The Preparing Residents for International Medical Experiences (PRIME) Simulation Workshop: Equipping Surgery and Anesthesia Trainees for International Rotations

Introduction: Although global health training expands clinical and sociocultural expertise for graduate medical trainees and is increasingly in demand, evidence-based courses are limited. To improve self-assessed competence for clinical scenarios encountered during international rotations, we developed and assessed a simulation-based workshop called Preparing Residents for International Medical Experiences. Methods: High-fidelity simulation activities for anesthesiology, surgery, and OB/GYN trainees involved three scenarios. The first was a mass casualty in a low-resource setting requiring distribution of human and material resources. In the second, learners managed a septic operative patient and coordinated postoperative care without an ICU bed available. The final scenario had learners evaluate a non-English-speaking patient with pre-eclampsia. We paired simulation with small-group discussion to address socio-behavioural factors, stress, and teaching skills. Participants evaluated the quality of the teaching provided. In addition, we measured anesthesiology trainees’ self-assessed competence before and after the workshop. Results: The workshop included 23 learners over two iterations. Fifteen trainees (65%) completed the course evaluation, 93% of whom strongly agreed that the training met the stated objectives. Thirteen out of 15 (87%) anesthesiology trainees completed the competence survey. After the training, more trainees indicated confidence in providing clinical care with indirect supervision or independently. Mean self-assessed competency scores on a scale of 1–5 increased for all areas, with a mean competency increase of 0.3 (95% CI, 0.2–0.5). Discussion: Including simulation in a pretravel workshop can improve trainees’ self-assessed competence for a variety of scenarios involving clinical care in limited-resource settings

Financial toxicity of cancer care in low and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Introduction: The costs associated with cancer diagnosis, treatment and care present enormous financial toxicity. However, evidence of financial toxicity associated with cancer in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) is scarce.

Aim: To identify the extent of cancer-related financial toxicity and how it has been measured in LMICs.

Methods: Four electronic databases were searched to identify studies of any design that reported financial toxicity among cancer patients in LMICs. Random-effects meta-analysis was used to derive the pooled prevalence of financial toxicity. Sub-group analyses were performed according to: costs; and determinants of financial toxicity.

Results: A total of 31 studies were included in this systematic review and meta-analysis. The pooled prevalence of financial toxicity was 56.96% [95% CI, 30.51, 106.32]. In sub-group meta-analyses, the financial toxicity was higher among cancer patients with household size of more than four (1.17% [95% CI, 1.03, 1.32]; p = 0.02; I2 = 0%), multiple cycles of chemotherapy (1.94% [95% CI, 1.00, 3.75]; p = 0.05; I2 = 43%) and private health facilities (2.87% [95% CI, 1.89, 4.35]; p < 0.00001; I2 = 26%). Mean medical costs per cancer patients were $2,740.18 [95% CI, $1,953.62, $3,526.74]. The ratio of cost of care to gross domestic product (GDP) per capita varied considerably across the LMICs included in this review, which ranged from 0.06 in Vietnam to 327.65 in Ethiopia.

Conclusions: This study indicates that cancer diagnosis, treatment and care impose high financial toxicity on cancer patients in LMICs. Further rigorous research on cancer-related financial toxicity is needed.

Postpartum infection, pain and experiences with care among women treated for postpartum hemorrhage in three African countries: A cohort study of women managed with and without condom-catheter uterine balloon tamponade

We aimed to determine the risk of postpartum infection and increased pain associated with use of condom-catheter uterine balloon tamponade (UBT) among women diagnosed with postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) in three low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We also sought women’s opinions on their overall experience of PPH care.

This prospective cohort study compared women diagnosed with PPH who received and did not receive UBT (UBT group and no-UBT group, respectively) at 18 secondary level hospitals in Uganda, Egypt, and Senegal that participated in a stepped wedge, cluster-randomized trial assessing UBT introduction. Key outcomes were reported pain (on a scale 0–10) in the immediate postpartum period and receipt of antibiotics within four weeks postpartum (a proxy for postpartum infection). Outcomes related to satisfaction with care and aspects women liked most and least about PPH care were also reported.

Among women diagnosed with PPH, 58 were in the UBT group and 2188 in the no-UBT group. Self-reported, post-discharge antibiotic use within four weeks postpartum was similar in the UBT (3/58, 5.6%) and no-UBT groups (100/2188, 4.6%, risk ratio = 1.22, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.45–3.35). A high postpartum pain score of 8–10 was more common among women in the UBT group (17/46, 37.0%) than in the no-UBT group (360/1805, 19.9%, relative risk ratio = 3.64, 95% CI:1.30–10.16). Most women were satisfied with their care (1935/2325, 83.2%). When asked what they liked least about care, the most common responses were that medications (580/1511, 38.4%) and medical supplies (503/1511, 33.3%) were unavailable.

UBT did not increase the risk of postpartum infection among this population. Women who receive UBT may experience higher degrees of pain compared to women who do not receive UBT. Women’s satisfaction with their care and stockouts of medications and other supplies deserve greater attention when introducing new technologies like UBT.

Designing devices for global surgery: evaluation of participatory and frugal design methods

Most people living in low- and middle-income countries have no access to surgical care. Equipping under-resourced health care contexts with appropriate surgical equipment is thus critical. “Global” technologies must be designed specifically for these contexts. But while models, approaches and methods have been developed for the design of equipment for global surgery, few studies describe their implementation or evaluate their adequacy for this purpose.

A multidisciplinary team applied participatory and frugal design methods to design a surgical device for gasless laparoscopy. The team employed a formal roadmap, devised to guide the development of global surgical equipment, to structure the design process into phases. Phases 0–1 comprised primary research with surgeons working in low-resource settings and forming collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders. These participated in phases 2–3 through design workshops and video events. To conclude, surgical stakeholders (n=13) evaluated a high-fidelity prototype in a cadaveric study.

The resulting design, “RAIS” (Retractor for Abdominal Insufflation-less Surgery), received positive feedback from rural surgeons keen to embrace and champion innovation as a result of the close collaboration and participatory design methods employed. The roadmap provided a valuable means to structure the design process but this evaluation highlighted the need for further development to detail specific methodology. The project outcomes were used to develop recommendations for innovators designing global surgical equipment.

To inform early phases in the design roadmap, engaging a variety of stakeholders to provide regular input is crucial. Effective communication is vital to elucidate clear functional design requirements and hence reveal opportunities for frugal innovation. Finally, responsible innovation must be embedded within the process of designing devices for global surgery.

A community-wide effort is required to formally evaluate and optimize processes for designing global surgical devices and hence accelerate adoption of frugal surgical technologies in low-resource settings.

Recommendations for the Management of COVID-19 in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

At the conclusion of its first year, the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic are still fluid. Today’s global and regional numbers on incidence and mortality are outdated just a few weeks later. Effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are becoming available, but the exact timeline of their availability, in particular in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), is still unclear. What has become clear, albeit not completely understood, is that many poorer countries have been hit less by the pandemic than high-income countries (HICs), even when accounting for underreporting related to more limited testing capacity. Many LMICs need to be commended for their generally faster public health responses at much earlier stages in their epidemics than their HIC counterparts. Also, likely because of the relatively younger population in LMICs than HICs, the estimated COVID-19 infection/ fatality ratio is typically around two to three deaths per 1,000 infections in LMICs, contrasted to six to 10 deaths per 1,000 infections observed in HICs with older populations.

The Rise of Inflow Cisternostomy in Resource-Limited Settings: Rationale, Limitations, and Future Challenges

Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) bear most of the global burden of traumatic brain injury (TBI), but they lack the resources to address this public health crisis. For TBI guidelines and innovations to be effective, they must consider the context in LMICs; keeping this in mind, this article will focus on the history, pathophysiology, practice, evidence, and implications of cisternostomy. In this narrative review, the author discusses the history, pathophysiology, practice, evidence, and implications of cisternostomy. Cisternostomy for the management of TBI is an innovation developed in LMICs, primarily for LMICs. Its practice is based on the cerebrospinal fluid shift edema theory that attributes injury to increased pressure within the subarachnoid space due to subarachnoid hemorrhage and subsequent dysfunction of glymphatic drainage. Early reports of the technique report significant improvements in the Glasgow Outcome Scale, lower mortality rates, and shorter intensive care unit durations. Most reports are single-center studies with small sample sizes, and the technique requires experience and skill. These limitations have led to criticisms and slow adoption of the technique. Further research is needed to establish the effect of cisternostomy on TBI outcomes.

Point-of-Care Ultrasound: Applications in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Purpose of Review
This review highlights the applications of point-of-care ultrasound in low- and middle-income countries and shows the diversity of ultrasound in the diagnosis and management of patients.

Recent Findings
There is a paucity of data on point-of-care ultrasound in anesthesiology in low- and middle-income countries. However, research has shown that point-of-care ultrasound can effectively help manage infectious diseases, as well as abdominal and pulmonary pathologies.

Point-of-care ultrasound is a low-cost imaging modality that can be used for the diagnosis and management of diseases that affect low- and middle-income countries. There is limited data on the use of ultrasound in anesthesiology, which provides clinicians and researchers opportunity to study its use during the perioperative period.

Hospitals’ responsibility in response to the threat of infectious disease outbreak in the context of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: Implications for low- and middle-income countries

The WHO declared the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020, and then a pandemic on March 11, 2020. COVID-19 affected over 200 countries and territories worldwide, with 25,541,380 confirmed cases and 852,000 deaths associated with COVID-19 globally, as of September 1, 2020.

While facing such a public health emergency, hospitals were on the front line to deliver health care and psychological services. The early detection, diagnosis, reporting, isolation, and clinical management of patients during a public health emergency required the extensive involvement of hospitals in all aspects. The response capacity of hospitals directly determined the outcomes of the prevention and control of an outbreak.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost all nations and territories regardless of their development level or geographic location, although suitable risk mitigation measures differ between developing and developed countries. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), the consequences of the pandemic could be more complicated because incidence and mortality might be associated more with a fragile health care system and shortage of related resources. As evidenced by the situation in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, South Africa, and other LMICs, socioeconomic status (SES) disparity was a major factor in the spread of disease, potentially leading to alarmingly insufficient preparedness and responses in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.4 Conversely, the pandemic might also bring more unpredictable socioeconomic and long-term impacts in LMICs, and those with lower SES fare worse in these situations.

This review aimed to summarize the responsibilities of and measures taken by hospitals in combatting the COVID-19 outbreak. Our findings are hoped to provide experiences, as well as lessons and potential implications for LMICs.

Effectiveness of interventions for improving timely diagnosis of breast and cervical cancers in low and middle-income countries: a systematic review protocol

Breast and cervical cancers pose a major public health burden globally, with disproportionately high incidence, morbidity and mortality in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The majority of women diagnosed with cancer in LMICs present with late-stage disease, the treatment of which is often costlier and less effective. While interventions to improve the timely diagnosis of these cancers are increasingly being implemented in LMICs, there is uncertainty about their role and effectiveness. The aim of this review is to systematically synthesise available evidence on the nature and effectiveness of interventions for improving timely diagnosis of breast and cervical cancers in LMICs.

and analysis A comprehensive search of published and relevant grey literature will be conducted. The following electronic databases will be searched: MEDLINE (via PubMed), Cochrane Library, Scopus, CINAHL, Web of Science and the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). Evidence will be synthesised in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). Two reviewers will independently screen the search outputs, select studies using predefined inclusion criteria and assess each included study for risk of bias. If sufficient data are available and studies are comparable in terms of interventions and outcomes, a meta-analysis will be conducted. Where studies are not comparable and a meta-analysis is not appropriate, a narrative synthesis of findings will be reported.

Ethics and dissemination
As this will be a systematic review of publicly available data, with no primary data collection, it will not require ethical approval. Findings will be disseminated widely through a peer-reviewed publication and forums such as conferences, workshops and community engagement sessions. This review will provide a user-friendly evidence summary for informing further efforts at developing and implementing interventions for addressing delays in breast and cervical cancer diagnosis in LMICs.

Methods for estimating economic benefits of surgical interventions in low-income and middle-income countries: a scoping review

Objectives Studies indicate that many types of surgical care are cost-effective compared with other health interventions in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, global health investments to support these interventions remain limited. This study undertakes a scoping review of research on the economic impact of surgical interventions in LMICs to determine the methodologies used in measuring economic benefits.

Design The Arksey and O’Malley methodological framework for scoping reviews and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews checklist were used to review the data systematically. Online databases were used to identify papers published between 2005 and 2020, from which we selected 19 publications that quantitatively examined the economic benefits of surgical interventions in LMICs.

Results Majority of publications (79%) reported the use of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) to assess economic impact. In comparison, 21% used other measures, such as the value of statistical life or cost-effectiveness ratios, or no measure at all. 31% were systematic or retrospective reviews of the literature on surgical procedures in LMICs, while 69% either directly assessed economic impact in a specific area or evaluated the need for surgical procedures in LMICs. All studies reviewed related to the economic impact of surgical procedures in LMICs, with most about paediatric surgical procedures or a specific surgical specialty.

Conclusion To make informed policy decisions regarding global health investments, the economic impact must be accurately measured. Researchers employ a range of techniques to quantify the economic benefit of surgeries in LMICs, which limits understanding of overall economic value. We conclude that the literature would benefit from a careful selection of methods, incorporating age and disability weights based on the Global Burden of Disease weights, and converting DALYs to dollars using the value of statistical life approach and the human capital approach, reporting both estimates.