Knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of Kenyan healthcare workers regarding pediatric discharge from hospital

Objective
To assess attitudes, perceptions, and practices of healthcare workers regarding hospital discharge and follow-up care for children under age five in Migori and Homa Bay, Kenya.

Methods
This mixed-methods study included surveys and semi-structured telephone interviews with healthcare workers delivering inpatient pediatric care at eight hospitals between November 2017 and December 2018.

Results
The survey was completed by 111 (85%) eligible HCWs. Ninety-seven of the surveyed HCWs were invited for interviews and 39 (40%) participated. Discharge tasks were reported to be “very important” to patient outcomes by over 80% of respondents, but only 37 (33%) perceived their hospital to deliver this care “very well” and 23 (21%) believed their facility provides sufficient resources for its provision. The vast majority (97%) of participants underestimated the risk of pediatric post-discharge mortality. Inadequate training, understaffing, stock-outs of take-home therapeutics, and user fees were commonly reported health systems barriers to adequate discharge care while poverty was seen as limiting caregiver adherence to discharge and follow-up care. Respondents endorsed the importance of follow-up care, but reported supportive mechanisms to be lacking. They requested enhanced guidelines on discharge and follow-up care.

Conclusion
Kenyan healthcare workers substantially underestimated the risk of pediatric post-discharge mortality. Pre- and in-service training should incorporate instruction on discharge and follow-up care. Improved post-discharge deaths tracking–e.g., through vital registry systems, child mortality surveillance studies, and community health worker feedback loops–is needed, alongside dissemination which could leverage platforms such as routine hospital-based mortality reports. Finally, further interventional trials are needed to assess the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of novel packages to improve discharge and follow-up care.

Perspectives on perioperative management of children’s surgical conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic in low-income and middle-income countries: a global survey

Background
Many organizations have issued recommendations to limit elective surgery during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We surveyed providers of children’s surgical care working in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) to understand their perspectives on surgical management in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they were subsequently modifying their surgical care practices.

Methods
A survey of children’s surgery providers in LMICs was performed. Respondents reported how their perioperative practice had changed in response to COVID-19. They were also presented with 26 specific procedures and asked which of these procedures they were allowed to perform and which they felt they should be allowed to perform. Changes in surgical practice reported by respondents were analyzed thematically.

Results
A total of 132 responses were obtained from 120 unique institutions across 30 LMICs. 117/120 institutions (97.5%) had issued formal guidance on delaying or limiting elective children’s surgical procedures. Facilities in LICs were less likely to have issued guidance on elective surgery compared with middle-income facilities (82% in LICs vs 99% in lower middle-income countries and 100% in upper middle-income countries, p=0.036). Although 122 (97%) providers believed cases should be limited during a global pandemic, there was no procedure where more than 61% of providers agreed cases should be delayed or canceled.

Conclusions
There is little consensus on which procedures should be limited or delayed among LMIC providers. Expansion of testing capacity and local, context-specific guidelines may be a better strategy than international consensus, given the disparities in availability of preoperative testing and the lack of consensus towards which procedures should be delayed.

Blood Transfusion and Lung Surgeries in Pediatric Age Group: A Single Center Retrospective Study

Background
Blood transfusion is not without harm, and recent studies suggest association between transfusion and poor outcome in critically ill patients. Although it is prescribed for many reasons based on the firm belief that blood transfusion improves oxygen carrying capacity, it carries notable adverse hazards. Importantly, lung surgeries are counted as moderate to high-risk operations and take a significant risk of blood loss.
Aim
This study aims to reveal the association between blood transfusion and poor clinical outcomes and characterize the epidemiology of blood transfusion after pediatric chest surgery.
Settings and design
Retrospective cohort study, done throughout 3 years.
Materials and methods
A total of 248 patients who underwent open thoracotomy and lung surgery and aged ≤18 years were classified according to the need of intraoperative or postoperative blood transfusion into two groups: Group I (non-transfused = 130) and Group II (transfused = 118).
Statistical analysis
SPSS v25 was used for analysis.
Results
Transfusion probability ranged between 42.8% and 50% according to type of surgery. As regard to postoperative variables, there was no significant difference between both groups regarding the duration of analgesia, allergic reactions, need of re-operation and in-hospital mortality. However, transfused group showed significant increase in duration of antibiotic, persistent postoperative fever, time to remove chest drains, ICU stays, hospital stay and pneumonia. Incidence of pneumonia had a relative risk 1.82 with transfused compared to non-transfused group.
Conclusion
Transfusion group in pediatrics undergoing lung surgeries in our study was more prone to adverse outcomes such as pneumonia, delayed time to remove chest drains, prolonged ICU stay, and hospital stay.

Pediatric Appendicitis Severity in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: A Retrospective Cohort Analysis

Acute appendicitis is a common pediatric surgical emergency; however, there are few grading systems to assign disease severity. The American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST) recently developed a grading system for a variety of emergency surgical conditions, including appendicitis. The severity of acute appendicitis in younger patients in KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) is unknown. We aimed to describe the disease severity in this patient population using the AAST grading system hypothesizing that the AAST grade would correlate with morbidity, management type, and duration of stay.
Single institutional review of patients <18 years old with a final diagnosis of acute appendicitis during 2010-2016 in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, was performed. Demographics, physiologic and symptom data, procedural details, postoperative complications, and Clavien-Dindo classification were abstracted. AAST grades were generated based on intraoperative findings. Summary, univariate, and nominal logistic regression analyses were performed to compare AAST grade and outcomes.
A total of 401 patients were identified with median [IQR] age of 11 [5-13], 65% male. Appendectomy was performed in all patients; 2.4% laparoscopic, 37.6% limited incision, and 60% midline laparotomy. Complications occurred in 41.6%, most commonly unplanned relaparotomy (22.4%), surgical site infection (8.9%), pneumonia (7.2%), and acute renal failure (2.9%). Complication rate and median length of stay increased with greater AAST grade (all p < 0.001). AAST grade was independently associated with increased risk of complications.
Pediatric appendicitis is a morbid disease in a developing middle-income country. The AAST grading system is generalizable and accurately corresponds with management strategies as well as key clinical outcomes.