Quality of Life in Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery: Role of Coping Strategies

Adaptive coping strategies are used to reduce stress in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. These strategies have a major role in physical health, psychological health, quality of life and also affect an individual’s response to the disease. The current study was conducted to comprehend the impact of coping strategies on the quality of life of patients suffering from cardiac disease. A purposive convenient sampling method was used to collect data from different hospitals in South Punjab. We applied Carver’s Brief Coping Orientation to Problem Experienced (Brief COPE) inventory and the WHO quality of life scale. A cross-sectional research design was proposed for the study. The findings of the study showed that coping strategies and quality of life are associated with each other, and the use of emotion-focused and problem-focused coping strategies have a significant impact on patients experiencing cardiac surgery. Demographic details of patients also revealed the differences in both variables. Implications and future recommendations have also been discussed.

Emergency Department Outcome of Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury – A Retrospective Study from Pakistan

Introduction: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of global morbidity and mortality in both adults and children. As with other severe injuries, the outcome of TBIs is also gravely related to the quality of emergency care. Effective emergency care significantly contributes to reduced morbidity and mortality. This study was ensued to evaluate the characteristics of TBIs in Pakistan and their outcomes in the emergency department (ED).

Methods: This retrospective review included records of all TBI patients seen in the Neurosurgical ED of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Karachi, Pakistan from 1st September 2019 till 7th December 2019.

Results: During the study period, 5,546 patients with TBI were seen in the ED; an estimated 56.5 patients per day. There were 4,054 (73.1%) male and 1,492 (26.9%) female patients. Most of these (26%) were of age <10 years. The most common culprit of TBI was road traffic accidents (RTAs) (n=2,163; 39%) followed by accidental fall (n=1,785; 32.2%). Head injury was mostly mild (n=4,034; 72.8%) and only 265 (4.7%) had a severe injury. Only 10% (n=549) patients were admitted for further treatment, 16% were managed in the ED then discharged, and 67% were immediately discharged from the ED after the first examination and necessary management. The ED mortality rate of TBIs was 2.2% (n=123/5,546) in our study. All of these cases had severe head injuries.

Conclusion: Major culprits of TBI are RTAs and accidental falls. TBIs are mostly mild-to-moderate and the ED mortality rate is low.

Comparison of Challenges and Problems Encountered in the Practice of Exclusive Breast Feeding by Primiparous and Multiparous Women in Rural Areas of Sindh, Pakistan: A Cross-Sectional Study

Introduction: The UNICEF (United Nations International Children Education Fund) and WHO (World Health Organization) recommend exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) for the first six months of life. EBF is considered to be an important practice for enhancing infant health and wellbeing. Breastfeeding offers a wide range of psychological and physical health benefits in the long-term and short-term for young children, infants, and mothers. This study aims to compare exclusive breastfeeding practice among primiparous and multiparous mothers including reasons for discontinuing exclusive breastfeeding and problems faced during breastfeeding.

Methodology: This cross-sectional study was conducted in rural areas of Sindh, registered with the Maternal Newborn Health Registry (MNHR). The study used a systematic sampling technique for the enrollment of study participants. A survey questionnaire was used to collect data from mothers about the practices of EBF. A total of 397 mothers were interviewed and analyzed.

Results: Among Primiparous mothers, 14.1% of mothers initiated breastfeeding within one hour of birth, while 22.4% of multiparous mothers, initiated breastfeeding within one hour of birth. The difference between the two is statistically insignificant (p-value=0.234). A high percentage of multiparous mothers exclusively breastfed their infants for six months (63.5%) as compared to primiparous mothers (51.5%). The most common reason for introducing pre-lacteal feed before six months among primiparous mothers is the lack of adequate milk production to fulfill baby needs; this was the case for 35.4% of mothers. On the other hand, the baby remaining hungry post breastfeeding was the major reason among multiparous mothers (44.0%) for introducing pre-lacteal feed before six months.

Conclusion: This study helped in the identification of issues faced by primiparous and multiparous mothers during exclusive breastfeeding. Interventions for promoting EBF need to be tailored as per the need and challenges of the population.

Predictors of iron consumption for at least 90 days during pregnancy: Findings from National Demographic Health Survey, Pakistan (2017–2018)

Background
Iron supplementation is considered an imperative strategy for anemia prevention and control during pregnancy in Pakistan. Although there is some evidence on the predictors of iron deficiency anemia among Pakistani women, there is a very limited understanding of factors associated with iron consumption among Pakistani pregnant women. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the predictors of iron consumption for at least ≥90 days during pregnancy in Pakistan.

Methods
We analyzed dataset from the nationally representative Pakistan Demographic Health Survey 2017–2018. The primary outcome of the current study was the consumption of iron supplementation for ≥90 days during the pregnancy of the last birth. Women who had last childbirth 5 years before the survey and who responded to the question of iron intake were included in the final analysis (n = 6370). We analyzed the data that accounted for complex sampling design by including clusters, strata, and sampling weights.

Results
Around 30% of the women reported consumed iron tablets for ≥90 days during their last pregnancy. In the multivariable logistic regression analysis, we found that factors such as women’s age (≥ 25 years) (adjusted prevalence ratio (aPR) = 1.52; 95% CI: 1.42–1.62)], wealth index (rich/richest) (aPR = 1.25; [95% CI: 1.18–1.33]), primary education (aPR = 1.33; [95% CI: 1.24–1.43), secondary education (aPR = 1.34; [95% CI: 1.26–1.43), higher education (aPR = 2.13; [95% CI: 1.97–2.30), women’s say in choosing husband (aPR = 1.68; [95% CI: 1.57–1.80]), ≥ five antenatal care visits (aPR =2.65; [95% CI (2.43–2.89]), history of the last Caesarian-section (aPR = 1.29; [95% CI: 1.23–1.36]) were significantly associated with iron consumption for ≥90 days.

Conclusion
These findings demonstrate complex predictors of iron consumption during pregnancy in Pakistan. There is a need to increase the number of ANC visits and the government should take necessary steps to improve access to iron supplements by targeting disadvantaged and vulnerable women who are younger, less educated, poor, and living in rural areas.

eHealth for service delivery in conflict: a narrative review of the application of eHealth technologies in contemporary conflict settings

The role of eHealth in conflict settings is increasingly important to address geographic, epidemiologic and clinical disparities. This study categorizes various forms of eHealth usage in conflict and aims to identify gaps in evidence to make recommendations for further research and practice. The analysis was carried out via a narrative hermeneutic review methodology. Articles that fulfilled the following screening criteria were reviewed: (1) describing an eHealth intervention in active conflict or ongoing insurgency, (2) an eHealth intervention targeting a conflict-affected population, (3) an e-learning platform for delivery in conflict settings and (4) non-interventional descriptive reviews relating to eHealth in conflict. Of the 489 papers eligible for screening, 46 merited final inclusion. Conflict settings described include Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Chechnya, Gaza and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thirty-six studies described specific eHealth initiatives, while the remainder were more generic review papers exploring general principles. Analysis resulted in the elucidation of three final categories of current eHealth activity in conflict-affected settings: (1) eHealth for clinical management, (2) e-learning for healthcare in conflict and (3) eHealth for information management in conflict. Obvious disparities in the distribution of technological dividends from eHealth in conflict are demonstrated by this review. Conflict-affected populations are predominantly subject to ad hoc and voluntary initiatives delivered by diaspora and civil society organizations. While the deployment of eHealth technologies in conflict settings is increasingly normalized, there is a need for further clarification of global norms relating to practice in this context.

Fears and barriers: problems in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in Pakistan

Background
Women in Pakistan lack appropriate awareness about diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer due to a range of multifaceted barriers. There is a dearth of literature examining the socio-cultural factors that inhibit women from breast cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment in Punjab, Pakistan. Addressing this gap, this qualitative study sought to identify and explore the barriers that hinder women from seeking timely screening and treatment.

Methods
In this process 45 women (age = 18–50 years) with breast cancer were purposively sampled and interviewed from the Punjab Institute of Nuclear Medicine (PINUM) hospital, Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Results
An inductive approach was used to analyze the data which resulted in the emergence of eight subthemes under the umbrella of three major themes that delineate individual, socio-cultural and structural barriers to seek screening and treatment of breast cancer in Punjab. Individual barriers included lack of awareness, hesitance in accepting social support, and spiritual healing. The identified socio-cultural factors included feminine sensitivity, stigmatization, and aversion to male doctors. Lack of financial resources and apathetic medical services were structural barriers that hinder screening and treatment.

Conclusions
These barriers can be addressed through raising awareness and community mobilization about breast-self exam and treatment. The healthcare system should also pay attention to socio-psychological and cultural factors impeding women’s access to available health facilities.

Ultrasound-Guided Transthoracic Mediastinal Biopsy: A Safe Technique for Tissue Diagnosis in Middle- and Low-Income Countries

Background and objectives
The high cost of video-assisted transthoracic procedures precludes their use in the diagnostics of mediastinal masses in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This study aims to assess the technical success rate and diagnostic yield of ultrasound-guided transthoracic mediastinal biopsies at a tertiary care hospital.

Methods
This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in patients presenting with mediastinal masses referred to radiology services at Dr. Ziauddin University Hospital. Karachi, Pakistan. Ultrasonography was performed using Toshiba Xario 200 & Aplio 500 using convex and linear probes accordingly. Biopsy was performed using a combination of 18G semiautomatic trucut and 17G co-axial needles. Complications and overall diagnostic yields were determined.

Results
In all 70 patients referred, the procedure was completed successfully with an overall procedural yield of 95.7%. Inconclusive biopsies due to inadequate specimen were seen in two (4.2%) patients. No post-procedure major complication or mortality was observed. Minor complications were seen in three (4.2%) out of 70, including hematoma (<3 cm) in one patient and small pneumomediastinum in two patients.

Conclusion
Ultrasound-guided transthoracic mediastinal biopsy may be the pragmatic technique of choice in LMICs for the diagnosis of mediastinal masses as they provide real-time visualization and is cost-effective and saf

Understanding the role of lady health workers in improving access to eye health services in rural Pakistan – findings from a qualitative study

Background
In 1994, the Lady Health Workers (LHWs) Programme was established in Pakistan to increase access to essential primary care services and support health systems at the household and community levels. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province in northern Pakistan, eye care is among the many unmet needs that LHWs were trained to address, including screening and referral of people with eye conditions to health facilities. However, despite an increase in referrals by LHWs, compliance with referrals in KPK has been very low. We explored the role of LHWs in patient referral and the barriers to patient compliance with referrals.

Methods
Qualitative methodology was adopted. Between April and June 2019, we conducted eight focus group discussions and nine in-depth interviews with 73 participants including patients, LHWs and their supervisors, district managers and other stakeholders. Data were analysed thematically using NVivo software version 12.

Results
LHWs have a broad understanding of basic health care and are responsible for a wide range of activities at the community level. LHWs felt that the training in primary eye care had equipped them with the skills to identify and refer eye patients. However, they reported that access to care was hampered when referred patients reached hospitals, where disorganised services and poor quality of care discouraged uptake of referrals. LHWs felt that this had a negative impact on their credibility and on the trust and respect they received from the community, which, coupled with low eye health awareness, influenced patients’ decisions about whether to comply with a referral. There was a lack of trust in the health care services provided by public sector hospitals. Poverty, deep-rooted gender inequities and transportation were the other reported main drivers of non-adherence to referrals.

Conclusions
Results from this study have shown that the training of LHWs in eye care was well received. However, training alone is not enough and does not result in improved access for patients to specialist services if other parts of the health system are not strengthened. Pathways for referrals should be agreed and explicitly communicated to both the health care providers and the patients.

Telementoring, Surgery training, Rural surgery, Breast cancer

Abstract
Telementorship allows an expert surgeon to mentor another surgeon through an advanced procedure from a remote location via 2-way audio-visual communication. The current article was planned to review the existing literature and evaluate the utility of telementorship regarding educating rural surgeons in Pakistan about multidisciplinary breast cancer care. Publications from 2016 to 2020 were searched on PubMed and GoogleScholar and 10 most recent publications were selected. Review of literature revealed that even though telementorship in this context might be comparable to onsite mentorship, multiple concerns need to be addressed before its implementation. These include lack of concrete evidence regarding its effectiveness, legal, security and financial issues. Thus, a pilot project evaluating the efficacy of telementorship needs to be conducted for rural breast surgeons working in Pakistan. If these studies show promise and an affordable, convenient and effective method of telementorship is devised, then it may become the future of breast surgery training in far-flung regions of Pakistan.

Peer-led surgery education: A model for a surgery interest group

Abstract
We present a systematic, sustainable, student-led model for a Surgery Interest Group in a low and middle-income country setting to encourage other medical students to establish similar groups in their institutions. Our model was developed at the Aga Khan University Medical College, Karachi, and is comprised of medical students, teaching associates, residents, faculty and alumni. The group focuses on connecting medical students with an interest in surgery with opportunities to help them match in surgery training programs. The opportunities include, but are not limited to, skill development, personal development, mentorship and research. Our model has shown growth and expansion over the last four years, and can be successfully replicated in medical colleges across similar settings.