Exploring the role of obesity and overweight in predicting postoperative outcome of abdominal surgery in a sub-Saharan African setting: a prospective cohort study

Current literature on the role of excess weight in predicting surgical outcome is controversial. In sub-Saharan Africa, there is extreme paucity of data regarding this issue in spite of the increasing rates of obesity and overweight in the region. This prospective cohort study, carried out over a period of 4 months at Limbe Regional Hospital in the Southwest region of Cameroon, assessed 30-day postoperative outcome of abdominal surgery among consecutive adults with body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25 kg/m2. Adverse postoperative events were reported as per Clavien–Dindo classification.

A total of 103 patients were enrolled. Of these, 68.9% were female. The mean age was 38.2 ± 13.7 years. Sixty-four (62.1%) of the patients were overweight and the mean BMI was 29.2 ±4.3 kg/m2. The physical status scores of the patients were either I or II. Appendectomy, myomectomy and hernia repair were the most performed procedures. The overall complication rate was 13/103 (12.6%), with 61.5% being Clavien–Dindo grades II or higher. From the lowest to the highest BMI category, there was a significant increase in the proportion of patients with complications; 25–29.9 kg/m2: 6.25%, 30–34.9 kg/m2: 18.75%, 35–39.9 kg/m2: 25.0%, and ≥ 40 kg/m2: 66.70%; p = 0.0086.

Demand and capacity to integrate pelvic organ prolapse and genital fistula services in low-resource settings.

There is a need for expanded access to safe surgical care in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) as illustrated by the report of the 2015 Lancet Commission on Global Surgery. Packages of closely-related surgical procedures may create platforms of capacity that maximize impact in LMIC. Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and genital fistula care provide an example. Although POP affects many more women in LMICs than fistula, donor support for fistula treatment in LMICs has been underway for decades, whereas treatment for POP is usually limited to hysterectomy-based surgical treatment, occurring with little to no donor support. This capacity-building discrepancy has resulted in POP care that is often non-adherent to international standards and in non-integration of POP and fistula services, despite clear areas of similarity and overlap. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility and potential value of integrating POP services at fistula centers.

Fistula repair sites supported by the Fistula Care Plus project were surveyed on current demand for and capacity to provide POP, in addition to perceptions about integrating POP and fistula repair services.

Respondents from 26 hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia completed the survey. Most fistula centers (92%) reported demand for POP services, but many cannot meet this demand. Responses indicated a wide variation in assessment and grading practices for POP; approaches to lower urinary tract symptom evaluation; and surgical skills with regard to compartment-based POP, and urinary and rectal incontinence. Fistula surgeons identified integration synergies but also potential conflicts.

Integration of genital fistula and POP services may enhance the quality of POP care while increasing the sustainability of fistula care.

Decreasing birth asphyxia: utility of statistical process control in a low-resource setting.

The neonatal period is a critical time for survival of the child. A disproportionate amount of neonatal deaths occur in low-resource countries and are attributable to perinatal events, especially birth asphyxia. This project aimed to reduce the incidence of birth asphyxia by 20% by June 2014 through training in neonatal resuscitation and improving the availability of resuscitation equipment in the delivery room in the National Hospital Abuja, Nigeria. A prospective, longitudinal study using statistical process control analytical methods was done enrolling babies delivered at the National Hospital Abuja. Low Apgar scores or birth asphyxia (defined a priori as any score <7 at 1, 5 and/or at 10 min) was assessed. To ensure reliability and validity of Apgar scoring, trainings on scoring were held for labour and delivery staff. Interventions included provision of additional equipment and trainings on neonatal resuscitation. Apgar scores were aggregated weekly over 25 months. Control charts with three SE confidence limits were used to monitor the proportion of scores ≤7. The baseline incidence of low Apgar scores, as defined a priori, was 33%, 17% and 10% while postintervention the incidence was 18%, 17% and 6% at 1, 5 and 10 min, respectively-a reduction of 45% and 40% in the 1-min and 10-min low Apgar scores. Increased communication, additional resuscitation equipment and training of delivery personnel on neonatal resuscitation are associated with reductions in measures of birth asphyxia. These improvements have been sustained and efforts are ongoing to spread our interventions to other special care delivery units/nursery in adjoining states. Our study demonstrates the feasibility and utility of using improvement science methods to assess and improve perinatal outcome in low-resource settings.

A longitudinal study of the prevalence and characteristics of breast disorders detected by clinical breast examination during pregnancy and six months postpartum in Ibadan, Southwestern Nigeria.

Breast disorders cause great anxiety for women especially when they occur in pregnancy because breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer related deaths in women. Majority of the disorders are Benign Breast Diseases (BBD) with various degrees of associated breast cancer risks. With increasing breast cancer awareness in Nigeria, we sought to determine the prevalence and characteristics of breast disorders among a cohort of pregnant women.A longitudinal study of 1248 pregnant women recruited in their first trimester- till 26 weeks gestational age consecutively from selected antenatal clinics (ANCs), in Ibadan, Southwest Nigeria. A pretested interviewer- administered questionnaire was used to collect information at recruitment. Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) using MammaCare® technique was performed at recruitment and follow up visits at third trimester, six weeks postpartum and six months postpartum. Women with breast disorders were referred for Breast Ultrasound Scan (BUS) and those with Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BIRADS) ≥4 had ultrasound guided biopsy. Statistical analysis was performed using Stata version 14.Mean age of participants was 29.7 ± 5.2 years and mean gestational age at recruitment was 20.4 ± 4.4 weeks. Seventy-two participants (5.8%) had a past history of BBD and 345 (27.6%) were primigravidae. Overall, breast disorder was detected among 223 (17.9%) participants and 149 (11.9%) had it detected at baseline. Findings from the CBE showed that 208 (69.6%) of 299 breast disorders signs found were palpable lumps or thickenings in the breast, 28 (9.4%) were persistent pain, and 63 (21.1%) were abscesses, infection and mastitis. Twenty out of 127 (15.7%) participants who had BUS performed were classified as BIRADS ≥3. Lesions found by BUS were reactive lymph nodes (42.5%), prominent ducts (27.1%), fibroadenoma (9.6%), breast cysts (3.8%) and fibrocystic changes (2.5%). No malignant pathology was found on ultrasound guided biopsy.Breast lump is a major breast disorder among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in Ibadan. Routine clinical breast examination and follow up of pregnant women found with breast disorders could facilitate early detection of pregnancy associated breast cancer in low resource settings.

Essential fracture and orthopaedic equipment lists in low resource settings in Africa.

Low/middle-income countries (LMICs) have a growing need for trauma and orthopaedic (T&O) surgical interventions but lack surgical resources. Part of this is due to the high amount of road traffic accidents in LMICs. We aimed to develop recommendations for an essential list of equipment for three different levels of care providers.The Delphi method was used to achieve consensus on essential and desirable T&O equipment for LMICs. Twenty experts with T&O experience from LMICs underwent two rounds of questionnaires. Feedback was given after each round of questionnaires. The first round of questionnaire consisted of 45 items graded on a Likert scale with the second round consisting of 50 items. We used an electronic questionnaire to collect our data for three different levels of care: non-operative-based provider, specialist provider with operative fracture care and tertiary provider with operative fracture care and orthopaedics.After two rounds of questionnaires, recommendations for each level of care in LMICs included 4 essential equipment items for non-operative-based providers; 27 essential equipment items for specialist providers with operative fracture care and 46 essential equipment items for tertiary providers with operative fracture care and orthopaedic care.These recommendations can facilitate in planning of appropriate equipment required in an institution which in turn has the potential to improve the capacity and quality of T&O care in LMICs. The essential equipment lists provided here can help direct where funding for equipment should be targeted. Our recommendations can help with planning and organising national T&O care in LMICs to achieve appropriate capacity at all relevant levels of care.

A Liftless Intervention to Prevent Preterm Birth and Low Birthweight Among Pregnant Ghanaian Women: Protocol of a Stepped-Wedge Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial.

Preterm birth (PTB) is a leading cause of infant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Every year, 20 million babies are born with low birthweight (LBW), about 96% of which occur in low-income countries. Despite the associated dangers, in about 40%-50% of PTB and LBW cases, the causes remain unexplained. Existing evidence is inconclusive as to whether occupational physical activities such as heavy lifting are implicated. African women bear the transport burden of accessing basic needs for their families. Ghana’s PTB rate is 14.5%, whereas the global average is 9.6%. The proposed liftless intervention aims to decrease lifting exposure during pregnancy among Ghanaian women. We hypothesize that a reduction in heavy lifting among pregnant women in Ghana will increase gestational age and birthweight.To investigate the effects of the liftless intervention on the incidence of PTB and LBW among pregnant Ghanaian women.A cohort stepped-wedge cluster randomized controlled trial in 10 antenatal clinics will be carried out in Ghana. A total of 1000 pregnant participants will be recruited for a 60-week period. To be eligible, the participant should have a singleton pregnancy between 12 and 16 weeks gestation, be attending any of the 10 antenatal clinics, and be exposed to heavy lifting. All participants will receive standard antenatal care within the control phase; by random allocation, two clusters will transit into the intervention phase. The midwife-led 3-component liftless intervention consists of health education, a take-home reminder card mimicking the colors of a traffic light, and a shopping voucher. The primary outcome are gestational ages of <28, 28-32, and 33-37 weeks. The secondary outcomes are LBW (preterm LBW, term but LBW, and postterm), compliance, prevalence of low back and pelvic pain, and premature uterine contractions. Study midwives and participants will not be blinded to the treatment allocation.Permission to conduct the study at all 10 antenatal clinics has been granted by the Ghana Health Service. Application for funding to begin the trial is ongoing. Findings from the main trial are expected to be published by the end of 2019.To the best of our knowledge, there has been no randomized trial of this nature in Ghana. Minimizing heavy lifting among pregnant African women can reduce the soaring rates of PTB and LBW. The findings will increase the knowledge of the prevention of PTB and LBW worldwide.Pan African Clinical Trial Register (PACTR201602001301205); http://apps.who.int/trialsearch/ Trial2.aspx?TrialID=PACTR201602001301205 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/71TCYkHzu).RR1-10.2196/10095.

Adult Intussusception due to Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor: A Rare Case Report, Comprehensive Literature Review, and Diagnostic Challenges in Low-Resource Countries.

We present a rare case of gastrogastric intussusception due to gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) and the largest comprehensive literature review of published case reports on gastrointestinal (GI) intussusception due to GIST in the past three decades. We found that the common presenting symptoms were features of gastrointestinal obstruction and melena. We highlight the diagnostic challenges faced in low-resource countries. Our findings emphasize the importance of early clinical diagnosis in low-resource settings in order to guide timely management. In addition, histological analysis of the tumor for macroscopic and microscopic characteristics including mitotic index and c-Kit/CD117 status should be obtained to guide adjuvant therapy with imatinib mesylate. Periodic follow-up to access tumor recurrence is fundamental and should be the standard of care.

Hospital Mortality FollowingTrauma: An Analysis of a Hospital-Based Injury Surveillance Registry in sub-SaharanAfrica

IMPORTANCE: Injuries are a significant cause of death and disability, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Health care systems in resource-poor countries lack personnel and are ill equipped to treat severely injured patients; therefore, many injury related deaths occur after hospital admission.
OBJECTIVES: This study evaluates the mortality for hospitalized trauma patients at a tertiary care hospital in Malawi.
DESIGN: This study is a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected trauma surveillance data. We performed univariate and bivariate analyses to describe the population and logistic regression analysis to identify predictors of mortality.
SETTING: Tertiary care hospital in sub-Saharan Africa.
PARTICIPANT: Patients with traumatic injuries admitted to Kamuzu Central Hospital between January 2010 and December 2012.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Predictors of in-hospital mortality.
RESULTS: The study population consisted of 7559 patients, with an average age of 27 years (18 years) and a male predominance of 76%. Road traffic injuries, falls, and assaults were the most common causes of injury. The overall mortality was 4.2%. After adjusting for age, sex, type and mechanism of injury, and shock index, head/spine injuries had the highest odds of mortality, with an odds ratio of 5.80 (2.71-12.40).
CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: The burden of injuries in sub-Saharan Africa remains high. At this institution, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of injury and injury-related death. The most significant predictor of in-hospital mortality is the presence of head or spinal injury. These findings may be mitigated by a comprehensive injury-prevention effort targeting drivers and other road users and by increased attention and resources dedicated to the treatment of patients with head and/or spine injuries in the hospital setting.

Barriers to Neurosurgical Training in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Need for a Phased Approach to Global Surgery Efforts to Improve Neurosurgical Care

BACKGROUND: Neurosurgery in low-income countries is faced with multiple challenges. Although the most common challenges include infrastructure and physical resource deficits, an underemphasized barrier relates to the methods and components of surgical training. The role of important aspects, including didactic surgical training, surgical decision-making, workshops, conferences, and assessment methods, has not been duly studied. Knowledge of these issues is a crucial step to move closer to strengthening surgical capacity in low-income countries.
METHODS: We designed an online survey to assess self-perceived and objectively measured barriers to neurosurgical training in various Sub-Saharan African countries. Key outcomes included perception toward adequacy of neurosurgery training and barriers to neurosurgical training at each individual site.
RESULTS: Only 37% of responders felt that their training program adequately prepared them for handling incoming neurosurgical cases. Top perceived limitations of neurosurgery training included lack of physical resources (25% of all responses), lack of practical workshops (22%), lack of program structure (18%), and lack of topic-specific lectures (10%).
CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that most responders believe their training program is inadequate and are interested in improving it through international collaborations. This implies that activities directed at strengthening surgical capacity must address this important necessity. One important strategy is the use of online educational tools. In consideration of the observed limitations in care, resources, and training, we recommend a phased approach to neurosurgical growth in low-income settings.

Skull Base Surgery in a Large, Resource-Poor, Developing Country with Few Neurosurgeons: Prospects, Challenges, and Needs

BACKGROUND: Upon returning home to Nigeria from post residency fellowship training in skull base surgery, using expertise gained overseas, we applied appropriate treatment to various skull base pathologies. This is an audit of our initial experience.
METHODS: This is a prospective, descriptive survey of all the skull base pathologies operated on during 30 months. Clinical-demographic data, surgical procedures, and the postoperative outcome are presented statistically. Simple inferential statistics was performed for associations deemed significant at P < 0.05.
RESULTS: Fifty-one individuals (27 men and 24 women, mean age 32 years) were operated on for skull base pathologies. Clinical presentation had a mean symptom duration of 22 months
and a poor clinical status in more than 60% of the patients. Congenital, infective, traumatic, and neoplastic lesions were encountered, including craniofacial malignancies operated on jointly with other craniofacial surgeons. Other intracranial neurosurgical pathologies like jugular foramen and brain stem tumors, and meningiomas of various skull base corridors, including the cavernous sinus and the foramen magnum, were encountered. Our skull base dissections were craniofacial in 23.5% of cases, anterolateral in 33.3%, midbasal in 15.7%, and posterior fossa in 27.5% of patients. Surgery was successful in 86.3%. The patients’ status improved on hospital discharge in 70.6% of cases. The postoperative outcome was significantly worse (P 0.03) in those patients with postbasal lesions with poor clinical performance index preoperatively.
CONCLUSIONS: In spite of the many inherent challenges of a typical developing country health system, there are great