The burden of disease, disability, and mortality that could be averted by surgery is growing. However, few low and middle income countries (LMICs) have the infrastructure or capacity to provide surgical services to meet this growing need. Equally, few of these countries have been assessed for key infrastructural capacity including surgical and anesthesia providers, equipment, and supplies. These assessments are critical to revealing magnitude of the evolving surgical and anesthesia workforce crisis, related morbidity and mortality, and necessary steps to mitigate the impact of the crisis.
A pilot Internet-based survey was conducted to estimate per-capita anesthesia providers in LMICs. Information was obtained from e-mail respondents at national health care addresses, and from individuals working in-country on anesthesia-related projects.
Workers from 6 of 98 countries responded to direct e-mail inquiries, and an additional five responses came from individuals who were working or had worked in-country at the time of the survey. The data collected revealed that the per-capita anesthesia provider ratio in the countries surveyed was often 100 times lower than in developed countries.
This pilot study revealed that the number of anesthesia providers available per capita of population is markedly reduced in low and lower middle income countries compared to developed countries. As anesthesia providers are an integral part of the delivery of safe and effective surgical care, it is essential that more data is collected to fully understand the deficiencies in workforce and capacity in low and middle income countries.
The accuracy of malaria case reporting is challenging due to restricted human and material resources in many countries. The reporting often depends on the clinical diagnosis because of the scarcity of microscopic examinations. Particularly, clinical malaria case reporting by primary health care facilities (local clinics), which constitutes the baseline data of surveillance, has never previously been sufficiently evaluated. In order to improve the malaria reporting system to the level required to eventually eliminate this disease, this study estimates the gaps between the records of clinics and government statistics regarding the incidence of clinical malaria, and then also examines some factors that might explain the data discrepancy, including such variables as clinic staffing and record keeping.
All medical records for outpatients in 2007, handwritten by nurses, were collected from local clinics in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. The all-monthly clinical malaria cases were then recalculated. The corresponding monthly data in official statistics were provided by the government. Next, in order to estimate any data discrepancy, the ratio of the cases recorded at clinics to the cases reported to the government was determined on the monthly basis. Finally, the associations between the monthly discrepancy and other variables were evaluated by a multiple regression analysis.
The mean data discrepancy between the records of clinics and government statistics was 21.2% (n = 96). Significant associations were observed between the discrepancy and the average number of patients (coefficient: 0.05, 95%CI: 0.31, 0.07), illegible handwriting (coefficient: 0.09, 95%CI: 0.04, 0.15), the use of tally sheets (coefficient:-0.38, 95%CI: -0.54, -0.22), and the clinic level (coefficient:-0.48, 95%CI:-0.89,-0.06).
The findings of this study demonstrate the huge data discrepancy between the records of clinics and government statistics in regard to clinical malaria case reporting. Moreover, the high numbers of patients, illegible writing, the disuse of tally sheets, and insufficient resources at some clinics are likely to be related to the increase in the discrepancy. The clinical malaria case reporting at the local clinic level therefore urgently needs improvement, in order to achieve both better malaria surveillance and to also eventually eliminate this disease in the Solomon Islands.
In resource-poor countries, such as Solomon Islands, the research agenda on health is often dominated by researchers from resource-rich countries. New strategies are needed to empower local researchers to set directions for health research. This paper presents a process which seeks to enable a local and potentially more equitable research agenda at a remote hospital in Solomon Islands.
In preparation for a health research capacity-building workshop at Atoifi Adventist Hospital, Malaita, Solomon Islands, a computer-based search was conducted of Solomon Islands public health literature. Using a levels-of-agreement approach publications were categorised as: a) original research, b) reviews, c) program descriptions and d) commentaries or discussion. Original research publications were further sub-categorised as: i) measurement, ii) descriptive research and iii) intervention studies. Results were reviewed with Solomon Islander health professionals in a focus group discussion during the health research workshop. Focus group participants were invited to discuss reactions to literature search results and how results might assist current or future local researchers to identify gaps in the published research literature and possible research opportunities at the hospital and surrounding communities. Focus group data were analysed using a grounded theory approach.
Of the 218 publications meeting inclusion criteria, 144 (66%) were categorised as 'original research', 42 (19%) as 'commentaries/discussion', 28 (13%) as 'descriptions of programs' and 4 (2%) as 'reviews'. Agreement between three authors' (MRM, DM, AC) independent categorisation was 'excellent' (0.8 <κ). The 144 'original research' publications included 115 (80%) 'descriptive studies' (κ = 0.82); 19 (13%) 'intervention studies' (κ = 0.77); and 10 (7%) 'measurement studies'(κ = 0.80). Key themes identified in the focus group discussion challenged historical inequities evident from the literature review. These included: i) who has done/is doing research in Solomon Islands (largely non-Solomon Islanders); ii) when the research was done (research needs to keep up to date); iii) amount of published research (there should be more); iv) types of research (lack of intervention and operational research); v) value of published research (important); vi) gaps in published literature (need more research about nursing); vii) opportunities for research action (start small); viii) support required to undertake research at the hospital and in surrounding communities (mentoring and partnering with experienced researchers).
A search and collaborative review of public health literature for Solomon Islands at a health research capacity building workshop has uncovered and challenged historical inequity in the conduct and access to public health research. Emerging Solomon Islander researchers at a remote hospital are now working to set priorities and strengthen local research efforts. These efforts have highlighted the importance of collaboration and mentoring for Solomon Islanders to instigate and implement public health research to improve the health of individuals and communities served by this remote hospital.
Critically ill patients are common in emergency medicine, and require expert care to maximize patient outcomes. However, little data is available on the provision of critical care in the ED. The goal of this study is to describe the management of critically ill patients in the ED via a survey of Canadian emergency physicians.
Materials and Methods:
A survey of attending physician members of CAEP was conducted by email. The survey was developed by the authors and internal validity was established prior to survey deployment. Data on physician demographics, hospital resources, use of invasive procedures, vasopressor/inotropic medications, length of stay in the ED and patient responsibility were assessed.
The survey response rate was 22.9%, with the majority of respondents possessing speciality training in EM (73.5%). Respondents indicated that critically ill patients were commonly managed in the ED, with 68.5% reporting >6 critically ill patients per month, and 12.4% indicating > 20 patients per month. Respondents indicated that the majority of critically ill patients remained in the ED for 1-4 hours (70%) after resuscitation, yet 18% remained in the ED for >5 hours. Patients with a “respiratory” etiology were the most common critically ill patient population reported, followed by “cardiovascular”, “infectious” and “traumatic illness”. Direct laryngoscopy was frequently performed (66.9%> 11 in the year prior to the survey) in the year prior to the survey, while other invasive procedures and vasopressor/inotropic medications were utilized less often. EM physicians were responsible for the management of critically ill patients in the ED, even after consultation to an inpatient service, and were often required to provided acute care to critically ill patients admitted to an ICU, yet remaining in the ED prior to transfer (20% reported > 50% of the time).
Our survey demonstrates that critically ill patients are common in Canadian ED's, and that EMP's are often responsible to provide care for prolonged period of time. In addition, the use of invasive procedures other then direct laryngoscopy was variable. Further research is warranted to determine the impact of delayed transfer and ED physician management of critically ill patients in the ED.
Critical Care; inotrope; invasive procedures; length of stay; patient responsibility; resuscitation; vasopressor
Many countries are scaling up malaria interventions towards elimination. This transition changes demands on malaria diagnostics from diagnosing ill patients to detecting parasites in all carriers including asymptomatic infections and infections with low parasite densities. Detection methods suitable to local malaria epidemiology must be selected prior to transitioning a malaria control programme to elimination. A baseline malaria survey conducted in Temotu Province, Solomon Islands in late 2008, as the first step in a provincial malaria elimination programme, provided malaria epidemiology data and an opportunity to assess how well different diagnostic methods performed in this setting.
During the survey, 9,491 blood samples were collected and examined by microscopy for Plasmodium species and density, with a subset also examined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). The performances of these diagnostic methods were compared.
A total of 256 samples were positive by microscopy, giving a point prevalence of 2.7%. The species distribution was 17.5% Plasmodium falciparum and 82.4% Plasmodium vivax. In this low transmission setting, only 17.8% of the P. falciparum and 2.9% of P. vivax infected subjects were febrile (≥38°C) at the time of the survey. A significant proportion of infections detected by microscopy, 40% and 65.6% for P. falciparum and P. vivax respectively, had parasite density below 100/μL. There was an age correlation for the proportion of parasite density below 100/μL for P. vivax infections, but not for P. falciparum infections. PCR detected substantially more infections than microscopy (point prevalence of 8.71%), indicating a large number of subjects had sub-microscopic parasitemia. The concordance between PCR and microscopy in detecting single species was greater for P. vivax (135/162) compared to P. falciparum (36/118). The malaria RDT detected the 12 microscopy and PCR positive P. falciparum, but failed to detect 12/13 microscopy and PCR positive P. vivax infections.
Asymptomatic malaria infections and infections with low and sub-microscopic parasite densities are highly prevalent in Temotu province where malaria transmission is low. This presents a challenge for elimination since the large proportion of the parasite reservoir will not be detected by standard active and passive case detection. Therefore effective mass screening and treatment campaigns will most likely need more sensitive assays such as a field deployable molecular based assay.
In their article, Baelani and colleagues surveyed anesthesia providers from African low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to evaluate whether or not the current Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) guidelines are feasible in such resource-constrained settings. The authors report that an alarmingly low percentage of hospitals have the capacity to implement the SSC guidelines in their entirety but a higher percentage are able to implement the majority of SSC guidelines and grade 1 recommendations. In reality, the probability of adherence to SSC guidelines for septic management is even lower than reported, given that the majority of sepsis management in African LMICs is likely performed by non-intensivists outside of intensive care units. Efforts to address the challenges of managing severely ill patients in LMICs have recently been taken on by the World Health Organization. After reviewing available evidence for sepsis management predominantly from high-income countries, a panel of experts developed a consensus-based strategy tailored for resource-limited settings. However, more research that can evaluate the challenges specific to sepsis management in LMICs and not currently addressed by the SSC guidelines is needed. Comprehensive, evidence-based guidelines combined with innovative approaches to sepsis management in LMICs are required to make a meaningful impact on worldwide sepsis survival.
The Australian Government's Pacific Malaria Initiative (PacMI) is supporting the National Malaria Program in both Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, complementing assistance from the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). Two remote island groups - Tafea Province, Vanuatu and Temotu Province, Solomon Islands have been selected by the governments of both countries as possible malaria elimination areas. To provide information on the prevalence and distribution of the disease within these island groups, malariometric surveys were conducted during the wet seasons of 2008.
In Tafea Province, a school-based survey was conducted which included the 2-12 y age group, while in Temotu a village based all-ages survey was conducted. An effort was made to sample villages or schools from a wide an area as possible on all islands. Diagnosis was initially based on Giemsa stained blood slides followed by molecular analysis using polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
In Tafea Province, 73% (5238/7150) of children (2-12 y) were surveyed and in Temotu Province, in the all-ages survey, 50.2% (8742/17410) of the provincial population participated in the survey. In both Vanuatu and Solomon Islands malariometric surveys of their southern-most islands in 2008 showed relatively low over-all malaria parasite prevalence (2 to 3%). Other features of malaria in these island groups were low parasitaemia, low gametocyte carriage rates, low spleen rates, low malaria associated morbidity, a high incidence of asymptomatic infections, and a predominance of Plasmodium vivax over Plasmodium falciparum.
For various reasons malaria rates are declining in these provinces providing a favourable situation for local malaria elimination. This will be advanced using mass distribution of bed nets and selective indoor residual spraying, the introduction of rapid diagnostic tests and artemisinin combination therapy, and intensive case detection and surveillance. It is as yet uncertain whether malaria parasites can themselves be sustainably eliminated from entire Melanesian islands, where they have previously been endemic. Key issues on the road to malaria elimination will be continued community involvement, improved field diagnostic methods and elimination of residual P. vivax parasites from the liver of asymptomatic persons.
Injury and other medical emergencies are becoming increasingly common in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Many to most of the deaths from these conditions occur outside of hospitals, necessitating the development of prehospital care. Prehospital capabilities are inadequately developed to meet the growing needs for emergency care in most LMICs. In order to better plan for development of prehospital care globally, this study sought to better understand the current status of prehospital care in a wide range of LMICs.
A survey was conducted of emergency medical services (EMS) leaders and other key informants in 13 LMICs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Questions addressed methods of transport to hospital, training and certification of EMS providers, organization and funding of EMS systems, public access to prehospital care, and barriers to EMS development.
Prehospital care capabilities varied significantly, but in general, were less developed in low-income countries and in rural areas, where utilization of formal emergency medical services was often very low. Commercial drivers, volunteers, and other bystanders provided a large proportion of prehospital transport and occasionally also provide first aid in many locations. Although taxes and mandatory motor vehicle insurance provided supplemental funds to EMS in 85% of the countries, the most frequently cited barriers to further development of prehospital care was inadequate funding (36% of barriers cited). The next most commonly sited barriers were lack of leadership within the system (18%) and lack of legislation setting standards (18%).
Expansion of prehospital care to currently under- or un-served areas, especially in low-income countries and in rural areas, could make use of the already existing networks of first responders, such as commercial drivers and lay persons. Efforts to increase their effectiveness, such as more widespread first aid training, and better encompassing their efforts within formal EMS, are warranted. In terms of existing formal EMS, there is a need for increased and more regular funding, integration and coordination among existing services, and improved organization and leadership, as could be accomplished by making EMS administration and leadership a more desirable career path.
developing country; emergency; emergency medical services; global; injury; low income country; low or middle income country; middle income country; prehospital care; trauma
In the Solomon Islands, the Malaria Eradication Programmes of the 1970s virtually eliminated the malaria vectors: Anopheles punctulatus and Anopheles koliensis, both late night biting, endophagic species. However, the vector, Anopheles farauti, changed its behaviour to bite early in the evening outdoors. Thus, An. farauti mosquitoes were able to avoid insecticide exposure and still maintain transmission. Thirty years on and the Solomon Islands are planning for intensified malaria control and localized elimination; but little is currently known about the behaviour of the vectors and how they will respond to intensified control.
In the elimination area, Temotu Province, standard entomological collection methods were conducted in typical coastal villages to determine the vector, its ecology, biting density, behaviour, longevity, and vector efficacy. These vector surveys were conducted pre-intervention and post-intervention following indoor residual spraying and distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets.
Anopheles farauti was the only anopheline in Temotu Province. In 2008 (pre-intervention), this species occurred in moderate to high densities (19.5-78.5 bites/person/night) and expressed a tendency to bite outdoors, early in the night (peak biting time 6-8 pm). Surveys post intervention showed that there was little, if any, reduction in biting densities and no reduction in the longevity of the vector population. After adjusting for human behaviour, indoor biting was reduced from 57% pre-intervention to 40% post-intervention.
In an effort to learn from historical mistakes and develop successful elimination programmes, there is a need for implementing complimentary vector control tools that can target exophagic and early biting vectors. Intensified indoor residual spraying and long-lasting insecticide net use has further promoted the early, outdoor feeding behaviour of An. farauti in the Solomon Islands. Consequently, the effectiveness of IRS and the personal protection provided by bed nets is compromised. To achieve elimination, any residual transmission should be targeted using integrated vector control incorporating complementary tools such as larviciding and/or zooprophylaxis.
Geographical Reconnaissance (GR) operations using Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) have been conducted in the elimination provinces of Temotu, Solomon Islands and Tafea, Republic of Vanuatu. These operations aimed to examine modern approaches to GR to define the spatial distribution of target populations to support contemporary malaria elimination interventions.
Three GR surveys were carried out covering the outer islands of Temotu Province (October - November, 2008); Santa Cruz Island, Temotu Province (February 2009) and Tanna Island, Tafea Province (July - September 2009). Integrated PDA/GPS handheld units were used in the field to rapidly map and enumerate households, and collect associated population and household structure data to support priority elimination interventions, including bed net distribution, indoor residual spraying (IRS) and malaria case surveillance. Data were uploaded and analysed in customized Geographic Information System (GIS) databases to produce household distribution maps and generate relevant summary information pertaining to the GR operations. Following completion of field operations, group discussions were also conducted to review GR approaches and technology implemented.
10,459 households were geo-referenced and mapped. A population of 43,497 and 30,663 household structures were recorded during the three GR surveys. The spatial distribution of the population was concentrated in coastal village clusters. Survey operations were completed over a combined total of 77 field days covering a total land mass area of approximately 1103.2 km2. An average of 45 households, 118 structures and a population of 184 people were recorded per handheld device per day. Geo-spatial household distribution maps were also produced immediately following the completion of GR fieldwork. An overall high acceptability of modern GR techniques and technology was observed by both field operations staff and communities.
GR implemented using modern techniques has provided an effective and efficient operational tool for rapidly defining the spatial distribution of target populations in designated malaria elimination zones in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The data generated are being used for the strategic implementation and scaling-up of priority interventions, and will be essential for establishing future surveillance using spatial decision support systems.
In 2009, Santa Isabel Province in the Solomon Islands embarked on a malaria elimination programme. However, very little is known in the Province about the anopheline fauna, which species are vectors, their bionomics and how they may respond to intensified intervention measures. The purpose of this study was to provide baseline data on the malaria vectors and to ascertain the possibility of successfully eliminating malaria using the existing conventional vector control measures, such as indoor residual spraying (IRS) and long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLIN).
Entomological surveys were undertaken during October 2009. To determine species composition and distribution larval surveys were conducted across on the whole island. For malaria transmission studies, adult anophelines were sampled using human landing catches from two villages - one coastal and one inland.
Five Anopheles species were found on Santa Isabel: Anopheles farauti, Anopheles hinesorum, Anopheles lungae, Anopheles solomonis, and Anopheles nataliae. Anopheles hinesorum was the most widespread species. Anopheles farauti was abundant, but found only on the coast. Anopheles punctulatus and Anopheles koliensis were not found. Anopheles farauti was the only species found biting in the coastal village, it was incriminated as a vector in this study; it fed early in the night but equally so indoors and outdoors, and had a low survival rate. Anopheles solomonis was the main species biting humans in the inland village, it was extremely exophagic, with low survival rates, and readily fed on pigs.
The disappearance of the two major vectors, An. punctulatus and An. koliensis, from Santa Isabel and the predominance of An. hinesorum, a non-vector species may facilitate malaria elimination measures. Anopheles farauti was identified as the main coastal vector with An. solomonis as a possible inland vector. The behaviour of An. solomonis is novel as it has not been previously found biting humans in any numbers. Both species appear to be short-lived, a characteristic that will limit their transmission potential. The early night feeding behaviour and a degree of outdoor biting seen in An. farauti and particularly in An. solomonis will require that their response to IRS and LLIN be closely monitored. In coastal villages, where large, favourable breeding sites allow for high numbers of An. farauti may require the addition of larval control to achieve elimination.
Until the middle of the 20th century, yaws was highly endemic and considered a serious public health problem in the Western Pacific Region (WPR), leading to intensive control efforts in the 1950s–1960s. Since then, little attention has been paid to its reemergence. Its current burden is unknown.
This paper presents the results of an extensive literature review, focusing on yaws in the South Pacific.
Available records suggest that the region remains largely free of yaws except for Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. Many clinical cases reported recently were described as “attenuated”; advanced stages are rare. A single intramuscular injection of benzathine penicillin is still effective in curing yaws.
In the Pacific, yaws may be amenable to elimination if adequate resources are provided and political commitment revived. A mapping of yaws prevalence in PNG, Solomon, and Vanuatu is needed before comprehensive country-tailored strategies towards yaws elimination can be developed.
Successful reduction of malaria transmission to very low levels has made Isabel Province, Solomon Islands, a target for early elimination by 2014. High malaria transmission in neighbouring provinces and the potential for local asymptomatic infections to cause malaria resurgence highlights the need for sub-national tailoring of surveillance interventions. This study contributes to a situational analysis of malaria in Isabel Province to inform an appropriate surveillance intervention.
A mixed method study was carried out in Isabel Province in late 2009 and early 2010. The quantitative component was a population-based prevalence survey of 8,554 people from 129 villages, which were selected using a spatially stratified sampling approach to achieve uniform geographical coverage of populated areas. Diagnosis was initially based on Giemsa-stained blood slides followed by molecular analysis using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Local perceptions and practices related to management of fever and treatment-seeking that would impact a surveillance intervention were also explored using qualitative research methods.
Approximately 33% (8,554/26,221) of the population of Isabel Province participated in the survey. Only one subject was found to be infected with Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) (96 parasites/μL) using Giemsa-stained blood films, giving a prevalence of 0.01%. PCR analysis detected a further 13 cases, giving an estimated malaria prevalence of 0.51%. There was a wide geographical distribution of infected subjects. None reported having travelled outside Isabel Province in the previous three months suggesting low-level indigenous malaria transmission. The qualitative findings provide warning signs that the current community vigilance approach to surveillance will not be sufficient to achieve elimination. In addition, fever severity is being used by individuals as an indicator for malaria and a trigger for timely treatment-seeking and case reporting. In light of the finding of a low prevalence of parasitaemia, the current surveillance system may not be able to detect and prevent malaria resurgence.
An adaption to the malERA surveillance framework is proposed and recommendations made for a tailored provincial-level surveillance intervention, which will be essential to achieve elimination, and to maintain this status while the rest of the country catches up.
With the number of people living with dementia expected to more than double within the next 25 years, the demand for dementia home care services will increase. In this critical ethnographic study, we drew upon interview and participant data with persons with dementia, family caregivers, in-home providers, and case managers in nine dementia care networks to examine the management of dementia home care resources. Three interrelated, dialectical themes were identified: (1) finite formal care-inexhaustible familial care, (2) accessible resources rhetoric-Iinaccessible resources reality, and (3) diminishing care resources-increasing care needs. The development of policies and practices that provide available, accessible, and appropriate resources, ensuring equitable, not necessarily equal, distribution of dementia care resources is required if we are to meet the goal of aging in place now and in the future.
The fields of surgery and trauma care have largely been neglected in the global health discussion. As a result the idea that surgery is not safe or cost effective in resource-limited settings has gone unchallenged. The SIGN Online Surgical Database (SOSD) is now one of the largest databases on trauma surgery in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). We wished to examine infection rates and risk factors for infection after IM nail operations in LMIC using this data.
The SOSD contained 46,722 IM nail surgeries in 58 different LMIC; 46,113 IM nail operations were included for analysis.
The overall follow-up rate was 23.1 %. The overall infection rate was 1.0 %, 0.7 % for humerus, 0.8 % for femur, and 1.5 % for tibia fractures. If only nails with registered follow-up (n = 10,684) were included in analyses, infection rates were 2.9 % for humerus, 3.2 % for femur, and 6.9 % for tibia fractures. Prophylactic antibiotics reduced the risk of infection by 29 %. Operations for non-union had a doubled risk of infection. Risk of infection was reduced with increasing income level of the country.
The overall infection rates were low, and well within acceptable levels, suggesting that it is safe to do IM nailing in low-income countries. The fact that operations for non-union have twice the risk of infection compared to primary fracture surgery further supports the use of IM nailing as the primary treatment for femur fractures in LMIC.
Capacity building has been employed in international health and development sectors to describe the process of ‘experts’ from more resourced countries training people in less resourced countries. Hence the concept has an implicit power imbalance based on ‘expert’ knowledge. In 2011, a health research strengthening workshop was undertaken at Atoifi Adventist Hospital, Solomon Islands to further strengthen research skills of the Hospital and College of Nursing staff and East Kwaio community leaders through partnering in practical research projects. The workshop was based on participatory research frameworks underpinned by decolonising methodologies, which sought to challenge historical power imbalances and inequities. Our research question was, “Is research capacity strengthening a two-way process?”
In this qualitative study, five Solomon Islanders and five Australians each responded to four open-ended questions about their experience of the research capacity strengthening workshop and activities: five chose face to face interview, five chose to provide written responses. Written responses and interview transcripts were inductively analysed in NVivo 9.
Six major themes emerged. These were: Respectful relationships; Increased knowledge and experience with research process; Participation at all stages in the research process; Contribution to public health action; Support and sustain research opportunities; and Managing challenges of capacity strengthening. All researchers identified benefits for themselves, their institution and/or community, regardless of their role or country of origin, indicating that the capacity strengthening had been a two-way process.
The flexible and responsive process we used to strengthen research capacity was identified as mutually beneficial. Using community-based participatory frameworks underpinned by decolonising methodologies is assisting to redress historical power imbalances and inequities and is helping to sustain the initial steps taken to establish a local research agenda at Atoifi Hospital. It is our experience that embedding mutuality throughout the research capacity strengthening process has had great benefit and may also benefit researchers from more resourced and less resourced countries wanting to partner in research capacity strengthening activities.
Capacity building; Research capacity strengthening; Health research; Solomon Islands; Atoifi Adventist Hospital; Mutuality
Maternal mortality and morbidity remains high in many low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) represents an underestimated and unrecognised impediment to optimal maternal health in LMIC; left untreated – it also has severe consequences for the offspring. A better understanding of the barriers hindering detection and treatment of GDM is needed. Based on experiences from World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) supported GDM projects this paper seeks to investigate societal and health system barriers to such efforts.
Questionnaires were filled out by 10 WDF supported GDM project partners implementing projects in eight different LMIC. In addition, interviews were conducted with the project partners. The interviews were analysed using content analysis.
Barriers to improving maternal health related to GDM nominated by project implementers included lack of trained health care providers - especially female doctors; high staff turnover; lack of standard protocols, consumables and equipment; financing of health services and treatment; lack of or poor referral systems, feedback mechanisms and follow-up systems; distance to health facility; perceptions of female body size and weight gain/loss in relation to pregnancy; practices related to pregnant women’s diet; societal negligence of women’s health; lack of decision-making power among women regarding their own health; stigmatisation; role of women in society and expectations that the pregnant woman move to her maternal home for delivery.
A number of barriers within the health system and society exist. Programmes need to consider and address these barriers in order to improve GDM care and thereby maternal health in LMIC.
Gestational diabetes mellitus; Health system; Society; Barriers; Low- and middle-income countries
Burden of death and disability resulting from lack of emergency medical system (EMS) and emergency care is very high in low and middle income countries (LMIC).
To study the knowledge, attitudes and practices of pre-hospital care and emergency services among health care providers of Lucknow
Setting and Design
Cross-sectional survey, 200 residents, 104 hospital consultants and 108 private practitioners
Material and Methods
A close ended, self administered questionnaire based on 5-point Likert scale with 30 items of knowledge, attitude and practice of pre-hospital and emergency care
Median scores of knowledge (26/50), attitude (41/50) and practices (27/50) showed less than adequate knowledge and practices. However, a positive attitude was seen in all the 3 group of respondents i.e. resident doctors, hospital consultants and private practitioners.
Lucknow is the capital city of Indian largest state — Uttar Pradesh with over 100 years of established medical education. The results of the study in this town are applicable to most developed cities in India. Lack of adequate knowledge and practices in emergency medical system (EMS) at Lucknow represent a dismal situation and require continuing medical education in this area.
Emergency medical system; Cross-sectional survery; Health care
Purpose: The Internet may be one way to support and improve rehabilitation practice and service delivery in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. Little information exists on use of the Internet to enhance the practice and professional development of community-based rehabilitation (CBR) workers in LMICs. The purpose of this study was to assess the patterns of and barriers to Internet use by CBR workers in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Methods: Participants were CBR workers (physiotherapists, physiatrists, and technicians) from Bosnia and Herzegovina who attended a conference or workshop in 2005. A cross-sectional questionnaire was administered in the local language to assess Internet use. Descriptive results were summarized in tables. Bivariate and multiple logistic regressions were used to assess factors associated with Internet use.
Results: A total of 33% of respondents had never used the Internet. Common barriers to Internet use included “not enough time” (24%), “no access” (23%), and “lack of skill” (18%). Participants with higher levels of education had greater odds of using the Internet than physiotherapy school graduates (odds ratio=7.6, p=0.016) and had greater odds of using the Internet to obtain medical, rehabilitation, or health information (odds ratio=5.8, p=0.028).
Conclusions: Improving CBR workers' access to the Internet and their proficiency in using it may enable them to obtain valuable rehabilitation-related information and enhance communication among CBR workers, potentially translating into improved rehabilitation services for people with disabilities in LMICs.
evidence-based practice; Internet; low-income population; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Réadaptation dans la communauté; pratique fondée sur l'expérience clinique; Internet; pays à faible revenu et à revenu intermédiaire; sondage
In India, private pharmacies are ubiquitous yet critical establishments that facilitate community access to medicines. These are often the first points of treatment seeking in parts of India and other low income settings around the world. The characteristics of these pharmacies including their location, drug availability, human resources and infrastructure have not been studied before. Given the ubiquity and popularity of private pharmacies in India, such information would be useful to harness the potential of these pharmacies to deliver desirable public health outcomes, to facilitate regulation and to involve in initiatives pertaining to rational drug use. This study was a cross sectional survey that mapped private pharmacies in one district on a geographic information system and described relevant characteristics of these units.
This study of pharmacies was a part of larger cross sectional survey carried out to map all the health care providers in Ujjain district (population 1.9 million), Central India, on a geographic information system. Their location vis-à-vis formal providers of health services were studied. Other characteristics like human resources, infrastructure, clients and availability of tracer drugs were also surveyed.
A total 475 private pharmacies were identified in the district. Three-quarter were in urban areas, where they were concentrated around physician practices. In rural areas, pharmacies were located along the main roads. A majority of pharmacies simultaneously retailed medicines from multiple systems of medicine. Tracer parenteral antibiotics and injectable steroids were available in 83.7% and 88.7% pharmacies respectively. The proportion of clients without prescription was 39.04%. Only 11.58% of staff had formal pharmacist qualifications. Power outages were a significant challenge.
This is the first mapping of pharmacies & their characteristics in India. It provides evidence of the urban dominance and close relationship between healthcare provider location and pharmacy location. The implications of this relationship are discussed. The study reports a lack of qualified staff in the presence of a high proportion of clients attending without a prescription. The study highlights the need for the better implementation of regulation. Besides facilitating regulation & partnerships, the data also provides a sampling frame for future interventional studies on these pharmacies.
Purpose of review
Interest in international comparisons of critical illness is growing, but the utility of these studies is questionable. This review examines the challenges of international comparisons and highlights areas where international data provide information relevant to clinical practice and resource allocation.
International comparisons of ICU resources demonstrate that definitions of critical illness and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds vary due to differences in ability to provide organ support and variable staffing. Despite these limitations, recent international data provide key information to understand the pros and cons of different availability of ICU beds on patient flow and outcomes, and also highlight the need to ensure long-term follow-up due to heterogeneity in discharge practices for critically ill patients. With increasing emphasis on curbing costs of healthcare, systems that deliver lower cost care provide data on alternative options, such as regionalization, flexible allocation of beds, and bed rationing.
Differences in provision of critical care can be leveraged to inform decisions on allocation of ICU beds, improve interpretation of clinical outcomes, and assess ways to decrease costs of care. International definitions of key components of critical care are needed to facilitate research and ensure rigorous comparisons.
Critical Care; Epidemiology; Healthcare Delivery; International Perspectives
Many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) lack basic surgical resources, resulting in avoidable disability and mortality. Recently, residents in surgical training programs have shown increasing interest in overseas elective experiences to assist surgical programs in LMICs. The purpose of this study was to survey Canadian surgical residents about their interest in international volunteerism.
We sent a web-based survey to all general and orthopedic surgery residents enrolled in surgical training programs in Canada. The survey assessed residents’ interests, attitudes and motivations, and perceived barriers and aids with respect to international volunteerism.
In all, 361 residents completed the survey for a response rate of 38.0%. Half of the respondents indicated that the availability of an international surgery elective would have positively influenced their selection of a residency program. Excluding the 18 residents who had volunteered during residency, 63.8% of the remaining residents confirmed an interest in international volunteering with “contributing to an important cause,” “teaching” and “tourism/cultural enhancement” as the leading reasons for their interest. Perceived barriers included “lack of financial support” and “lack of available organized opportunities.” All (100%) respondents who had done an international elective during residency confirmed that they would pursue such work in the future.
Administrators of Canadian surgical programs should be aware of strong resident interest in global health care and accordingly develop opportunities by encouraging faculty mentorships and resources for global health teaching.
The objective of this review is to identify and critically evaluate the published literature on emergency medicine (EM) training programs in resource-limited health-care settings in order to provide insight for developing EM training programs in such health systems.
A literature search was conducted up to the end of April 2011 using MEDLINE, EMBASE, The Cochrane Library, EBM Reviews, Healthstar and Web of Science databases, using the following search terms: Emergency Medicine, Emergency Medicine Services, Education Training Residency Programs, Emergency Medical Systems and Medical Education, without limitation to income countries as outlined in the World Bank World Trade Indicators classification 2009-2010 (World Trade Indicators Country Classification by Region and Income, July 2009-July 2010). As the intent of the review was to identify and critically evaluate the literature readily available (published) to LMICs developing EM programs, the gray literature was not searched.
The search yielded 16 articles that met the final inclusion criteria. As the majority of articles provide a narrative description of the processes and building blocks used in developing the residency programs reported, we present our results in narrative format. By providing a summary of the lessons learned to date, we hope to provide a useful starting point for other resource-limited settings interested in establishing emergency medicine specialty training programs and hope to encourage further information exchange on this matter.
The results of the review indicate that EM training is in its infancy in resource-constrained health-care systems. There are few detailed reports of these programs successes and limitations, including efforts to optimize graduate retention. Despite the paucity of currently published data on the development of EM residency training programs in these settings, this review demonstrates the need for encouraging further information exchange to aid in such efforts, and the authors make specific recommendations to help guide future authors on reporting on such efforts.
Emergency medicine; Residency; Training programs; Education
Barriers to global tuberculosis (TB) control include multidrug resistance, HIV infection, and weak health systems. Case detection is critical to TB control and is affected by all three of these. Currently, most low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) rely on direct sputum smear microscopy for diagnosis. Modern culture methods and molecular tests, previously considered too complex or too expensive for implementation in LMICs, are now being introduced there in parallel with a global effort to strengthen laboratories. It remains to be seen whether services based on these tools can be made widely accessible to patients. New point-of-care tests for TB are urgently needed but cannot be expected in the near future. In the meantime, diagnostic tools based on optimized smear microscopy, although less sensitive than reference laboratory tests, may be more accessible and have more impact on case finding. It is a matter of urgency that these improved microscopy services be integrated with services based on rapid methods that can identify multidrug-resistant cases.
Psychosocial and mental health needs in the aftermath of conflict and disaster have attracted substantial attention. In the Solomon Islands, the conceptualisation of mental health, for several decades regarded by policy makers as primarily a health issue, has broadened and been incorporated into the national development and social policy agendas, reflecting recognition of the impact of conflict and rapid social change on the psychosocial wellbeing of the community as a whole. We sought to understand how mental health and psychosocial wellbeing were seen at the community level, the extent to which these issues were identified as being associated with periods of 'tension', violence and instability, and the availability of traditional approaches and Ministry of Health services to address these problems.
This article reports the findings of qualitative research conducted in a rural district on the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Key informant interviews were conducted with community leaders, and focus groups were held with women, men and young people. Wellbeing was defined broadly.
Problems of common concern included excessive alcohol and marijuana use, interpersonal violence and abuse, teenage pregnancy, and lack of respect and cooperation. Troubled individuals and their families sought help for mental problems from various sources including chiefs, church leaders and traditional healers and, less often, trauma support workers, health clinic staff and police. Substance-related problems presented special challenges, as there were no traditional solutions at the individual or community level. Severe mental illness was also a challenge, with few aware that a community mental health service existed. Contrary to our expectations, conflict-related trauma was not identified as a major problem by the community who were more concerned about the economic and social sequelae of the conflict.
Communities identify and are responding to a wide range of mental health challenges; the health system generally can do more to learn about how this is being done, and build more comprehensive services and policy on this foundation. The findings underscore the need to promote awareness of those services which are available, to extend mental health care beyond urban centres to rural villages where the majority of the population live, and to promote community input to policy so as to ensure that it 'fits' the context.