Health Shocks and Coping Mechanisms in North Central Nigeria: The Gender Perspective

Introduction: Reliance on out-of-pockets (OOP) payments for health services has continued to hamper access to quality healthcare across Nigeria. Socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the gender of the household head as it influences andimpacts health shocks and OOP payments havereceived very little attention globally. This studyinvestigatedthe gender perspective onhealth shocks, health expenditures and coping mechanisms in North Central, Nigeria. Methods: This is a cross-sectional analytical study involving both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. A total of 1,192 households were studied using multi-stage sampling technique in both rural and urban communities in North Central, Nigeria. Data was analysed with SPSS version 20, and qualitative analysis was done by thematic analysis. Results: The finding showed that 458 (38.4%) of the respondents were female-headed households (FHHs). Female-headed households were less educated, earned lower income, resided more in rural communities and were less insured than male-headed households (MHHs). Health shocks were higher among the FHHs and they also pay higherpercentage of their household expenditure for healthcare through higher OOP payments. Also, more FHHs experienced Catastrophic Health Expenditure (CHE) and reported effects of health shocks on reduction in food consumption and loss of income than MHHs. Age, income, occupation and household size are all factors that influenced health shocks in this study. Conclusions: Innovative ways to financially protect women must be employed, to close up the equity gap and bring Nigeria closer to achieving UHC.

Nonphysician Sedation Providers in Africa: What Counts and What Is Being Counted?

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – WB Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking, 1963.

Does your anesthesia providers’ level of training impact your outcomes? This question has been widely evaluated and debated in the perioperative literature. With increasing demand for surgical and procedural services facilitated by anesthesia care globally, an answer will continue to be sought. Van der Merwe et al1 in their article “Postoperative outcomes associated with procedural sedation conducted by physician and non-physician anesthesia providers: findings from the prospective, observational African Surgical Outcomes Study (ASOS)” published in this month’s Anesthesia & Analgesia, have added to this discussion, with a secondary analysis of data from the African Surgical Outcomes Study (ASOS). Although their study provides some interesting insights into the outcomes of procedural sedation across the continent, our opinion is that the question remains largely unanswered.

To date, most of the literature evaluating the association between anesthesia care provider type and outcomes has focused on anesthesia care in highly developed health care systems. Questions have focused on task-shifting, where the responsibility for tasks is shifted from a more highly trained health care provider to health workers with shorter training and fewer qualifications, and task-sharing, where both levels of providers perform the task and may even work closely together. Examples include family doctors in Canada providing unsupervised anesthesia care in community hospitals after adding an additional year of training in anesthesia to their family medicine residency program; certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), practicing independently in many US states; and French anesthesiologists supervising nurse anesthetists with a 1:2 ratio. Ultimately, the hope is that by shifting/sharing tasks, access to care will improve with less-resource input and with similar (or in the case of task-sharing) even safer outcomes.2

Countries with a gross national income per capita of <$12,696 US dollars (USDs) are often (problematically) lumped together as low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)3 regardless of the profound diversity in this categorization, which contains around 85% of the world’s population.4 There is a critical shortage in human resources for health (HRH) globally, particularly in anesthesia. However, HRH are one of the most complex parts of health systems, with huge international variation in terms of numbers of health care workers, their training, their point of entry into training, their scope of practice, interprofessionalism, resilience, burnout, and retention of health care workers within the system.5–7 Developing a deep understanding of how to most effectively and efficiently provide safe anesthesia care is an urgent priority in improving global surgical outcomes; however, nuances in context make generalizations problematic.

Ven der Merwe et al1 aimed to evaluate this question by comparing patient outcomes when procedural sedation was delivered by nonphysician versus physician anesthesia providers. The primary data source, the ASOS, is a landmark study, where investigators collected a large amount of data (11,422 patients) over a relatively short amount of time, with good coverage of a broad geographic area.8 Its largely descriptive statistical analysis has been highly informative of perioperative outcomes in Africa, which appear to be much worse than previously published global data. In contrast, the Van der Merwe et al1 study is a small subset of the primary data (336 patients, ~3% of the full cohort), with a more complex comparative statistical analysis, with the authors concluding that receipt of sedation from a nonphysician provider was significantly associated with increased odds of severe complications. While these results must be interpreted with great caution (as we will outline below), the findings raise important questions about perioperative health care systems in Africa.

The microeconomic impact of out-of-pocket medical expenditure on the households of cardiovascular disease patients in general and specialized heart hospitals in Ibadan, Nigeria

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) present a huge threat to population health and in addition impose severe economic burden on individuals and their households. Despite this, there is no research evidence on the microeconomic impact of CVDs in Nigeria. Therefore, this study estimated the incidence and intensity of catastrophic health expenditures (CHE), poverty headcount due to out-of-pocket (OOP) medical spending and the associated factors among the households of a cohort of CVDs patients who accessed healthcare services in public and specialized heart hospitals in Ibadan, Nigeria.

This study adopts a descriptive cross-sectional study design. A standardized data collection questionnaire developed by the Initiative for Cardiovascular Health Research in Developing Countries was adapted to electronically collect data from all the 744 CVDs patients who accessed healthcare services in public and specialized heart hospitals in Ibadan between 4th November 2019 to the 31st January 2020. A sensitivity analysis, using rank-dependent thresholds of CHE which ranged from 5%-40% of household total expenditures was carried out. The international poverty line of $1.90/day recommended by the World Bank was utilized to ascertain poverty headcounts pre-and post OOP payments for healthcare services. Categorical variables like household socio-demographic and clinical characteristics, CHE and poverty headcounts, were presented using percentages and proportions. Unadjusted and adjusted logistic regression models were used to assess the factors associated with CHE and poverty. Data were analyzed using STATA version 15 and estimates were validated at 5% level of significance.

Catastrophic OOP payment ranged between 3.9%-54.6% and catastrophic overshoot ranged from 1.8% to 12.6%. Health expenditures doubled poverty headcount among households, from 8.13% to 16.4%. Having tertiary education (AOR: 0.49, CI: 0.26–0.93, p = 0.03) and household size (AOR: 0.40, CI: 0.24–0.67, p = 0.001) were significantly associated with CHE. Being female (AOR: 0.41, CI: 0.18–0.92, p = 0.03), household economic status (AOR: 0.003, CI: 0.0003–0.25, p = <0.001) and having 3–4 household members (AOR: 0.30, CI: 0.15–0.61, p = 0.001) were significantly associated with household poverty status post payment for medical services.

OOP medical spending due to CVDs imposed enormous strain on household resources and increased the poverty rates among households. Policies and interventions that supports universal health coverage are highly recommended.

How Climate Change May Threaten Progress in Neonatal Health in the African Region

Climate change is likely to have wide-ranging impacts on maternal and neonatal health in Africa. Populations in low-resource settings already experience adverse impacts from weather extremes, a high burden of disease from environmental exposures, and limited access to high-quality clinical care. Climate change is already increasing local temperatures. Neonates are at high risk of heat stress and dehydration due to their unique metabolism, physiology, growth, and developmental characteristics. Infants in low-income settings may have little protection against extreme heat due to housing design and limited access to affordable space cooling. Climate change may increase risks to neonatal health from weather disasters, decreasing food security, and facilitating infectious disease transmission. Effective interventions to reduce risks from the heat include health education on heat risks for mothers, caregivers, and clinicians; nature-based solutions to reduce urban heat islands; space cooling in health facilities; and equitable improvements in housing quality and food systems. Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are essential to reduce the long-term impacts of climate change that will further undermine global health strategies to reduce neonatal mortality.

High levels of surgical antibiotic prophylaxis: Implications for hospital-based antibiotic stewardship in Sierra Leone

Despite the impact of inappropriate prescribing on antibiotic resistance, data on surgical antibiotic prophylaxis in sub-Saharan Africa are limited. In this study, we evaluated antibiotic use and consumption in surgical prophylaxis in 4 hospitals located in 2 geographic regions of Sierra Leone.

We used a prospective cohort design to collect data from surgical patients aged 18 years or older between February and October 2021. Data were analyzed using Stata version 16 software.

Of the 753 surgical patients, 439 (58.3%) were females, and 723 (96%) had received at least 1 dose of antibiotics. Only 410 (54.4%) patients had indications for surgical antibiotic prophylaxis consistent with local guidelines. Factors associated with preoperative antibiotic prophylaxis were the type of surgery, wound class, and consistency of surgical antibiotic prophylaxis with local guidelines. Postoperatively, type of surgery, wound class, and consistency of antibiotic use with local guidelines were important factors associated with antibiotic use. Of the 2,482 doses administered, 1,410 (56.8%) were given postoperatively. Preoperative and intraoperative antibiotic use was reported in 645 (26%) and 427 (17.2%) cases, respectively. The most commonly used antibiotic was ceftriaxone 949 (38.2%) with a consumption of 41.6 defined daily doses (DDD) per 100 bed days. Overall, antibiotic consumption was 117.9 DDD per 100 bed days. The Access antibiotics had 72.7 DDD per 100 bed days (61.7%).

We report a high rate of antibiotic consumption for surgical prophylaxis, most of which was not based on local guidelines. To address this growing threat, urgent action is needed to reduce irrational antibiotic prescribing for surgical prophylaxis.

Predictors and management outcomes of perforated appendicitis in sub-Saharan African countries: A retrospective cohort study

Previous studies have found an association between various predictors and perforated appendicitis. However, there is limited evidence of studies determining the severity of acute appendicitis (AA) in resource-limited settings. Thus, this study aimed to identify predictors and outcomes of perforated appendicitis (PA) in sub-Saharan countries.

This is a retrospective cohort study of 298 adult patients who underwent surgical intervention for acute appendicitis. Demographic characteristics, clinical parameters, intraoperative findings, length of hospital stay, and postoperative complications were collected. We computed multivariate logistic regression to identify predictors of PA. P-value 38 °C (AOR = 4.569; 95% CI (2.249–9.282), and duration of symptoms >2 days (AOR = 2.704; 95% CI (1.400–5.222). Perforation was associated with an increased rate of postoperative complications (45.07vs. 6.41%; P 38 °C were the best predictors of PA. The overall total postoperative complications and the length of hospital stays were higher in PA. Based on our findings, we recommend that the identified predictors should be considered during the preoperative diagnosis and subsequent management.

Surgical management of traumatic spinal injuries in Sylvanus Olympio Teaching Hospital

Introduction : Traumatic spinal injuries (TSI) is a global disease burden in low – and middle–income countries (LMIC). The burden of TSI is higher in LMICs than in developed countries. Despite improvements in TSI management, resource-constrained settings have not benefitted from this progress to the same extent as more developed countries.

Hypothese : Spinal implants availability and early surgery are associated with improved neurologic function.

Material and methods: This is a retrospective and descriptive study from November 2017 to October 2020. We included adult patients who presented with traumatic spine injury and who underwent surgery stabilization.

Results: A total of 93 patients were studied. The population was young (35.92 ± 9.68 years old), men (91.4%). Road traffic accidents accounted for 85% of patients. At presentation, 59.1% of patients had an incomplete neurologic deficit (ASIA B-D). The cervical spine was the most common segment injured (57%). The median time from admission to the operating room was 21.06 ± 11.8 days. After surgery, 15.3% improved by at least 1 ASIA grade. Bedsores (14%) and superficial wound infection (10.8%) were the most typical complications in our series after surgery.

Discussion : According to the AANS/CNS guideline, available literature has defined « early » surgery inconsistently, ranging from < 8 hours to < 72 hours. In our series, the median time from admission to the operating room was 21.06 ± 11.8 days (range 2-62). That finding could be explained by the fact that most low-income people have to pay out of their pocket because the rate of medical insurance coverage is low. In the study, only 17.2% of patients have public insurance, and 2.2% private insurance. We performed three types of surgery: anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, anterior cervical corporectomy with tricortical iliac crest graft and plate, and posterolateral thoracic/lumbar fusion. Implant availability for posterior cervical fusion was the principal driver of that decision in our limited resources. Type of study and level of proff: level 3, retrospective cohort study.

Delineating natural catchment health districts with routinely collected health data from women’s travel to give birth in Ghana

Health service areas are essential for planning, policy and managing public health interventions. In this study, we delineate health service areas from routinely collected health data as a robust geographic basis for presenting access to maternal care indicators.

A zone design algorithm was adapted to delineate health service areas through a cross-sectional, ecological study design. Health sub-districts were merged into health service areas such that patient flows across boundaries were minimised. Delineated zones and existing administrative boundaries were used to provide estimates of access to maternal health services. We analysed secondary data comprising routinely collected health records from 32,921 women attending 27 hospitals to give birth, spatial demographic data, a service provision assessment on the quality of maternal healthcare and health sub-district boundaries from Eastern Region, Ghana.

Clear patterns of cross border movement to give birth emerged from the analysis, but more women originated closer to the hospitals. After merging the 250 sub-districts in 33 districts, 11 health service areas were created. The minimum percent of internal flows of women giving birth within any health service area was 97.4%. Because the newly delineated boundaries are more “natural” and sensitive to observed flow patterns, when we calculated areal indicator estimates, they showed a marked improvement over the existing administrative boundaries, with the inclusion of a hospital in every health service area.

Health planning can be improved by using routine health data to delineate natural catchment health districts. In addition, data-driven geographic boundaries derived from public health events will improve areal health indicator estimates, planning and interventions.

Disparities in Access to Trauma Care in Sub-Saharan Africa: a Narrative Review

Purpose of Review
Sub-Saharan Africa is a diverse context with a large burden of injury and trauma-related deaths. Relative to high-income contexts, most of the region is less mature in prehospital and facility-based trauma care, education and training, and trauma care quality assurance. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes rising inequalities, both within and between countries as a deterrent to growth and development. While disparities in access to trauma care between the region and HICs are more commonly described, internal disparities are equally concerning. We performed a narrative review of internal disparities in trauma care access using a previously described conceptual model.

Recent Findings
A broad PubMed and EMBASE search from 2010 to 2021 restricted to 48 sub-Saharan African countries was performed. Records focused on disparities in access to trauma care were identified and mapped to de Jager’s four component framework. Search findings, input from contextual experts, comparisons based on other related research, and disaggregation of data helped inform the narrative. Only 21 studies were identified by formal search, with most focused on urban versus rural disparities in geographical access to trauma care. An additional 6 records were identified through citation searches and experts. Disparity in access to trauma care providers, detection of indications for trauma surgery, progression to trauma surgery, and quality care provision were thematically analyzed. No specific data on disparities in access to injury care for all four domains was available for more than half of the countries. From available data, socioeconomic status, geographical location, insurance, gender, and age were recognized disparity domains. South Africa has the most mature trauma systems. Across the region, high quality trauma care access is skewed towards the urban, insured, higher socioeconomic class adult. District hospitals are more poorly equipped and manned, and dedicated trauma centers, blood banks, and intensive care facilities are largely located within cities and in southern Africa. The largest geographical gaps in trauma care are presumably in central Africa, francophone West Africa, and conflict regions of East Africa. Disparities in trauma training opportunities, public–private disparities in provider availability, injury care provider migration, and several other factors contribute to this inequity. National trauma registries will play a role in internal inequity monitoring, and deliberate development implementation of National Surgical, Obstetrics, and Anesthesia plans will help address disparities. Human, systemic, and historical factors supporting these disparities including implicit and explicit bias must be clearly identified and addressed. Systems approaches, strategic trauma policy frameworks, and global and regional coalitions, as modelled by the Global Alliance for Care of the Injured and the Bellagio group, are key. Inequity in access can be reduced by prehospital initiatives, as used in Ghana, and community-based insurance, as modelled by Rwanda.

Sub-Saharan African countries have underdeveloped trauma systems. Consistent in the narrative is the rural-urban disparity in trauma care access and the disadvantage of the poor. Further research is needed in view of data disparity. Recognition of these disparities should drive creative equitable solutions and focused interventions, partnerships, accompaniment, and action.

Interpregnancy interval after a miscarriage and obstetric outcomes in the subsequent pregnancy in a low-income setting, Nigeria: A cohort study

The aim of this study was to determine and compare the occurrence of adverse pregnancy outcomes in a cohort of pregnant women with interpregnancy interval of  0.05). There was no increased risk of occurrence of adverse foetomaternal outcomes in both groups (p > 0.05). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that there was no statistical difference in the occurrence adverse foetomaternal outcomes between the studied cohorts (p > 0.05).

There was no significant difference in the occurrence of adverse maternal and foetal outcomes in the cohorts of mothers with short and normal interpregnancy interval following miscarriages in their last previous pregnancies