Neurosurgery in Egypt from ancient Egyptians to Modern Neurosurgery, African Perspective

Neurosurgery has been practiced for more than 12,000 years worldwide. Cranial and transnasal approaches to the brain have been practiced for variable religious, mystical, or therapeutic purposes in ancient civilizations of Africa and specifically in Egypt (1). Ancient Egyptian medicine is documented in the paintings on the walls of temples and numerous papyri (figure 1) (2-4).

Ancient Egyptian medicine dates to 3500 BC when Athotis (Hor-Aha), the second king of the first dynasty, was found to have in his tomb the first “Book of the Dead” that was later quoted with modifications till it reached “Practical Medicine and Anatomic Book” in Ani’s papyrus

Moroccan Neurosurgery: Current Situation and Its Contribution to Global Neurosurgery

The first neurosurgical departments were created in the country in 1960, one in Rabat and Casa Blanca. Non-Moroccan neurosurgeons chaired these departments, and between 1960 and 1975, four local neurosurgeons would take over. After The first Medical school in Morocco opened in Rabat in 1962, a training program in neurosurgery was set up in 1968. The first trained Moroccan neurosurgeons were very active. They encouraged the development of local training in Morocco with additional training in foreign countries to increase the number of neurosurgeons and support the organization and promote neurosurgery in the country. They also convinced health policymakers to include neurosurgery in the Moroccan health care system as a priority with an upgrade of the specialty first in all university hospitals and then in all regional hospitals according to the needs. By supporting local training, Morocco ended up in 1998 with eighty native neurosurgeons while there were none in 1956. With nine neurosurgical departments, four of these were inside University Hospitals and with a National Society of Neurosurgery, created in 1984 (1). Other medical and surgical specialties also developed simultaneously as neurosurgery and ended up with a training program. Since then, the evolution of Moroccan Neurosurgery has been continuous, rapid, and outstanding, and many advances have been achieved in the last two decades (1). Two significant events marked the evolution of Moroccan Neurosurgery in these previous two decades:

1.The organization of the 13th world congress in Marrakech in 2005, “Bridging the Gap in Neurosurgery,” considered as the first international gathering of Neurosurgeons, draws the Global Neurosurgery concept and take the attention of the international neurosurgical community in the huge gap between HICs and LMICs regarding a number of neurosurgeons and neurosurgical practice mainly in Africa (2).
2.The decision of the WFNS to leadership the creation of the first WFNS Reference center in Rabat to train young African Neurosurgeons from sub-Saharan Africa, which had a positive impact on the evolution of neurosurgery in Morocco but also in all continent (3).

Andersen’s utilization model for cataract surgical rate and empirical evidence from economically-developing areas

Un-operated cataract is the leading cause of vision loss worldwide, responsible for 33% of visual impairment, and half of global blindness. The study aimed to build a fast evaluation method utilizing Andersen’s utilization framework and identify predictors of cataract surgical rate in sub-Saharan Africa and China.

The study was a cross-over ecological epidemiology study with a total of 19 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and 31 provinces in China. Information was extracted from public data and published studies. Linear regression and structural equation modeling with Bootstrap were used to analyze predictors of CSR and their pathways to impact in sub-Saharan Africa and China separately.

Cataract surgical resources in sub-Saharan Africa were linearly correlated with CSR (β = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.09, 0.91), while GDP/P didn’t impact cataract surgical resources (β = 0.29, 95% CI: − 0.12, 0.75). In China, residents’ average ability to pay was confirmed as the mediator between GDP/P and CSR (p = 0.32, RMSEA = 0.07; βCSR-paying = 0.77, 95% CI: 0.25, 0.90; βpaying-GDP/P = 0.89, 95% CI: 0.82, 0.93).

In sub-Saharan Africa, CSR is determined by health care provision. Local economic development may not directly influence CSR. Therefore, international assistance aimed to providing free cataract surgery directly is crucial. In China, CSR is determined principally by health care demand (ability to pay). To increase CSR in underserved areas of China, ability to pay must be enhanced through social insurance, and reduced surgical fees.

Postpartum infection, pain and experiences with care among women treated for postpartum hemorrhage in three African countries: A cohort study of women managed with and without condom-catheter uterine balloon tamponade

We aimed to determine the risk of postpartum infection and increased pain associated with use of condom-catheter uterine balloon tamponade (UBT) among women diagnosed with postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) in three low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We also sought women’s opinions on their overall experience of PPH care.

This prospective cohort study compared women diagnosed with PPH who received and did not receive UBT (UBT group and no-UBT group, respectively) at 18 secondary level hospitals in Uganda, Egypt, and Senegal that participated in a stepped wedge, cluster-randomized trial assessing UBT introduction. Key outcomes were reported pain (on a scale 0–10) in the immediate postpartum period and receipt of antibiotics within four weeks postpartum (a proxy for postpartum infection). Outcomes related to satisfaction with care and aspects women liked most and least about PPH care were also reported.

Among women diagnosed with PPH, 58 were in the UBT group and 2188 in the no-UBT group. Self-reported, post-discharge antibiotic use within four weeks postpartum was similar in the UBT (3/58, 5.6%) and no-UBT groups (100/2188, 4.6%, risk ratio = 1.22, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.45–3.35). A high postpartum pain score of 8–10 was more common among women in the UBT group (17/46, 37.0%) than in the no-UBT group (360/1805, 19.9%, relative risk ratio = 3.64, 95% CI:1.30–10.16). Most women were satisfied with their care (1935/2325, 83.2%). When asked what they liked least about care, the most common responses were that medications (580/1511, 38.4%) and medical supplies (503/1511, 33.3%) were unavailable.

UBT did not increase the risk of postpartum infection among this population. Women who receive UBT may experience higher degrees of pain compared to women who do not receive UBT. Women’s satisfaction with their care and stockouts of medications and other supplies deserve greater attention when introducing new technologies like UBT.

Neglected tropical diseases activities in Africa in the COVID-19 era: the need for a “hybrid” approach in COVID-endemic times

With the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic showing no signs of abating, resuming neglected tropical disease (NTD) activities, particularly mass drug administration (MDA), is vital. Failure to resume activities will not only enhance the risk of NTD transmission, but will fail to leverage behaviour change messaging on the importance of hand and face washing and improved sanitation—a common strategy for several NTDs that also reduces the risk of COVID-19 spread. This so-called “hybrid approach” will demonstrate best practices for mitigating the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by incorporating physical distancing, use of masks, and frequent hand-washing in the delivery of medicines to endemic communities and support action against the transmission of the virus through water, sanitation and hygiene interventions promoted by NTD programmes. Unless MDA and morbidity management activities resume, achievement of NTD targets as projected in the WHO/NTD Roadmap (2021–2030) will be deferred, the aspirational goal of NTD programmes to enhance universal health coverage jeopardised and the call to ‘leave no one behind’ a hollow one. We outline what implementing this hybrid approach, which aims to strengthen health systems, and facilitate integration and cross-sector collaboration, can achieve based on work undertaken in several African countries.

Completeness of Medical Records of Trauma Patients Admitted to the Emergency Unit of a University Hospital, Upper Egypt

Trauma records in Egyptian hospitals are widely suspected to be inadequate for developing a practical and useful trauma registry, which is critical for informing both primary and secondary prevention. We reviewed archived paper records of trauma patients admitted to the Beni-Suef University Hospital in Upper Egypt for completeness in four domains: demographic data including contact information, administrative data tracking patients from admission to discharge, clinical data including vital signs and Glasgow Coma Scale scores, and data describing the causal traumatic event (mechanism of injury, activity at the time of injury, and location/setting). The majority of the 539 medical records included in the study had significant deficiencies in the four reviewed domains. Overall, 74.3% of demographic fields, 66.5% of administrative fields, 55.0% of clinical fields, and just 19.9% of fields detailing the causal event were found to be completed. Critically, oxygen saturation, arrival time, and contact information were reported in only 7.6%, 25.8%, and 43.6% of the records, respectively. Less than a fourth of the records provided any details about the cause of trauma. Accordingly, the current, paper-based medical record system at Beni-Suef University Hospital is insufficient for the development of a practical trauma registry. More efforts are needed to develop efficient and comprehensive documentation of trauma data in order to inform and improve patient care.

Otitis media with effusion in Africa‐prevalence and associated factors: A systematic review and meta‐analysis

To estimate the overall and subgroup prevalence of otitis media with effusion (OME) in Africa, and identify setting‐specific predictors in children and adults.

PubMed, African Journals Online, African Index Medicus, Afrolib, SciELO, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, The Cochrane Library, GreyLit and OpenGray were searched to identify relevant articles on OME in Africa, from inception to December 31st 2019. A random‐effects model was used to pool outcome estimates.

Overall, 38 studies were included, with 27 in meta‐analysis (40 331 participants). The overall prevalence of OME in Africa was 6% (95% CI: 5%‐7%; I2 = 97.5%, P < .001). The prevalence was 8% (95% CI: 7%‐9%) in children and 2% (95% CI: 0.1%‐3%) in adolescents/adults. North Africa had the highest prevalence (10%; 95% CI: 9%‐13%), followed by West and Southern Africa (9%; 95% CI: 7%‐10% and 9%; 95% CI: 6%‐12% respectively), Central Africa (7%; 95% CI: 5%‐10%) and East Africa (2%; 95% CI: 1%‐3%). There was no major variability in prevalence over the last four decades. Cleft palate was the strongest predictor (OR: 5.2; 95% CI: 1.4‐18.6, P = .02). Other significant associated factors were age, adenoid hypertrophy, allergic rhinitis in children, and type 2 diabetes mellitus, low CD4 count in adults.

OME prevalence was similar to that reported in other settings, notably high‐income temperate countries. Health care providers should consider age, presence of cleft palate, adenoid hypertrophy and allergic rhinitis when assessing OME in children and deciding on a management plan. More research is required to confirm risk factors and evaluate treatment options.

Assessment of Retinoblastoma Capacity in the Middle East, North Africa, and West Asia Region

We aimed to evaluate the capacity to treat retinoblastoma in the Middle East, North Africa, and West Asia region.

A Web-based assessment that investigated retinoblastoma-related pediatric oncology and ophthalmology infrastructure and associated capacity at member institutions of the Pediatric Oncology East and Mediterranean group was distributed. Data were analyzed in terms of availability, location, and confidence of use for each resource needed for the management of retinoblastoma. Resources were categorized by diagnostics, focal therapy, chemotherapy, advanced treatment, and supportive care. Responding institutions were further divided into an asset-based tiered system.

In total, responses from 23 institutions were obtained. Fifteen institutions reported the availability of an ophthalmologist, 12 of which held primary off-site appointments. All institutions reported the availability of a pediatric oncologist and systemic chemotherapy A significant portion of available resources was located off site. Green laser was available on site at seven institutions, diode laser at six institutions, cryotherapy at 12 institutions, and brachytherapy at nine institutions. There existed marked disparity between the availability of some specific ophthalmic resources and oncologic resources.

The assessment revealed common themes related to the treatment of retinoblastoma in low- and- middle-income countries, including decentralization of care, limited resources, and lack of multidisciplinary care. Resource disparities warrant targeted intervention in the Middle East, North Africa, and West Asia region to advance the management of retinoblastoma in the region.

Anal high-grade and late-stage cancer management in low-income setting: a case report

The burden of cancer is increasing in sub-Saharan Africa due to ageing, common risk factors and population growth. Anal cancer is a human papillomavirus-related rare disease with an incidence rate of 1.8 per 100 000 persons overall with an increasing incidence of by 2% per year in the last three decades. Despite that gold standard management is well described, in low-income countries, there is no possibility for a proper management. We presented a late-stage anal cancer case that reflects the urgent necessity to create the adequate condition for the development of effective oncologic approach including prevention, diagnosis and management.

Temporal trends in childhood cancer survival in Egypt, 2007 to 2017: A large retrospective study of 14 808 children with cancer from the Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt

Childhood cancer is a priority in Egypt due to large numbers of children with cancer, suboptimal care and insufficient resources. It is difficult to evaluate progress in survival because of paucity of data in National Cancer Registry. In this study, we studied survival rates and trends in survival of the largest available cohort of children with cancer (n = 15 779, aged 0‐18 years) from Egypt between 2007 and 2017, treated at Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt‐(CCHE), representing 40% to 50% of all childhood cancers across Egypt. We estimated 5‐year overall survival (OS) for 14 808 eligible patients using Kaplan‐Meier method, and determined survival trends using Cox regression by single year of diagnosis and by diagnosis periods. We compared age‐standardized rates to international benchmarks in England and the United States, identified cancers with inferior survival and provided recommendations for improvement. Five‐year OS was 72.1% (95% CI 71.3‐72.9) for all cancers combined, and survival trends increased significantly by single year of diagnosis (P < .001) and by calendar periods from 69.6% to 74.2% (P < .0001) between 2007‐2012 and 2013‐2017. Survival trends improved significantly for leukemias, lymphomas, CNS tumors, neuroblastoma, hepatoblastoma and Ewing Sarcoma. Survival was significantly lower by 9% and 11.2% (P < .001) than England and the United States, respectively. Significantly inferior survival was observed for the majority of cancers. Although survival trends are improving for childhood cancers in Egypt/CCHE, survival is still inferior in high‐income countries. We provide evidence‐based recommendations to improve survival in Egypt by reflecting on current obstacles in care, with further implications on practice and policy.