Needs-led human resource planning for Sierra Leone in support of oral health

In Sierra Leone (SL), a low-income country in West Africa, dental care is very limited, largely private, and with services focused in the capital Freetown. There is no formal dental education. Ten dentists supported by a similar number of dental care professionals (DCPs) serve a population of over 7.5 million people. The objective of this research was to estimate needs-led requirements for dental care and human resources for oral health to inform capacity building, based on a national survey of oral health in SL.

A dedicated operational research (OR) decision tool was constructed in Microsoft Excel to support this project. First, total treatment needs were estimated from our national epidemiological survey data for three key ages (6, 12 and 15 years), collected using the ‘International Caries Classification and Management System (ICCMS)’ tool. Second, oral health needs were extrapolated to whole population levels for each year-group, based on census demographic data. Third, full time equivalent (FTE) workforce capacity needs were estimated for mid-level providers in the form of Dental Therapists (DTs) and non-dental personnel based on current oral disease management approaches and clinical timings for treatment procedures. Fourth, informed by an expert panel, three oral disease management scenarios were explored for the national population: (1) Conventional care (CC): comprising oral health promotion (including prevention), restorations and tooth extraction; (2) Surgical and Preventive care (S5&6P and S6P): comprising oral health promotion (inc. prevention) and tooth extraction (D5 and D6 together, & at D6 level only); and (3) Prevention only (P): consisting of oral health promotion (inc. prevention). Fifth, the findings were extrapolated to the whole population based on demography, assuming similar levels of treatment need.

To meet the needs of a single year-group of childrens’ needs, an average of 163 DTs (range: 133–188) would be required to deliver Conventional care (CC); 39 DTs (range: 30–45) to deliver basic Surgical and Preventive care (S6P); 54 DTs for more extended Surgical and Preventive care (S5&6P) (range 38–68); and 27 DTs (range: 25–32) to deliver Prevention only (P). When scaled up to the total population, an estimated 6,147 DTs (range: 5,565–6,870) would be required to deliver Conventional care (CC); 1,413 DTs (range: 1255–1438 DTs) to deliver basic Surgical and Preventive care (S6P); 2,000 DTs (range 1590–2236) for more extended Surgical and Preventive care (S5&6P) (range 1590–2236); and 1,028 DTs to deliver Prevention only (P) (range: 1016–1046). Furthermore, if oral health promotion activities, including individualised prevention, could be delivered by non-dental personnel, then the remaining surgical care could be delivered by 385 DTs (range: 251–488) for the S6P scenario which was deemed as the minimum basic baseline service involving extracting all teeth with extensive caries into dentine. More realistically, 972 DTs (range: 586–1179) would be needed for the S5&6P scenario in which all teeth with distinctive and extensive caries into dentine are extracted.

The study demonstrates the huge dental workforce needs required to deliver even minimal oral health care to the Sierra Leone population. The gap between the current workforce and the oral health needs of the population is stark and requires urgent action. The study also demonstrates the potential for contemporary epidemiological tools to predict dental treatment needs and inform workforce capacity building in a low-income country, exploring a range of solutions involving mid-level providers and non-dental personnel.

Fixation of intertrochanteric femur fractures using the SIGN intramedullary nail augmented by a lateral plate in a resource-limited setting without intraoperative fluoroscopy: assessment of functional outcomes at one-year follow-up at Juba Teaching Hospital

The incidence of hip fracture is high and increasing globally due to an aging population. Morbidity and mortality from these injuries are high at baseline and worse without prompt surgical treatment to facilitate early mobilization. Due to resource constraints, surgeons in low-income countries often must adapt available materials to meet these surgical needs. The objective of this study is to assess functional outcomes after surgical fixation of intertrochanteric femur fractures with the Surgical Implant Generation Network (SIGN) intramedullary nail augmented by a lateral SIGN plate.

Prospective case series

Juba Teaching Hospital, Tertiary Referral Hospital for South Sudan

Adult patients with intertrochanteric hip fractures

SIGN nail augmented by a lateral plate

Main Outcome Measurements:
Primary outcome was hip function as measured by a modified Harris Hip Score (mHHS) at 1-year after surgery. Secondary endpoints were the occurrence of reoperation or infection at 1-year after surgery.

Thirty patients were included, 16 (53%) men and 14 (47%) women, with a mean age of 62 years. Fractures were classified as AO/OTA Type 31A1 in 12 (40%) patients, 31A2 in 15 (50%) patients, and 31A3 in 3 (10%) patients. Mean mHHS at 1-year was 75.10 ± 21.2 with 76% categorized as excellent or good scores. There was 1 (3%) infection and 2 (7%) reoperations.

The SIGN nail augmented by a lateral plate achieved good or excellent hip function in the majority of patients with intertrochanteric hip fractures. This may be a suitable alternative to conventional implants for hip fracture patients in low-resource settings to allow mobilization.

Availability of facility resources and services and infection-related maternal outcomes in the WHO Global Maternal Sepsis Study: a cross-sectional study

Infections are among the leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity. The Global Maternal Sepsis and Neonatal Initiative, launched in 2016 by WHO and partners, sought to reduce the burden of maternal infections and sepsis and was the basis upon which the Global Maternal Sepsis Study (GLOSS) was implemented in 2017. In this Article, we aimed to describe the availability of facility resources and services and to analyse their association with maternal outcomes.
GLOSS was a facility-based, prospective, 1-week inception cohort study implemented in 713 health-care facilities in 52 countries and included 2850 hospitalised pregnant or recently pregnant women with suspected or confirmed infections. All women admitted for or in hospital with suspected or confirmed infections during pregnancy, childbirth, post partum, or post abortion at any of the participating facilities between Nov 28 and Dec 4 were eligible for inclusion. In this study, we included all GLOSS participating facilities that collected facility-level data (446 of 713 facilities). We used data obtained from individual forms completed for each enrolled woman and their newborn babies by trained researchers who checked the medical records and from facility forms completed by hospital administrators for each participating facility. We described facilities according to country income level, compliance with providing core clinical interventions and services according to women’s needs and reported availability, and severity of infection-related maternal outcomes. We used a logistic multilevel mixed model for assessing the association between facility characteristics and infection-related maternal outcomes.
We included 446 facilities from 46 countries that enrolled 2560 women. We found a high availability of most services and resources needed for obstetric care and infection prevention. We found increased odds for severe maternal outcomes among women enrolled during the post-partum or post-abortion period from facilities located in low-income countries (adjusted odds ratio 1·84 [95% CI 1·05–3·22]) and among women enrolled during pregnancy or childbirth from non-urban facilities (adjusted odds ratio 2·44 [1·02–5·85]). Despite compliance being high overall, it was low with regards to measuring respiratory rate (85 [24%] of 355 facilities) and measuring pulse oximetry (184 [57%] of 325 facilities).
While health-care facilities caring for pregnant and recently pregnant women with suspected or confirmed infections have access to a wide range of resources and interventions, worse maternal outcomes are seen among recently pregnant women located in low-income countries than among those in higher-income countries; this trend is similar for pregnant women. Compliance with cost-effective clinical practices and timely care of women with particular individual characteristics can potentially improve infection-related maternal outcomes.
UNDP/UNFPA/UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction, WHO, Merck for Mothers, and US Agency for International Development.

Magnitude, Factors Associated with Cesarean Delivery and Its Appropriateness

Inappropriate use of CS can have profoundly negative consequences for women and the broader community. A recent meeting of the International Confederation of Midwifes, the International Federation of Gynecologists and Obstetrics and the Gates Foundation to discuss the impact of rising CS rates on maternal and infant mortality in LMICs highlights the international importance of the issue. Knowledge of CS determinants is a first step in the effort to define strategies to reduce unnecessary CSs. Previous studies showed that the main reasons for performing CS are clinical factors. However, non-clinical factors such as demographic, health system factors, organizational variables were overlooked determinants that best predicted which women have a higher risk of CS.

Economic Impact of surgery on households and individuals in low income countries: A systematic review

Surgical disease in Low Income Countries (LIC) is common, and overall provision of surgical care is poor. A key component of surgical health systems as part of universal health coverage (UHC) is financial risk protection (FRP) – the need to protect individuals from financial hardship due to accessing healthcare. We performed a systematic review to amalgamate current understanding of the economic impact of surgery on the individual and household. Our study was registered on Research registry (

We searched Pubmed and Medline for articles addressing economic aspects of surgical disease/care in low income countries. Data analysis was descriptive in light of a wide range of methodologies and reporting measures. Quality assessment and risk of bias analysis was performed using study design specific Joanna-Briggs Institute checklists. This study has been reported in line with PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) and AMSTAR (Assessing the methodological quality of systematic reviews) Guidelines.

31 full text papers were identified for inclusion; 22 descriptive cross-sectional studies, 4 qualitative studies and 5 economic analysis studies of varying quality. Direct medical, direct non-medical and indirect costs were variably reported but were substantial, resulting in catastrophic expenditure. Costs had far reaching economic impacts on individuals and households, who used entire savings, took out loans, reduced essential expenditure and removed children from school to meet costs.

Seeking healthcare for surgical disease is economically devastating for individuals and households in LICs. Policies directed at strengthening surgical health systems must seek ways to reduce financial hardship on individuals and households from both direct and indirect costs and these should be monitored and measured using defined instruments from the patient perspectiv

Prevalence, causes and impact of musculoskeletal impairment in Malawi: A national cluster randomized survey

There is a lack of accurate information on the prevalence and causes of musculoskeletal impairment (MSI) in low income countries. The WHO prevalence estimate does not help plan services for specific national income levels or countries. The aim of this study was to find the prevalence, impact, causes and factors associated with musculoskeletal impairment in Malawi. We wished to undertake a national cluster randomized survey of musculoskeletal impairment in Malawi, one of the UN Least Developed Countries (LDC), that involved a reliable sampling methodology with a case definition and diagnostic criteria that could clearly be related to the classification system used in the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)

A sample size of 1,481 households was calculated using data from the latest national census and an expected prevalence based on similar surveys conducted in Rwanda and Cameroon. We randomly selected clusters across the whole country through probability proportional to size sampling with an urban/rural and demographic split that matched the distribution of the population. In the field, randomization of households in a cluster was based on a ground bottle spin. All household members present were screened, and all MSI cases identified were examined in more detail by medical students under supervision, using a standardized interview and examination protocol. Data collection was carried out from 1st July to 30th August 2016. Extrapolation was done based on study size compared to the population of Malawi. MSI severity was classified using the parameters for the percentage of function outlined in the WHO International Classification of Functioning (ICF). A loss of function of 5–24% was mild, 25–49% was moderate and 50–90% was severe. The Malawian version of the EQ-5D-3L questionnaire was used, and EQ-5D index scores were calculated using population values from Zimbabwe, as a population value set for Malawi is not currently available. Chi-square test was used to test categorical variables. Odds ratio (OR) was calculated with a linear regression model adjusted for age, gender, location and education.

A total of 8,801 individuals were enumerated in 1,481 households. Of the 8,548 participants that were screened and examined (response rate of 97.1%), 810 cases of MSI were diagnosed of which 18% (108) had mild, 54% (329) had moderate and 28% (167) had severe MSI as classified by ICF. There was an overall prevalence of MSI of 9.5% (CI 8.9–10.1). The prevalence of MSI increased with age, and was similar in men (9.3%) and women (9.6%). People without formal education were more likely to have MSI [13.3% (CI 11.8–14.8)] compared to those with formal education levels [8.9% (CI 8.1–9.7), p<0.001] for primary school and [5.9% (4.6–7.2), p<0.001] for secondary school. Overall, 33.2% of MSIs were due to congenital causes, 25.6% were neurological in origin, 19.2% due to acquired non-traumatic non-infective causes, 16.8% due to trauma and 5.2% due to infection. Extrapolation of these findings indicated that there are approximately one million cases of MSI in Malawi that need further treatment. MSI had a profound impact on quality of life. Analysis of disaggregated quality of life measures using EQ-5D showed clear correlation with the ICF class. A large proportion of patients with moderate and severe MSI were confined to bed, unable to wash or undress or unable to perform usual daily activities.

This study has uncovered a high prevalence of MSI in Malawi and its profound impact on a large proportion of the population. These findings suggest that MSI places a considerable strain on social and financial structures in this low-income country. The Quality of Life of those with severe MSI is considerably affected. The huge burden of musculoskeletal impairment in Malawi is mostly unattended, revealing an urgent need to scale up surgical and rehabilitation services in the country.

The global burden of sepsis: barriers and potential solutions.

Sepsis is a major contributor to the global burden of disease. The majority of sepsis cases and deaths are estimated to occur in low and middle-income countries. Barriers to reducing the global burden of sepsis include difficulty quantifying attributable morbidity and mortality, low awareness, poverty and health inequity, and under-resourced and low-resilience public health and acute health care delivery systems. Important differences in the populations at risk, infecting pathogens, and clinical capacity to manage sepsis in high and low-resource settings necessitate context-specific approaches to this significant problem. We review these challenges and propose strategies to overcome them. These strategies include strengthening health systems, accurately identifying and quantifying sepsis cases, conducting inclusive research, establishing data-driven and context-specific management guidelines, promoting creative clinical interventions, and advocacy.