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World J Surg ; 46(5): 984-993, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1838304


BACKGROUND: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on surgical care delivery in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) has been challenging to assess due to a lack of data. This study examines the impact of COVID-19 on pediatric surgical volumes at four LMIC hospitals. METHODS: Retrospective and prospective pediatric surgical data collected at hospitals in Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Nigeria, and Zambia were reviewed from January 2019 to April 2021. Changes in surgical volume were assessed using interrupted time series analysis. RESULTS: 6078 total operations were assessed. Before the pandemic, overall surgical volume increased by 21 cases/month (95% CI 14 to 28, p < 0.001). From March to April 2020, the total surgical volume dropped by 32%, or 110 cases (95% CI - 196 to - 24, p = 0.014). Patients during the pandemic were younger (2.7 vs. 3.3 years, p < 0.001) and healthier (ASA I 69% vs. 66%, p = 0.003). Additionally, they experienced lower rates of post-operative sepsis (0.3% vs 1.5%, p < 0.001), surgical site infections (1.3% vs 5.8%, p < 0.001), and mortality (1.6% vs 3.1%, p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, children's surgery in LMIC saw a sharp decline in total surgical volume by a third in the month following March 2020, followed by a slow recovery afterward. Patients were healthier with better post-operative outcomes during the pandemic, implying a widening disparity gap in surgical access and exacerbating challenges in addressing the large unmet burden of pediatric surgical disease in LMICs with a need for immediate mitigation strategies.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Hospitals , Humans , Interrupted Time Series Analysis , Prospective Studies , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
Pediatr Surg Int ; 37(9): 1221-1233, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1195154


PURPOSE: We aimed to understand the challenges facing children's surgical care providers globally and realistic interventions to mitigate the catastrophic impact of COVID-19 on children's surgery. METHODS: Two online Action Planning Forums (APFs) were organized by the Global Initiative for Children's Surgery (GICS) with a geographically diverse panel representing four children's surgical, anesthesia, and nursing subspecialties. Qualitative analysis was performed to identify codes, themes, and subthemes. RESULTS: The most frequently reported challenges were delayed access to care for children; fear among the public and patients; unavailability of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE); diversion of resources toward COVID-19 care; and interruption in student and trainee hands-on education. To address these challenges, panelists recommended human resource and funding support to minimize backlog; setting up international, multi-center studies for systematic data collection specifically for children; providing online educational opportunities for trainees and students in the form of large and small group discussions; developing best practice guidelines; and, most importantly, adapting solutions to local needs. CONCLUSION: Identification of key challenges and interventions to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global children's surgery via an objective, targeted needs assessment serves as an essential first step. Key interventions in these areas are underway.

COVID-19 , General Surgery/organization & administration , Pediatrics/organization & administration , COVID-19 Testing , Child , Communicable Disease Control , Female , Humans , Male , Pandemics , Specialties, Surgical/organization & administration
BMJ Paediatr Open ; 4(1): e000732, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-760258


INTRODUCTION: The novel coronavirus disease has had significant impact on healthcare globally. Knowledge of this virus is evolving, definitive care is not yet known and mortality is increasing. We assessed its initial impact on paediatric surgical practice in Nigeria, creating a benchmark for recommendations and future reference. METHODS: Survey of 120 paediatric surgeons from 50 centres to assess sociodemographics and specific domains of impact of COVID-19 on their services and training in Nigeria. Valid responses were represented as categorical data and presented in percentages. Duplicate submissions for centres were excluded by combining and taking the mean of responses from centres with multiple respondents. RESULTS: Response rate was 74 (61%). Forty-six (92%) centres had suspended elective surgeries. All centres continued emergency surgeries but volume reduced in March by 31%. Eleven (22%) centres reported 13 suspended elective cases presenting as emergencies in March, accounting for 3% of total emergency surgeries. Twelve (24%) centres adopted new modalities for managing selected surgical conditions: non-operative reduction of intussusception in 1 (2%), antibiotic management of uncomplicated acute appendicitis in 5 (10%) and more conservative management of trauma and replacement of laparoscopic appendectomy with open surgery in 3 (6%), respectively. Low perception of adequacy of personal protective equipment (PPE) was reported in 35 (70%) centres. Forty (80%) centres did not offer telemedicine for patients' follow-up. Twenty-nine (58%) centres had suspended academic training. Perception of safety to operate was low in 37 (50%) respondents, indifferent in 24% and high in 26%. CONCLUSION: Majority of paediatric surgical centres reported cessation of elective surgeries while continuing emergencies. There was, however, an acute decline in the volume of emergency surgeries. Adequate PPE needs to be provided and preparations towards handling backlog of elective surgeries once the pandemic recedes. Further study is planned to more conclusively understand the full impact of this pandemic on children's surgery.