The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international reconstructive collaborations in Africa

The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic has catalysed a widespread humanitarian crisis in many low- and middle-income countries around the world, with many African nations significantly impacted. The aim of this study was to quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the planning and provision of international reconstructive collaborations in Africa.

An anonymous, 14-question, multiple choice questionnaire was sent to 27 non-governmental organisations who regularly perform reconstructive surgery in Africa. The survey was open to responses for four weeks, closing on the 7th of March 2021. A single reminder was sent out at 2 weeks. The survey covered four key domains: (1) NGO demographics; (2) the impact of COVID-19 on patient follow-up; (3) barriers to the safe provision of international surgical collaborations during COVID-19; (4) the impact of COVID-19 on NGO funding.

A total of ten reconstructive NGOs completed the survey (response rate, 37%). Ethiopia (n = 5) and Tanzania (n = 4) were the countries where most collaborations took place. Plastic, reconstructive and burns surgery was the most common sub-speciality (n = 7). For NGOs that did not have a year-round presence in country (n = 8), only one NGO was able to perform reconstructive surgery in Africa during the pandemic. The most common barrier identified was travel restrictions (within country, n = 8 or country entry-exit, n = 7). Pre-pandemic, 1547 to ≥ 1800 patients received reconstructive surgery on international surgical collaborations. After the outbreak, 70% of NGOs surveyed had treated no patients, with approximately 1405 to ≥ 1640 patients left untreated over the last year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed huge pressures on health services and their delivery across the globe. This theme has extended into international surgical collaborations leading to increased unmet surgical needs in low- and middle-income countries.

A minimum data set for traumatic brain injuries in Iran

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the major public health concerns worldwide. Developing a TBI registry could facilitate characterizing TBI, monitoring the quality of care, and quantifying the burden of TBI by collecting comparable and standardized epidemiological and clinical data. However, a national standard tool for data collection of the TBI registry has not been developed in Iran yet. This study aimed to develop a national minimum data set (MDS) for a hospital-based registry of patients suffering from TBI in Iran.

The MDS was designed in two phases, including a literature review and a Delphi study with content validation by an expert panel. After the literature review, a comprehensive list of administrative and clinical items was obtained. Through a two-round e-Delphi approach conducted by invited experts with clinical and research experience in the field of TBI, the final data elements were selected.

An MDS of TBI was assigned to two parts: administrative part with five categories including 52 data elements, and clinical part with nine categories including 130 data elements.

For the first time in Iran, we developed an MDS specified for TBI consisting of 182 data elements. The MDS would facilitate implementing a TBI’s national level registry and providing essential, comparable, and standardized information.

Misconceptions About Traumatic Brain Injuries in Five Sub-Saharan African Countries

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) remains a significant problem in certain regions of the world but receives little attention despite its enormous burden. This discrepancy could consequently lead to various misconceptions among the general public. This study evaluated misconceptions about TBI in five African countries.

Data for this cross-sectional study were collected using the Common Misconception about Traumatic Brain Injury (CM-TBI) questionnaire, which was electronically disseminated from January 16 to February 6, 2021. Associations between the percentage of correct answers and independent variables (i.e., sociodemographic characteristics and experience with TBI) were evaluated with the ANOVA test. Additionally, answers to the question items were compared against independent variables using the Chi-Square test. A P-value <0.05 was considered statistically significant.

A total of 817 adults, 50.2% female (n=410), aged 24.3 ± 4.3 years, and majoritarily urban dwellers (94.6%, n=773) responded to the survey. They had received tertiary education (79.2%, n=647) and were from Nigeria (77.7%, n=635). Respondents had few misconceptions (mean correct answers=71.7%, 95% CI=71.0-72.4%) and the amnesia domain had the highest level of misconception (39.3%, 95% CI=37.7-40.8%). Surveyees whose friends had TBI were more knowledgeable about TBI (mean score difference=4.1%, 95% CI=1.2-6.9, P=0.01). Additionally, surveyees whose family members had experienced TBI had a better understanding of brain damage (mean score difference=5.7%, 95% CI=2.1-9.2%, P=0.002) and recovery (mean score difference=4.3%, 95% CI=0.40-8.2%, P=0.03).

This study identified some misconceptions about TBI among young adult Africans. This at-risk population should benefit from targeted education strategies to prevent TBI and reduce TBI patients' stigmatization in Africa.

Cervical Spine Trauma in East Africa: Presentation, Treatment, and Mortality

Background Cervical spine trauma (CST) leads to devastating neurologic injuries. In a cohort of CST patients from a major East Africa referral center, we sought to (a) describe presentation and operative treatment patterns, (b) report predictors of neurologic improvement, and (c) assess predictors of mortality.

Methods A retrospective, cohort study of CST patients presenting to a tertiary hospital in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, was performed. Demographic, injury, and operative data were collected. Neurologic exam on admission/discharge and in-hospital mortality were recorded. Univariate/multivariate logistic regression assessed predictors of operative treatment, neurologic improvement, and mortality.

Results Of 101 patients with CST, 25 (24.8%) were treated operatively on a median postadmission day 16.0 (7.0–25.0). Twenty-six patients (25.7%) died, with 3 (12.0%) in the operative cohort and 23 (30.3%) in the nonoperative cohort. The most common fracture pattern was bilateral facet dislocation (26.7%). Posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion and anterior cervical corpectomy were the 2 most common procedures. Undergoing surgery was associated with an injury at the C4–C7 region versus occiput–C3 region (odds ratio [OR] 6.36, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.71–32.28, P = .011) and an incomplete injury (OR 3.64; 95% CI 1.19–12.25; P = .029). Twelve patients (15.8%) improved neurologically, out of the 76 total patients with a recorded discharge exam. Having a complete injury was associated with increased odds of mortality (OR 11.75, 95% CI 3.29–54.72, P < .001), and longer time from injury to admission was associated with decreased odds of mortality (OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.48–0.85, P = .006). Conclusions Those most likely to undergo surgery had C4–C7 injuries and incomplete spinal cord injuries. The odds of mortality increased with complete spinal cord injuries and shorter time from injury to admission, probably due to more severely injured patients dying early within 24–48 hours of injury. Thus, patients living long enough to present to the hospital may represent a self-selecting population of more stable patients. These results underscore the severity and uniqueness of CST in a less-resourced setting.

Effective interventions in road traffic accidents among the young and novice drivers of low and middle-income countries: A scoping review

Problem considered
Road traffic accident (RTA) is the ninth leading cause of global mortality and are also contributes mortality rates among young adults aged 15–29 years. This paper aims to conduct a comprehensive review to provide evidence of effective interventions of RTA prevention among young adults.

Three databases, MEDLINE, Embase, and PsychINFO, were searched. Eligible articles were practical behavioural and technological interventions directly affecting young drivers. The quality assessment used critical appraisal tools from the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI). A narrative approach was used to analyze data of the 1107 articles identified, 17 articles met the inclusion criteria. Six studies used a driving simulator; five studies were educational training interventions; one used an incentive and in-car GPS, and one video-based training. One intervention used a vehicle warning system. A motorcycle simulator intervention and two-hybrid interventions, a pc-training and field training, and a driving simulator and vehicle training were also identified.

The Green Light for Life, a training program, was emphasized as it was a simple intervention, using parent influences to improve injury crash rates by 12.7% p < 0.001. Furthermore, RAPT, a driving simulator, improved gaze in the range of 52.1–70% p < 0.001, and HRT, a motorcycle simulator, showed 0.92, p < 0.001 proportion of hazard avoidance. Conclusion These interventions can provide important leads to be adapted and replicated in various settings globally, to improve RTA outcomes among young adults. Future research can adopt a qualitative approach to determine the willingness of use for these interventions and adherence to current interventions.

Myths and Misconceptions of Traumatic Brain Injuries Among High School Learners and University Students in South Africa

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a major cause of disability and death around the world with an annual worldwide prevalence rate ranging from 369 per 100 000 people (James et al., 2019). TBI is specifically more concerning in adolescents and young adults as rates of injuries acquired during this period are similar to adult rates, but with more far-reaching effects, especially in low and middle-income countries (Dewan et al., 2016). TBI has significant long-term effects (e.g., cognitive, behavioural, social) on adolescents and young adults, which are compounded in low and middle income countries (LMICs) like South Africa. However, myths and misconceptions regarding TBI and associated outcomes often cloud the understanding thereof and contribute to poor help-seeking behaviours post-TBI. Poor help-seeking behaviours post-TBI can impact TBI recovery and result in even worse impairments if appropriate help is not sought. This study aimed to describe and compare myths and misconceptions about head injuries or traumatic brain injuries (HI/TBI), including concussions, for high school learners (with/without HI/TBI) and university students (with/without HI/TBI). In terms of misconceptions, students (n=393) scored significantly higher on HI/TBI and concussion knowledge, compared to learners (n=80). Regression analyses showed that adolescence (learners) vs young adulthood (students) was a significant predictor of myths and misconceptions regarding TBI/HI; F (44, 369) = 3.32, p < .001; but not for concussion knowledge and attitudes; F (44, 369) = 1.10, p =.31 and F (44, 369) = .725, p =.904. Understanding what high school learners know and how this differs from university students' knowledge about TBI will help inform interventions tailored to adolescents and young adults – which is needed as they are a vulnerable population group.

Outcomes of Renal Trauma in Indian Urban Tertiary Healthcare Centres: A Multicentre Cohort Study

Renal trauma is present in 0.5–5% of patients admitted for trauma. Advancements in radiologic imaging and minimal-invasive techniques have led to decreased need for surgical intervention. We used a large trauma cohort to characterise renal trauma patients, their management and outcomes.

We analysed “Towards Improved Trauma Care Outcomes in India” cohort from four urban tertiary public hospitals in India between 1st September 2013 and 31st December 2015. The data of patients with renal trauma were extracted using International Classification of Diseases 10 codes and analysed for demographic and clinical details.

A total of 16,047 trauma patients were included in this cohort. Abdominal trauma comprised 1119 (7%) cases, of which 144 (13%) had renal trauma. Renal trauma was present in 1% of all the patients admitted for trauma. The mean age was 28 years (SD-14.7). A total of 119 (83%) patients were male. Majority (93%) were due to blunt injuries. Road traffic injuries were the most common mechanism (53%) followed by falls (29%). Most renal injuries (89%) were associated with other organ injuries. Seven of the 144 (5%) patients required nephrectomy. Three patients had grade V trauma; all underwent nephrectomy. The 30-day in-hospital mortality, in patients with renal trauma, was 17% (24/144).

Most renal trauma patients were managed nonoperatively. 89% of patients with renal trauma had concomitant injuries. The renal trauma profile from this large cohort may be generalisable to urban contexts in India and other low- and middle-income countries.

Trauma Registry Data as a Policy-Making Tool: A Systematic Review on the Research Dimensions

Objective: To review the research dimensions of trauma registry data on health policy making.
Methods: PubMed and EMBASE were searched until July 2020. Keywords were used on the search process included Trauma, Injury, Registry and Research, which were searched by using appropriate search strategies. The included articles had to: 1. be extracted from data related to trauma registries; 2- be written in English; 3- define a time period and a patient population; 4- preferably have more details and policy recommendations; and 5- preferably have a discussion on how to improve diagnosis and treatment. The results obtained from the included studies were qualitatively analyzed using thematic synthesis and comparative tables.
Results: In the primary round of search, 19559 studies were retrieved. According to PRISMA statement and also performing quality appraisal process, 30 studies were included in the final phase of analysis. In the final papers’ synthesis, 14 main research domains were extracted and classified in terms of the policy implication and research priority. The domains with the highest frequency were “The relationship between trauma registry data and hospital care protocols for trauma patients” and “The causes of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) due to trauma”.
Conclusion: Using trauma registry data as a tool for policy-making could be helpful in several ways, namely increasing the quality of patient care, preventing injuries and decreasing their number, figuring out the details of socioeconomic status effects, and improving the quality of researches in practical ways. Also, follow-up of patients after trauma surgery as one of the positive effects of the trauma registry can be the focus of attention of policy-making bodies.

Vision impairment and traffic safety outcomes in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Road traffic injuries are a major public health concern and their prevention requires concerted efforts. We aimed to systematically analyse the current evidence to establish whether any aspects of vision, and particularly interventions to improve vision function, are associated with traffic safety outcomes in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs).

We did a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the association between poor vision and traffic safety outcomes. We searched MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Web of Science, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials in the Cochrane Library from database inception to April 2, 2020. We included any interventional or observational studies assessing whether vision is associated with traffic safety outcomes, studies describing prevalence of poor vision among drivers, and adherence to licensure regulations. We excluded studies done in high-income countries. We did a meta-analysis to explore the associations between vision function and traffic safety outcomes and a narrative synthesis to describe the prevalence of vision disorders and adherence to licensure requirements. We used random-effects models with residual maximum likelihood method. The systematic review protocol was registered on PROSPERO, CRD-42020180505.

We identified 49 (1·8%) eligible articles of 2653 assessed and included 29 (59·2%) in the various data syntheses. 15 394 participants (mean sample size n=530 [SD 824]; mean age of 39·3 years [SD 9·65]; 1167 [7·6%] of 15 279 female) were included. The prevalence of vision impairment among road users ranged from 1·2% to 26·4% (26 studies), colour vision defects from 0·5% to 17·1% (15 studies), and visual field defects from 2·0% to 37·3% (ten studies). A substantial proportion (range 10·6–85·4%) received licences without undergoing mandatory vision testing. The meta-analysis revealed a 46% greater risk of having a road traffic crash among those with central acuity visual impairment (risk ratio [RR] 1·46 [95% CI 1·20–1·78]; p=0·0002, 13 studies) and a greater risk among those with defects in colour vision (RR 1·36 [1·01–1·82]; p=0·041, seven studies) or the visual field (RR 1·36 [1·25–1·48]; p<0·0001, seven studies). The I2 value for overall statistical heterogeneity was 63·4%.

This systematic review shows a positive association between vision impairment and traffic crashes in LMICs. Our findings provide support for mandatory vision function assessment before issuing a driving licence.

Barriers to Trauma Care in South and Central America: a systematic review

Trauma is widespread in Central and South America and is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Providing high quality emergency trauma care is of great importance. Understanding the barriers to care is challenging; this systematic review aims to establish current the current challenges and barriers in providing high-quality trauma care within the 21 countries in the region.

OVID Medline, Embase, EBM reviews and Global Health databases were systematically searched in October 2020. Records were screened by two independent researchers. Data were extracted according to a predetermined proforma. Studies of any type, published in the preceding decade were included, excluding grey literature and non-English records. Trauma was defined as blunt or penetrating injury from an external force. Studies were individually critically appraised and assessed for bias using the RTI item bank.

57 records met the inclusion criteria. 20 countries were covered at least once. Nine key barriers were identified: training (37/57), resources and equipment (33/57), protocols (29/57), staffing (17/57), transport and logistics (16/57), finance (15/57), socio-cultural (13/57), capacity (9/57), public education (4/57).

Nine key barriers negatively impact on the provision of high-quality trauma care and highlight potential areas for improving care in Central & South America. Many countries in the region, along with rural areas, are under-represented by the current literature and future research is urgently required to assess barriers to trauma management in these countries.