Burden and Outcomes of Neonatal Surgery in Uganda: Results of a Five-Year Prospective Study.
BACKGROUND: Ninety-four percent of congenital anomalies occur in low- and middle-income countries. In Uganda, only three pediatric surgeons and three pediatric anesthesiologists serve more than 20 million children. This study estimates burden, outcomes, coverage, and economic benefit of neonatal surgical conditions in Uganda. METHODS: A prospectively collected database was reviewed for neonatal surgical admissions from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2017, at the only two sites with specialist pediatric surgical coverage. Outcomes were compared with high-income countries. Met and unmet need were estimated using disability-adjusted life years. Economic benefit was estimated using a value of statistical life-year approach. RESULTS: For 1313 neonatal admissions, the median age of presentation was 3 d, overall mortality was 36%, and median distance traveled was 40 km. Anorectal malformations were most common (18%). Postoperative mortality was 24%. Mortality was significantly associated with surgical intervention (P < 0.0001). Met need was 4181 disability-adjusted life years per year, which corresponds to a $3.5 million net economic benefit to Uganda, with a potential additional benefit of $153 million if unmet need were fully addressed. Approximately 2% of the total need is met by the health care system. CONCLUSIONS: Neonatal surgery is associated with improved survival for most conditions. Despite increases in workforce and infrastructure, a limited proportion of the need for neonatal surgery is currently being met. This is multifactorial, including lack of access to surgical care and severe shortages of workforce and infrastructure. Current and potential economic benefit to Uganda appears substantial.
Ullrich, SJ; Kakembo, N; Grabski, DF; Cheung, M; Kisa, P; Nabukenya, M; Tumukunde, J; Fitzgerald, TN; Langer, M; Situma, M; Sekabira, J; Ozgediz, D
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