Solid locked intramedullary nailing for expeditious return of bone-setting-induced abnormal fracture union victims to work in South-western Nigeria

Background: Wage earning in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is predominantly through physical labour. Consequently, limb-related disabilities caused by abnormal fracture unions (AFUs) preclude gainful employment and perpetuate the cycle of poverty. Many AFUs result from traditional bone-setting (TBS), a pervasive treatment for long bone fractures in LMICs. The objective of this study was to accentuate the expediency of solid locked intramedullary nail in the early restoration of victims of traditional TBS-induced abnormal fracture unions (AFUs) to their pre-injury functioning, including work.

Methods: One hundred AFUs in 98 patients treated with a solid locked intramedullary nail in our center over a period of 7 years were prospectively studied.

Results: We found the mean age to be 47.97 years. Males constituted 63.9% of the patients’ population. Atrophic non-union accounted for 54.1% of the AFUs. The mean fracture-surgery interval was 21.30 months. By the 12th post-operative week, more than 75% of the fractures had achieved knee flexion/shoulder abduction beyond 900, were able to squat and smile (or do shoulder abduction-external rotation), and were able to bear weight fully.

Conclusion: The study demonstrated the expediency of solid locked nail in salvaging TBS-induced abnormal fracture unions in a way that permitted early return to pre-injury daily activities and work, thereby reducing fracture-associated poverty.

A granular analysis of service delivery for surgical system strengthening: Application of the Lancet indicators for policy development in Colombia

The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery (LCoGS) surgical indicators have given the surgical community metrics for objectively characterizing the disparity in access to surgical healthcare. However, aggregate national statistics lack sufficient specificity to inform strengthening plans at the community level. We performed a second-stage analysis of Colombian surgical system service delivery to inform the development of resource- and context-sensitive interventions to inform a revision of the Decennial Public Health Plan for access inequity resolution.

Data from the year 2016 to inform total operative volume (TOV) and 30-day non-risk adjusted peri-operative mortality (POMR) were collected from the Colombian national health information system. TOV and POMR were sub-characterized by demographics, urgency, service line, disease pathology and facility location.

In 2016, aggregate national mortality was 0·87%, while mortality attributable to elective and emergency surgery was 0·73% and 1·30%, respectively. The elderly experienced a 5·6-fold higher mortality, with 4·2% undergoing an operation within 30 days of dying. Individuals undergoing hepatobiliary, thoracic, cardiac, and neurosurgical operations experienced the highest mortality rates while obstetrics, general surgery, orthopaedics, and urology performed the largest procedure volume. Finally, analysis of operation and service line specific POMR reveals opportunities for improvement.

This granular second-stage analysis provides actionable data which is fundamental to the development of resource and context-sensitive interventions to address gaps and inequities in surgical system service delivery. Furthermore, this analysis validates the modeling underlying development of the LCoGS indicators. These data will inform the assessment of implementation priorities and revision of the Colombian Decennial Public Health Plan

High value and cheap musculoskeletal health care interventions: lessons for low- and middle-income countries

To the Editor,

The Global Burden of Disease Study 2019 reported low back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders constitute the top ten cause of disability-adjusted life-year and are common from teenage years into old age [1]. The number of people experiencing musculoskeletal conditions in the coming decades will increase in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) [2]. In addition to the likelihood of risk factors such as increased life expectancy and obesity associated with musculoskeletal conditions in high-income countries becoming more common in LMICs, the burden of musculoskeletal conditions will increase as a result of physically demanding agrarian work, and arduous portering due to poor access to modern transportation system [2].

In the past decades, the largest increase in disability due to low back pain occurred in LMICs, including Asia, Africa, and the Middle East region [2], where resource-constrained health and social systems are stressed by other burdens including infectious diseases, child and maternal health, and non-communicable diseases. The Lancet series on low back pain reported healthcare professionals in LMICs are providing wrong care for low back pain [3], resulting not only in burdens to individuals, communities, and health care systems but also contravening the 2010 Declaration of Montreal, which recognises pain relief as fundamental human right. Therefore, LMICs should develop innovative health policies to address this concern with fiscally cheaper but high value care. In this paper, the musculoskeletal conditions refer to the chronic, non-traumatic musculoskeletal pain disorders.

Survival rate of pediatric osteosarcoma in Indonesia: a single center study

Background Over the years, the survival rate of children with osteosarcoma has increased with improved management. However, survival tends to be lower in low-middle-income countries.

Objective To report the survival rate of children with osteosarcoma in a single center in Indonesia and to evaluate the outcomes of treatment modalities currently used.

Methods We performed a retrospective analysis of the medical records of pediatric osteosarcoma patients in Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital from 2015 to 2019. Patients were categorized based on age group, sex, primary tumor location, treatment modalities, disease metastasis, and disease outcome.

Results We included 83 children with osteosarcoma, with an age range of 4-17 years (median 13 years). Mean estimated overall survival and event-free survival were 28 (95%CI 24 to 32) months and 10 (95%CI 8 to 13) months, respectively. Overall survival duration between treatment modality groups was significantly different (P<0.05). The mean estimated overall duration of survival was 9 (95%CI 3 to 15) months for chemotherapy, 18 (95%CI 14 to 22) months for chemotherapy with surgery, and 21 (95%CI 14 to 27) months for chemotherapy with surgery and radiation.

Conclusion The survival rate of childhood osteosarcoma in Indonesia remains low. The current treatment option currently used in our center may contribute to the low rate of survival.

The role of digital health for post-surgery care of older patients with hip fracture: A scoping review

Digital health interventions can potentially improve the integration of the health care systems. Hip fracture is a serious injury for older people and integrated post-surgery care is vital for good recovery.

We aimed to characterise digital health interventions used for hip fracture post-surgery care, and further to examine the extent to which of these interventions address the World Health Organisation (WHO) integrated care for older people (ICOPE) framework.

A scoping review was conducted, by searching the literature from English and Chinese databases and trial registries. Keywords included hip fracture, post-surgery care and digital health interventions. Interventional, observational, qualitative studies and case reports were included. We used a combined framework, WHO ICOPE and WHO digital health intervention classifications, to support data synthesis.

A total of 4,542 articles were identified, of which 39 studies were included in the analysis. We identified only six randomised controlled trials. Digital health interventions were mainly used to help doctors provide clinical care and facilitate service delivery between the patients and healthcare providers. No studies focused on health workforce, financial policy or the development of infrastructure. The primary users were healthcare providers and patients, without healthcare managers or the use of data services. Most digital health interventions focused on physical therapy, bone protection and falls prevention. Limited interventions were implemented in low-and middle-income countries.

A stronger evidence base is needed to expand the use of digital health for post-surgery care of hip fracture patients, including high-quality larger-scale studies, more focus in resource-constrained settings, expanding to more users and capabilities of interventions, and exploring the role of digital health for the integrated care model to mitigate health system challenges.

Feasibility of delivering foot and ankle surgical courses in a partnership in Eastern, Central and Sothern Africa

Foot and ankle pathology if not treated appropriately and in a timely manner can adversely affect both disability and quality adjusted life years. More so in the low- and middle-income countries where ambulation is the predominant means of getting around for the majority of the population in order to earn a livelihood. This has necessitated the equipping of the new generation of orthopaedic surgeons with the expertise and skills set to manage these conditions. To address this need, surgeons from the British Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (BOFAS) and College of Surgeons of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) transferred the “Principles of Foot and Ankle Surgery” course to an African regional setting. The course was offered to surgical trainees from 14-member countries of the COSECSA region and previously in the UK. The faculty was drawn from practicing surgeons experienced in both surgical education and foot and ankle surgery. The course comprises didactic lectures, case-based discussions in small groups, patient evaluations and guided surgical dissections on human cadavers. It was offered free to all participants. The feasibility of the course was evaluated using the model defined by Bowen considering the eight facets of acceptability, demand, implementation, practicality, adaptation, integration, expansion and limited efficacy. At the end of the course participants were expected to give verbal subjective feedback and objective feedback using a cloud based digital feedback questionnaire. The course content was evaluated by the participants as “Poor”, “Below average”, “Average”, “Good” and “Excellent”, which was converted into a value from 1–5 for analysis. The non-parametric categorical data was analysed using the Two-sample Wilcoxon rank-sum (Mann–Whitney) test, and significance was considered to be p < 0.05.

Management of Soft-Tissue Coverage of Open Tibia Fractures in Latin America: Techniques, Timing, and Resources

This study examined soft-tissue coverage techniques of open tibia fractures, described soft-tissue treatment patterns across income groups, and determined resource accessibility and availability in Latin America.

A 36-question survey was distributed to orthopaedic surgeons in Latin America through two networks: national orthopaedic societies and the Asociación de Cirujanos Traumatólogos de las Américas (ACTUAR). Demographic information was collected, and responses were stratified by income groups: high-income countries (HICs) and middle-income countries (MICs).

The survey was completed by 469 orthopaedic surgeons, representing 19 countries in Latin America (2 HICs and 17 MICs). Most respondents were male (89%), completed residency training (96%), and were fellowship-trained (71%). Only 44% of the respondents had received soft-tissue training. Respondents (77%) reported a strong interest in attending a soft-tissue training course. Plastic surgeons were more commonly the primary providers for Gustilo Anderson (GA) Type IIIB injuries in HICs than in MICs (100% vs. 47%, p<0.01) and plastic surgeons were more available (<24 hours of patient presentation to the hospital) in HICs than MICs (63% vs. 26%, p=0.05), demonstrating statistically significant differences. In addition, respondents in HICs performed free flaps more commonly than in MICs for proximal third (55% vs. 18%, p<0.01), middle third (36% vs. 9%, p=0.02), and distal third (55% vs. 10%, p<0.01) lower extremity wounds. Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT or Wound VAC) was the only resource available to more than half of the respondents. Though not statistically significant, surgeons reported having more access to plastic surgeons at their institutions in HICs than MICs (91% vs. 62%, p=0.12) and performed microsurgical flaps more commonly at their respective institutions (73% vs. 42%, p=0.06).

The study demonstrated that most orthopaedic surgeons in Latin America have received no soft-tissue training; that HICs and MICs have different access to plastic surgeons and different expectations for flap type and definitive coverage timing; and that most respondents had limited access to necessary soft-tissue coverage surgical resources. Further investigation into differences in the clinical outcomes related to soft-tissue coverage methods and protocols can provide additional insight into the importance of timing and access to specialists.

International Orthopaedic Volunteer Opportunities in Low and Middle-Income Countries

Globally, the burden of musculoskeletal conditions continues to rise, disproportionately affecting low and middle-income countries (LMICs). The ability to meet these orthopaedic surgical care demands remains a challenge. To help address these issues, many orthopaedic surgeons seek opportunities to provide humanitarian assistance to the populations in need. While many global orthopaedic initiatives are well-intentioned and can offer short-term benefits to the local communities, it is essential to emphasize training and the integration of local surgeon-leaders. The commitment to developing educational and investigative capacity, as well as fostering sustainable, mutually beneficial partnerships in low-resource settings, is critical. To this end, global health organizations, such as the Consortium of Orthopaedic Academic Traumatologists (COACT), work to promote and ensure the lasting sustainability of musculoskeletal trauma care worldwide. This article describes global orthopaedic efforts that can effectively address musculoskeletal care through an examination of 5 domains: clinical care, clinical research, surgical education, disaster response, and advocacy.

The Health Determinants of Accessibility to Clubfoot Treatment in LMICs: A Global Exploration of Barriers and Solutions

Background: Clubfoot or Congenital Talipes Equinovarus (CTEV) treatment in newborn infants involves simple, non-invasive manipulation and is primarily managed non-surgically if identified early. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), less than 15% of patients with CTEV access treatment. This cross-sectional questionnaire study conducted descriptive and regression analysis of institutional reasons for CTEV management in LMICs.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was undertaken of 1,489 medical institutions in 62 LMICs. Data were evaluated from the “World Health Organization Situation Analysis tool” database. We analyzed characteristics of institutions that manage and did not manage CTEV. With the use of a multivariate linear regression model, we identified a set of factors linked to referral for non-management of CTEV.

Results: A total of 72.7% (1,083/1,395) of institutions surveyed did not manage CTEV. The most common reason cited for not managing CTEV was a lack of sufficient skills, 92.1% (668/725, P<0.001). A total of 39.4% (286/725) of institutions also cited a lack of functioning equipment as a reason. Multivariate linear regression analysis showed lack of training, lack of supplies, and lack of functioning equipment were most closely related to non-management of CTEV.

Conclusion and Global Health Implications: We identified that failure to manage CTEV may result from a lack of skills and medical equipment. Increasing the capacity of sustainable training programs may reduce the presently available skill deficit in treating CTEV in LMICs and provide improved health outcomes for those with CTEV. While considerable progress has been made in building capacity for the treatment and management of CTEV in LMICs, structured training programs that support conservative manipulative methods to manage CTEV should be initiated globally

The prevalence and risk factors of chronic low back pain among adults in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: an observational cross-sectional hospital-based study

Globally, chronic low back pain (CLBP) is the leading cause of disability associated with economic costs. However, it has received little attention in low-and-middle-income countries. This study estimated the prevalence and risk factors of CLBP among adults presenting at selected hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal.

This cross-sectional study was conducted among adults aged ≥18 years who attended the selected hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal during the study period. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data on socio-demographic, work-related factors, and information about CLBP. The SPSS version 24.0 (IBM SPSS Inc) was used for data analysis. Descriptive statistics were used for demographic characteristics of participants. CLBP risk factors were assessed using multivariate logistic regression analysis. A p-value of ≤0.05 was deemed statistically significant.

A total of 678 adults participated in this study. The overall prevalence of CLBP was 18.1% (95% CI: 15.3 – 21.3) with females having a higher prevalence than males, 19.8% (95% CI: 16.0 – 24.1) and 15.85% (95% CI: 11.8 – 20.6), respectively. Using multivariate regression analysis, the following risk factors were identified: overweight (aOR: 3.7, 95% CI: 1.1 – 12.3, p = 0.032), no formal education (aOR: 6.1, 95% CI: 2.1 – 18.1, p = 0.001), lack of regular physical exercises (aOR: 2.2, 95% CI: 1.0 – 4.8, p = 0.044), smoking 1 to 10 (aOR: 4.5, 95% CI: 2.0 – 10.2, p < 0.001) and more than 11 cigarettes per day (aOR: 25.3, 95% CI: 10.4 – 61.2, p < 0.001), occasional and frequent consumption of alcohol, aOR: 2.5, 95% CI: 1.1 – 5.9, p < 0.001 and aOR: 11.3, 95% CI: 4.9 – 25.8, p < 0.001, respectively, a sedentary lifestyle (aOR: 31.8, 95% CI: 11.2 – 90.2, p < 0.001), manual work (aOR: 26.2, 95% CI: 10.1 – 68.4, p < 0.001) and a stooped sitting posture (aOR: 6.0, 95% CI: 2.0 – 17.6, p = 0.001).

This study concluded that the prevalence of CLBP in KwaZulu-Natal is higher than in other regions, and that it is predicted by a lack of formal education, overweight, lack of regular physical exercises, smoking, alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyle, manual work, and a stooped posture.