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.

How do Supply- and Demand-side Interventions Influence Equity in Healthcare Utilisation? Evidence from Maternal Healthcare in Senegal

The launch of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000, followed by the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, and the increasing focus on achieving universal health coverage has led to numerous interventions on both supply- and demand-sides of health systems in low- and middle-income countries. While tremendous progress has been achieved, inequities in access to healthcare persist, leading to calls for a closer examination of the equity implications of these interventions. This paper examines the equity implications of two such interventions in the context of maternal healthcare in Senegal. The first intervention on the supply-side focuses on improving the availability of maternal health services while the second intervention, on the demand-side, abolished user fees for facility deliveries. Using three rounds of Demographic Health Surveys
covering the period 1992 to 2010 and employing three measures of socioeconomic status (SES) based on household wealth, mothers’ education and rural/urban residence – we find that although both interventions increase utilisation of maternal health services, the rich benefit more from the supply-side intervention, thereby increasing inequity, while the poor benefit more from the demand-side intervention i.e. reducing inequity. Both interventions positively influence facility deliveries in rural areas although the increase in facility deliveries after the demand-side intervention is more than the increase after the supply-side intervention. There is no significant difference in utilisation based on mothers’ education. Since people from different SES categories are likely to respond differently to interventions on the supply- and demand-side of the health system, policymakers involved in the design of health programmes should pay closer attention to concerns of inequity and elite capture that may unintentionally result from these interventions

Does health insurance contribute to improved utilization of health care services for the elderly in rural Tanzania? A cross-sectional study

Background: Health care systems in developing countries such as Tanzania depend heavily on out-of-pocket payments. This mechanism contributes to inefficiency, inequity and cost, and is a barrier to patients seeking access to care. There are efforts to expand health insurance coverage to vulnerable groups, including older adults, in Sub-Saharan African countries.

Objective: To analyse the association between health insurance and health service use in rural residents aged 60 and above in Tanzania.

Methods: Data were obtained from a household survey conducted in the Nzega and Igunga districts. A standardised survey instrument from the World Health Organization Study on global AGEing and adult health was used. This comprised of questions regarding demographic and socio-economic characteristics, health and insurance status, health seeking behaviours, sickness history (three months and one year prior to the survey), and the receipt of health care. A multistage sampling method was used to select wards, villages and respondents in each district. Local ward and hamlet officers guided the researchers in identifying households with older people. Crude and adjusted logistic regression methods were used to explore associations between health insurance and outpatient and inpatient health care use.

Results: The study sample comprised 1,899 people aged 60 and above of whom 44% reported having health insurance. A positive statistically significant association between health insurance and the utilisation of outpatient and inpatient care was observed in all models. The odds of using outpatient (adjusted OR = 2.20; 95% CI: 1.54, 3.14) and inpatient services (adjusted OR = 3.20; 95% CI: 2.46, 4.15) were higher among the insured.

Conclusion: Health insurance is a predictor of outpatient and inpatient health services in people aged 60 and above in rural Tanzania. Further research is needed to understand the perceptions of both the insured and uninsured regarding the quality of care received.

A country-level comparison of access to quality surgical and non-surgical healthcare from 1990-2016

Background: The Healthcare Access and Quality (HAQ) index, developed by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, uses estimates of amenable mortality to quantify health system performance over time. While much is known about general health system performance globally, few studies have portrayed the performance of surgical systems. In order to quantify access to quality surgical care, evaluate changes over time, and link these changes to health care investments, surgical and non-surgical Health Access and Quality sub-indices were developed.

Design: We categorized 32 amenable mortality causes as either surgical or non-surgical conditions. Using principal components analysis and scaled amenable mortality rates, we constructed a surgical and non-surgical Health Access and Quality sub-index. Using these sub-indices, relative improvement over time was compared. An expenditure model with country fixed effects was built to explore drivers of differences in relative improvement of sub-indices.

Results: Compared to low-income countries, high-income countries have been 2.77 times more effective at improving surgical care (p < .05). Government expenditure on healthcare has a larger effect on improving surgical Health Access and Quality (p < 0.05) while development assistance for health has a larger effect on improving non-surgical Health Access and Quality (p < 0.05). Conclusions and relevance: Global health investment must prioritize strengthening health systems as opposed to the historically favored vertical programming. In order to achieve health equity in low-income countries, more focus should be placed on domestic financing of surgical systems. Health Access and Quality sub-indices can be used by countries to identify targets, monitor progress, and evaluate interventions aimed at improving access to quality surgical healthcare.

Considerations for service delivery for emergency care in low resource settings

In a shift from the more traditional disease focused model of global health interventions, increasing attention is now being placed on the importance of strengthening healthcare systems as a key component for achieving improved health outcomes. As emergency care systems continue to develop and strengthen around the world, the concept of service delivery provides one way to assess how well these systems are functioning. By focusing on service delivery, a system can be evaluated based on its ability to provide patients with access to the high-quality emergency care that they deserve. While the concept of service delivery is commonly used to evaluate the effectiveness of care in high-resource settings, its use in low resource settings has previously been limited due to challenges in operationalizing the concept in a context appropriate way. This article will begin by discussing the concept of service delivery as it specifically applies to emergency care systems and then discuss some of the challenges in defining and assessing this concept in low resource settings. The article will then discuss several new tools that have been developed to specifically address ways to evaluate emergency care service delivery in low-resource settings that can be used to inform future systems strengthening activities.

Comprehending the lack of access to maternal and neonatal emergency care: Designing solutions based on a space-time approach

The objective of this study was to better understand how the lack of emergency child and obstetric care can be related to maternal and neonatal mortality levels.

We performed spatiotemporal geospatial analyses using data from Brazilian municipalities. An emergency service accessibility index was derived using the two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) for 951 hospitals. Mortality data from 2000 to 2015 was used to characterize space-time trends. The data was overlapped using a spatial clusters analysis to identify regions with lack of emergency access and high mortality trends.

From 2000 to 2015 Brazil the overall neonatal mortality rate varied from 11,42 to 11,71 by 1000 live births. The maternal mortality presented a slightly decrease from 2,98 to 2,88 by 100 thousand inhabitants. For neonatal mortality the Northeast and North regions presented the highest percentage of up trending. For maternal mortality the North region exhibited the higher volume of up trending. The accessibility index obtained highlighted large portions of the rural areas of the country without any coverage of obstetric or neonatal beds.

The analyses highlighted regions with problems of mortality and access to maternal and newborn emergency services. This sequence of steps can be applied to other low and medium income countries as health situation analysis tool.

Significance statement
Low and middle income countries have greater disparities in access to emergency child and obstetric care. There is a lack of approaches capable to support analysis considering a spatiotemporal perspective for emergency care. Studies using Geographic Information System analysis for maternal and child care, are increasing in frequency. This approach can identify emergency child and obstetric care saturated or deprived regions. The sequence of steps designed here can help researchers, and policy makers to better design strategies aiming to improve emergency child and obstetric care.

The lucky ones get cured: Health care seeking among women with pelvic organ prolapse in Amhara Region, Ethiopia.

The majority of women suffering from maternal morbidities live in resource-constrained settings with diverse barriers preventing access to quality biomedical health care services. This study aims to highlight the dynamics between the public health system and alternative healing through an exploration of the experiences of health care seeking among women living with severe symptomatic pelvic organ prolapse in an impoverished setting.

The data were collected through ethnographic fieldwork at the hospital and community levels in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. The fieldwork included participant observation, 42 semi-structured interviews and two focus group discussions over a period of one year. A group of 24 women with severe symptomatic pelvic organ prolapse served as the study’s main informants. Other central groups of informants included health care providers, local healers and actors from the health authorities and non-governmental organisations.

Three case stories were chosen to illustrate the key findings related to health care seeking among the informants. The women strove to find remedies for their aggravating ailment, and many navigated between and combined various available healing options both within and beyond the health care sector. Their choices were strongly influenced by poverty, by lack of knowledge about the condition, by their religious and spiritual beliefs and by the shame and embarrassment related to the condition. An ongoing health campaign in the study area providing free surgical treatment for pelvic organ prolapse enabled a study of the experiences related to the introduction of free health services targeting maternal morbidity.

This study highlights how structural barriers prevent women living in a resource-constrained setting from receiving health care for a highly prevalent and readily treatable maternal morbidity such as pelvic organ prolapse. Our results illustrate that the provision of free quality services may dramatically alter both health-and illness-related perceptions and conduct in an extremely vulnerable population.