Demand and capacity to integrate pelvic organ prolapse and genital fistula services in low-resource settings.

There is a need for expanded access to safe surgical care in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) as illustrated by the report of the 2015 Lancet Commission on Global Surgery. Packages of closely-related surgical procedures may create platforms of capacity that maximize impact in LMIC. Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and genital fistula care provide an example. Although POP affects many more women in LMICs than fistula, donor support for fistula treatment in LMICs has been underway for decades, whereas treatment for POP is usually limited to hysterectomy-based surgical treatment, occurring with little to no donor support. This capacity-building discrepancy has resulted in POP care that is often non-adherent to international standards and in non-integration of POP and fistula services, despite clear areas of similarity and overlap. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility and potential value of integrating POP services at fistula centers.

Fistula repair sites supported by the Fistula Care Plus project were surveyed on current demand for and capacity to provide POP, in addition to perceptions about integrating POP and fistula repair services.

Respondents from 26 hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia completed the survey. Most fistula centers (92%) reported demand for POP services, but many cannot meet this demand. Responses indicated a wide variation in assessment and grading practices for POP; approaches to lower urinary tract symptom evaluation; and surgical skills with regard to compartment-based POP, and urinary and rectal incontinence. Fistula surgeons identified integration synergies but also potential conflicts.

Integration of genital fistula and POP services may enhance the quality of POP care while increasing the sustainability of fistula care.

Essential fracture and orthopaedic equipment lists in low resource settings in Africa.

Low/middle-income countries (LMICs) have a growing need for trauma and orthopaedic (T&O) surgical interventions but lack surgical resources. Part of this is due to the high amount of road traffic accidents in LMICs. We aimed to develop recommendations for an essential list of equipment for three different levels of care providers.The Delphi method was used to achieve consensus on essential and desirable T&O equipment for LMICs. Twenty experts with T&O experience from LMICs underwent two rounds of questionnaires. Feedback was given after each round of questionnaires. The first round of questionnaire consisted of 45 items graded on a Likert scale with the second round consisting of 50 items. We used an electronic questionnaire to collect our data for three different levels of care: non-operative-based provider, specialist provider with operative fracture care and tertiary provider with operative fracture care and orthopaedics.After two rounds of questionnaires, recommendations for each level of care in LMICs included 4 essential equipment items for non-operative-based providers; 27 essential equipment items for specialist providers with operative fracture care and 46 essential equipment items for tertiary providers with operative fracture care and orthopaedic care.These recommendations can facilitate in planning of appropriate equipment required in an institution which in turn has the potential to improve the capacity and quality of T&O care in LMICs. The essential equipment lists provided here can help direct where funding for equipment should be targeted. Our recommendations can help with planning and organising national T&O care in LMICs to achieve appropriate capacity at all relevant levels of care.

Hospital Mortality FollowingTrauma: An Analysis of a Hospital-Based Injury Surveillance Registry in sub-SaharanAfrica

IMPORTANCE: Injuries are a significant cause of death and disability, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Health care systems in resource-poor countries lack personnel and are ill equipped to treat severely injured patients; therefore, many injury related deaths occur after hospital admission.
OBJECTIVES: This study evaluates the mortality for hospitalized trauma patients at a tertiary care hospital in Malawi.
DESIGN: This study is a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected trauma surveillance data. We performed univariate and bivariate analyses to describe the population and logistic regression analysis to identify predictors of mortality.
SETTING: Tertiary care hospital in sub-Saharan Africa.
PARTICIPANT: Patients with traumatic injuries admitted to Kamuzu Central Hospital between January 2010 and December 2012.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Predictors of in-hospital mortality.
RESULTS: The study population consisted of 7559 patients, with an average age of 27 years (18 years) and a male predominance of 76%. Road traffic injuries, falls, and assaults were the most common causes of injury. The overall mortality was 4.2%. After adjusting for age, sex, type and mechanism of injury, and shock index, head/spine injuries had the highest odds of mortality, with an odds ratio of 5.80 (2.71-12.40).
CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: The burden of injuries in sub-Saharan Africa remains high. At this institution, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of injury and injury-related death. The most significant predictor of in-hospital mortality is the presence of head or spinal injury. These findings may be mitigated by a comprehensive injury-prevention effort targeting drivers and other road users and by increased attention and resources dedicated to the treatment of patients with head and/or spine injuries in the hospital setting.

Barriers to Neurosurgical Training in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Need for a Phased Approach to Global Surgery Efforts to Improve Neurosurgical Care

BACKGROUND: Neurosurgery in low-income countries is faced with multiple challenges. Although the most common challenges include infrastructure and physical resource deficits, an underemphasized barrier relates to the methods and components of surgical training. The role of important aspects, including didactic surgical training, surgical decision-making, workshops, conferences, and assessment methods, has not been duly studied. Knowledge of these issues is a crucial step to move closer to strengthening surgical capacity in low-income countries.
METHODS: We designed an online survey to assess self-perceived and objectively measured barriers to neurosurgical training in various Sub-Saharan African countries. Key outcomes included perception toward adequacy of neurosurgery training and barriers to neurosurgical training at each individual site.
RESULTS: Only 37% of responders felt that their training program adequately prepared them for handling incoming neurosurgical cases. Top perceived limitations of neurosurgery training included lack of physical resources (25% of all responses), lack of practical workshops (22%), lack of program structure (18%), and lack of topic-specific lectures (10%).
CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that most responders believe their training program is inadequate and are interested in improving it through international collaborations. This implies that activities directed at strengthening surgical capacity must address this important necessity. One important strategy is the use of online educational tools. In consideration of the observed limitations in care, resources, and training, we recommend a phased approach to neurosurgical growth in low-income settings.

Trachomatous trichiasis and its management in endemic countries

Trichiasis is the sight-threatening consequence of conjunctival scarring in trachoma, the most common infectious cause of blindness worldwide. Trachomatous trichiasis is the result of multiple infections from childhood with Chlamydia trachomatis, which causes recurrent chronic inflammation in the tarsal conjunctiva. This produces conjunctival scarring, entropion, trichiasis, and ultimately blinding corneal opacification. The disease causes painful, usually irreversible sight loss. Over eight million people have trachomatous trichiasis, mostly those living in poor rural communities in 57 endemic countries. The global cost is estimated at US$ 5.3 billion. The WHO recommends surgery as part of the SAFE strategy for controlling the disease.We examine the principles of clinical management, treatment options, and the challenging issues of providing the quantity and quality of surgery that is needed in resource-poor settings.