Patterns, travel to care and factors influencing obstetric referral: Evidence from Nigeria’s most urbanised state

The criticality of referral makes it imperative to study its patterns and factors influencing it at a health systems level. This study of referral in Lagos, Nigeria is based on health records of 4181 pregnant women who presented with obstetric emergencies at one of the 24 comprehensive emergency obstetric care (EmOC) facilities in the state between November 2018 and October 2019 complemented with distance and time data extracted from Google Maps. Univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analyses were conducted. About a quarter of pregnant women who presented with obstetric emergencies were referred. Most referrals were from primary health centres (41.9 %), private (23.5 %) and public (16.2 %) hospitals. Apart from the expected low-level to high-level referral pattern, there were other patterns observed including non-formal, multiple, and post-delivery referrals. Travel time and distance to facilities that could provide needed care increased two-fold on account of referrals compared to scenarios of going directly to the final facility, mostly travelling to these facilities by private cars/taxis (72.8 %). Prolonged/obstructed labour was the commonest obstetric indication for referral, with majority of referred pregnant women delivered via caesarean section (52.9 %). After adjustment, being married, not being registered for antenatal care at facility of care, presenting at night or with a foetus in distress increased the odds of referral. However, parity, presentation in the months following the commissioning of a new comprehensive EmOC facility or with abortion reduced the likelihood of being referred. Our findings underscore the need for health systems strengthening interventions that support women during referral and the importance of antenatal care and early booking to aid identification of potential pregnancy complications whilst establishing robust birth preparedness plans that can minimise the need for referral in the event of emergencies. Indeed, there are context-specific influences that need to be addressed if effective referral systems are to be designed.

A longitudinal study of the prevalence and characteristics of breast disorders detected by clinical breast examination during pregnancy and six months postpartum in Ibadan, Southwestern Nigeria.

Breast disorders cause great anxiety for women especially when they occur in pregnancy because breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer related deaths in women. Majority of the disorders are Benign Breast Diseases (BBD) with various degrees of associated breast cancer risks. With increasing breast cancer awareness in Nigeria, we sought to determine the prevalence and characteristics of breast disorders among a cohort of pregnant women.A longitudinal study of 1248 pregnant women recruited in their first trimester- till 26 weeks gestational age consecutively from selected antenatal clinics (ANCs), in Ibadan, Southwest Nigeria. A pretested interviewer- administered questionnaire was used to collect information at recruitment. Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) using MammaCare® technique was performed at recruitment and follow up visits at third trimester, six weeks postpartum and six months postpartum. Women with breast disorders were referred for Breast Ultrasound Scan (BUS) and those with Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BIRADS) ≥4 had ultrasound guided biopsy. Statistical analysis was performed using Stata version 14.Mean age of participants was 29.7 ± 5.2 years and mean gestational age at recruitment was 20.4 ± 4.4 weeks. Seventy-two participants (5.8%) had a past history of BBD and 345 (27.6%) were primigravidae. Overall, breast disorder was detected among 223 (17.9%) participants and 149 (11.9%) had it detected at baseline. Findings from the CBE showed that 208 (69.6%) of 299 breast disorders signs found were palpable lumps or thickenings in the breast, 28 (9.4%) were persistent pain, and 63 (21.1%) were abscesses, infection and mastitis. Twenty out of 127 (15.7%) participants who had BUS performed were classified as BIRADS ≥3. Lesions found by BUS were reactive lymph nodes (42.5%), prominent ducts (27.1%), fibroadenoma (9.6%), breast cysts (3.8%) and fibrocystic changes (2.5%). No malignant pathology was found on ultrasound guided biopsy.Breast lump is a major breast disorder among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in Ibadan. Routine clinical breast examination and follow up of pregnant women found with breast disorders could facilitate early detection of pregnancy associated breast cancer in low resource settings.