Postoperative outcomes associated with surgical care for women in Africa: an international risk-adjusted analysis

Background
There is an increasing call for a broader approach to women’s surgical care in low- and middle-income countries, beyond access to caesarean section. While obstetric outcomes in Africa are well described, outcomes following non-obstetric surgical care for women in Africa are relatively unknown. Methods We did a secondary analysis of the African Surgical Outcomes Study (ASOS) focusing on severe postoperative complications (defined as death and severe complications) in females following non-obstetric, non-gynaecological surgical procedures. ASOS was a seven-day, African multi-centre prospective observational cohort study of adult (≥18 years) patients undergoing surgery in 25 African countries. These African outcomes were compared to international outcomes from the International Surgical Outcomes Study (ISOS) in a riskadjusted logistic regression analysis. Findings There were 1498 African participants and 18449 international participants who met the inclusion criteria. The African cohort were younger than the international cohort (47 (17) years versus 57 (17); p= <0·0001) and had a lower preoperative risk profile. Severe complications occurred in 41 (2·8%) of 1471 patients of the African cohort, and 431 (2·3%) of 18449 patients in the ISOS cohort, with in-hospital mortality following severe complications of 20/41 (48·8%) in ASOS and 78/431 (18·1%) in ISOS. The adjusted odds ratio for a woman in Africa developing a severe postoperative complication following elective non-obstetric, non-gynaecological surgery compared to the international incidence was 2·114 (95% CI 1·468 – 3·042, p<0·0001). Interpretation: Women living in Africa have double the odds of severe postoperative complications following elective non-obstetric, non-gynaecological surgery compared to the international incidence.

Program Planning to Develop Infrastructure for Cancer Care in Liberia

Liberia’s health infrastructure was completely devastated after 14 years of back-to-back civil war. Postconflict rebuilding of the country’s health workforce and infrastructure has become a priority. Initially, the focus was on the diagnosis and treatment of communicable diseases that caused multigenerational family losses. With the increasing burden of noncommunicable diseases, however, the country has turned its attention to addressing diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, with the development of the noncommunicable disease unit under the Ministry of Health. Recovering from another setback caused by the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014, the country assembled a diverse group of stakeholders to form Liberia’s first National Cancer Committee. To structure a program that would address the increasing burden of cervical and breast cancers, the major cause of mortality among reproductive-aged women in Liberia, input from the International Atomic Energy Agency was critical. This article describes the preplanning activities for developing infrastructure to support cancer care in Liberia that occurred between 2013 and 2020 and is still ongoing. This case study is intended to serve as a planning guide for countries with limited resources as they work toward the goal of eliminating cervical cancer and developing infrastructure to address their country’s burden of all cancers.

Exploring the feasibility of integration of surveillance for intussusception into the routine monitoring of adverse events following immunization by countries of the WHO African Region for Africa

Surveillance for intussusception (IS) post-rotavirus vaccine introduction in World Health Organization Africa Region (WHO/AFRO) has been restricted mainly to the large referral teaching hospitals. The choice of these facilities for surveillance was made to utilize the abundant expertise of specialists in paediatrics and surgery in these hospitals who can diagnose and manage such patients with IS. The surveillance has been well coordinated by the African Intussusception Surveillance Network established in 2012. This network has supported surveillance across the African region and has accumulated a huge database of IS cases in children < 1 year with findings that have demonstrated safety of the monovalent rotavirus vaccine, Rotarix (GlaxoSmithKline). However, safety data on the pentavalent and RotaTeq (Merck Vaccine) is not yet available from the African region. Although, this network has provided much needed data, there is an inherent bias in monitoring and reporting of IS cases in only large tertiary hospitals. This time limited special project does not capture suspected intussusception cases with no access to hospital facilities used for monitoring IS. Additionally, the design requires extensive resources to support collection of high-quality data for monitoring IS, which is unsustainable. For these reasons suitable linkages between IS monitoring and routine Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) should be established for continuity of monitoring of this condition. We propose alignment of the two systems that offers opportunity for high profile recognition and to enhance a sustainable system for diagnosis, treatment and continuous assessment of intussusception occurring in infancy.

The role of non-governmental organizations in strengthening healthcare systems in low- and middle-income countries: Lessons from Santé Diabète in Mali

Non-governmental organizations play a vital part in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals as defined by the United Nations. These Goals also include targets related to noncommunicable diseases. However, non-governmental organizations have played a limited role in this area despite such diseases causing the bulk of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Through their activities, non-governmental organizations should aim to strengthen health systems, yet they often only support these for a single disease. Mali, like many other low- and middle-income countries, is facing an increasing burden of diabetes and a health system not adapted to address this challenge. Santé Diabète, a non-governmental organization based in Mali since 2003, has been working specifically on diabetes, and has developed a wide range of activities to improve the national health system. This paper describes changes in the diabetes environment in Mali between 2004 and 2018 based on two health system assessments carried out using a Rapid Assessment Protocol. Over this period, the health system was strengthened with regard to financing and access to medical products. Leadership and governance, service delivery and health workforce were all improved but still partially rely on sustained support from Santé Diabète. The key lesson from this study is that to be effective in changing the management of noncommunicable diseases in a low- and middle-income country, non-governmental organizations need to play a variety of roles, many of which may change over time.

Quality of health care services and performance in public hospitals in Africa: A protocol for systematic review

Background: The delivery of high-quality health care services and performance is the main aim of all health care systems globally. This review objective is to determine the quality of health care services and performance in public hospitals in Africa through a systematic review and meta-analysis of existing studies.

Methods: The search will be conducted in pre-determined databases (e.g., PubMed), for eligible studies between 2000 and 2020, to identify studies published in English, which applied the service quality gap (SERVIQUAL) model to determine the quality of health care services and performance in public hospitals in Africa. The search will also include a review of reference lists of included studies for other eligible studies. Eligible studies will include experimental and observational studies. Two authors will independently screen the search output, select studies and extract data, resolve discrepancies by consensus and discussions. Two authors will use Cochrane risk of bias tools for experimental studies, and Hoy for observational studies. The review will also assess study quality and risk of bias using standardized tools. The review aims to provide comprehensive information on the quality of health care services and performance in public hospitals in Africa.

Discussion: Understanding patients’ or clients’ expectations and perceptions on the quality of health care services provided in the health care systems are very crucial in the improvement of the health status of the general population. The SERVIQUAL model is a standardized tool used to assess the quality gap of patients/clients perspectives on health care services in hospitals globally. The findings from this review will provide information on the quality gap of health care provided in public hospitals in SSA. Also, we anticipate that the findings will inform policymakers in health care systems on how to improve and maintain the quality of health care services in public hospitals in different African settings.

Systematic review registration number: PROSPERO CRD 420212264100 dated 25/07/2021

Equitable access to quality trauma systems in Low and Middle Income Countries

Injuries in low-income and middle-income countries are prevalent and their number is expected to increase. Death and disability after injury can be reduced if people reach healthcare facilities in a timely manner. Knowledge of barriers to access to quality injury care is necessary to intervene to improve outcomes. We combined a four-delay framework with WHO Building Blocks and Institution of Medicine Quality Outcomes Frameworks to describe barriers to trauma care in three countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Ghana, South Africa and Rwanda. We used a parallel convergent mixed-methods research design, integrating the results to enable a holistic analysis of the barriers to access to quality injury care. Data were collected using surveys of patient experiences of injury care, interviews and focus group discussions with patients and community leaders, and a survey of policy-makers and healthcare leaders on the governance context for injury care. We identified 121 barriers across all three countries. Of these, 31 (25.6%) were shared across countries. More than half (18/31, 58%) were predominantly related to delay 3 (‘Delays to receiving quality care’). The majority of the barriers were captured using just one of the multiple methods, emphasising the need to use multiple methods to identify all barriers. Given there are many barriers to access to quality care for peoplewho have been injured in Rwanda, Ghana and South Africa, but few of these are shared across countries, solutions to overcome these barriers may also be contextually dependent. This suggests the need for rigorous assessments of contexts using multiple data collection methods before developing interventions to improve access to quality car

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.

Burden and trend of colorectal cancer in 54 countries of Africa 2010–2019: a systematic examination for Global Burden of Disease

Background
Colorectal cancer plays significant role in morbidity, mortality and economic cost in Africa.

Objective
To investigate the burden and trends of incidence, mortality, and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) of colorectal cancer in Africa from 2010 to 2019.

Methods
This study was conducted according to Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2019 analytic and modeling strategies. The recent GBD 2019 study provided the most updated and compressive epidemiological evidence of cancer incidence, mortality, years lived with disability (YLDs), years of life lost (YLLs), and DALYs.

Results
In 2019, there were 58,000 (95% UI: 52,000–65,000), 49,000 (95% UI: 43,000–54,000), and 1.3 million (95% UI: 1.14–1.46) incident cases, deaths and DALYs counts of colorectal cancer respectively in Africa. Between 2010 and 2019, incidence cases, death, and DALY counts of CRC were significantly increased by 48% (95% UI: 34–62%), 41% (95% UI: 28–55%), and 41% (95% UI: 27–56%) respectively. Change of age-standardised rates of incidence, death and DALYs were increased by 11% (95% UI: 1–21%), 6% (95% UI: − 3 to 16%), and 6% (95% UI: − 5 to 16%) respectively from 2010 to 2019. There were marked variations of burden of colorectal cancer at national level from 2010 to 2019 in Africa.

Conclusion
Increased age-standardised death rate and DALYs of colorectal cancer indicates low progress in CRC standard care-diagnosis and treatment, primary prevention of modifiable risk factors and implementation of secondary prevention modality. This serious effect would be due to poor cancer infrastructure and policy, low workforce capacity, cancer center for diagnosis and treatment, low finical security and low of universal health coverage in Africa.

Vision impairment and self-reported anxiety and depression in older adults in Nigeria: evidence from a cross-sectional survey in Kogi State

Background
More than 2 billion people are thought to be living with some form of vision impairment worldwide. Yet relatively little is known about the wider impacts of vision loss on individual health and well-being, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This study estimated the associations between all-cause vision impairment and self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression among older adults in Kogi State, Nigeria.

Methods
Individual eyes were examined according to the standard Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness methodology, and anxiety and depression were assessed using the Washington Group Short Set on Functioning–Enhanced. The associations were estimated using multivariable logistic regression models, adding two- and three-way interaction terms to test whether these differed for gender subgroups and with age.

Results
Overall, symptoms of either anxiety or depression, or both, were worse among people with severe visual impairment or blindness compared with those with no impairment (OR=2.72, 95% CI 1.86 to 3.99). Higher levels of anxiety and/or depression were observed among men with severe visual impairment and blindness compared with women, and this gender gap appeared to widen as people got older.

Conclusions
These findings suggest a substantial mental health burden among people with vision impairment in LMICs, particularly older men, underscoring the importance of targeted policies and programmes addressing the preventable causes of vision impairment and blindness.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning for early detection and diagnosis of colorectal cancer in sub-Saharan Africa

Colorectal cancer (CRC) was once considered a rare disease in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), but decades of globalisation has changed this narrative. Currently, CRC is the fifth most common cancer in SSA, and while CRC incidence and mortality are decreasing in some high-income countries, rates in SSA are on the rise.1 Because CRC develops from a benign precursor polyp over several years, early detection is critical to either prevent malignancy or detect it at an early stage when it is highly curable. Moreover, curative surgery has been shown to improve survival in a SSA setting.2 Unfortunately, more than 60% of patients in SSA present with stage 4 CRC with a <1% 5 year survival rate.3–5 In contrast, almost 40% of patients in the USA present with stage 1 CRC, resulting in a 5-year survival rate of 90%.6 7 Widespread population-based CRC screening programmes and tools (eg, faecal immunochemical test (FIT), colonoscopy) have improved early detection in high-income countries, but SSA-specific data, tools and screening programmes are currently lacking. There is an urgent need to develop more efficient approaches to CRC screening and early detection that do not rely heavily on trained healthcare personnel or specialised resources (eg, endoscopy, pathology), which are often scarce in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Recent technological advances and developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) methods have the potential to transform global health, particularly for early detection and diagnosis of CRC in SSA. Researchers are collecting enormous volumes of data, and while data science applications are largely underdeveloped in Africa, many enabling factors are already in place. Developments in cloud computing, substantial investments in digitising health information, and robust mobile phone penetration have poised many places in SSA with the necessary basics to initiate meaningful AI/ML applications.8 Businesses in SSA …