Community engagement and involvement in Ghana: conversations with community stakeholders to inform surgical research

Involving patients and communities with health research in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) contributes to increasing the likelihood that research is relevant in local context and caters to the needs of the population, including vulnerable and marginalised groups. When done right, it can also support empowerment of wider communities in taking ownership of their own health, lead to increased access and uptake of health services and generally improve the wellbeing of individuals. However, the evidence base of how to undertake successful community engagement and involvement (CEI) activities in LMICs is sparse. This paper aims to add to the available literature and describes how the Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery’s (GSU) team in Ghana worked collaboratively with the Unit’s team in the UK and a UK-based Public Advisory Group to involve community stakeholders in rural Ghana with surgical research. The aim was to explore ways of reaching out to patients and community leaders in rural Ghana to have conversations that inform the relevance, acceptability, and feasibility of a clinical trial, called TIGER.

As this kind of larger scale involvement of community stakeholders with research was a novel way of working for the team in Ghana, a reflective approach was taken to outline step-by-step how the GSU team planned and undertook these involvement activities with 31 hernia patients, two Chiefs (community leaders), a community finance officer and a local politician in various locations in Ghana. The barriers that were experienced and the benefits of involving community stakeholders are highlighted with the aim to add to the evidence base of CEI in LMICs.

GSU members from the UK and Ghana planned and organised successful involvement activities that focused on establishing the best way to talk to patients and other community stakeholders about their experiences of living with hernias and undergoing hernia repairs, and their perceptions of the impact of hernias on the wider community. The Ghanaian team suggested 1:1 conversations in easily accessible locations for rural patient contributors, creating a welcoming environment and addressing contributors in their local dialects. A UK-based Public Advisory Group helped in the initial stages of planning these conversations by highlighting potential barriers when approaching rural communities and advising on how to phrase questions around personal experiences. Conversations mainly focused on understanding the needs of hernia patients in rural Ghana to then incorporate these in the design of the TIGER trial to ensure its relevance, acceptability and feasibility. When talking to patient contributors, the GSU teams found that they were more likely to open up when they knew members of the team and the opportunity to speak to local leaders only arose because of the Ghanaian team members being well-respected amongst communities. The experiences of the patient and community contributors led to changes in the study protocol, such as including women in the patient cohort for the trial, and allowed the GSU teams to confirm the relevance and acceptability of this trial. These conversations also taught the team a lot about perceptions of health in rural communities, allowed the Ghanaian team to establish relationships with community leaders that can be utilised when future studies need input from the public, and has changed the minds of the Ghanaian research team about the importance of involving patients with research.

This paper contributes to the evidence base on successful CEI activities in LMICs by providing an example of how CEI can be planned and organised, and the benefits this provides. The conversations the teams had with patient contributors in Ghana are an example of successful patient consultations. Even though there are certain limitations to the extent of these involvement activities, a solid foundation has been built for researchers and community stakeholders to establish relationships for ongoing involvement.

Evaluation of a surgical treatment algorithm for neglected clubfoot in low-resource settings

Idiopathic clubfoot affects approximately 1/1000 alive-born infants, of whom 80–91% are born in low- or middle-income countries (LMICs). This retrospective study aimed to evaluate the morphological, functional, and social outcomes in patients with neglected clubfoot in rural Bangladesh, after receiving surgical treatment.

Patients received a posteromedial release (PMR) with or without an additional soft tissue intervention (group 1), a PMR with an additional bony intervention (group 2), or a triple arthrodesis (group 3) according to our surgical algorithm. Patients were followed until two year post-intervention. Evaluation was done using a modified International Clubfoot Study Group Outcome evaluation score and the Laaveg-Ponseti score.

Twenty-two patients with 32 neglected clubfeet (ages 2–24 years) received surgical treatment. Nineteen patients with 29 clubfeet attended follow-up. At two year follow-up an excellent, good, or fair Laaveg-Ponseti score was obtained in 81% (group 1), 80% (group 2), and 0% (group 3) of the patients (p value 0.0038). Age at intervention is inversely correlated with the Laaveg-Ponseti score at two year follow-up (p < 0.0001). All patients attended school or work and were able to wear normal shoes.

Our treatment algorithm is in line with other surgical algorithms used in LMICs. Our data reconfirms that excellent results can be obtained with a PMR regardless of age. Our algorithm follows a pragmatic approach that takes into account the reality on the ground in many LMICs. Good functional outcomes can be achieved with PMR for neglected clubfoot. Further research is needed to investigate the possible role of triple arthrodesis.

Development and content validation of the Safe Surgery Organizational Readiness Tool: A quality improvement study

Recent efforts to increase access to safe and high-quality surgical care in low- and middle-income countries have proven successful. However, multiple facilities implementing the same safety and quality improvement interventions may not all achieve successful outcomes. This heterogeneity could be explained, in part, by pre-intervention organizational characteristics and lack of readiness of surgical facilities. In this study, we describe the process of developing and content validating the Safe Surgery Organizational Readiness Tool.

Materials and methods
The new tool was developed in two stages. First, qualitative results from a Safe Surgery 2020 intervention were combined with findings from a literature review of organizational readiness and change. Second, through iterative discussions and expert review, the Safe Surgery Organizational Readiness Tool was content validated.

The Safe Surgery Organizational Readiness Tool includes 14 domains and 56 items measuring the readiness of surgical facilities in low- and middle-income countries to implement surgical safety and quality improvement interventions. This multi-dimensional and multi-level tool offers insights into facility members’ beliefs and attitudes at the individual, team, and facility levels. A panel review affirmed the content validity of the Safe Surgery Organizational Readiness Tool.

The Safe Surgery Organizational Readiness Tool is a theory- and evidence-based tool that can be used by change agents and facility leaders in low- and middle-income countries to assess the baseline readiness of surgical facilities to implement surgical safety and quality improvement interventions. Next steps include assessing the reliability and validity of the Safe Surgery Organizational Readiness Tool, likely resulting in refinements.

Time to recovery from cataract and its predictors among eye cataract patients treated with cataract surgery: A retrospective cohort study in Ethiopia

Cataracts is the major global causes of blindness and a vision-affecting disease of the eye. Cataract surgery is a curative and cost-effective intervention. The number of people who undergo cataract surgery has increased rapidly. Hence, this study was aimed to determine predictors and the time of recovery of cataract patients after cataract surgery by using Simi parametric models of survival analysis.

A retrospective cohort study was conducted from January/01/2015 and January/30/2019. STATA version14.0 statistical software was used for analysis. The Kaplan-Meier survival method and log-rank test curves were applied. Weibull regression was used and adjusted hazard ratio 95% CI with a value of p less than 0.05 was used to identify a significant association.

Two hundred twenty three cataract patients were recovered from cataract, 72.6% (95% CI 69.8%–75.9%). The overall median survival time was 23 weeks (IQR = 16 to 35) with (95% CI, 21%–25%). aged between 16 and 30year (AHR = 1.20 CI; 1.07–2.36), age 31 to 45 (AHR = 1.24 CI; 1.08–1.54), urban dwellers (AHR = 1.59; 95% CI, 1.18–2.14), medium visual acuity (AHR = 4.14 CI; 2.57–6.67), high visual acuity (AHR = 5.23 CI; 3.06–8.93), Secondary cataract (AHR = 2.59 CI; 1.01–3.02), traumatic cataract (AHR = 1.75 CI; 1.01–3.02), extra capsular cataract extraction surgery (AHR = 1.43 CI; 1.07–1.94),and diabetes mellitus (AHR = 0.75, CI; 0.41–0.96) were notably associated with time to recovery.

Time to recovery in the study area was slightly higher as compared with the global cut of time. Cataract patients with comorbidity of DM had lower recovery tim

Impact of COVID-19 on the practice of orthopaedics and trauma—an epidemiological study of the full pandemic year of a tertiary care centre of New Delhi

In an observational study, we studied the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on our clinical practice of trauma and orthopaedics, in tertiary care hospital of New Delhi.

We collated the hospital data for 2019 and 2020 and analyzed and compared it extensively. We looked for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on several important clinical practice parameters like outpatient attendance, inpatients admissions, and surgery. The correlation of the number of surgeries done during the pandemic time was done with the number of positive cases in Delhi, monthwise. A trend of recovery was also observed.

During the pandemic period, the attendance of outpatients fell by 71.93%, admissions by 59.35%, and surgery by 55.78%. Adult trauma surgery was the least affected (42.21%), followed by arthroscopic surgery (49.81%). Fragility hip fractures requiring bipolar hip arthroplasty were reduced by 34.15%. The maximum adverse impact of the pandemic was seen on arthroplasty surgery (hip > knee), followed by on the paediatric orthopaedic cases, and spinal surgery. We notice a “lazy V-shaped” recovery after the lockdown period.

COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on all aspects of orthopaedics and trauma’s clinical practice in our setup. These adverse effects were maximally seen during the lockdown period, with a reduction of 90.77% in the outpatients, 84.63% in the admissions, and 86.67% in the surgery.

Predictors of poor outcome from aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage and an exploratory analysis into the causes of delayed neurosurgical clipping at a major public hospital in the Philippines

The provision of neurosurgical care for patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is beset with particular challenges in low- to middle-income countries (LMICs) like the Philippines. In this study located in a low-resource setting, we identify the factors that contribute to unfavorable outcomes of dependency and death.
The authors retrospectively reviewed 106 patients who underwent surgery for aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage in a single institution from January 2016 to September 2018. Data were obtained on exposure variables comprising patient demographics, clinical features, perioperative management, and complications and other interventions; while outcomes on discharge were investigated using the modified Rankin scale (mRS). Descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression analyses were done. Root cause analysis was done to identify the causes of delay.
The percentage of patients who had unfavorable outcome (mRS ≥ 3) was 29.2%. The timing of surgery—whether early (10 days)—was not found to be significantly associated with dependency or mortality. On multiple logistic regression, the factors associated with unfavorable outcome were: intraoperative rupture (OR 23.98, 95%CI 3.56–161.33, p=0.001), vasospasm (OR 12.47, 95%CI 3.01–51.57, p<0.001), and a high Hunt & Hess grade (OR 5.96, 95%CI 1.47–24.18, p=0.012). Intraoperative rupture and vasospasm were further found to be independent predictors of mortality. Many causes of delay were identified in terms of patient-, provider-, and health system-levels. These constitute as barriers to timely care and also contribute to the gap in quality and efficiency of neurosurgical treatment situated in low-resource settings in LMICs.
The identified predictors of poor outcomes, as well as the causes delays in neurosurgical treatment, pose as significant challenges to the care of socioeconomically-disadvantaged SAH patients. When considering the solutions to these challenges, the broader environment of practice ought to be taken into account.

Demystifying the potential of Global surgery for Public health

Remarkable gains have been made in global health in the last 25 years, and surgical care is an integral component of healthcare systems for countries at all levels of development. Global surgery, which global surgery, which comprises clinical, educational, and research collaborations to improve surgical care between academic surgeons in high-income countries and low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) and their affiliated academic institutions, has grown significantly. Global surgery may resonate most with those in low-or-middle-income countries (LCMICs),where basic surgery needs are rarely met, and even the most trivial resource may be hard to obtain on a permanent or reliable basis. Therefore, considering this, this article provides an overview on various factors defining the interface between surgery and public health at a global level and discuss future directions.

Personal protective equipment for reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection among healthcare workers involved in emergency trauma surgery during the pandemic: an umbrella review protocol

Many healthcare facilities in low-income and middle-income countries are inadequately resourced and may lack optimal organisation and governance, especially concerning surgical health systems. COVID-19 has the potential to decimate these already strained surgical healthcare services unless health systems take stringent measures to protect healthcare workers (HCWs) from viral exposure and ensure the continuity of specialised care for patients. The objective of this broad evidence synthesis is to identify and summarise the available literature regarding the efficacy of different personal protective equipment (PPE) in reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection in health personnel caring for patients undergoing trauma surgery in low-resource environments.

We will conduct several searches in the L·OVE (Living OVerview of Evidence) platform for COVID-19, a system that performs automated regular searches in PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and over 30 other sources. The search results will be presented according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses flow diagram. This review will preferentially consider systematic reviews of experimental and quasi-experimental studies, as well as individual studies of such designs, evaluating the effect of different PPE on the risk of COVID-19 infection in HCWs involved in emergency trauma surgery. Critical appraisal of eligible studies for methodological quality will be conducted. Data will be extracted using the standardised data extraction tool in Covidence. Studies will, when possible, be pooled in a statistical meta-analysis using JBI SUMARI. The Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach for grading the certainty of evidence will be followed and a summary of findings will be created.

Ethics and dissemination
Ethical approval is not required for this review. The plan for dissemination is to publish review findings in a peer-reviewed journal and present findings at high-level conferences that engage the most pertinent stakeholders.

Improving surgical quality in low-income and middle-income countries: why do some health facilities perform better than others?

Background Evidence on heterogeneity in outcomes of surgical quality interventions in low-income and middle-income countries is limited. We explored factors driving performance in the Safe Surgery 2020 intervention in Tanzania’s Lake Zone to distil implementation lessons for low-resource settings.

Methods We identified higher (n=3) and lower (n=3) performers from quantitative data on improvement from 14 safety and teamwork and communication indicators at 0 and 12 months from 10 intervention facilities, using a positive deviance framework. From 72 key informant interviews with surgical providers across facilities at 1, 6 and 12 months, we used a grounded theory approach to identify practices of higher and lower performers.

Results Performance experiences of higher and lower performers differed on the following themes: (1) preintervention context, (2) engagement with Safe Surgery 2020 interventions, (3) teamwork and communication orientation, (4) collective learning orientation, (5) role of leadership, and (6) perceived impact of Safe Surgery 2020 and beyond. Higher performers had a culture of teamwork which helped them capitalise on Safe Surgery 2020 to improve surgical ecosystems holistically on safety practices, teamwork and communication. Lower performers prioritised overhauling safety practices and began considering organisational cultural changes much later. Thus, while also improving, lower performers prioritised different goals and trailed higher performers on the change continuum.

Conclusion Future interventions should be tailored to facility context and invest in strengthening teamwork, communication and collective learning and facilitate leadership engagement to build a receptive climate for successful implementation of safe surgery interventions.

Timing of surgery following SARS‐CoV‐2 infection: an international prospective cohort study

Peri‐operative SARS‐CoV‐2 infection increases postoperative mortality. The aim of this study was to determine the optimal duration of planned delay before surgery in patients who have had SARS‐CoV‐2 infection. This international, multicentre, prospective cohort study included patients undergoing elective or emergency surgery during October 2020. Surgical patients with pre‐operative SARS‐CoV‐2 infection were compared with those without previous SARS‐CoV‐2 infection. The primary outcome measure was 30‐day postoperative mortality. Logistic regression models were used to calculate adjusted 30‐day mortality rates stratified by time from diagnosis of SARS‐CoV‐2 infection to surgery. Among 140,231 patients (116 countries), 3127 patients (2.2%) had a pre‐operative SARS‐CoV‐2 diagnosis. Adjusted 30‐day mortality in patients without SARS‐CoV‐2 infection was 1.5% (95%CI 1.4–1.5). In patients with a pre‐operative SARS‐CoV‐2 diagnosis, mortality was increased in patients having surgery within 0–2 weeks, 3–4 weeks and 5–6 weeks of the diagnosis (odds ratio (95%CI) 4.1 (3.3–4.8), 3.9 (2.6–5.1) and 3.6 (2.0–5.2), respectively). Surgery performed ≥ 7 weeks after SARS‐CoV‐2 diagnosis was associated with a similar mortality risk to baseline (odds ratio (95%CI) 1.5 (0.9–2.1)). After a ≥ 7 week delay in undertaking surgery following SARS‐CoV‐2 infection, patients with ongoing symptoms had a higher mortality than patients whose symptoms had resolved or who had been asymptomatic (6.0% (95%CI 3.2–8.7) vs. 2.4% (95%CI 1.4–3.4) vs. 1.3% (95%CI 0.6–2.0), respectively). Where possible, surgery should be delayed for at least 7 weeks following SARS‐CoV‐2 infection. Patients with ongoing symptoms ≥ 7 weeks from diagnosis may benefit from further delay