Provision of post-crash first aid by traffic police in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: a cross-sectional survey.

BACKGROUND:
The availability of prehospital trauma care is an important means of reducing serious injuries and fatalities associated with road traffic injuries (RTIs). Lay responders such as traffic police play an important role in the provision of prehospital trauma care to RTI victims, especially where there is no established prehospital care system. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to investigate knowledge, self-reported practice, and attitudes toward post-crash first aid among traffic police officers in Tanzania.

METHOD:
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania between July-September 2017 to investigate knowledge, self-reported practice and attitude among traffic police officers during provision of post-crash care. We used simple random technique to recruit 340 traffic police officers, self -administered questionnaires were used to collect data. The researchers used descriptive statistics and Pearson’s chi-square tests to analyze the data.

RESULTS:
A total of 340 traffic police officers were surveyed. Nearly two thirds (65.3%) reported having had post-crash first aid on-the job training; a slightly larger proportion (70.9%) reported that they had cared for RTI victims in the previous year. The survey responses showed that, generally, traffic police officers’ level of knowledge about post-crash first aid to RTI victims was low-about 3% of the surveyed officers possessed knowledge at a level considered good. Also, there was a statistically significant correlation between higher educational attainment and greater knowledgeability (p = 0.015). Almost all of the officers (96%) had a positive attitude toward providing post-crash first aid to RTI victims.

CONCLUSIONS:
Improved training of Tanzania traffic police officers, by means of an updated post-crash first aid curriculum and updated resources is recommended. Also, user-friendly post-crash first aid leaflets should be provided to traffic police for their reference.

The challenges and opportunities of global neurosurgery in East Africa: the Neurosurgery Education and Development model

OBJECTIVE
The objective of this study was to describe the experience of a volunteering neurosurgeon during an 18-week stay at the Neurosurgery Education and Development (NED) Institute and to report the general situation regarding the development of neurosurgery in Zanzibar, identifying the challenges and opportunities and explaining the NED Foundation’s model for safe practice and sustainability.

METHODS
The NED Foundation deployed the volunteer neurosurgeon coordinator (NC) for an 18-week stay at the NED Institute at the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital, Stonetown, Zanzibar. The main roles of the NC were as follows: management of patients, reinforcement of weekly academic activities, coordination of international surgical camps, and identification of opportunities for improvement. The improvement opportunities were categorized as clinical, administrative, and sociocultural and were based on observations made by the NC as well as on interviews with local doctors, administrators, and government officials.

RESULTS
During the 18-week period, the NC visited 460 patients and performed 85 surgical procedures. Four surgical camps were coordinated on-site. Academic activities were conducted weekly. The most significant challenges encountered were an intense workload, deficient infrastructure, lack of self-confidence among local physicians, deficiencies in technical support and repairs of broken equipment, and lack of guidelines. Through a series of interviews, the sociocultural factors influencing the NED Foundation’s intervention were determined. Factors identified for success were the activity of neurosurgical societies in East Africa; structured pan-African neurosurgical training; the support of the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery (FIENS) and the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA); motivated personnel; and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar’s willingness to collaborate with the NED Foundation.

CONCLUSIONS
International collaboration programs should balance local challenges and opportunities in order to effectively promote the development of neurosurgery in East Africa. Support and endorsement should be sought to harness shared resources and experience. Determining the caregiving and educational objectives within the logistic, administrative, social, and cultural framework of the target hospital is paramount to success.

Diagnosis and management of 365 ureteric injuries following obstetric and gynecologic surgery in resource-limited settings.

Ureteric injuries are among the most serious complications of pelvic surgery. The incidence in low-resource settings is not well documented.This retrospective review analyzes a cohort of 365 ureteric injuries with ureterovaginal fistulas in 353 women following obstetric and gynecologic operations in 11 countries in Africa and Asia, all low-resource settings. The patients with ureteric injury were stratified into three groups according to the initial surgery: (a) obstetric operations, (b) gynecologic operations, and (c) vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) repairs.The 365 ureteric injuries in this series comprise 246 (67.4%) after obstetric procedures, 65 (17.8%) after gynecologic procedures, and 54 (14.8%) after repair of obstetric fistulas. Demographic characteristics show clear differences between women with iatrogenic injuries and women with obstetric fistulas. The study describes abdominal ureter reimplantation and other treatment procedures. Overall surgical results were good: 92.9% of women were cured (326/351), 5.4% were healed with some residual incontinence (19/351), and six failed (1.7%).Ureteric injuries after obstetric and gynecologic operations are not uncommon. Unlike in high-resource contexts, in low-resource settings obstetric procedures are most often associated with urogenital fistula. Despite resource limitations, diagnosis and treatment of ureteric injuries is possible, with good success rates. Training must emphasize optimal surgical techniques and different approaches to assisted vaginal delivery.

Severe Traumatic Brain Injury at a Tertiary Referral Center in Tanzania: Epidemiology and Adherence to Brain Trauma Foundation Guidelines

BACKGROUND: Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability worldwide. Prospective TBI data from sub-Saharan Africa are sparse. This study examines epidemiology and explores management of patients with severe TBI and adherence to Brain Trauma Foundation Guidelines at a tertiary care referral hospital in Tanzania.
METHODS: Patients with severe TBI hospitalized at Bugando Medical Centre were recorded in a prospective registry including epidemiologic, clinical, treatment, and outcome data.
RESULTS: Between September 2013 and October 2015, 371 patients with TBI were admitted; 33% (115/371) had severe TBI. Mean age was 32.0 years 20.1, and most patients were male (80.0%). Vehicular injuries were the most common cause of injury (65.2%). Approximately half of the patients (47.8%) were hospitalized on the day of injury. Computed tomography of the brain was performed in 49.6% of patients, and 58.3% were admitted to the intensive care unit. Continuous arterial blood pressure monitoring and intracranial pressure monitoring were not performed in any patient. Of patients with severe TBI, 38.3% received hyperosmolar therapy, and 35.7% underwent craniotomy. The 2-week mortality was 34.8%.
CONCLUSIONS: Mortality of patients with severe TBI at Bugando Medical Centre, Tanzania, is approximately twice that in high-income countries. Intensive care unit care, computed tomography imaging, and continuous arterial blood pressure and intracranial pressure monitoring are underused or unavailable in the tertiary referral hospital setting. Improving outcomes after severe TBI will require concerted investment in prehospital care and improvement in availability of intensive care unit resources, computed tomography, and expertise in multidisciplinary care.

An assessment of orofacial clefts in Tanzania.

Clefts of the lip (CL), the palate (CP), or both (CLP) are the most common orofacial congenital malformations found among live births, accounting for 65% of all head and neck anomalies. The frequency and pattern of orofacial clefts in different parts of the world and among different human groups varies widely. Generally, populations of Asian or Native American origin have the highest prevalence, while Caucasian populations show intermediate prevalence and African populations the lowest. To date, little is known regarding the epidemiology and pattern of orofacial clefts in Tanzania.A retrospective descriptive study was conducted at Bugando Medical Centre to identify all children with orofacial clefts that attended or were treated during a period of five years. Cleft lip and/or palate records were obtained from patient files in the Hospital’s Departments of Surgery, Paediatrics and medical records. Age at presentation, sex, region of origin, type and laterality of the cleft were recorded. In addition, presence of associated congenital anomalies or syndromes was recorded.A total of 240 orofacial cleft cases were seen during this period. Isolated cleft lip was the most common cleft type followed closely by cleft lip and palate (CLP). This is a departure from the pattern of clefting reported for Caucasian and Asian populations, where CLP or isolated cleft palate is the most common type. The distribution of clefts by side showed a statistically significant preponderance of the left side (43.7%) (?2 = 92.4, p < 0.001), followed by the right (28.8%) and bilateral sides (18.3%). Patients with isolated cleft palate presented at very early age (mean age 1.00 years, SE 0.56). Associated congenital anomalies were observed in 2.8% of all patients with orofacial clefts, and included neural tube defects, Talipes and persistent ductus arteriosus.Unilateral orofacial clefts were significantly more common than bilateral clefts; with the left side being the most common affected side. Most of the other findings did not show marked differences with orofacial cleft distributions in other African populations.

Why do patients refuse trichiasis surgery? Lessons and an education initiative from Mtwara Region, Tanzania.

BACKGROUND:
Trachomatous trichiasis is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness worldwide. A relatively simple surgery can spare vision. Although this surgery is usually performed free of charge in endemic regions, multiple studies indicate that surgical refusal is common. Prior studies have attempted to examine these reasons, although they generally rely on patient recall months to years after the surgery was offered. This study set out to determine major decision-making factors at the time of refusal. In addition, this study looked for ways to help increase surgical uptake by targeting modifiable factors.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:
We used a combination of focus groups, interviews with community health workers, and individual interviews with trichiasis patients who refused surgery to understand their decision-making. We found that several factors influenced surgical refusals, including misconception regarding recovery time, inability to find a post-surgical caregiver, and the time of year of the surgical campaign. Fear of the surgery itself played a minimal role in refusals.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:
Trichiasis patients refuse surgery for many reasons, but a large percentage is due to lack of information and education, and is, therefore, modifiable within the structure of a surgical outreach project. To address this, we developed a “frequently asked questions” (FAQ) document aimed at community health workers, which may have helped to decrease some of the misconceptions that had led to prior refusals.

Linking household and health facility surveys to assess obstetric service availability, readiness and coverage: evidence from 17 low- and middle-income countries.

Improving access and quality of obstetric service has the potential to avert preventable maternal, neonatal and stillborn deaths, yet little is known about the quality of care received. This study sought to assess obstetric service availability, readiness and coverage within and between 17 low- and middle-income countries.We linked health facility data from the Service Provision Assessments and Service Availability and Readiness Assessments, with corresponding household survey data obtained from the Demographic and Health Surveys and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys. Based on performance of obstetric signal functions, we defined four levels of facility emergency obstetric care (EmOC) functionality: comprehensive (CEmOC), basic (BEmOC), BEmOC-2, and low/substandard. Facility readiness was evaluated based on the direct observation of 23 essential items; facilities “ready to provide obstetric services” had ?20 of 23 items available. Across countries, we used medians to characterize service availability and readiness, overall and by urban-rural location; analyses also adjusted for care-seeking patterns to estimate population-level coverage of obstetric services.Of the 111?500 health facilities surveyed, 7545 offered obstetric services and were included in the analysis. The median percentages of facilities offering EmOC and “ready to provide obstetric services” were 19% and 10%, respectively. There were considerable urban-rural differences, with absolute differences of 19% and 29% in the availability of facilities offering EmOC and “ready to provide obstetric services”, respectively. Adjusting for care-seeking patterns, results from the linking approach indicated that among women delivering in a facility, a median of 40% delivered in facilities offering EmOC, and 28% delivered in facilities “ready to provide obstetric services”. Relatively higher coverage of facility deliveries (?65%) and coverage of deliveries in facilities “ready to provide obstetric services” (?30% of facility deliveries) were only found in three countries.The low levels of availability, readiness and coverage of obstetric services documented represent substantial missed opportunities within health systems. Global and national efforts need to prioritize upgrading EmOC functionality and improving readiness to deliver obstetric service, particularly in rural areas. The approach of linking health facility and household surveys described here could facilitate the tracking of progress towards quality obstetric care.

International Study of the Epidemiology of Paediatric Trauma: PAPSA Research Study.

Objectives
Trauma is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The literature on paediatric trauma epidemiology in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is limited. This study aims to gather epidemiological data on paediatric trauma.

Methods
This is a multicentre prospective cohort study of paediatric trauma admissions, over 1 month, from 15 paediatric surgery centres in 11 countries. Epidemiology, mechanism of injury, injuries sustained, management, morbidity and mortality data were recorded. Statistical analysis compared LMICs and high-income countries (HICs).

Results
There were 1377 paediatric trauma admissions over 31 days; 1295 admissions across ten LMIC centres and 84 admissions across five HIC centres. Median number of admissions per centre was 15 in HICs and 43 in LMICs. Mean age was 7 years, and 62% were boys. Common mechanisms included road traffic accidents (41%), falls (41%) and interpersonal violence (11%). Frequent injuries were lacerations, fractures, head injuries and burns. Intra-abdominal and intra-thoracic injuries accounted for 3 and 2% of injuries. The mechanisms and injuries sustained differed significantly between HICs and LMICs. Median length of stay was 1 day and 19% required an operative intervention; this did not differ significantly between HICs and LMICs. No mortality and morbidity was reported from HICs. In LMICs, in-hospital morbidity was 4.0% and mortality was 0.8%.

Conclusion
The spectrum of paediatric trauma varies significantly, with different injury mechanisms and patterns in LMICs. Healthcare structure, access to paediatric surgery and trauma prevention strategies may account for these differences. Trauma registries are needed in LMICs for future research and to inform local policy.

Conotruncal Heart Defect Repair in Sub-Saharan Africa: Remarkable Outcomes Despite Poor Access to Treatment.

Background:
The outcome of children born with conotruncal heart defects may serve as an indication of the status of pediatric cardiac care in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This study was undertaken to determine the outcome of children born with conotruncal anomalies in SSA, regarding access to treatment and outcomes of surgical intervention.

Methods:
From our institution in Ghana, we retrospectively analyzed the outcomes of surgery, in the two-year period from June 2013 to May 2015. The birth prevalence of congenital heart defects (CHDs) in SSA countries was derived by extrapolation using an incidence of 8 per 1,000 live births for CHDs.

Results:
The birth prevalence of CHDs for the 48 countries in SSA using 2013 country data was 258,875; 10% of these are presumed to be conotruncal anomalies. Six countries (Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya) accounted for 53.5% of the birth prevalence. In Ghana, 20 patients (tetralogy of Fallot [TOF], 17; pulmonary atresia, 3) underwent palliation and 50 (TOF, 36; double-outlet right ventricle, 14) underwent repair. Hospital mortality was 0% for palliation and 4% for repair. Only 6 (0.5%) of the expected 1,234 cases of conotruncal defects underwent palliation or repair within two years of birth.

Conclusion:
Six countries in SSA account for more than 50% of the CHD burden. Access to treatment within two years of birth is probably <1%. The experience from Ghana demonstrates that remarkable surgical outcomes are achievable in low- to middle-income countries of SSA.

An assessment of orofacial clefts in Tanzania

BACKGROUND:
Clefts of the lip (CL), the palate (CP), or both (CLP) are the most common orofacial congenital malformations found among live births, accounting for 65% of all head and neck anomalies. The frequency and pattern of orofacial clefts in different parts of the world and among different human groups varies widely. Generally, populations of Asian or Native American origin have the highest prevalence, while Caucasian populations show intermediate prevalence and African populations the lowest. To date, little is known regarding the epidemiology and pattern of orofacial clefts in Tanzania.

METHODS:
A retrospective descriptive study was conducted at Bugando Medical Centre to identify all children with orofacial clefts that attended or were treated during a period of five years. Cleft lip and/or palate records were obtained from patient files in the Hospital’s Departments of Surgery, Paediatrics and medical records. Age at presentation, sex, region of origin, type and laterality of the cleft were recorded. In addition, presence of associated congenital anomalies or syndromes was recorded.

RESULTS:
A total of 240 orofacial cleft cases were seen during this period. Isolated cleft lip was the most common cleft type followed closely by cleft lip and palate (CLP). This is a departure from the pattern of clefting reported for Caucasian and Asian populations, where CLP or isolated cleft palate is the most common type. The distribution of clefts by side showed a statistically significant preponderance of the left side (43.7%) (χ2 = 92.4, p < 0.001), followed by the right (28.8%) and bilateral sides (18.3%). Patients with isolated cleft palate presented at very early age (mean age 1.00 years, SE 0.56). Associated congenital anomalies were observed in 2.8% of all patients with orofacial clefts, and included neural tube defects, Talipes and persistent ductus arteriosus.

CONCLUSIONS:
Unilateral orofacial clefts were significantly more common than bilateral clefts; with the left side being the most common affected side. Most of the other findings did not show marked differences with orofacial cleft distributions in other African populations.