Qualitative exploration of health system response to COVID-19 pandemic applying the WHO health systems framework: Case study of a Nigerian state

Pandemics can result in significantly high rates of morbidity and mortality with higher impact in Lower- and Middle-Income Countries like Nigeria. Health systems have an important role in a multi-sector response to pandemics, as there are already concerns that COVID-19 will significantly divert limited health care resources. This study appraised the readiness and resilience of the Nigerian health system to the COVID-19 pandemic, using Oyo State, southwest Nigeria, as a case study. This study was a cross-sectional qualitative study involving key informant and in-depth interviews. Purposive sampling was used in recruiting participants who were members of the Task Force on COVID-19 in the state and Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) members (physicians, nurses, laboratory scientists, “contact tracers”, logistic managers) and other partners. The state’s health system response to COVID 19 was assessed using the WHO health systems framework. Audio recordings of the interviews done in English were transcribed and thematic analysis of these transcripts was carried out using NVIVO software. Results show that the state government responded promptly by putting in place measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the response was not adequate owing to the fact that the health system has already been weakened by various challenges like poor funding of the health system, shortage of human resources and inadequate infrastructure. These contributed to the health system’s sub-optimal response to the pandemic. In order to arm the health system for adequate and appropriate response during major health disasters like pandemics, fundamental pillars of the health system-finance, human resources, information and technology, medical equipment and leadership – need to be addressed in order to have a resilient health system.

Tele-health and cancer care in the era of COVID-19: New opportunities in low and middle income countries (LMICs)

In the current era of COVID-19 pandemic where at least some degree of social distancing is the norm and hospitals have emerged as hotspots for acquiring the infection, it has become important for oncologists to devise methods of providing care to cancer patients while minimizing patients’ exposure to healthcare settings. In light of the on-going pandemic, it has been recommended that in-patient visits for cancer patients should be substituted by virtual visits and patients should be advised to proceed directly for infusion treatment. Telemedicine and tele-health based interventions have emerged as reasonably practical solutions to these impediments in the delivery of care to cancer patients. Technological advancements have resolved the issue of connectivity for telemedicine even to the remotest places. Teleconsultation is becoming an acceptable alternative for patients and health care providers in this era of information technology. Albeit the challenges that we are facing are diverse and therefore cannot have a singular full proof answer, telemedicine and tele-health based interventions seem to offer promise in effectively complementing our efforts in that direction. Telemedicine is beneficial for both patients and doctors in term to provide quality care without shifting to physical location.

Challenges in Providing Surgical Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Qualitative Study Among Operating Department Practitioners in Pakistan

ackground: Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) are neglected human resources for health with regard to both professional development and research for patient safety. The surgical theatre is associated with the highest mortality rates and with the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. ODPs are key practitioners with respect to infection control during surgeries. Therefore, this study aims to describe challenges faced by ODPs. The secondary aim is to use empirical evidence to inform the public health sector management about both ODP professional development and improvement in surgical procedures, with a specific focus on pandemics.

Methods: A qualitative study has been conducted. Data collection was based on an interview guide with open-ended questions. Interviews with 39 ODPs in public sector teaching hospitals of Pakistan who have been working during the COVID-19 pandemic were part of the analysis. Content analysis was used to generate themes.

Results: Ten themes related to challenges faced by ODPs in delivering services during the pandemic for securing patient safety were identified: (i) Disparity in training for prevention of COVID-19; (ii) Shortcomings in COVID-19 testing; (iii) Supply shortages of personal protective equipment; (iv) Challenges in maintaining physical distance and prevention protocols; (v) Human resource shortages and role burden; (vi) Problems with hospital administration; (vii) Exclusion and hierarchy; (viii) Teamwork limitations and other communication issues; (ix) Error Management; and (x) Anxiety and fear.

Conclusions: The public health sector, in Pakistan and other developing regions, need to invest in the professional development of ODPs and improve resources and structures for surgical procedures, during pandemics and otherwis

Management of cervical cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic: a challenge for developing countries

During the COVID-19 pandemic, health services worldwide are going through important adaptations to assist patients infected with COVID-19, at the same time as continuing to provide assistance to other potentially life-threatening diseases. Although patients with cancer may be at increased risk for severe events related to COVID-19 infection, their oncologic treatments frequently cannot be delayed for long periods without jeopardising oncologic outcomes. Considering this, a careful consideration for treatment management of different malignancies is required.

Cervical cancer is concentrated mainly in low-middle income countries (LMICs), which face particular challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the scarcity of health resources in many places. Although cervical cancer is the fourth cause of cancer death among women, it receives little attention from international Oncology societies and scientific research studies. In this review paper, we discuss the cervical cancer landscape and provide specialists recommendations for its management during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly focused on LMICs’ reality.

The Role of the Orthopaedic Surgeon in the COVID-19 Era: Cautions and Perspectives

The current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has revolutionized global healthcare in an unprecedented way and with unimaginable repercussions. Resource reallocation, socioeconomic confinement and reorganization of production activities are current challenges being faced both at the national and international levels, in a frame of uncertainty and fear. Hospitals have been restructured to provide the best care to COVID-19 patients while adopting preventive strategies not to spread the infection among healthcare providers and patients affected by other diseases. As a consequence, the concept of urgency and indications for elective treatments have been profoundly reshaped. In addition, several providers have been recruited in COVID-19 departments despite their original occupation, resulting in a profound rearrangement of both inpatient and outpatient care. Orthopaedic daily practice has been significantly affected by the pandemic. Surgical indications have been reformulated, with elective cases being promptly postponed and urgent interventions requiring exceptional attention, especially in suspected or COVID-19+ patients. This has made a strong impact on inpatient management, with the need of a dedicated staff, patient isolation and restrictive visiting hour policies. On the other hand, outpatient visits have been limited to reduce contacts between patients and the hospital personnel, with considerable consequences on post-operative quality of care and the human side of medical practice.

In this review, we aim to analyze the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the orthopaedic practice. Particular attention will be dedicated to opportune surgical indication, perioperative care and safe management of both inpatients and outpatients, also considering repercussions of the pandemic on resident education and ethical implications.

Emergency and Essential Surgical Healthcare Services During COVID-19 in Low- And Middle-Income Countries: A Perspective

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significant changes in health care systems worldwide, with low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) sustaining important repercussions. Specifically, alongside cancellation and postponements of non-essential surgical services, emergency and essential surgical care delivery may become affected due to the shift of human and material resources towards fighting the pandemic. For surgeries that do get carried through, new difficulties arise in protecting surgical personnel from contracting SARS-CoV-2. This scarcity in LMIC surgical ecosystems may result in higher morbidity and mortality, in addition to the COVID-19 toll. This paper aims to explore the potential consequences of COVID-19 on the emergency and essential surgical care in LMICs, to offer recommendations to mitigate damages and to reflect on preparedness for future crises. Reducing the devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on LMIC emergency and essential surgical services can be achieved through empowering communities with accurate information and knowledge on prevention, optimizing surgical material resources, providing quality training of health care personnel to treat SARS-CoV-2, and ensuring adequate personal protection equipment for workers on the frontline. While LMIC health systems are under larger strain, the experience from previous outbreaks may aid in order to innovate and adapt to the current pandemic. Protecting LMIC surgical ecosystems will be a pivotal process in ensuring that previous health system strengthening efforts are preserved, comprehensive care for populations worldwide are ensured, and to allow for future developments beyond the pandemic.

COVID-19: Initial experience of an international group of hand surgeons

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected medical treatment protocols throughout the world. While the pandemic does not affect hand surgeons at first glance, they have a role to play. The purpose of this study was to describe the different measures that have been put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by hand surgeons throughout the world. The survey comprised 47 surgeons working in 34 countries who responded to an online questionnaire. We found that the protocols varied in terms of visitors, health professionals in the operating room, patient waiting areas, wards and emergency rooms. Based on these preliminary findings, an international consensus on hand surgery practices for the current viral pandemic, and future ones, needs to be built rapidly.

The Trauma and Acute Care Surgeon in the COVID-19 Pandemic Era

The World Health Organization recognized in March 2020 the existence of a pandemic for the new coronavirus that appeared in China, in late 2019, and whose disease was named COVID-19. In this context, the SBAIT (Brazilian Society of Integrated Care for Traumatized Patients) conducted a survey with 219 trauma and emergency surgeons regarding the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the role of the surgeon in this pandemic by means of an electronic survey. It was observed that surgeons have been acting under inadequate conditions, with a lack of basic supplies as well as more specific equipment such as N95 masks and facial shields for the care of potential victims who may be contaminated. The latter increases the risk of contamination of professionals, resulting in potential losses in the working teams. Immediate measures must be taken to guarantee access to safety equipment throughout the country, since all trauma victims and/or patients with emergency surgical conditions must be treated as potential carriers of COVID-19.