Mortality during and following hospital admission among school-aged children: a cohort study

Background: Far less is known about the reasons for hospitalization or mortality during and after hospitalization among school-aged children than among under-fives in low- and middle-income countries. This study aimed to describe common types of illness causing hospitalisation; inpatient mortality and post-discharge mortality among school-age children at Kilifi County Hospital (KCH), Kenya.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study of children 5−12 years old admitted at KCH, 2007 to 2016, and resident within the Kilifi Health Demographic Surveillance System (KHDSS). Children discharged alive were followed up for one year by quarterly census. Outcomes were inpatient and one-year post-discharge mortality.
Results: We included 3,907 admissions among 3,196 children with a median age of 7 years 8 months (IQR 74−116 months). Severe anaemia (792, 20%), malaria (749, 19%), sickle cell disease (408, 10%), trauma (408, 10%), and severe pneumonia (340, 8.7%) were the commonest reasons for admission. Comorbidities included 623 (16%) with severe wasting, 386 (10%) with severe stunting, 90 (2.3%) with oedematous malnutrition and 194 (5.0%) with HIV infection. 132 (3.4%) children died during hospitalisation. Inpatient death was associated with signs of disease severity, age, bacteraemia, HIV infection and severe stunting. After discharge, 89/2,997 (3.0%) children died within one year during 2,853 child-years observed (31.2 deaths [95%CI, 25.3−38.4] per 1,000 child-years). 63/89 (71%) of post-discharge deaths occurred within three months and 45% of deaths occurred outside hospital. Post-discharge mortality was positively associated with weak pulse, tachypnoea, severe anaemia, HIV infection and severe wasting and negatively associated with malaria.
Conclusions: Reasons for admissions are markedly different from those reported in under-fives. There was significant post-discharge mortality, suggesting hospitalisation is a marker of risk in this population. Our findings inform guideline development to include risk stratification, targeted post-discharge care and facilitate access to healthcare to improve survival in the early months post-discharge in school-aged children.

Changing the face of global health: short-term surgical trips

With the growth of global health awareness, global surgery has emerged as a key focus area. This article examines short-term surgical trips (STSTs) as one of the ways used to address some of the gaps in global surgery. It demonstrates the Kenyan experience in organising and participating in a short-term surgical trip with a 10-year history. Their experience has been that STSTs should be co-organised between the regional hosting surgeons and the visiting surgical team, with an emphasis on education rather that the ‘number of surgeries’ performed during each camp.

Assessing Patient Safety Culture: Application of the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire in a Kenyan Setting

Background:
Patient safety has recently been declared a global health priority. Achievement and sustenance of a culture of patient safety require a regular and timely assessment of the organization. The Safety Attitudes Questionnaire is a patient safety culture assessment tool whose usefulness has been established in countries, but a few studies have been published from Africa, more so, in Kenyan settings.

Objective:
To evaluate the reliability of the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire in assessing the patient safety culture in a Kenyan setting and to assess healthcare workers’ perceptions of patient safety culture.

Methods:
A descriptive quantitative approach was utilized whereby the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire was administered to 241 healthcare workers in two public hospitals. The Cronbach’s α was calculated to determine the internal consistency of the SAQ. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze and describe the data on patient safety culture.

Results:
The total scale Cronbach’s alpha of the SAQ was 0.86, while that of the six dimensions was 0.65 to 0.90. The overall mean score of the total SAQ was 65.8 (9.9). Participants had the highest positive perception for Job Satisfaction with a mean score of 78.3 (16.1) while the lowest was evaluated for Stress Recognition with a mean score of 53.8 (28.6).

Conclusion:
The SAQ demonstrated satisfactory internal consistency and is suitable for use in the Kenyan context. The perception of patient safety culture in the Kenyan hospital is below international recommendations. There is a need for implementation of strategies for the improvement of the organization culture in Kenyan hospitals.

Trends and determinants of health facility childbirth service utilization among mothers in urban slums of Nairobi, Kenya

High maternal mortality remains a challenge for the attainment of the third Sustainable Development Goal in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, maternal mortality ratio remains high at 362 deaths per 100,000 live births. Utilization of health facility childbirth services ensures safe birth and is vital for the reduction of maternal mortality. However, this can be greatly affected by socioeconomic and geographical inequalities. In this study, we assess the trends and determinants of health facility childbirth service utilization among women giving birth in the urban slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Data were obtained from the Nairobi Urban Health and Demographic Surveillance System (NUHDSS) comprising 19,469 births observed between 2003 and [19]. A logistic regression model, with parameter estimation using a generalized estimating equations (GEE) approach, was used to assess factors associated with health facility childbirth. About 81% of the births occurred at health facilities while 19% were occurring at home or outside a health facility. The results further indicated that, education, parity, and relationship to head of households were associated with health facility childbirth. Increasing awareness of the mothers about the benefits of health facility childbirth service utilization and the risks of home childbirth should be given extra attention by health practitioners during antenatal care visits.

Delivery Mode for Prolonged, Obstructed Labour Resulting in Obstetric Fistula: A Retrospective Review of 4396 Women in East and Central Africa

Objective: To evaluate the mode of delivery and stillbirth rates over time among women with obstetric fistula.

Design: Retrospective record review.

Setting: Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Zambia and Ethiopia.

Population: A total of 4396 women presenting with obstetric fistulas for repair who delivered previously in facilities between 1990 and 2014.

Methods: Retrospective review of trends and associations between mode of delivery and stillbirth, focusing on caesarean section (CS), assisted vaginal deliveries and spontaneous vaginal deliveries.

Main outcome measures: Mode of delivery, stillbirth.

Results: Out of 4396 women with fistula, 3695 (84.1%) delivered a stillborn baby. Among mothers with fistula giving birth to a stillborn baby, the CS rate (overall 54.8%, 2027/3695) rose from 45% (162/361) in 1990-94 to 64% (331/514) in 2010-14. This increase occurred at the expense of assisted vaginal delivery (overall 18.3%, 676/3695), which declined from 32% (115/361) to 6% (31/514).

Conclusions: In Eastern and Central Africa, CS is increasingly performed on women with obstructed labour whose babies have already died in utero. Contrary to international recommendations, alternatives such as vacuum extraction, forceps and destructive delivery are decreasingly used. Unless uterine rupture is suspected, CS should be avoided in obstructed labour with intrauterine fetal death to avoid complications related to CS scars in subsequent pregnancies. Increasingly, women with obstetric fistula add a history of unnecessary CS to their already grim experiences of prolonged, obstructed labour and stillbirth.

Availability, procurement, training, usage, maintenance and complications of electrosurgical units and laparoscopic equipment in 12 African countries

Background: Strategies are needed to increase the availability of surgical equipment in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This study was undertaken to explore the current availability, procurement, training, usage, maintenance and complications encountered during use of electrosurgical units (ESUs) and laparoscopic equipment.

Methods: A survey was conducted among surgeons attending the annual meeting of the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) in December 2017 and the annual meeting of the Surgical Society of Kenya (SSK) in March 2018. Biomedical equipment technicians (BMETs) were surveyed and maintenance records collected in Kenya between February and March 2018.

Results: Among 80 participants, there were 59 surgeons from 12 African countries and 21 BMETs from Kenya. Thirty-six maintenance records were collected. ESUs were available for all COSECSA and SSK surgeons, but only 49 per cent (29 of 59) had access to working laparoscopic equipment. Reuse of disposable ESU accessories and difficulties obtaining carbon dioxide were identified. More than three-quarters of surgeons (79 per cent) indicated that maintenance of ESUs was available, but only 59 per cent (16 of 27) confirmed maintenance of laparoscopic equipment at their centre.

Conclusion: Despite the availability of surgical equipment, significant gaps in access to maintenance were apparent in these LMICs, limiting implementation of open and laparoscopic surgery.

Diagnosis and management of 365 ureteric injuries following obstetric and gynecologic surgery in resource-limited settings.

Ureteric injuries are among the most serious complications of pelvic surgery. The incidence in low-resource settings is not well documented.This retrospective review analyzes a cohort of 365 ureteric injuries with ureterovaginal fistulas in 353 women following obstetric and gynecologic operations in 11 countries in Africa and Asia, all low-resource settings. The patients with ureteric injury were stratified into three groups according to the initial surgery: (a) obstetric operations, (b) gynecologic operations, and (c) vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) repairs.The 365 ureteric injuries in this series comprise 246 (67.4%) after obstetric procedures, 65 (17.8%) after gynecologic procedures, and 54 (14.8%) after repair of obstetric fistulas. Demographic characteristics show clear differences between women with iatrogenic injuries and women with obstetric fistulas. The study describes abdominal ureter reimplantation and other treatment procedures. Overall surgical results were good: 92.9% of women were cured (326/351), 5.4% were healed with some residual incontinence (19/351), and six failed (1.7%).Ureteric injuries after obstetric and gynecologic operations are not uncommon. Unlike in high-resource contexts, in low-resource settings obstetric procedures are most often associated with urogenital fistula. Despite resource limitations, diagnosis and treatment of ureteric injuries is possible, with good success rates. Training must emphasize optimal surgical techniques and different approaches to assisted vaginal delivery.

Incidence of unintended pregnancy among female sex workers in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

To determine the incidence of unintended pregnancy among female sex workers (FSWs) in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs).We searched MEDLINE, PsychInfo, Embase and Popline for papers published in English between January 2000 and January 2016, and Web of Science and Proquest for conference abstracts. Meta-analysis was performed on the primary outcomes using random effects models, with subgroup analysis used to explore heterogeneity.Eligible studies targeted FSWs aged 15-49 years living or working in an LMIC.Studies were eligible if they provided data on one of two primary outcomes: incidence of unintended pregnancy and incidence of pregnancy where intention is undefined. Secondary outcomes were also extracted when they were reported in included studies: incidence of induced abortion; incidence of birth; and correlates/predictors of pregnancy or unintended pregnancy.Twenty-five eligible studies were identified from 3866 articles. Methodological quality was low overall. Unintended pregnancy incidence showed high heterogeneity (I²>95%), ranging from 7.2 to 59.6 per 100 person-years across 10 studies. Study design and duration were found to account for heterogeneity. On subgroup analysis, the three cohort studies in which no intervention was introduced had a pooled incidence of 27.1 per 100 person-years (95% CI 24.4 to 29.8; I2=0%). Incidence of pregnancy (intention undefined) was also highly heterogeneous, ranging from 2.0 to 23.4 per 100 person-years (15 studies).Of the many studies examining FSWs’ sexual and reproductive health in LMICs, very few measured pregnancy and fewer assessed pregnancy intention. Incidence varied widely, likely due to differences in study design, duration and baseline population risk, but was high in most studies, representing a considerable concern for this key population. Evidence-based approaches that place greater importance on unintended pregnancy prevention need to be incorporated into existing sexual and reproductive health programmes for FSWs.CRD42016029185.

An approach to identify a minimum and rational proportion of caesarean sections in resource-poor settings: a global network study.

Caesarean section prevalence is increasing in Asia and Latin America while remaining low in most African regions. Caesarean section delivery is effective for saving maternal and infant lives when they are provided for medically-indicated reasons. On the basis of ecological studies, caesarean delivery prevalence between 9% and 19% has been associated with better maternal and perinatal outcomes, such as reduced maternal land fetal mortality. However, the specific prevalence of obstetric and medical complications that require caesarean section have not been established, especially in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). We sought to provide information to inform the approach to the provision of caesarean section in low-resource settings.We did a literature review to establish the prevalence of obstetric and medical conditions for six potentially life-saving indications for which caesarean section could reduce mortality in LMICs. We then analysed a large, prospective population-based dataset from six LMICs (Argentina, Guatemala, Kenya, India, Pakistan, and Zambia) to determine the prevalence of caesarean section by indication for each site. We considered that an acceptable number of events would be between the 25th and 75th percentile of those found in the literature.Between Jan 1, 2010, and Dec 31, 2013, we enrolled a total of 271 855 deliveries in six LMICs (seven research sites). Caesarean section prevalence ranged from 35% (3467 of 9813 deliveries in Argentina) to 1% (303 of 16 764 deliveries in Zambia). Argentina’s and Guatemala’s sites all met the minimum 25th percentile for five of six indications, whereas sites in Zambia and Kenya did not reach the minimum prevalence for caesarean section for any of the indications. Across all sites, a minimum overall caesarean section of 9% was needed to meet the prevalence of the six indications in the population studied.In the site with high caesarean section prevalence, more than half of the procedures were not done for life-saving conditions, whereas the sites with low proportions of caesarean section (below 9%) had an insufficient number of caesarean procedures to cover those life-threatening causes. Attempts to establish a minimum caesarean prevalence should go together with focusing on the life-threatening causes for the mother and child. Simple methods should be developed to allow timely detection of life-threatening conditions, to explore actions that can remedy those conditions, and the timely transfer of women with those conditions to health centres that could provide adequate care for those conditions.Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Development of Low-Cost Locally Sourced Two-Component Compression Bandages in Western Kenya.

Compression therapy is well-established standard of care for chronic leg ulcers from venous disease and lymphedema. Chronic leg ulcers and lymphedema have a significant impact on quality of life, driven by pain, foul odor, and restricted mobility. Provision of layered compression therapy in resource-limited settings, as in Western Kenya and other regions of sub-Saharan Africa, is a major challenge due to several barriers: availability, affordability, and access to healthcare facilities. When wound care providers from an Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) health center in Western Kenya noted that a donated, finite supply of two-component compression bandages was helping to heal chronic leg ulcers, they began to explore the potential of finding a local, sustainable solution. Dermatology and pharmacy teams from AMPATH collaborated with health center providers to address this need.Following a literature review and examination of ingredients in prepackaged brand-name kits, essential components were identified: elastic crepe, gauze, and zinc oxide paste. All of these materials are locally available and routinely used for wound care. Two-component compression bandages were made by applying zinc oxide to dry gauze for the inner layer and using elastic crepe as the outer layer. Feedback from wound clinic providers was utilized to optimize the compression bandages for ease of use.Adjustments to assembly of the paste bandage included use of zinc oxide paste instead of zinc oxide ointment for easier gauze impregnation and cutting the inner layer gauze in half lengthwise to facilitate easier bandaging of the leg, such that there were two rolls of zinc-impregnated gauze each measuring 5 inches × 2 m. Adjustments to use of the compression bandage have included increasing the frequency of bandage changes from 7 to 3 days during the rainy seasons, when it is difficult to keep the bandage dry. Continuous local acquisition of all components led to lower price quotes for bulk materials, driving down the production cost and enabling a cost to the patient of 200 KSh (2 USD) per two-component compression bandage kit. Wound care providers have provided anecdotal reports of healed chronic leg ulcers (from venous stasis, trauma), improved lymphedema, and patient tolerance of compression.Low-cost locally sourced two-component compression bandages have been developed for use in Western Kenya. Their use has been initiated at an AMPATH health center and is poised to meet the need for affordable compression therapy options in Western Kenya. Studies evaluating their efficacy in chronic leg ulcers and Kaposi sarcoma lymphedema are ongoing. Future work should address adaptation of compression bandages for optimal use in Western Kenya and evaluate reproducibility of these bandages in similar settings, as well as consider home- or community-based care delivery models to mitigate transportation costs associated with accessing healthcare facilities.