Comprehending the lack of access to maternal and neonatal emergency care: Designing solutions based on a space-time approach

The objective of this study was to better understand how the lack of emergency child and obstetric care can be related to maternal and neonatal mortality levels.

We performed spatiotemporal geospatial analyses using data from Brazilian municipalities. An emergency service accessibility index was derived using the two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) for 951 hospitals. Mortality data from 2000 to 2015 was used to characterize space-time trends. The data was overlapped using a spatial clusters analysis to identify regions with lack of emergency access and high mortality trends.

From 2000 to 2015 Brazil the overall neonatal mortality rate varied from 11,42 to 11,71 by 1000 live births. The maternal mortality presented a slightly decrease from 2,98 to 2,88 by 100 thousand inhabitants. For neonatal mortality the Northeast and North regions presented the highest percentage of up trending. For maternal mortality the North region exhibited the higher volume of up trending. The accessibility index obtained highlighted large portions of the rural areas of the country without any coverage of obstetric or neonatal beds.

The analyses highlighted regions with problems of mortality and access to maternal and newborn emergency services. This sequence of steps can be applied to other low and medium income countries as health situation analysis tool.

Significance statement
Low and middle income countries have greater disparities in access to emergency child and obstetric care. There is a lack of approaches capable to support analysis considering a spatiotemporal perspective for emergency care. Studies using Geographic Information System analysis for maternal and child care, are increasing in frequency. This approach can identify emergency child and obstetric care saturated or deprived regions. The sequence of steps designed here can help researchers, and policy makers to better design strategies aiming to improve emergency child and obstetric care.

Systematic review of barriers to, and facilitators of, the provision of high‐quality midwifery services in India

The Indian government has committed to implementing high‐quality midwifery care to achieve universal health coverage and reduce the burden of maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity. There are multiple challenges, including introducing a new cadre of midwives educated to international standards and integrating midwifery into the health system with a defined scope of practice. The objective of this review was to examine the facilitators and barriers to providing high‐quality midwifery care in India.

We searched 15 databases for studies relevant to the provision of midwifery care in India. The findings were mapped to two global quality frameworks to identify barriers and facilitators to providing high‐quality midwifery care in India.

Thirty‐two studies were included. Key barriers were lack of competence of maternity care providers, lack of legislation recognizing midwives as autonomous professionals and limited scope of practice, social and economic barriers to women accessing services, and lack of basic health system infrastructure. Facilitators included providing more hands‐on experience during training, monitoring and supervision of staff, utilizing midwives to their full scope of practice with good referral systems, improving women’s experiences of maternity care, and improving health system infrastructure.

The findings can be used to inform policy and practice. Overcoming the identified barriers will be critical to achieving the Government of India’s plans to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality through the introduction of a new cadre of midwives. This is unlikely to be effective until the facilitators described are in place.

Cost-effectiveness of inhaled oxytocin for prevention of postpartum haemorrhage: a modelling study applied to two high burden settings

Background: Access to oxytocin for prevention of postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) in resource-poor settings is limited by the requirement for a consistent cold chain and for a skilled attendant to administer the injection. To overcome these barriers, heat-stable, non-injectable formulations of oxytocin are under development, including oxytocin for inhalation. This study modelled the cost-effectiveness of an inhaled oxytocin product (IHO) in Bangladesh and Ethiopia.

Methods: A decision analytic model was developed to assess the cost-effectiveness of IHO for the prevention of PPH compared to the standard of care in Bangladesh and Ethiopia. In Bangladesh, introduction of IHO was modelled in all public facilities and home deliveries with or without a skilled attendant. In Ethiopia, IHO was modelled in all public facilities and home deliveries with health extension workers. Costs (costs of introduction, PPH prevention and PPH treatment) and effects (PPH cases averted, deaths averted) were modelled over a 12-month program. Life years gained were modelled over a lifetime horizon (discounted at 3%). Cost of maintaining the cold chain or effects of compromised oxytocin quality (in the absence of a cold chain) were not modelled.

Results: In Bangladesh, IHO was estimated to avert 18,644 cases of PPH, 76 maternal deaths and 1954 maternal life years lost. This also yielded a cost-saving, with the majority of gains occurring among home deliveries where IHO would replace misoprostol. In Ethiopia, IHO averted 3111 PPH cases, 30 maternal deaths and 767 maternal life years lost. The full IHO introduction program bears an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of between 2 and 3 times the per-capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($1880 USD per maternal life year lost) and thus is unlikely to be considered cost-effective in Ethiopia. However, the ICER of routine IHO administration considering recurring cost alone falls under 25% of per-capita GDP ($175 USD per maternal life-year saved).

Conclusions: IHO has the potential to expand access to uterotonics and reduce PPH-associated morbidity and mortality in high burden settings. This can facilitate reduced spending on PPH management, making the product highly cost-effective in settings where coverage of institutional delivery is lagging.

Toward a complete estimate of physical and psychosocial morbidity from prolonged obstructed labour: a modelling study based on clinician survey

Introduction: Prolonged obstructed labour often results from lack of access to timely obstetrical care and affects millions of women. Current burden of disease estimates do not include all the physical and psychosocial sequelae from prolonged obstructed labour. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of the full spectrum of maternal and newborn comorbidities, and create a more comprehensive burden of disease model.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional survey of clinicians and epidemiological modelling of the burden of disease. A survey to estimate prevalence of prolonged obstructed labour comorbidities was developed for prevalence estimates of 27 comorbidities across seven categories associated with prolonged obstructed labour. The survey was electronically distributed to clinicians caring for women who have suffered from prolonged obstructed labour in Asia and Africa. Prevalence estimates of the sequelae were used to calculate years lost to disability for reproductive age women (15 to 49 years) in 54 low- and middle-income countries that report any prevalence of obstetric fistula.

Results: Prevalence estimates were obtained from 132 participants. The median prevalence of reported sequelae within each category were: fistula (6.67% to 23.98%), pelvic floor (6.53% to 8.60%), genitourinary (5.74% to 9.57%), musculoskeletal (6.04% to 11.28%), infectious/inflammatory (5.33% to 9.62%), psychological (7.25% to 24.10%), neonatal (13.63% to 66.41%) and social (38.54% to 59.88%). The expanded methodology calculated a burden of morbidity associated with prolonged obstructed labour among women of reproductive age (15 to 49 years old) in 2017 that is 38% more than the previous estimates.

Conclusions: This analysis provides estimates on the prevalence of physical and psychosocial consequences of prolonged obstructed labour. Our study suggests that the burden of disease resulting from prolonged obstructed labour is currently underestimated. Notably, women who suffer from prolonged obstructed labour have a high prevalence of psychosocial sequelae but these are often not included in burden of disease estimates. In addition to preventative and public health measures, high quality surgical and anaesthesia care are urgently needed to prevent prolonged obstructed labour and its sequelae.

Cervical Cancer Screening With Human Papillomavirus Self-Sampling Among Transgender Men in El Salvador

Purpose: Sexual and gender minority persons in low-income countries have very limited access to routine health services. This study evaluated the feasibility of using a self-sampled human papillomavirus (HPV) test to increase access to screening for cervical cancer among transgender men in El Salvador. Methods: We partnered with a local advocacy organization for recruitment. A total of 24 transgender men (men assigned female at birth) ages 19-55 were enrolled and provided consent. Questionnaires assessed sociodemographics, health and sexual histories, and knowledge about HPV and cervical cancer. Screening was performed with a self-sampled HPV test. Participants with a positive test were offered colposcopy and cryotherapy treatment, if appropriate. Those with a negative test were advised to return in 5 years for rescreening. Results: Out of 24 consenting participants, 23 (95.83%) agreed to conduct HPV self-sampling, and 22/23 (95.65%) expressed willingness to self-sample in the future. Among self-sampled individuals, 3/23 (13%) tested positive and accepted colposcopy and biopsy. Analyses of biopsied tissue revealed one case of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 1. Conclusion: HPV self-sampling and subsequent procedures were accepted by the majority of participants. This screening method may be a viable alternative to cytology among transgender men in El Salvador.

Gynecological hysterectomy in Northern Tanzania: a cross- sectional study on the outcomes and correlation between clinical and histological diagnoses

Hysterectomy is one of the most common gynaecological procedures performed worldwide. The magnitude of the complications related to hysterectomy and their risk factors are bound to differ based on locations, availability of resources and level of surgical training. Documented complications rates and their correlates are reported from high income countries while data from low- and middle-income countries including Tanzania is scare.
This was a hospital based cross-sectional study conducted at a tertiary facility in northern Tanzania where 178 women who underwent elective gynecological hysterectomies in the department of obstetrics and gynecology within the study period were enrolled. Logistic regression was performed to determine the association between risk factors and occurrence of surgical complication where p-value of  2 h) (OR 5.02; 95% CI 2.18–11.5). Both uterine fibroid and adenomyosis had good correlation of clinical and histological diagnosis (p-value < 0.001).
Bleeding and blood transfusion were the most common complications observed in this study. Obesity, previous abdominal operation and prolonged duration of operation were the most significant risk factors for the complications. Local tailored interventions to reduce surgical complications of hysterectomy are thus pivotal. Clinicians in this locality should have resources at their disposal to enhance definitive diagnosis attainment before surgical interventions.

Outcomes Associated With Anaesthetic Techniques for Caesarean Section in Low- And Middle-Income Countries: A Secondary Analysis of WHO Surveys

Associations between anaesthetic techniques and pregnancy outcomes were assessed among 129,742 pregnancies delivered by caesarean section (CS) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) using two WHO databases. Anaesthesia was categorized as general anaesthesia (GA) and neuraxial anaesthesia (NA). Outcomes included maternal death (MD), maternal near miss (MNM), severe maternal outcome (SMO), intensive care unit (ICU) admission, early neonatal death (END), neonatal near miss (NNM), severe neonatal outcome (SNO), Apgar score <7 at 5 minutes, and neonatal ICU (NICU) admission. A two-stage approach of individual participant data meta-analysis was used to combine the results. Adjusted odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were presented. Compared to GA, NA were associated with decreased odds of MD (pooled OR 0.28; 95% CI 0.10, 0.78), MNM (pooled OR 0.25; 95% CI 0.21, 0.31), SMO (pooled OR 0.24; 95% CI 0.20,0.28), ICU admission (pooled OR 0.17; 95% CI 0.13, 0.22), NNM (pooled OR 0.63; 95% CI 0.55, 0.73), SNO (pooled OR 0.55; 95% CI 0.48, 0.63), Apgar score <7 at 5 minutes (pooled OR 0.35; 95% CI 0.29, 0.43), and NICU admission (pooled OR 0.53; 95% CI 0.45, 0.62). NA therefore was associated with decreased odds of adverse pregnancy outcomes in LMICs.

Prevalence and Factors Associated With Caesarean Section in Four Hard-to-Reach Areas of Bangladesh: Findings From a Cross-Sectional Survey

Background: Caesarean section (C-section) is a major obstetric life-saving intervention for the prevention of pregnancy and childbirth related complications. Globally C-section is increasing, as well as in Bangladesh. This study identifies the prevalence of C-section and socio-economic and health care seeking related determinants of C-section among women living in hard-to-reach (HtR) areas in Bangladesh.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a structured questionnaire between August and December 2017 at four distinct types of HtR areas of Bangladesh, namely coastal, hilly, haor (wetland), and char areas (shallow land-mass rising out of a river). Total 2,768 women of 15-49 years of age and who had delivery within one year prior to data collection were interviewed. For the analysis of determinants of C- section, the explanatory variables were maternal age, educational status of women and their husbands, women’s religion, employment status and access to mobile phone, wealth index of the household, distance to the nearest health facility from the household, the number of ANC visits and presence of complications during pregnancy and the last childbirth. Logistic regression model was run among 850 women, who had facility delivery. Variables found significantly associated with the outcome (C-section) in bivariate analysis were included in the multivariable logistic model. A p-value <0.05 was considered as statistically significant in the analyses.

Results: Of the 2,768 women included in the study, 13% had C-sections. The mean (±SD) age of respondents was 25.4 (± 0.1) years. The adjusted prevalence of C-section was 13.1 times higher among women who had their delivery in private facilities than women who delivered in public facilities (Adjusted Odds Ratio, AOR: 13.1; 95% CI 8.6-19.9; p-value: <0.001). Women from haor area and coastal area had 4.7 times (AOR: 4.7; 95% CI 2.4-9.4; p value: <0.001) and 6.8 times (AOR: 6.8; 95% CI 3.6-12.8; p value: <0.001) more chance of having C-section, respectively, than women living in char area. Among women who reported complications during the last childbirth, the AOR of C-section was 3.6 times higher than those who did not report any complication (AOR: 3.6; 95% CI 2.4-5.4; p value: <0.001).

Conclusions: The study identifies that the prevalence of C-sections in four HtR areas of Bangladesh in substantially below the national average, although, the prevalence was higher in coastal areas than three other HtR regions. Both public and private health services for C-section should be made available and accessible in remote HtR areas for women with pregnancy complications. Establishment of an accreditation system for regulating private hospitals are needed to ensure rational use of the procedure.

Association of Gynecological Endoscopy Surgeons of Nigeria (AGES) Advisory on Laparoscopic and Hysteroscopic Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2 disease (COVID-19) is a global public health concern. Although there is a paucity of evidence to advise on the best practice, we recommend postponement of elective gynecological endoscopic surgeries until the pandemic is contained. Emergency surgeries should preferably be done through open surgeries than laparoscopy or hysteroscopy approach. However, if or when laparoscopy or hysteroscopy is considered, health personnel in theatre must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and all standard precautions should be observed to prevent COVID-19 infection. When COVID-19 is highly suspected or confirmed, the patient should be referred to centers equipped in taking care of such cases.

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.