The Impact of Delivering High-Quality Cataract Surgical Mentorship Through Distance Wet Laboratory Courses on Cataract Surgical Competency of Second and Final Year Residents.

Background: This study aimed to assess the acceptability and effectiveness of training second and final-year residents, at the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, a tertiary-level ophthalmic training center in Trujillo, Peru, in phacoemulsification cataract surgery through structured distance surgical mentorship wet lab courses.

Methods: Delivered three five-week distance surgical mentorship wet lab courses, administered through Cybersight, Orbis International’s telemedicine platform. Weekly lectures and demonstrations addressed specific steps in phacoemulsification surgery. Each lecture had two accompanying wet lab assignments, which residents completed and recorded in their institution’s wet lab and uploaded to Cybersight for grading. Competency was assessed through the anonymous grading of pre- and post-training surgical simulation videos, masked as to which videos were recorded before and after training, using a standardized competency rubric adapted from the International Council of Ophthalmology’s Ophthalmology Surgical Competency Assessment Rubric (ICO-OSCAR). Day one best-corrected post-operative visual acuity (BVCA) was assessed in the operative eye on the initial consecutive 4-6 surgeries conducted by the residents. An anonymous satisfaction survey was administered to trainees’ post-course.

Results: In total, 21 second and final-year residents participated in the courses, submitting a total of 210 surgical videos. Trainees’ average competency score (scale of 0-32) increased 6.95 (95%CI [4.28, 9.62], SD=5.01, p<0.0001, two sample t-test) from 19.3 (pre-training, 95%CI [17.2, 21.5], SD=4.04) to 26.3 (post-training, 95%CI [24.2, 28.3], SD=3.93). Among 100 post-training resident surgeries, visual acuity for 92 (92%) was ≥20/60, meeting the World Health Organization’s criterion for good cataract surgical quality.

Conclusions: Structured distance wet lab courses in phacoemulsification resulted in significantly improved cataract surgical skills. This model could be applicable to locations where there are obstacles to traditional in-person wet lab training and can also be effectively deployed to respond to a disruptive event in medical education, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic

Barriers to the uptake of cervical cancer services and attitudes towards adopting new interventions in Peru

Cervical cancer mortality is high among Peruvian women of reproductive age. Understanding barriers and facilitators of cervical cancer screening and treatment could facilitate development of contextually-relevant interventions to reduce cervical cancer incidence and mortality. From April – October 2019, we conducted a cross-sectional survey with 22 medical personnel and administrative staff from Liga Contra el Cancer, in Lima, Peru. The survey included structured and open-ended questions about participants’ roles in cervical cancer prevention and treatment, perceptions of women’s barriers and facilitators for getting screened and/or treated for cervical cancer, as well as attitudes towards adopting new cervical cancer interventions. For structured questions, the frequency of responses for each question was calculated. For responses to open-ended questions, content analysis was used to summarize common themes. Our data suggest that the relative importance and nature of barriers that Peruvian women face are different for cervical cancer screening compared to treatment. In particular, participants mentioned financial concerns as the primary barrier to treatment and a lack of knowledge or awareness of human papillomavirus and/or cervical cancer as the primary barrier to screening uptake among women. Participants reported high willingness to adopt new interventions or strategies related to cervical cancer. Building greater awareness about benefits of cervical cancer screening among women, and reducing financial and geographic barriers to treatment may help improve screening rates, decrease late-stage diagnosis and reduce mortality in women who have a pre-cancer diagnosis, respectively. Further studies are needed to generalize study findings to settings other than Lima, Peru.

Delays to diagnosis and barriers to care for breast cancer in Mexico and Peru: a cross sectional study

Delays to breast cancer diagnosis and treatment initiation are associated with worsened outcomes. However, population-based screening is impractical in many low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) because of resource constraints and a lack of capacity to effectively diagnose and treat screen-detected disease. Mexico and Peru have similar mortality-to-incidence ratios for breast cancer. Unlike Peru, Mexico has attempted to implement mammography screening, although it remains opportunistic with low (20%) national coverage rates. The aim of this study was to compare delays and describe barriers to care among breast cancer patients in Mexico and Peru.

This international cross-sectional study included breast cancer patients interviewed at four public cancer hospitals in Mexico City between 2009 and 2011, and a federally-funded regional cancer institute in Trujillo, Peru in 2015. A Breast Cancer Delays Questionnaire, developed and validated in Mexico and modified for Peru, was administered to breast cancer patients during routine hospital visits at each location. Patient-related, diagnostic, and treatment delays were quantified, and barriers to care identified.

We included data from 597 Mexican women and 113 Peruvian women. Age at diagnosis did not differ between countries (53 years [Mexico] vs 54 years [Peru], p=0·266). Most women in both countries had breast cancer detected by symptoms (84% [Mexico] vs 93% [Peru]; p<0·001), although more women in Mexico were diagnosed by mammography screening (12% vs 6%) and screening clinical breast examination (4% vs 1%). Of patients with available stage information, the majority of disease was AJCC stage II or III at diagnosis (76% [n=597, Mexico] vs 91% [93, Peru]; p=0·014). More women in Mexico were diagnosed at an early stage (AJCC stage 0 or I) (14% [Mexico] vs 4% [Peru]). Total delay (symptom discovery or screening to initiation of treatment) did not differ between the two countries (median 210 days [IQR 128–415; n=597] Mexico vs 201 days [82–442; n=74] Peru; [p=0·71]). Diagnostic delay (first medical consultation to diagnosis) was the greatest contributor to overall delay (113 days [59–250; n=597, Mexico] vs 174 days [40–396; n=95, Peru]; p=0·105). Approximately 60% of all patients had diagnostic delays greater than 3 months. Less than half (44%) of Mexican patients visited more than two health-care facilities before the cancer centre, compared with 71% of Peruvian patients (p<0·001). Patients in both countries reported that barriers to prompt arrival at the cancer centre were: not knowing where to go, lack of money, spread out appointments, and diagnostic errors.

Improved diagnostic and referral systems are necessary to reduce delays to breast cancer care in Mexico and Peru. Such improvements are prerequisites to the establishment of maximally effective mammography screening programmes in LMICs.

Surgical Site Infections Rates in More Than 13,000 Surgical Procedures in Three Cities in Peru: Findings of the International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium

BACKGROUND: Surgical site infections (SSIs) are a threat to patient safety. However, there are not available data on SSI rates stratified by surgical procedure (SP) in Peru.

METHODS: From January 2005 to December 2010, a cohort prospective surveillance study on SSIs was conducted by the International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium (INICC) in four hospitals in three cities of Peru. Data were recorded from hospitalized patients using the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-National Healthcare Safety Network (CDC-NHSN) methods and definitions for SSI. Surgical procedures (SPs) were classified into 4 types, according to ICD-9 criteria.

RESULTS: We recorded 352 SSIs, associated to 13,904 SPs (2.5%; CI, 2.3-2.8) SSI rates per type of SP were the following for this study’s Peruvian hospitals, compared with rates of the INICC and CDC-NHSN reports, respectively: 2.9% for appendix surgery (vs. 2.9% vs. 1.4%); 2.8% for gallbladder surgery (vs. 2.5% vs. 0.6%); 2.2% for cesarean section (vs. 0.7% vs. 1.8%); 2.8% for vaginal hysterectomy (vs. 2.0% vs. 0.9%).

CONCLUSIONS: Our SSIs rates were higher in all of the four analyzed types of SPs compared with CDC-NHSN, whereas compared with INICC, most rates were similar. This study represents an important advance in the knowledge of SSI epidemiology in Peru that will allow us to introduce targeted interventions.