA). COVID-19 pneumonia and aerosol generation may be exacerbated during airway intervention and GA. We aimed to assess the change in the mode of anaesthesia due to the pandemic.

Methods
A research consortium led by WHO Collaboration Centre for Research in Surgical Care Delivery in Low and Middle Income countries, India, conducted this retrospective cross-sectional study in 12 hospitals across the country. We compared the anaesthesia preferences during pandemic (April 2020) to a corresponding pre pandemic period (April 2019)

Results
A total of 636 out of 2,162 (29.4%) and 156 out of 927 (16.8%) surgeries were performed under GA in April 2019 and April 2020 respectively, leading to a fall of 13% in usage of GA. A 5% reduction in GA and a 12% increase in the usage of regional anaesthesia was observed for cesarean sections. There was no significant change in anesthesia for laparotomies and fracture surgeries. However, 14% increase in GA usage was observed in surgeries for local soft tissue infections and necrotic tissues.

Conclusion
Though overall usage of GA reduced marginally, the change was mainly contributed by anesthesia for caesarean births. The insignificant change in anaesthesia for other surgeries may be attributed to the lack of facilities for spinal anaesthesia and may reflect the risk taking behaviour of healthcare professionals in COVID-19 pandemic.

Impact of COVID-19 on the practice of orthopaedics and trauma—an epidemiological study of the full pandemic year of a tertiary care centre of New Delhi

Purpose
In an observational study, we studied the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on our clinical practice of trauma and orthopaedics, in tertiary care hospital of New Delhi.

Methods
We collated the hospital data for 2019 and 2020 and analyzed and compared it extensively. We looked for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on several important clinical practice parameters like outpatient attendance, inpatients admissions, and surgery. The correlation of the number of surgeries done during the pandemic time was done with the number of positive cases in Delhi, monthwise. A trend of recovery was also observed.

Results
During the pandemic period, the attendance of outpatients fell by 71.93%, admissions by 59.35%, and surgery by 55.78%. Adult trauma surgery was the least affected (42.21%), followed by arthroscopic surgery (49.81%). Fragility hip fractures requiring bipolar hip arthroplasty were reduced by 34.15%. The maximum adverse impact of the pandemic was seen on arthroplasty surgery (hip > knee), followed by on the paediatric orthopaedic cases, and spinal surgery. We notice a “lazy V-shaped” recovery after the lockdown period.

Conclusion
COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on all aspects of orthopaedics and trauma’s clinical practice in our setup. These adverse effects were maximally seen during the lockdown period, with a reduction of 90.77% in the outpatients, 84.63% in the admissions, and 86.67% in the surgery.

Assessment of Laparoscopic Instrument Reprocessing in Rural India: A Mixed Methods Study

Background
Laparoscopy is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure that uses long slender instruments that require much smaller incisions than conventional surgery. This leads to faster recovery times, fewer infections and shorter hospital stays. For these reasons, laparoscopy could be particularly advantageous to patients in low to middle income countries (LMICs). Unfortunately, sterile processing departments in LMIC hospitals are faced with limited access to equipment and trained staff and poses an obstacle to safe surgical care. The reprocessing of laparoscopic devices requires specialised equipment and training. Therefore, when LMIC hospitals invest in laparoscopy, an update of the standard operating procedure in sterile processing is required. Currently, it is unclear whether LMIC hospitals, that already perform laparoscopy, have managed to introduce updated reprocessing methods that minimally invasive equipment requires. The aim of this study was to identify the laparoscopic sterile reprocessing procedures in rural India and to test the effectiveness of the sterilisation equipment.
Methods
We assessed laparoscopic instrument sterilisation capacity in four rural hospitals in different states in India using a mixed-methods approach. As the main form of data collection, we developed a standardised observational checklist based on reprocessing guidelines from several sources. Steam autoclave performance was measured by monitoring the autoclave cycles in two hospitals. Finally, the findings from the checklist data were supported by an interview survey with surgeons and nurses.
Results
The checklist data revealed the reprocessing methods the hospitals used in the reprocessing of laparoscopic instruments. It showed that the standard operating procedures had not been updated since the introduction of laparoscopy and the same reprocessing methods for regular surgical instruments were still applied. The interviews conrmed that staff had not received additional training and that they were unaware of the hazardous effects of reprocessing detergents and disinfectants.
Conclusion
As laparoscopy is becoming more prevalent in LMICs, updated policy is needed to incorporate minimally invasive instrument reprocessing in medical practitioner and staff training programs. While reprocessing standards improve, it is essential to develop instruments and reprocessing equipment that is
more suitable for resource-constrained rural surgical environments.

Silver linings: a qualitative study of desirable changes to cancer care during the COVID-19 pandemic

Introduction: Public health emergencies and crises such as the current COVID-19 pandemic can accelerate innovation and place renewed focus on the value of health interventions. Capturing important lessons learnt, both positive and negative, is vital. We aimed to document the perceived positive changes (silver linings) in cancer care that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic and identify challenges that may limit their long-term adoption.

Methods: This study employed a qualitative design. Semi-structured interviews (n = 20) were conducted with key opinion leaders from 14 countries. The participants were predominantly members of the International COVID-19 and Cancer Taskforce, who convened in March 2020 to address delivery of cancer care in the context of the pandemic. The Framework Method was employed to analyse the positive changes of the pandemic with corresponding challenges to their maintenance post-pandemic.

Results: Ten themes of positive changes were identified which included: value in cancer care, digital communication, convenience, inclusivity and cooperation, decentralisation of cancer care, acceleration of policy change, human interactions, hygiene practices, health awareness and promotion and systems improvement. Impediments to the scale-up of these positive changes included resource disparities and variation in legal frameworks across regions. Barriers were largely attributed to behaviours and attitudes of stakeholders.

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to important value-based innovations and changes for better cancer care across different health systems. The challenges to maintaining/implementing these changes vary by setting. Efforts are needed to implement improved elements of care that evolved during the pandemic.

Surgical and Trauma Capacity Assessment in Rural Haryana, India

Abstract
Background: Trauma is a major global health problem and majority of the deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), at even higher rates in the rural areas. The three-delay model assesses three different delays in accessing healthcare and can be applied to improve surgical and trauma healthcare delivery. Prior to implementing change, the capacities of the rural India healthcare system need to be identified.

Objective: The object of this study was to estimate surgical and trauma care capacities of government health facilities in rural Nanakpur, Haryana, India using the Personnel, Infrastructure, Procedures, Equipment and Supplies (PIPES) and International Assessment of Capacity for Trauma (INTACT) tools.

Methods: The PIPES and INTACT tools were administered at eight government health facilities serving the population of Nanakpur in June 2015. Data analysis was performed per tool subsection, and an overall score was calculated. Higher PIPES or INTACT indices correspond to greater surgical or trauma care capacity, respectively.

Findings: Surgical and trauma care capacities increased with higher levels of care. The median PIPES score was significantly higher for tertiary facilities than primary and secondary facilities [13.8 (IQR 9.5, 18.2) vs. 4.7 (IQR 3.9, 6.2), p = 0.03]. The lower-level facilities were mainly lacking in personnel and procedures.

Conclusions: Surgical and trauma care capacities at healthcare facilities in Haryana, India demonstrate a shortage of surgical resources at lower-level centers. Specifically, the Primary Health Centers were not operating at full capacity. These results can inform resource allocation, including increasing education, across different facility levels in rural India.