Cost-effectiveness of childhood cancer treatment in Egypt: Lessons to promote high-value care in a resource-limited setting based on real-world evidence

Background
Childhood cancer in low-and middle-income countries is a global health priority, however, the perception that treatment is unaffordable has potentially led to scarce investment in resources, contributing to inferior survival. In this study, we analysed real-world data about the cost-effectiveness of treating 8886 children with cancer at a large resource-limited paediatric oncology setting in Egypt, between 2013 and 2017, stratified by cancer type, stage/risk, and disease status.

Methods
Childhood cancer costs (USD 2019) were calculated from a health-system perspective, and 5-year overall survival was used to represent clinical effectiveness. We estimated cost-effectiveness as the cost per disability-adjusted life-year (cost/DALY) averted, adjusted for utility decrement for late-effect morbidity and mortality.

Findings
For all cancers combined, cost/DALY averted was $1384 (0.5 × GDP/capita), which is very cost-effective according to WHO–CHOICE thresholds. Ratio of cost/DALY averted to GDP/capita varied by cancer type/sub-type and disease severity (range: 0.1–1.6), where it was lowest for Hodgkin lymphoma, and retinoblastoma, and highest for high-risk acute leukaemia, and high-risk neuroblastoma. Treatment was cost-effective (ratio <3 × GDP/capita) for all cancer types/subtypes and risk/stage groups, except for relapsed/refractory acute leukaemia, and relapsed/progressive patients with brain tumours, hepatoblastoma, Ewing sarcoma, and neuroblastoma. Treatment cost-effectiveness was affected by the high costs and inferior survival of advanced-stage/high-risk and relapsed/progressive cancers.

Interpretation
Childhood cancer treatment is cost-effective in a resource-limited setting in Egypt, except for some relapsed/progressive cancer groups. We present evidence-based recommendations and lessons to promote high-value in care delivery, with implications on practice and policy.

Funding
Egypt Cancer Network; NIHR School for Primary Care Research; ALSAC.

Breast Cancer Patients’ Experience about Involvement in Health Care: A Qualitative Study

Background: Patient involvement in health care is a basic patient’s right. Effective communication between the health care professional and the patient is associated with improved psychological functioning of the patient, adherence to treatment, and higher quality of life. Objective(s): This study aims to explore qualitatively breast cancer patients’ experience and satisfaction with their involvement in cancer care. Methods: This study was carried out among 30 women in different breast cancer care stages through in depth-interviews. The patients were purposively selected from surgery and oncology outpatient clinics and surgery inpatient wards in Medical Research Institute Hospital- Alexandria University, and in Ayadi El-Mostakbal Cancer Care Center – Ayadi El-Mostakbal Charity Foundation, Alexandria, Egypt. Results: Some patients mentioned that they did not know their diagnosis until late, others complained of the harsh non-empathetic way of breaking the news of their disease. Patients, generally, reported a little understanding of their treatment plan, they just followed physician’s instructions without receiving enough explanation. Patients on chemotherapy and radiotherapy expressed their unsatisfied need for information. Patients’ source of information was mainly other patients who suffered from the same disease. Patients, in general, were not familiar with the concept of giving feedback, it was perceived by the majority of them as equivalent to complaining. Some patients believed that complaining could put them in trouble such as receiving harsh blame or even delaying their medication. Conclusion: Patients’ narratives revealed poor involvement in health care and showed dissatisfaction of the majority of patients with their level of involvement.

Completeness of Medical Records of Trauma Patients Admitted to the Emergency Unit of a University Hospital, Upper Egypt

Trauma records in Egyptian hospitals are widely suspected to be inadequate for developing a practical and useful trauma registry, which is critical for informing both primary and secondary prevention. We reviewed archived paper records of trauma patients admitted to the Beni-Suef University Hospital in Upper Egypt for completeness in four domains: demographic data including contact information, administrative data tracking patients from admission to discharge, clinical data including vital signs and Glasgow Coma Scale scores, and data describing the causal traumatic event (mechanism of injury, activity at the time of injury, and location/setting). The majority of the 539 medical records included in the study had significant deficiencies in the four reviewed domains. Overall, 74.3% of demographic fields, 66.5% of administrative fields, 55.0% of clinical fields, and just 19.9% of fields detailing the causal event were found to be completed. Critically, oxygen saturation, arrival time, and contact information were reported in only 7.6%, 25.8%, and 43.6% of the records, respectively. Less than a fourth of the records provided any details about the cause of trauma. Accordingly, the current, paper-based medical record system at Beni-Suef University Hospital is insufficient for the development of a practical trauma registry. More efforts are needed to develop efficient and comprehensive documentation of trauma data in order to inform and improve patient care.