How do caregivers of children with congenital heart diseases access and navigate the healthcare system in Ethiopia?

Surgery can correct congenital heart defects, but disease management in low- and middle-income countries can be challenging and complex due to a lack of referral system, financial resources, human resources, and infrastructure for surgical and post-operative care. This study investigates the experiences of caregivers of children with CHD accessing the health care system and pediatric cardiac surgery.

A qualitative study was conducted at a teaching hospital in Ethiopia. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 13 caregivers of 10 patients with CHD who underwent cardiac surgery. We additionally conducted chart reviews for triangulation and verification. Interviews were conducted in Amharic and then translated into English. Data were analyzed according to the principles of interpretive thematic analysis, informed by the candidacy framework.

The following four observations emerged from the interviews: (a) most patients were diagnosed with CHD at birth if they were born at a health care facility, but for those born at home, CHD was discovered much later (b) many patients experienced misdiagnoses before seeking care at a large hospital, (c) after diagnosis, patients were waiting for the surgery for more than a year, (d) caregivers felt anxious and optimistic once they were able to schedule the surgical date. During the care-seeking journey, caregivers encountered financial constraints, struggled in a fragmented delivery system, and experienced poor service quality.

Delayed access to care was largely due to the lack of early CHD recognition and financial hardships, related to the inefficient and disorganized health care system. Fee waivers were available to assist low-income children in gaining access to health services or medications, but application information was not readily available. Indirect costs like long-distance travel contributed to this challenge. Overall, improvements must be made for district-level screening and the health care workforce.

Admission Pattern and Extent of Resident Engagement in a Public Hospital Private-Wing surgical practice: Experience from St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Objective: Establishment of private wing in public hospitals is one of the Ministry of health of Ethiopia’s health sector financial reform program which was launched in 2008. This study was initiated to illuminate the experiences on admission pattern and engagement of residents in procedures in private wing within a public hospital. Methodology:A hospital based retrospective study on surgical procedures was performed from September 2013 to August 2016. Data were collected by using structured questionnaire and analyzed with SPSS version 20.1. Quantitative and qualitative data were used in the analysis. Results: A total of 4995 patients were admitted and operated in the private wing; out of which 56.7% were females and 43.3% were males. Cholelithiasis is the leading cause of admission accounting to 44.9% of the general surgery admission followed by thyroid pathologies and hernias. BPH is the leading cause of admission followed by urolithiasis and urethral stricture in the urology unit. Residents have been involved in 62.7% private wing procedures. These procedures ranges from excision of soft tissue mass to abdominoperineal resection. Conclusion: Cholelithiasis, thyroid pathologies and hernias were common surgical pathologies threated in the private wing. Surgical residents were the primary assistant in most procedures. The private wing admission in a public hospital has opened a new window of opportunity in addressing the increased demand of surgical services and increased the engagement of surgical residents’ to a multitude of surgical procedures.

Surgical data strengthening in Ethiopia: results of a Kirkpatrick framework evaluation of a data quality intervention

Background: One key challenge in improving surgical care in resource-limited settings is the lack of high-quality and informative data. In Ethiopia, the Safe Surgery 2020 (SS2020) project developed surgical key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate surgical care within the country. New data collection methods were developed and piloted in 10 SS2020 intervention hospitals in the Amhara and Tigray regions of Ethiopia.

Objective: To assess the feasibility of collecting and reporting new surgical indicators and measure the impact of a surgical Data Quality Intervention (DQI) in rural Ethiopian hospitals.

Methods: An 8-week DQI was implemented to roll-out new data collection tools in SS2020 hospitals. The Kirkpatrick Method, a widely used mixed-method evaluation framework for training programs, was used to assess the impact of the DQI. Feedback surveys and focus groups at various timepoints evaluated the impact of the intervention on surgical data quality, the feasibility of a new data collection system, and the potential for national scale-up.

Results: Results of the evaluation are largely positive and promising. DQI participants reported knowledge gain, behavior change, and improved surgical data quality, as well as greater teamwork, communication, leadership, and accountability among surgical staff. Barriers remained in collection of high-quality data, such as lack of adequate human resources and electronic data reporting infrastructure.

Conclusions: Study results are largely positive and make evident that surgical data capture is feasible in low-resource settings and warrants more investment in global surgery efforts. This type of training and mentorship model can be successful in changing individual behavior and institutional culture regarding surgical data collection and reporting. Use of the Kirkpatrick Framework for evaluation of a surgical DQI is an innovative contribution to literature and can be easily adapted and expanded for use within global surgery.

Survival and Predictors of Mortality among Breast Cancer Patients Diagnosed at Hawassa Comprehensive Specialized and Teaching Hospital and Private Oncology Clinic in Southern Ethiopia: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Background: Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in over 100 countries. Despite the high burden of the problem, the survival status and the predictors for mortality are not yet determined well in Ethiopia. Therefore, we aimed to determine the survival and predictors of mortality among breast cancer patients diagnosed from 2013-2018 at Hawassa comprehensive specialized and teaching hospital and private oncology clinic in Southern Ethiopia.

Methods: Hospital-based retrospective cohort study of 302 patients was conducted. Data was collected on breast cancer patients diagnosed from January, 1st, 2013 to December, 30th, 2018 using a data extraction checklist and by telephone interview. The median survival was estimated by Kaplan- Meier. Log Rank test was used to compare survival among groups. Cox proportional hazards model was used to identify predictors. Results were repaired as hazard ratio (HR) along with the corresponding 95% CI. Sensitivity analysis was done with the assumption of loss to follow-ups (LTF) might die 3 months after the last hospital visit.

Results: Advanced stage diagnosis of breast cancer was found on 83.4 % of patients with breast cancer. The study participants were followed for a total of 4685.62 person-months. Their median survival was 50.61 months (IQR=18.38-50.80) which declined to 30.57 months in the worst-case analysis (WCA). The overall survival of patients at two years was 73.2% and it declines to 51.3 % in the worst-case analysis. Rural residence (AHR=2.71, 95% CI: 1.44, 5.09), travel time >7 hours (AHR=3.42, 95% CI: 1.05, 11.10), duration of symptom 7-23 months (AHR=2.63, 95% CI: 1.22, 5.64), > 23 months (AHR=2.37, 95% CI: 1.00, 5.59), advanced stage (AHR=3.01, 95% CI: 1.05, 8.59) and not taking chemotherapy (AHR=6.69, 95% CI: 2.20, 20.30) were independent predictors of death.

Conclusion: Above two-third of the patients have two years of overall survival in south Ethiopia. Rural residence, advanced stage, and poor adherence to chemotherapy were independent predictors of death. Thus, Improving early detection, diagnosis, and treatment capacity of breast cancer patients are an important way-outs to avert the problem with appropriate intervention means.

Neural Tube Defects and Associated Factors among Neonates Admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Units in Hiwot Fana Specialized University Hospital, Harar, Ethiopia

Neural tube defects are a major public health problem and substantially contribute to morbidity and mortality, particularly in low-income countries, including Ethiopia. There are a paucity of data on the magnitude and associated factors of neural tube defects in Ethiopia, particularly in the study setting.

This study aimed to assess the magnitude of neural tube defects and associated factors among neonates admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit in Hiwot Fana Specialized University Hospital, Harar, Ethiopia.

A hospital-based cross-sectional study was employed from October 2019 to January 2020. A total of 420 newborn-mother pairs were included consecutively. Data were collected using a face-to-face interviewer-administered questionnaire and clinical examination. Data were entered into Epi Data version 3.1 and analyzed using the statistical package for Social Sciences version 20.0 software. An adjusted odds ratio (AOR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was used to identify the associated factors. A p-value <.05 was considered statistically significant.

The magnitude of neural tube defects was 5.71% (95% CI: 3.5-7.9). Approximately 83.5% of infants had spinal bifida and 16.5% anencephaly. In multivariable logistic regression analyses, preterm birth (32-34 weeks) (AOR= 3.84; 95% CI: 2.1,10.7), low birth weight (1000-1500 g) (AOR = 4.74; 95% CI: 1.8, 9.1), 1500-2500 g (AOR = 3.01; 95% CI: 2. 1, 13.2), maternal coffee consumption (AOR = 11.2; 95% CI: 3.1, 23.7), a history of abortion or stillbirth (AOR = 9.6; 95% CI:7.6,19.4), radiation exposure (AOR = 5.0; 95% CI:1.6,14.3), and intake of anticonvulsant drugs during pregnancy (AOR = 4.75; 95% CI: 1.5,16.2) were factors associated with neural tube defects.

In this study, the burden of neural tube defects was 5.71% among neonates admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit, which was a public health concern. Increased attention to the monitoring of neural tube defects in eastern Ethiopia is crucial to improve birth outcomes in the study setting.

Patient Delay and Contributing Factors Among Breast Cancer Patients at Two Cancer Referral Centres in Ethiopia: A Cross-Sectional Study

Background: Unlike developed countries, there is high mortality of breast cancer in low- and middle-income countries associated with prolonged patient delays and advanced stage presentations. However, evidence-based information about patient delay in presentation and contributing factors to diagnosis of breast cancer in Ethiopia is scarce.
Methods: Institution-based cross-sectional study was conducted at oncology units of the University of Gondar and Felege Hiwot specialized hospitals. A total of 371 female breast cancer patients who were newly diagnosed from September 2019 to April 30, 2020 were included. Data were entered using EPI info version 7.2 and analyzed in SPSS version 23. Descriptive statistics was used to summarize socio-demographic and clinical characteristic of the patients. Multivariable logistic regression at a P-value< 0.05 significance level was used to identify predictors of patient delay.
Results: A total of 281 (75.7%) patients had long patient delay of ≥ 90 days (3 months) with the average patient delay time of 8 months, and advanced stage diagnosis was found on 264 (71.2%) of patients. The median age of patients was 40 years. Rural residence (AOR=3.72; 95% CI=1.82– 7.61), illiterate (AOR=3.8; 95% CI=1.71– 8.64), having a painless wound (AOR=3.32; 95% CI=1.93, 5.72), travel distance ≥ 5 km (AOR=1.66; 95% CI=1.09– 3.00), having no lump/swelling in the armpit (AOR=6.16; 95% CI=2.80– 13.54), and no history of any breast problem before (AOR=2.46; 95% CI=(1.43– 4.22) were predictors for long patient delay.
Conclusion: Long patient delay and advanced stage diagnosis of breast cancer are higher in our study. Travel distance ≥ 5 km, rural residence, no history of any breast problem before, having no lump/swelling in the arm pit, a painless lump in the breast, and being illiterate were important predictors for patient delay. Therefore, public awareness programs about breast cancer should be designed to prevent patient delay in presentation and to promote early detection of cases before advancement.

Surgical Site Infections and Prophylaxis Antibiotic Use in the Surgical Ward of Public Hospital in Western Ethiopia: A Hospital-Based Retrospective Cross-Sectional Study

Surgical site infection (SSI) is one of the leading causes of hospital-acquired infection among hospitalized patients. It causes significant health problems and results in an extended length of hospital stay, increased cost, and increased patient morbidity and mortality. To prevent the development of SSI, surgical antibiotic prophylaxis (SAP) administration before surgery is an evidence-based practice. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the prevalence of SSIs and surgical antibiotic prophylaxis practice, and identifying the gap in practicing prophylactic surgical antibiotic use.

A retrospective cross-sectional study design was conducted on randomly selected 281 participants who fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Appropriateness of surgical antibiotic prophylaxis was assessed by clinical pharmacists based on the standard treatment guideline. Descriptive and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed in SPSS version 25. Statistical significance was set at p <0.05.

The overall prevalence of SSI was 19.6% (95% CI: 19–20.2). Majority of surgical patients (88.6%) got surgical antibiotic prophylaxis. Ceftriaxone and metronidazole (45.4%), and ceftriaxone (33.3%) were the most frequently used prophylactic antibiotics. Presence of comorbidity (AOR=9.18, 95% CI: 5.17–17.9, p<0.001), contaminated (AOR=6.01, 95% CI: 1.77–16.8, p=0.019) and dirty (AOR=7.20, 95% CI: 1.23–12.1, p=0.029) wound classes, devoid of prophylactic antibiotics (AOR=6.63, 95% CI: 0.89–19.3, p=0.006), the timing of prophylactic antibiotic administration between 1 hour and 2 hours before incision (AOR=8.2, 95% CI: 4.34–18.1, p=0.001), and 48 hours duration of surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis (AOR=7.20, 95% CI: 1.23–28.17, p=0.027) were significantly associated with the development of SSIs.

The prevalence of SSI was relatively high despite most surgical patients were given prophylactic antibiotics. The presence of comorbidity, contaminated and dirty wound classes, devoid of prophylactic antibiotics, administering prophylactic antibiotics between 1 hour and 2 hours before incision, and 48 hours duration of surgical antibiotic prophylaxis were significantly associated with SSIs.

One Health Approach and Antimicrobial Resistance: From Global to Ethiopian Context

Recently, antimicrobial resistance is considered as a global health crisis. Some are thought that we are now in post-antibiotic era. Despite data gaps are largest; it creates particularly significant intimidation to low- and middle-income countries. Many factors are responsible for the development of resistance to antimicrobials by microorganisms. Weak regulations and usage inaccuracies are the major causes for the occurrence of antibiotic resistance. In the last three decades, greater than thirty new infectious diseases, most originated from animals, have been emerged. There is also rising of antimicrobial consumption across the world. The growth
of human populations and an increase in contact with wildlife contribute to the spread of resistance and making it a global health concern. Since there are many routes by which drug metabolites and resistant microbes can disseminate among humans, animals and the environment, One Health Approach is urgently required to address antimicrobial resistance in global, national and local level, including Ethiopia. Internationally, the worst threat comes from the emergence and rapid spread of multi-drug resistant Gramnegative bacteria. Once again, an intercontinental, interdisciplinary and multiple approaches should be taken to combat this problem among worldwide nations with special emphasis in developing countries encompassing Africa and Ethiopia.

Predictors of prolonged length of hospital stay and in-hospital mortality among adult patients admitted at the surgical ward of Jimma University medical center, Ethiopia: prospective observational study

Data regarding prolonged length of hospital stay (PLOS) and in-hospital mortality are paramount to evaluate efficiency and quality of surgical care as well as for rational resource utilization, allocation, and administration. Thus, PLOS and in-hospital mortality have been used as a surrogate indicator of satisfactory treatment outcome and efficient utilization of resources for a given health institution. However, there was a scarcity of data regarding these issues in Ethiopia. Therefore, this study aimed to assess treatment outcome, length of hospital stay, in-hospital mortality, and their determinants.

Health facility-based prospective observational study was used for three consecutive months among adult patients hospitalized for the surgical case. Socio-demographic, clinical history, medication history, in-hospital complications, and overall treatment outcomes were collected from the medical charts’ of the patients, using a checklist from the day of admission to discharge. PLOS is defined as hospital stay > 75th percentile (≥33 days for the current study). To identify predictor variables for both PLOS and in-hospital mortality, multivariate logistic regression was performed at p-value  2 antibiotic exposure (p  7 days (p < 0.0001) were independent predictors for PLOS.

In-hospital mortality rate was almost comparable to reports from developing countries, though it was higher than the developed countries. However, the length of hospital stay was extremely higher than that of reports from other parts of the world. Besides, different socio-demographic, health facility’s and patients’ clinical conditions (baseline and in-hospital complications) were identified as independent predictors for both in-hospital mortality and PLOS. Therefore, the clinician and stakeholders have to emphasize to avoid the modifiable factors to reduce in-hospital mortality and PLOS in the study area; to improve the quality of surgical care.

A traveling fellowship to build surgical capacity in Ethiopia: the Jimma University specialized hospital and operation smile partnership

A lack of trained providers is an important contributor to the unmet burden of surgical disease treatment in low- and middle-income countries. The World Health Organization’s Commission on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel lays out guiding principles for addressing this workforce crisis. However, for surgical subspecialties such as plastic surgery, in-country training opportunities remain limited and there is a clear need for effective strategies to retain providers and develop sustainable solutions. We report the design and early implementation of a traveling fellowship in plastic surgery for providers at Jimma University Specialized Hospital in Jimma, Ethiopia. This fellowship is supported by Operation Smile and its network of international surgical volunteers. Since its inception, the program has trained 2 general surgeons with a commitment to helping train a total of 6 surgeons to establish a self-sustaining service. Key innovations include multiple international sites to facilitate broad subspecialty training, commitment of participants to return to Jimma upon completion of the program to establish a local training service, and coordination with national governing bodies to ensure program recognition and support. Ongoing challenges include physical resource limitations and coordination with a wide array of stakeholders. Nongovernmental organizations also have a role to play in supporting the Ministries of Health in scaling up human resources for improved health within their countries. Operation Smile’s traveling fellowship demonstrates a feasible method of addressing the health workforce crisis by providing specialized training and facilitating the development of surgical teaching programs capable of sustainably serving local communities.