Self-reported barriers to pediatric surgical care in Guatemala.
Access to pediatric surgical care is limited in low- and middle-income countries. Barriers must be identified before improvements can be made. This pilot study aimed to identify self-reported barriers to pediatric surgical care in Guatemala. We surveyed 78 families of Guatemalan children with surgical conditions who were seen at a pediatric surgical clinic in Guatemala City. Spanish translators were used to complete questionnaires regarding perceived barriers to surgical care. Surgical conditions included hernias, rectal prolapse, anorectal malformations, congenital heart defects, cryptorchidism, soft tissue masses, and vestibulourethral reflux. Average patient age was 8.2 years (range, 1 month to 17 years) with male predominance (62%). Families reported an average symptom duration of 3.7 years before clinic evaluation. Families traveled a variety of distances to obtain surgical care: 36 per cent were local (less than 10 km), 17 per cent traveled 10 to 50 km, and 47 per cent traveled greater than 50 km. Other barriers to surgery included financial (58.9%), excessive wait time in the national healthcare system (10. 2%), distrust of local surgeons (37.2%), and geographic inaccessibility to surgical care (10.2%). The majority of study patients required outpatient procedures, which could improve their quality of life. Many barriers to pediatric surgical care exist in Guatemala. Interventions to remove these obstacles may enhance access to surgery and benefit children in low- and middle-income countries.
Nguyen, K; Bhattacharya, SD; Maloney, MJ; Figueroa, L; Taicher, BM; Ross, S; Rice, HE
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