Effect of Delay of Care for Patients with Craniomaxillofacial Trauma in Rwanda

Craniomaxillofacial (CMF) trauma represents a significant proportion of global surgical disease burden, disproportionally affecting low- and middle-income countries where care is often delayed. We investigated risk factors for delays to care for patients with CMF trauma presenting to the highest-volume trauma hospital in Rwanda and the impact on complication rates.

Study Design
This prospective cohort study comprised all patients with CMF trauma presenting to the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali, Rwanda, between June 1 and October 1, 2020.

Urban referral center in resource-limited setting.

Epidemiologic data were collected, and logistic regression analysis was undertaken to explore risk factors for delays in care and complications.

Fifty-four patients (94.4% men) met criteria for inclusion. The mean age was 30 years. A majority of patients presented from a rural setting (n = 34, 63%); the most common cause of trauma was motor vehicle accident (n = 18, 33%); and the most common injury was mandibular fracture (n = 28, 35%). An overall 78% of patients had delayed treatment of the fracture after arrival to the hospital, and 81% of these patients experienced a complication (n = 34, P = .03). Delay in treatment was associated with 4-times greater likelihood of complication (odds ratio, 4.25 [95% CI, 1.08-16.70]; P = .038).

Delay in treatment of CMF traumatic injuries correlates with higher rates of complications. Delays most commonly resulted from a lack of surgeon and/or operating room availability or were related to transfers from rural districts. Expansion of the CMF trauma surgical workforce, increased operative capacity, and coordinated transfer care efforts may improve trauma care.

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.

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Patterns of Care and Outcome of Head and Neck Cancer: Real-World Experience From a Tertiary Care Cancer Center in India

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented health, social, and economic unrest globally, particularly affecting resource-limited low-middle–income countries. The resultant curfew had made the access to and delivery of cancer care services an arduous task. We have reported the patterns of care and 1-year outcome of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) treatment before and during COVID-19 lockdown at our institution.

Patients who underwent radiation therapy (RT) for nonmetastatic HNSCC between March 1, 2020, and July 31, 2020, were included in the COVID-RT group, and those who were treated between October 1, 2019, and February 29, 2020, were included in the preCOVID-RT group.

A total of 25 patients were in the COVID-RT group, and 51 patients were in the preCOVID-RT group. An increase in the incidence of locally advanced cancers across all subsites was observed in the COVID-RT group. There was a steep increase in the median overall RT treatment duration (52 v 44) and median break days during RT (10 v 2) in the COVID-RT group. The median follow-up period of all patients was 18 months. The progression-free survival at 1 year in the COVID-RT group and preCOVID-RT group was 84% and 90%, respectively (P = .08), and overall survival at 1 year was 86% and 96%, respectively (P = .06).

Our study elucidates the adverse impact of the COVID-19 curfew on cancer care and has demonstrated safe delivery of RT for HNSCC without major acute adverse effects. Despite a significant increase in treatment breaks, early outcome data also suggest that 1-year progression-free survival and overall survival are comparable with that of the pre–COVID-19 times; however, longer follow-up is warranted.

The management of head and neck cancer in Africa. What lessons can be learned from African literature?

There is a significant dearth of contextually relevant information related to the management of head and neck cancer (HNC) in Africa. The aim of this letter was to put forward the findings from our larger systematic review to describe the current management of HNC patients in Africa and to identify gaps and present potential solutions. Sixty-six articles were included and analysed with descriptive statistics, a narrative synthesis, and thematic analysis. Surgical resection remains the primary medical intervention in Africa, whilst chemotherapy and radiation services remain limited. There was no mention of multidisciplinary team input in the management of these patients, including no description of any rehabilitative treatments. There are significant resource shortages ranging from access to medical equipment to both skilled medical and rehabilitative staff. The findings from this study imply that the management of HNC in Africa requires a possible transdisciplinary approach to improve access to services. Health professionals also need to explore a community-based level approach to care to improve access. There needs to be more context-specific research to improve contextually relevant teaching and practice in HNC.

Adapting Elements of Cleft Care Protocols in Low- and Middle-income Countries During and After COVID-19: A Process-driven Review With Recommendations

A consortium of global cleft professionals, predominantly from low- and middle-income countries, identified adaptations to cleft care protocols during and after COVID-19 as a priority learning area of need.

A multidisciplinary international working group met on a videoconferencing platform in a multi-staged process to make consensus recommendations for adaptations to cleft protocols within resource-constrained settings. Feedback was sought from a roundtable discussion forum and global organizations involved in comprehensive cleft care.

Foundational principles were agreed to enable recommendations to be globally relevant and two areas of focus within the specified topic were identified. First the safety aspects of cleft surgery protocols were scrutinized and COVID-19 adaptations, specifically in the pre- and perioperative periods, were highlighted. Second, surgical procedures and cleft care services were prioritized according to their relationship to functional outcomes and time-sensitivity. The surgical procedures assigned the highest priority were emergent interventions for breathing and nutritional requirements and primary palatoplasty. The cleft care services assigned the highest priority were new-born assessments, pediatric support for children with syndromes, management of acute dental or auditory infections and speech pathology intervention.

A collaborative, interdisciplinary and international working group delivered consensus recommendations to assist with the provision of cleft care in low- and middle-income countries. At a time of global cleft care delays due to COVID-19, a united approach amongst global cleft care providers will be advantageous to advocate for children born with cleft lip and palate in resource-constrained settings.

Mobile Surgical Scouts Increase Surgical Access for Patients with Cleft Lip and Palate in Nepal

Background: In Nepal’s remote regions, challenging topography prevents patients with cleft lip and palate (CLP) from seeking care.

Objective: To measure the effect of a mobile surgical scout program on CLP surgical care in remote regions of Nepal.

Methods: Forty-four lay people were trained as mobile surgical scouts and over 5 months traversed remote districts of Nepal on foot to detect and refer CLP patients for surgical care. Surgical patients from remote districts were compared with matched time periods in the year before intervention. Diagnostic accuracy of the surgical scouts was assessed.

Findings: Mobile surgical scouts accurately diagnosed (90%) and referred (82%) patients for cleft surgery. Before the intervention, CLP surgeries from remote districts represented 3.5% of cleft surgeries performed. With mobile surgical scouting, patients from remote districts comprised 8.2% of all cleft surgeries (p = 0.007). When transportation and accompaniment was provided in addition to mobile surgical scouts, patients from remote districts represented 13.5% (p ≤ 0.001) of all cleft surgeries.

Conclusion: Task-shifting the surgical screening process to trained scouts resulted in accurate diagnoses, referrals, and increased access to cleft surgery in remote districts of Nepa

Needs-led human resource planning for Sierra Leone in support of oral health

In Sierra Leone (SL), a low-income country in West Africa, dental care is very limited, largely private, and with services focused in the capital Freetown. There is no formal dental education. Ten dentists supported by a similar number of dental care professionals (DCPs) serve a population of over 7.5 million people. The objective of this research was to estimate needs-led requirements for dental care and human resources for oral health to inform capacity building, based on a national survey of oral health in SL.

A dedicated operational research (OR) decision tool was constructed in Microsoft Excel to support this project. First, total treatment needs were estimated from our national epidemiological survey data for three key ages (6, 12 and 15 years), collected using the ‘International Caries Classification and Management System (ICCMS)’ tool. Second, oral health needs were extrapolated to whole population levels for each year-group, based on census demographic data. Third, full time equivalent (FTE) workforce capacity needs were estimated for mid-level providers in the form of Dental Therapists (DTs) and non-dental personnel based on current oral disease management approaches and clinical timings for treatment procedures. Fourth, informed by an expert panel, three oral disease management scenarios were explored for the national population: (1) Conventional care (CC): comprising oral health promotion (including prevention), restorations and tooth extraction; (2) Surgical and Preventive care (S5&6P and S6P): comprising oral health promotion (inc. prevention) and tooth extraction (D5 and D6 together, & at D6 level only); and (3) Prevention only (P): consisting of oral health promotion (inc. prevention). Fifth, the findings were extrapolated to the whole population based on demography, assuming similar levels of treatment need.

To meet the needs of a single year-group of childrens’ needs, an average of 163 DTs (range: 133–188) would be required to deliver Conventional care (CC); 39 DTs (range: 30–45) to deliver basic Surgical and Preventive care (S6P); 54 DTs for more extended Surgical and Preventive care (S5&6P) (range 38–68); and 27 DTs (range: 25–32) to deliver Prevention only (P). When scaled up to the total population, an estimated 6,147 DTs (range: 5,565–6,870) would be required to deliver Conventional care (CC); 1,413 DTs (range: 1255–1438 DTs) to deliver basic Surgical and Preventive care (S6P); 2,000 DTs (range 1590–2236) for more extended Surgical and Preventive care (S5&6P) (range 1590–2236); and 1,028 DTs to deliver Prevention only (P) (range: 1016–1046). Furthermore, if oral health promotion activities, including individualised prevention, could be delivered by non-dental personnel, then the remaining surgical care could be delivered by 385 DTs (range: 251–488) for the S6P scenario which was deemed as the minimum basic baseline service involving extracting all teeth with extensive caries into dentine. More realistically, 972 DTs (range: 586–1179) would be needed for the S5&6P scenario in which all teeth with distinctive and extensive caries into dentine are extracted.

The study demonstrates the huge dental workforce needs required to deliver even minimal oral health care to the Sierra Leone population. The gap between the current workforce and the oral health needs of the population is stark and requires urgent action. The study also demonstrates the potential for contemporary epidemiological tools to predict dental treatment needs and inform workforce capacity building in a low-income country, exploring a range of solutions involving mid-level providers and non-dental personnel.

Age at Primary Cleft Lip Repair

Background: The bellwether procedures described by the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery represent the ability to deliver adult surgical services after there is a clear and easily made diagnosis. There is a need for pediatric surgery bellwether indicators. A pediatric bellwether indicator would ideally be a routinely performed procedure, for a relatively common condition that, in itself, is rarely lethal at birth, but that should ideally be treated with surgery by a standard age. Additionally, the condition should be easy to diagnose, to minimize the confounding effects of delays or failures in diagnosis. In this study, we propose the age at primary cleft lip
(CL) repair as a bellwether indicator for pediatric surgery.
Method: We reviewed the surgical records of 71,346 primary cleft surgery patients and ultimately studied age at CL repair in 40,179 patients from 73 countries, treated by Smile Train partners for 2019. Data from Smile Train’s database were correlated with World Bank and WHO indicators.
Results: Countries with a higher average age at CL repair (delayed access to surgery) had higher maternal, infant, and child mortality rates as well as a greater risk of catastrophic health expenditure for surgery. There was also a negative correlation between delayed CL repair and specialist surgical workforce numbers, life expectancy, percentage of deliveries by C-section, total health expenditure per capita, and Lancet Commission on Global Surgery procedure rates.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that age at CL repair has potential to serve as a bellwether indicator for pediatric surgical capacity in Lower- and Middleincome Countr

Building an ecosystem of safe surgery and anesthesia through cleft care

Cleft lip and/or palate (CLP) is among the world’s most common congenital anomalies, affecting an estimated 1 in 700 live births. CLP can lead to a wide range of health problems, including feeding difficulties that contribute to malnutrition, oral health challenges, delays in speech and language development, and long-term emotional and physical health issues. Receiving timely high-quality cleft surgical and anesthesia care, in addition to a range of interdisciplinary health services, is critical to the health and development of children impacted by CLP.

Too often, however, whether a baby receives this essential treatment is dependent upon the city, country, or region in which they are born. The global burden of surgical disease is a significant and long-neglected area within global health that disproportionately affects low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) compared to high-income countries (HICs). The estimated 1.7 billion children who live without access to surgical care around the globe, including many with CLP, live with a greater risk of life-long disability and a higher risk of mortality.

Barriers to surgical care in LMICs include a lack of trained health-care providers, inadequate infrastructure, high out-of-pocket costs, and lack of political prioritization. Historically, short-term missions have sought to address the burden of surgical conditions such as CLP, but this short-term, siloed approach fails to address – and in many cases has only perpetuated – the systemic causes of global surgical inequity, which cuts across sectors, disciplines, and borders. As momentum for the prioritization of surgical care grows, it is also clear that outdated models must be replaced by approaches that strengthen the entire ecosystem of safe surgery and anesthesia car

Progress and challenges in potential access to oral health primary care services in Brazil: A population-based panel study with latent transition analysis

Compared indicators of potential access to oral health services sought in two cycles of the Program for Improvement of Access and Quality of Primary Care (PMAQ-AB), verifying whether the program generated changes in access to oral health services.

Transitional analysis of latent classes was used to analyze two cross-sections of the external evaluation of the PMAQ-AB (Cycle I: 2011–2012 and Cycle II: 2013–2014), identifying completeness classes for a structure and work process related to oral health. Consider three indicators of structure (presence of a dental surgeon, existence of a dental office and operating at minimum hours) and five of the work process (scheduling every day of the week, home visits, basic dental procedures, scheduling for spontaneous demand and continuation of treatment). Choropleth maps and hotspots were made.

The proportion of elements that had one or more dentist (CD), dental office and operated at minimum hours varied from 65.56% to 67.13 between the two cycles of the PMAQ-AB. The number of teams that made appointments every day of the week increased 8.7% and those that made home visits varied from 44.51% to 52.88%. The reduction in the number of teams that reported guaranteeing the agenda for accommodating spontaneous demand, varying from 62.41% to 60.11% and in the continuity of treatment, varying from 63.41% to 61.11%. For the structure of health requirements, the predominant completeness profile was “Best completeness” in both cycles, comprising 71.0% of the sets at time 1 and 67.0% at time 2. The proportion of teams with “Best completeness” increased by 89.1%, the one with “Worst completeness” increased by 20%, while those with “Average completeness” decreased by 66.3%.

We identified positive changes in the indicators of potential access to oral health services, expanding the users’ ability to use them. However, some access attributes remain unsatisfactory, with organizational barriers persisting.