Admission Criteria of Obstetric Patients in Selected Intensive Care Units, Khartoum State, Sudan (2022)

The Obstetric admissions to the intensive care unit (ICU) require special care and attention by a multidisciplinary team. Pregnancy is associated with many maternal physiological and organ changes. These changes are primarily due to production of progesterone by the corpus luteum in early pregnancy and the placenta from ten weeks. They are admitted to the ICU for close observation to detect the problems earlier, perform invasive monitoring, increase nursing care or ventilatory support or any intervention that is not available at the wards. The aim of this study was to identify the admission criteria of obstetric patients. A retrospective study was conducted in maternal hospitals, from January to December 2021.70 patients with inclusion criteria were included. The results revealed that most of the patients diagnosed with Preeclampsia25.7%, eclampsia 22.9%, not applicable for the scoring system. Data was collected using a questionnaire filled by researchers from patients’files. The study found that most common cases were admitted to ICU with pre-eclampsia, eclampsia and postpartum hemorrhage, the antenatal care was low, that wasn’t applicable to scoring systems at admission and most patients did not need invasive procedures or mechanical ventilation.

Relapse-free survival in Sudanese women with non-metastatic breast cancer

Breast cancer (BC) is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and a major cause of cancer mortality in Sudan. However, there is lack of data related to BC relapse. Therefore, this study was undertaken to estimate the 5-year relapse free survival (RFS) rate and factors related to BC relapse in Sudanese women with non-metastatic BC.

Data of BC women with BC diagnosed and treated at the National Cancer Institute-University of Gezira during 2012 were retrieved from medical records. The cases were followed-up through hospital records and telephone contact. Survival functions were calculated using Kaplan-Meier method and compared by log-rank test. The prognostic factors were tested using univariate and multivariable Cox regression analyses.

We included 168 women with median age of 45 years (range, 22–83 years). 53.5%of women had stage III at time of diagnosis, whereas 4.2% and 42.3% of women presented with stage I and stage II, respectively. At the end of 5 years follow-up, with median follow-up period of 64 months, 94 (56.0%) women were alive in remission, 11 (6.5%) were alive with BC relapse, 49 (29.2%) were dead, and survival status was unknown in 14 (8.3%) women. Most of the occurred relapses were distant relapses. The 5-year RFS was 59%. The independent predictors of relapse were: larger primary tumor size (HR:1.84, 95% CI: 1.54-5.48, p=0.018); involved axillary lymph nodes with tumour (HR: 2.91, 95% CI: 1.53–7.91, p=0.001); not receiving adjuvant radiotherapy (HR: 2.2, 95% CI: 1.22–3.95, p=0.009); and not receiving hormone therapy (HR: 1.67, 95% CI: 1.01–2.76, p= 0.046).

We found a high risk of BC relapse in our resource-constrained settings. Advanced stages, not receiving adjuvant radiotherapy, and not receiving adjuvant hormone therapy were independent predictors associated with worse 5-year RFS. Therefore, enhancing the early diagnosis of BC and improving timely access to appropriate treatments represent key approaches to achieving better treatment outcomes.

Health system and patient-level factors serving as facilitators and barriers to rheumatic heart disease care in Sudan

Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa despite widely available preventive therapies such as prophylactic benzathine penicillin G (BPG). In this study, we sought to characterize facilitators and barriers to optimal RHD treatment with BPG in Sudan.

We conducted a mixed-methods study, collecting survey data from 397 patients who were enrolled in a national RHD registry between July and November 2017. The cross-sectional surveys included information on demographics, healthcare access, and patient perspectives on treatment barriers and facilitators. Factors associated with increased likelihood of RHD treatment adherence to prophylactic BPG were assessed by using adjusted logistic regression. These data were enhanced by focus group discussions with 20 participants, to further explore health system factors impacting RHD care.

Our quantitative analysis revealed that only 32% of the study cohort reported optimal prophylaxis adherence. Younger age, reduced primary RHD healthcare facility wait time, perception of adequate health facility staffing, increased treatment costs, and high patient knowledge about RHD were significantly associated with increased odds of treatment adherence. Qualitative data revealed significant barriers to RHD treatment arising from health services factors at the health system level, including lack of access due to inadequate healthcare staffing, lack of faith in local healthcare systems, poor ancillary services, and patient lack of understanding of disease. Facilitators of RHD treatment included strong interpersonal support.

Multiple patient and system-level barriers to RHD prophylaxis adherence were identified in Khartoum, Sudan. These included patient self-efficacy and participant perception of healthcare facility quality. Strengthening local health system infrastructure, while enhancing RHD patient education, may help to improve treatment adherence in this vulnerable population.

Treating Children With Advanced Rheumatic Heart Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa: The NGO EMERGENCY’s Project at the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan

Rheumatic heart disease is endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa and while efforts are under way to boost prophylaxis and early diagnosis, access to cardiac surgery is rarely affordable. In this article, we report on a humanitarian project by the NGO EMERGENCY, to build and run the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan. This hospital is a center of excellence offering free-of-charge, high-quality treatment to patients needing open-heart surgery for advanced rheumatic and congenital heart disease. Since it opened in 2007, more than 8,000 patients have undergone surgery there; most of them Sudanese, but ~20% were admitted from other countries, an example of inter-African cooperation. The program is not limited to surgical procedures. It guarantees long-term follow-up and anticoagulant treatment, where necessary. By way of example, we report clinical features and outcome data for the pediatric cohort: 1,318 children under the age of 15, operated on for advanced rheumatic heart disease between 2007 and 2019. The overall 5-year survival rate was 85.0% (95% CI 82.7–87.3). The outcomes for patients with mitral valves repaired and with mitral valves replaced are not statistically different. Nevertheless, observing the trend of patients undergoing valve repair, a better outcome for this category might be assumed. RHD in children is an indicator of poor socio-economic conditions and an inadequate health system, which clearly will not be cured by cardiac surgery alone. Nevertheless, the results achieved by EMERGENCY, with the crucial involvement and participation of the Sudanese government over the years, show that building a hospital, introducing free cardiac surgery, and offering long-term post-operative care may help spread belief in positive change in the future.

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.

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.

Improving standard of pediatric surgical care in a low resource setting: the key role of academic partnership

Background: An epidemiological transition is interesting Sub-Saharan Africa increasing the burden of non-communicable diseases most of which are of surgical interest. Local resources are far from meeting needs and, considering that 50% of the population is less than 14 years of age, Pediatric surgical coverage is specially affected. Efforts are made to improve standards of care and to increase the number of Pediatric surgeons through short-term specialist surgical Missions, facilities supported by humanitarian organization, academic Partnership, training abroad of local surgeons. This study is a half term report about three-years Partnership between the University of Chieti- Pescara, Italy and the University of Gezira, Sudan to upgrade standard of care at the Gezira National Centre for Pediatric Surgery (GNCPS) of Wad Medani. Four surgical Teams per year visited GNCPS. The Program was financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.
Methods: The state of local infrastructure, current standard of care, analysis of caseload, surgical activity and results are reported. Methods utilized to assess local needs and to develop Partnership activities are described.
Results: Main surgical task of the visiting Team were advancements in Colorectal procedures, Epispadias/Exstrophy Complex management and Hypospadias surgery (20% of major surgical procedures at the GNCPS). Intensive care facilities and staff to assist more complex cases (i.e. neonates) are still defective. Proctoring, training on the job of junior surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses, collaboration in educational programs, advisorship in hospital management, clinical governance, maintenance of infrastructure together with training opportunities in Italy were included by the Program. Despite on-going efforts, actions have not yet been followed by the expected results. More investments are needed on Healthcare infrastructures to increase health workers motivation and prevent brain drain.
Conclusions: The key role that an Academic Partnership can play, acting through expatriated Teams working in the same constrained contest with the local workforce, must be emphasized. Besides clinical objectives, these types of Global Health Initiatives address improvement in management and clinical governance. The main obstacles to upgrade standard of care and level of surgery met by the Visiting Team are scarce investments on health infrastructure and a weak staff retention policy, reflecting in poor motivation and low performance.

Rehabilitation of an Irradiated Marginal Mandibulectomy Patient Using Immediately Loaded Basal Implant-Supported Fixed Prostheses and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: A 2-year Follow-Up

Introduction: The prosthetic rehabilitation of mandibular defects owing to tumor resection is challenging, especially when the patient has undergone subsequent radiotherapy.

Presentation of case: A 46-year old male presented with a marginal mandibular resection. Following surgery, the patient received adjunctive radiation therapy with a total dose of 70 grays. On clinical examination, the patient presented with severely resorbed edentulous jaws, with an anterior marginal mandibular resection and an obliterated vestibular sulcus. The panoramic radiograph showed a hypocellularity of the maxillary and mandibular bones. A multidisciplinary team was formed, and a treatment plan was formulated which involved the construction of a vestibuloplast stent, and the application of 20 hyperbaric oxygen sessions before implant treatment and 10 more sessions after implant insertion. A total of 16 basal cortical screw implants were inserted to support the fixed prostheses, and a vestibuloplasty was performed to improve esthetics. No complications were observed, and at the 2-year follow-up, the patient presented with excellent peri-implant soft tissue health; increased bone-implant contact; and stable, well-functioning prostheses.

Discussion: The construction of a stable, retentive, well-supported removable prosthesis may be complicated in cases of comprehensive mandibular resection. Basal implants can eliminate the need for bone grafting, and reduce the treatment period required for providing a fixed prosthesis.

Conclusion: To our knowledge this is the first evidence reporting the use of fixed basal implant-supported prostheses in irradiated bone, in conjunction with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. A treatment modality that significantly improves the peri-implant tissue health, and ensures an excellent implant-bone contact.

The role of diaspora and non-governmental organization in helping Sudanese children with congenital heart diseases: 6 years’ paediatric cardiac surgery camps experience

Background: Sudan one of the largest countries in Africa. In recent survey by Sudan Ministry of Health, congenital heart disease (CHD) was found to be one of the top eight diseases that lead to death of children in Sudan. The cost of surgical operation, follow up and diagnosis are expensive and this may result some children present with complications. The aim of this study is to assess the role of diaspora and non-governmental organization (NGO) in helping Sudanese children with CHD.
Methods: We assess the 6 years’ experience in charitable initiative established by Sudanese consultant pediatric intensivist and cardiologist working in Doha, Qatar in partnership with NGO in Gulf countries and Sudan. Examples of these organizations were Patient Helping Fund (PHF) the largest medical charity in Sudan, Eid Althani charity association in Qatar with collaboration of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMH), Ministry of Health in Khartoum and Gazira states. We established the program of providing suitable care for in need children.
Result: A total of 104 out of the 222 complex defects were considered for surgery, 118 underwent cardiac catheter interventions. The 30-days post-operative mortality was 14/222 (6.3%). The most essential post-surgical complications were postpericardiotomy syndrome, bleeding, and sepsis. Malnutrition poor socioeconomic status is significant factors negatively impact the outcomes. All surviving patients (n=208) remain in good clinical condition, and most are asymptomatic without any medications.
Conclusions: The collaboration of Sudanese pediatrician living outside Sudan with local and international NGOs can significantly improve child health in Sudan.