Economic evaluation of expanding inguinal hernia repair among adult males in Ghana

An unmet need for inguinal hernia repair is significant in Ghana where the number of specialist general surgeons is extremely limited. While surgical task sharing with medical doctors without formal specialist training in surgery has been adopted for inguinal hernia repair in Ghana, no prior research has been conducted on the long-term costs and health outcomes associated with expanding operations to repair all inguinal hernias among adult males in Ghana. The study aimed to estimate cost-effectiveness of elective open mesh repair performed by medical doctors and surgeons for adult males with primary inguinal hernia compared to no treatment in Ghana and to project costs and health gains associated with expanding operation services through task sharing between medical doctors and surgeons. The study analysis adopted a healthcare system perspective. A Markov model was constructed to assess 10-year differences in costs and outcomes between operations conducted by medical doctors or surgeons and no treatment. A 10-year budget impact analysis on service expansion for groin hernia repair through increasing task sharing between the providers was conducted. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for medical doctors and surgeons were USD 120 and USD 129 respectively per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted compared to no treatment, which are below the estimated threshold value for cost-effectiveness in Ghana of USD 371–491. Repairing all inguinal hernias (1.4 million) through task sharing between the providers in the same timeframe is estimated to cost USD 194 million. Total health gains of 1.5 million DALYs averted are expected. Inguinal hernia repair is cost-effective regardless of the type of surgical provider. Scaling up of inguinal hernia repair is worthwhile, with the potential to substantially reduce the disease burden in the country.

Barriers to inguinal hernia repair in Ghana: prospective, multi-centre cohort study

Inguinal hernia (IH) is the most common general surgical pathology in Ghana with hernia repair rate very low. The objective was to assess patient-perceived barriers to IH repair in Ghana and identify predictors of experiencing delays until surgery. A multicenter prospective study was conducted during the Ghana Hernia Society outreach. Data regarding diagnosis using Kingsnorth’s classification of IH, age of patients, duration of hernia, reason for delay in repair, insurance status, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class, travel distance, region, hospital, and waiting times were obtained from patients and folders. Multivariable linear regression models were constructed to analyze delay until surgery and Kingsnorth’s classification while controlling for the covariates of age, insurance status, ASA class among others. The most common reasons were queues for surgery (23%), poverty (10%), and seeking traditional medicine (9%). On multivariate linear regression, increasing age and ASA class III were predictors of longer delays. Patients experienced significant increase of 1.1 years delay to surgery for every 10 year increase in of age. ASA Class III patients were significantly more likely to be delayed by 11.5 years compared to ASA Class I patients. Efforts should be made to address and overcome the barriers to IH repair identified.

Hernioplasty Using Low-Cost Mesh Compared to Surgical Mesh in Low- And Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review Protocol

Objective: This review aims to assess the differences in surgical outcomes between hernioplasty using low-cost mesh and surgical mesh in adults undergoing elective hernioplasty in low- and middle-income countries.

Introduction: The use of untreated mosquito netting in inguinal hernioplasty in low- and middle-income countries has been well described in the literature, with two recent limited systematic reviews finding equivalent postoperative surgical outcomes. This comprehensive review, across a wider set of databases and gray literature, will assess a broader set of outcomes including patient and surgeon preference and sterility, report more granular complication outcomes, and include other low-cost mesh alternatives such as resterilized surgical mesh and indigenous products, alongside mosquito net mesh.

Inclusion criteria: Adult patients undergoing elective inguinal hernioplasty with mesh in low- and middle-income countries.

Methods: Electronic bibliographic databases (PubMed, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science and the Cochrane Library) and gray literature databases and trial registers will be searched for experimental studies, either randomized or quasi-randomized controlled trials, comparing hernioplasty with surgical mesh versus low-cost mesh, published in any language from 2000 to the present. Two independent reviewers will conduct the literature search, screen titles and abstracts, assess full-text studies for inclusion, assess methodological quality using the Cochrane Risk of Bias 2 tool, and extract data using a custom extraction tool. Synthesis will involve pooling for statistical meta-analysis with either a random-effects or fixed-effects model, as appropriate, and where this is not possible, findings will be presented in narrative form.