ABSTRACT: For most of the population in Africa, district hospitals represent the first level of access for emergency and essential surgical services. The present study documents the number and availability of surgical and obstetrical care providers as well as the types of surgical and obstetrical procedures being performed at 10 first-referral district hospitals in Ghana.
After institutional review board and governmental approval, a study team composed of Ghanaian and American surgeons performed on-site surveys at 10 district hospitals in 10 different regions of Ghana in August 2009. Face-to-face interviews were conducted documenting the numbers and availability of surgical and obstetrical personnel as well as gathering data relating to the number and types of procedures being performed at the facilities.
A total of 68 surgical and obstetrical providers were interviewed. Surgical and obstetrical care providers consisted of Medical Officers (8.5%), nurse anesthetists (6%), theatre nurses (33%), midwives (50.7%), and others (4.5%). Major surgical cases represented 37% of overall case volumes with cesarean section as the most common type of major surgical procedure performed. The most common minor surgical procedures performed were suturing of lacerations or episiotomies.
The present study demonstrates that there is a substantial shortage of adequately trained surgeons who can perform surgical and obstetrical procedures at first-referral facilities. Addressing human resource needs and further defining practice constraints at the district hospital level are important facets of future planning and policy implementation.
Journal of Surgical Research 12/2011; 171(2):461-6. · 2.25 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: To document the quality of training and experience of those who care for patients undergoing surgery and emergency obstetrical procedures at 10 government district hospitals in Ghana.
A study team composed of Ghanaian and U.S. surgeons visited 10 district hospitals in 10 different regions of Ghana in August 2009. On-site interviews were conducted documenting the formal and informal training and the experience of the medical officers (MOs) performing in surgical facilities in these hospitals.
Fourteen of the 17 MOs working at these facilities were available for interviews. All 14 had completed two years of housemanship, which is similar to a rotating internship. Only one had obtained any formal surgical training beyond the housemanship, although all were responsible for performing major surgical procedures. The formal training under qualified supervision during the housemanship was limited; the mean number of the most common major surgical procedures performed during training ranged from four to eight, depending on the procedure.
Even though formal general surgical residency training in Ghana is well developed, graduates of these programs are not working in the district hospitals surveyed. The majority of surgical services provided at the district hospital are provided by MOs, who would benefit from more comprehensive training and ongoing supervision. To help meet the challenge of a shortage of physicians working at district hospitals, the authors present alternative approaches to care described in the literature that involve nonphysician midlevel health providers.
Academic medicine: journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 02/2011; 86(4):529-33. · 2.34 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: To survey infrastructure characteristics, personnel, equipment and procedures of surgical, obstetric and anaesthesia care in 17 hospitals in Ghana.
The assessment was completed by WHO country offices using the World Health Organization Tool for Situational Analysis to Assess Emergency and Essential Surgical Care, which surveyed infrastructure, human resources, types of surgical interventions and equipment in each facility.
Overall, hospitals were well equipped with general patient care and surgical supplies. The majority of hospitals had a basic laboratory (100%), running water (94%) and electricity (82%). More than 75% had the basic supplies needed for general patient care and basic intra-operative care, including sterilization. Almost all hospitals were able to perform major surgical procedures such as caesarean sections (88%), herniorrhaphy (100%) and appendectomy (94%), but formal training of providers was limited: a few hospitals had a fully qualified surgeon (29%) or obstetrician (36%) available.
The greatest barrier to improving surgical care at district hospitals in Ghana is the shortage of adequately trained medical personnel for emergency and essential surgical procedures. Important future steps include strengthening their number and qualifications.
Tropical Medicine & International Health 07/2010; 15(9):1109-15. · 2.80 Impact Factor