Implementation of the World Health Organization Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System in Uganda, 2015-2020: Mixed-Methods Study Using National Surveillance Data

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an emerging public health crisis in Uganda. The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Plan recommends that countries should develop and implement National Action Plans for AMR. We describe the establishment of the national AMR program in Uganda and present the early microbial sensitivity results from the program.

The aim of this study is to describe a national surveillance program that was developed to perform the systematic and continuous collection, analysis, and interpretation of AMR data.

A systematic qualitative description of the process and progress made in the establishment of the national AMR program is provided, detailing the progress made from 2015 to 2020. This is followed by a report of the findings of the isolates that were collected from AMR surveillance sites. Identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) of the bacterial isolates were performed using standard methods at both the surveillance sites and the reference laboratory.

Remarkable progress has been achieved in the establishment of the national AMR program, which is guided by the WHO Global Laboratory AMR Surveillance System (GLASS) in Uganda. A functional national coordinating center for AMR has been established with a supporting designated reference laboratory. WHONET software for AMR data management has been installed in the surveillance sites and laboratory staff trained on data quality assurance. Uganda has progressively submitted data to the WHO GLASS reporting system. Of the 19,216 isolates from WHO GLASS priority specimens collected from October 2015 to June 2020, 22.95% (n=4411) had community-acquired infections, 9.46% (n=1818) had hospital-acquired infections, and 68.57% (n=12,987) had infections of unknown origin. The highest proportion of the specimens was blood (12,398/19,216, 64.52%), followed by urine (5278/19,216, 27.47%) and stool (1266/19,216, 6.59%), whereas the lowest proportion was urogenital swabs (274/19,216, 1.4%). The mean age was 19.1 (SD 19.8 years), whereas the median age was 13 years (IQR 28). Approximately 49.13% (9440/19,216) of the participants were female and 50.51% (9706/19,216) were male. Participants with community-acquired infections were older (mean age 28, SD 18.6 years; median age 26, IQR 20.5 years) than those with hospital-acquired infections (mean age 17.3, SD 20.9 years; median age 8, IQR 26 years). All gram-negative (Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae) and gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus sp) bacteria with AST showed resistance to each of the tested antibiotics.

Uganda is the first African country to implement a structured national AMR surveillance program in alignment with the WHO GLASS. The reported AST data indicate very high resistance to the recommended and prescribed antibiotics for treatment of infections. More effort is required regarding quality assurance of laboratory testing methodologies to ensure optimal adherence to WHO GLASS–recommended pathogen-antimicrobial combinations. The current AMR data will inform the development of treatment algorithms and clinical guidelines

Resource constrained innovation in a technology intensive sector: Frugal medical devices from manufacturing firms in South Africa

Most medical devices are designed by western firms from efficient innovation systems with a focus on their home markets. A disproportionately high percentage of imported medical devices in low resource settings become non-functional. Despite interest from global health and innovation studies, little is known about firms in emerging markets appreciative of challenges in their home environments. Using empirical evidence from innovative manufacturing firms in South Africa, this study investigates frugal orientation and mechanisms to innovate under resource constraints, in a technology intensive sector typically under the purview of western firms. Systematic analysis of six devices by adapting a global health lens reveals that while some innovations specifically address health challenges of low resource, others are more affordable technological innovations with universal relevance and some frugal elements. Resource constrained innovation strategies involved building advanced internal manufacturing capabilities to overcome institutional voids while forging multiple knowledge collaborations to complement inhouse capabilities. This drives frugality around design, engineering and manufacturing processes. Innovation delivery strategies are complementary to these processes. The evidence suggests fundamentally new products were designed in collaborative bottom up processes. The role of the state and global non-profits in harnessing frugal innovations for public health was found to be critical.

Readiness to Provide Antenatal Corticosteroids for Threatened Preterm Birth in Public Health Facilities in Northern India

In 2014, the Government of India (GOI) released operational guidelines on the use of antenatal corticosteroids (ACS) in preterm labor. However, without ensuring the quality of childbirth and newborn care at facilities, the use of ACS in low- and middle-income countries is potentially harmful. This study assessed the readiness to provide ACS at primary and secondary care public health facilities in northern India.

A cross-sectional study was conducted in 37 public health facilities in 2 districts of Haryana, India. Facility processes and program implementation for ACS delivery were assessed using pretested study tools developed from the World Health Organization (WHO) quality of care standards and WHO guidelines for threatened preterm birth.

Key gaps in public health facilities’ process of care to provide ACS for threatened preterm birth were identified, particularly concerning evidence-based practices, competent workforce, and actionable health information system. Emphasis on accurate gestational age estimation, quality of childbirth care, and quality of preterm care were inadequate. Shortage of trained staff was widespread, and a disconnect was found between knowledge and attitudes regarding ACS use. ACS administration was provided only at district or subdistrict hospitals, and these facilities did not uniformly record ACS-specific indicators. All levels lacked a comprehensive protocol and job aids for identifying and managing threatened preterm birth.

ACS operational guidelines were not widely disseminated or uniformly implemented. Facilities require strengthened supervision and standardization of threatened preterm birth care. Facilities need greater readiness to meet required conditions for ACS use. Increasing uptake of a single intervention without supporting it with adequate quality of maternal and newborn care will jeopardize improvement in preterm birth outcomes. We recommend updating and expanding the existing GOI ACS operational guidelines to include specific actions for the safe and effective use of ACS in line with recent scientific evidence.

Quality of Life in Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery: Role of Coping Strategies

Adaptive coping strategies are used to reduce stress in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. These strategies have a major role in physical health, psychological health, quality of life and also affect an individual’s response to the disease. The current study was conducted to comprehend the impact of coping strategies on the quality of life of patients suffering from cardiac disease. A purposive convenient sampling method was used to collect data from different hospitals in South Punjab. We applied Carver’s Brief Coping Orientation to Problem Experienced (Brief COPE) inventory and the WHO quality of life scale. A cross-sectional research design was proposed for the study. The findings of the study showed that coping strategies and quality of life are associated with each other, and the use of emotion-focused and problem-focused coping strategies have a significant impact on patients experiencing cardiac surgery. Demographic details of patients also revealed the differences in both variables. Implications and future recommendations have also been discussed.

Tracking the Workforce 2020-2030: Making the Case for a Cancer Workforce Registry

Existing literature has described the projected increase in cancer incidence and the associated deficiencies in the cancer workforce. However, there is currently a lack of research into the necessary policy and planning steps that can be taken to mitigate this issue. Herein, we review current literature in this space and highlight the importance of implementing oncology workforce registries. We propose the establishment of cancer workforce registries using the WHO Minimum Data Set for Health Workforce Registry by adapting the data set to suit the multidisciplinary nature of the cancer workforce. The cancer workforce registry will track the trends of the workforce, so that evidence can drive decisions at the policy level. The oncology community needs to develop and optimize methods to collect information for these registries. National cancer societies are likely to continue to lead such efforts, but ministries of health, licensing bodies, and academic institutions should contribute and collaborate.

Comparison of Challenges and Problems Encountered in the Practice of Exclusive Breast Feeding by Primiparous and Multiparous Women in Rural Areas of Sindh, Pakistan: A Cross-Sectional Study

Introduction: The UNICEF (United Nations International Children Education Fund) and WHO (World Health Organization) recommend exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) for the first six months of life. EBF is considered to be an important practice for enhancing infant health and wellbeing. Breastfeeding offers a wide range of psychological and physical health benefits in the long-term and short-term for young children, infants, and mothers. This study aims to compare exclusive breastfeeding practice among primiparous and multiparous mothers including reasons for discontinuing exclusive breastfeeding and problems faced during breastfeeding.

Methodology: This cross-sectional study was conducted in rural areas of Sindh, registered with the Maternal Newborn Health Registry (MNHR). The study used a systematic sampling technique for the enrollment of study participants. A survey questionnaire was used to collect data from mothers about the practices of EBF. A total of 397 mothers were interviewed and analyzed.

Results: Among Primiparous mothers, 14.1% of mothers initiated breastfeeding within one hour of birth, while 22.4% of multiparous mothers, initiated breastfeeding within one hour of birth. The difference between the two is statistically insignificant (p-value=0.234). A high percentage of multiparous mothers exclusively breastfed their infants for six months (63.5%) as compared to primiparous mothers (51.5%). The most common reason for introducing pre-lacteal feed before six months among primiparous mothers is the lack of adequate milk production to fulfill baby needs; this was the case for 35.4% of mothers. On the other hand, the baby remaining hungry post breastfeeding was the major reason among multiparous mothers (44.0%) for introducing pre-lacteal feed before six months.

Conclusion: This study helped in the identification of issues faced by primiparous and multiparous mothers during exclusive breastfeeding. Interventions for promoting EBF need to be tailored as per the need and challenges of the population.

Global Neurosurgery – The Problem and Solution -The Asian Perspective

The world of Neurosurgery has witnessed a quantum jump in the last few decades. However, this progress has reaped benefits for patients’ income countries; the preventable deaths due to surgical deficit are as high as 47 million annually (1). Given this uneven balance of facilities in the health sector, the WHO has agreed to resolve the issues by participating in worldwide governing bodies of neurosurgery faculties in the individual country. The former president of the world bank was quoted that “surgery is an indivisible, indispensable part of health care and progress towards universal health coverag

Global Neurosurgery: The Unmet Need

Globally, the lack of access to basic surgical care causes 3 times as much deaths as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. The magnitude of this unmet need has been described recently, and the numbers are startling. Major shifts in global health agenda have highlighted access to essential and emergency surgery as a high priority. A broad examination of the current global neurosurgical efforts to improve access has revealed some strengths, particularly in the realm of training; however, the demand grossly outstrips the supply; most people in low-income countries do not have access to basic surgical care, either due to lack of availability or affordability. Projects that help create a robust and resilient health system within low- and middle-income countries require urgent implementation. In this context, concurrent scale-up of human resources, investments in capacity building, local data collection, and analysis for accurate assessment are essential. In addition, through process of collaboration and consensus building within the neurosurgical community, a unified voice of neurosurgery is necessary to effectively advocate for all those who need neurosurgical care wherever, whenever.