Lagos state ambulance service: a performance evaluation

Objectives: The mortality rate from road traffic accidents (RTAs) in Nigeria is almost double that of the USA. In Nigeria, the first emergency medical services (EMS) system was established in March 2001, The Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS). The objectives of this study are to (1) determine the burden of RTAs in Lagos, (2) assess RTA call outcomes, and (3) analyze LASAMBUS’s response time and causes for delay.

Methodology: We reviewed completed LASAMBUS intervention forms spanning December 2017 to May 2018. We categorized the call outcomes into five groups: I. Addressed Crash, II. No Crash (False Call), III. Crash Already Addressed, IV. Did Not Respond, and V. Other. We further explored associations between the (1) causes for delay and outcomes and (2) response times and the outcomes.

Results: Overall, we analyzed 1352 intervention forms. We found that LASAMBUS did not address 53% of the RTA calls that they received. Of this, Outcome II. No Crash (False Call) accounted for 26% and Outcome III. Crash Already Addressed accounted for 22%. Self-reported causes for delay were recorded in 180 forms, representing 13.7% of the RTA burden. Traffic congestion accounted for 60% of this distribution.

Conclusion: LASAMBUS response rates are significantly lower than response rates in high-income countries such as the USA and lead to increased RTA mortality rates. Eliminating causes for delay will improve both LASAMBUS effectiveness and RTA victims’ health outcomes. Changing the public perception of LASAMBUS and standardizing LASAMBUS’ contact information will aid this as well.

Challenges and Outcome of Management of Gastroschisis at a Tertiary Institution in North-Eastern Nigeria

Introduction: Gastroschisis is a congenital anterior abdominal wall defect characterized by herniation of abdominal contents through a defect usually located to the right side of the umbilical cord. It occurs in about 1 in 2,000–4,000 live births and is slightly commoner in males. Management has remained challenging in the low and middle-income countries, with high mortality rates. This study highlights the clinical presentation, treatment, outcomes, and challenges in the management of gastroschisis at a tertiary healthcare center in a resource-limited setting.

Methods: This was a retrospective review of the records of all patients with gastroschisis managed over a period of 30 months (January 2016–June 2018). Data on patients’ demographics, age, birth weight, clinical presentation, method of gastroschisis reduction and closure, complications, and outcomes were collated. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 20. A p < 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: Twenty-four patients with gastroschisis were managed. Of these, 18 patients had data available for analysis. There were 14 males, with a male-female ratio of 3.5:1. The median age at presentation was 11.0 h (range 1–36 h). Ten patients (55.6%) were delivered in a medical facility. One patient had type II jejunal atresia and transverse colonic atresia as associated anomalies. Improvised silos were applied by the bedside in 15 (83.3%) patients, while two patients (11.1%) had primary closure under general anesthesia. One patient died before definitive treatment could be done. Sterile urobags and female condoms were used for constructing improvised silos in 9 (60%) and 6 (40%) patients, respectively. Eight patients who had initial silo application had complete bowel reduction over a median time of 8.0 days (mean 10.0 ± 6.5days, range 2–23 days). Total parenteral nutrition was not available. The average time to commencement of feeding was 8.0 days ± 6.6 (median 6.0 days, range 2–22 days). Full feeding was achieved in five patients (two patients in the primary closure group and three from the silo group) over a mean time of 16.8 days ± 10.4 (median 14.0 days). Sepsis was the commonest complication. Four patients (22.2%) survived.

Can traditional bonesetters become trained technicians? Feasibility study among a cohort of Nigerian traditional bonesetters

Traditional bonesetters (TBS) provide the majority of primary fracture care in Nigeria and other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). They are widely patronized and their services are commonly associated with complications. The aim of the study was to establish the feasibility of formal training of TBS and subsequent integration into the healthcare system.

Two focus group discussions were conducted involving five TBS and eight orthopaedic surgeons in Enugu Nigeria. Audio-recordings made during the focus groups were transcribed verbatim and analysed using a thematic analysis method.

Four themes were identified: Training of TBS, their experiences and challenges; perception of traditional bonesetting by orthopaedic surgeons; need for formal training TBS and willingness to offer and accept formal training to improve TBS practice. Participants (TBS group) acquired their skills through informal training by apprenticeship from relatives and family members. They recognized the need to formalize their training and were willing to accept training support from orthopaedists. The orthopaedists recognized that the TBS play a vital role in filling the gap created by shortage of orthopaedic surgeons and are willing to provide training support to them.

This study demonstrates the feasibility of providing formal training to TBS by orthopaedic surgeons to improve the quality of services and outcomes of TBS treatment. This is critical for integration of TBS into the primary healthcare system as orthopaedic technicians. Undoubtedly, this will transform the trauma system in Nigeria and other LMICs where TBS are widely patronized.

Affording Unavoidable Emergency Surgical Care – The Lived Experiences and Payment Coping Strategies of Households in Ibadan Metropolis, Southwestern Nigeria

Pre-payment and risk pooling schemes, central to the idea of universal health coverage, should protect households from catastrophic health expenditure and impoverishment; particularly when emergency care is required. Inadequate financial protection consequent on surgical emergencies occurs despite the existence of risk-pooling schemes. This study documented the experiences and coping strategies of slum and non-slum dwellers in a southwestern metropolis of Nigeria who had undergone emergency surgery.
In-depth interviews were conducted with 31 participants (13 slums dwellers, 18 non-slum dwellers) who had recently paid for emergency surgical care in Ibadan. Patients who had experienced catastrophic health expenditure from the use of emergency surgical care were identified and people who paid for the care were purposively selected for the interviews. Using an in-depth interview guide, information on the experiences and overall coping strategies during and after the hospitalization was collected. Data were analyzed inductively using the thematic approach.
The mean age of the 31 participants (consisting of 7 men and 24 women) was 31 ± 5.6years. Apathy to savings limited the preparation for unplanned healthcare needs. Choice of hospital was determined by word of mouth, perceptions of good quality or prompt care and availability of staff. Social networks were relied on widely as a coping mechanism before and during the admission. Patients that were unable to pay experienced poor and humiliating treatment (in severe cases, incarceration). Inability to afford care was exacerbated by double billing and extraneous charges. It was opined that health care should be more affordable for all and that the current National Health Insurance Scheme, that was operating sub-optimally, should be strengthened appropriately for all to benefit.
The study highlights households’ poor attitude to health-related savings and pre-payment into a social solidarity fund to cover the costs of emergency surgical care. It also highlights the factors influencing costs of emergency surgical care and the role of social networks in mitigating the high costs of care. Improving financial protection from emergency surgical care would entail promoting a positive attitude to health-related savings, social solidarity and extending the benefits of social health insurance.

Postoperative analgesic effect of intrathecal dexmedetomidine on bupivacaine subarachnoid block for open reduction and internal fixation of femoral fractures

One of the drawbacks of subarachnoid block is the short duration of analgesia particularly when adjuvants are not added to local anesthetics agent used. However, dexmedetomidine an α2-adrenergic agent has been found to possess analgesic effect.
This study seeks to determine the analgesic efficacy of intrathecal 7.5 μg of dexmedetomidine and its side effects when used for open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of femoral fractures.
It is a prospective randomized, double-blinded study that was carried out in a Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi in Nigeria. Seventy American Society of Anesthesiologists I or II patients were randomized into two groups of 35 each to receive 3 ml of 0.5% hyperbaric bupivacaine combined with either 7.5 μg of dexmedetomidine in 0.3 ml of normal saline (Group D) or 0.3 ml of normal saline alone (Group S). Patient’s outcome measures noted (time to first request of analgesia, proportion of patients with pain score <4 postoperatively using numerical rating scale [NRS], and total analgesic consumed in 24 h.).
The patients in Group D had a longer time to first request of analgesia, larger proportion of patients with pain score 0.05). However, the patient satisfaction was better in Group D.
The addition of 7.5 μg of dexmedetomidine to bupivacaine for subarachnoid block in the management of femoral fractures using ORIF provided better anesthetic profile, particularly prolonged duration of postoperative analgesia without significant side effects.

Postoperative Pain Management in Emergency Surgeries: A One-year Survey on Perception and Satisfaction among Surgical Patients

Postoperative pain varies from an individual to individual. It also varies with types and extent of surgery. In general, postoperative pain is inadequately managed in most centers worldwide, especially in developing countries. Therefore, this study presents the perception and satisfaction of postoperative pain management in emergency surgeries.
A 1-year prospective study of the 891 patients who underwent emergency general surgeries at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, from January to December 2018 is hereby presented. Pain scores and patient’s satisfaction toward postoperative pain management were considered at 8 and 24 h postoperatively through a predesigned questionnaire. Numeric Pain Rating Scale was used to determine pain intensity and the level of satisfaction following postoperative pain management. Student’s t-test was used to compare the pain scores and patient’s level of satisfaction of the postoperative pain management.
A total of 891 patients were recruited for this study, with a mean age of 36.4 ± 8.9 years with a male-to-female ratio of 1.3:1. Postoperative pain management satisfaction score for patients (98%) who had pain 8-h postoperative period was 4.8 ± 1.6. Similarly, 96.4% of the patients who had pain 24 h postoperatively scored 2.8 ± 1.7. Majority of the patients 481 (54%) were of the American Society of Anesthesiologist physical Class II. Most of the patients underwent general surgery using the technique of general anesthesia.
This study indicated that the perception and level of patient’s satisfaction regarding postoperative pain management are inadequate. The health professionals and policy makers should be aware that postoperative pain management is suboptimal, as patients still have severe postoperative pain. Therefore, the need for improved postoperative pain management.

Prophylactic surgical drainage is associated with increased infection following intramedullary nailing of diaphyseal long bone fractures: A prospective cohort study in Nigeria

Introduction: Prophylactic surgical drains are commonly used in Nigeria following intramedullary nailing (IMN) of long bone diaphyseal fractures. However, evidence in the literature suggests that drains do not confer any benefit and predispose clean wounds to infection. This study compares outcomes between patients treated with and without prophylactic surgical drainage following diaphyseal long bone fractures treated with IMN. Methods: A prospective cohort study with randomization was conducted at a tertiary referral center in Enugu, Nigeria. Investigators included skeletally mature patients with diaphyseal long bone (femur, tibia, humerus) fractures treated with SIGN IMN. Patients followed-up at 5, 14, and 30 days post-operatively. The primary outcome was surgical site infection (SSI) rate. Secondary outcomes included post-operative pain at 6 and 12 h, need for blood transfusion, wound characteristics (swelling, ecchymosis, and gaping), need for dressing changes, and length of hospital stay. Results: Of the enrolled patients, 76 (96%) of 79 completed 30-day follow-up. SSI rate was associated with patients who received a prophylactic drain versus those who did not (23.7% vs. 10.5%, p = 0.007). There were no significant differences in transfusion need (p = 0.22), wound swelling (p = 0.74), wound ecchymosis (p = 1.00), wound gaping (p = 1.00), dressing change need (p = 0.31), post-operative pain at 6 h (p = 0.25) or 12 h (p = 0.57), or length of stay (p = 0.95). Discussion: Surgical drain placement following IMN of diaphyseal long bone fractures is associated with a significantly higher risk of SSI. Reducing surgical drain use following orthopaedic injuries in lower resource settings may translate to reduced infection rates.

Investing in Pediatric Surgical Research to Advance Universal Health Coverage for Children in Nigeria

About 1.7 billion children and adolescents most of whom are in low- and middle-income countries lack access to safe and affordable surgical and anesthesia care when needed. 43% of Nigeria’s population of 199 million are below the age of 15 years. In 2015, Nigeria had a pediatric surgeon workforce deficit of 693 for children <15 years. While threats and constraints to achieving universal health coverage in Nigeria have been highlighted, the role of research is often not included. Over the years, there has been a slow but progressive increase in pediatric surgical workforce and research output, both locally and with international collaborations, and in trainee involvement in research as lead authors. There has unfortunately been a challenge with translation of research findings, outcomes, and recommendations into actions. Despite the various challenges mitigating against pediatric surgery research, efforts must be committed to developing and implementing innovative approaches to address the problems and challenges, as well as implementing quality improvement programs and deploying technology to advance children's care. It is hoped that inclusion of children's surgery in the National Surgical, Obstetrics, Anaesthesia, and Nursing Plan would strengthen pediatric surgical research in Nigeria.

Outcome of management of gastroschisis: comparison of improvised surgical silo and extended right hemicolectomy

Gastroschisis is onea of the major abdominal wall defects encountered commonly in pediatric surgery. Whereas complete reduction and abdominal closure is achieved easily sometimes, a daunting situation arises when the eviscerated bowel loops and other viscera cannot be returned immediately into the abdominal cavity. This situation is a major contributor to the outcome of the treatment of gastroschisis in our region. In our efforts to improve our outcome, we have adopted the technique of extended right hemicolectomy for cases where complete reduction and primary abdominal wall closure is otherwise not possible. This study compared the management outcome of gastroschisis using our improvised silo, and performing an extended right hemicolectomy.

Thirty-nine cases were analyzed. Simple closure could not be achieved in 28 cases. In the absence of standard silos, improvised ones were constructed from the amniotic membrane (3 cases), urine bag (4 cases), and latex gloves (9 cases) giving a total of 16 cases managed with silos. Extended right hemicolectomy was performed in 12 cases.

Given the peculiarities of circumstances in our region regarding human and material resources in the care of gastroschisis patients, an extended right hemicolectomy, to make it possible to close the abdomen primarily in gastroschisis is a more viable option than the use of improvised silo.

Management and outcomes following emergency surgery for traumatic brain injury – A multi-centre, international, prospective cohort study (the Global Neurotrauma Outcomes Study).

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) accounts for a significant amount of death and disability worldwide and the majority of this burden affects individuals in low-and-middle income countries. Despite this, considerable geographical differences have been reported in the care of TBI patients. On this background, we aim to provide a comprehensive international picture of the epidemiological characteristics, management and outcomes of patients undergoing emergency surgery for traumatic brain injury (TBI) worldwide. The Global Neurotrauma Outcomes Study (GNOS) is a multi-centre, international, prospective observational cohort study. Any unit performing emergency surgery for TBI worldwide will be eligible to participate. All TBI patients who receive emergency surgery in any given consecutive 30-day period beginning between 1st of November 2018 and 31st of December 2019 in a given participating unit will be included. Data will be collected via a secure online platform in anonymised form. The primary outcome measures for the study will be 14-day mortality (or survival to hospital discharge, whichever comes first). Final day of data collection for the primary outcome measure is February 13th. Secondary outcome measures include return to theatre and surgical site infection. This project will not affect clinical practice and has been classified as clinical audit following research ethics review. Access to source data will be made available to collaborators through national or international anonymised datasets on request and after review of the scientific validity of the proposed analysis by the central study team.