• Anaesthesia care providers employed in humanitarian settings by Médecins Sans Frontières: a retrospective observational study of 173 084 surgical cases over 10 years

      Kudsk-Iversen, S; Trelles, M; Ngowa Bakebaanitsa, E; Hagabimana, L; Momen, A; Helmand, R; Saint Victor, C; Shah, K; Masu, A; Kendell, J; et al. (The BMJ, 2020-03-04)
      OBJECTIVE: To describe the extent to which different categories of anaesthesia provider are used in humanitarian surgical projects and to explore the volume and nature of their surgical workload. DESIGN: Descriptive analysis using 10 years (2008-2017) of routine case-level data linked with routine programme-level data from surgical projects run exclusively by Médecins Sans Frontières-Operational Centre Brussels (MSF-OCB). SETTING: Projects were in contexts of natural disaster (ND, entire expatriate team deployed by MSF-OCB), active conflict (AC) and stable healthcare gaps (HG). In AC and HG settings, MSF-OCB support pre-existing local facilities. Hospital facilities ranged from basic health centres with surgical capabilities to tertiary referral centres. PARTICIPANTS: The full dataset included 178 814 surgical cases. These were categorised by most senior anaesthetic provider for the project, according to qualification: specialist physician anaesthesiologists, qualified nurse anaesthetists and uncertified anaesthesia providers. PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURE: Volume and nature of surgical workload of different anaesthesia providers. RESULTS: Full routine data were available for 173 084 cases (96.8%): 2518 in ND, 42 225 in AC, 126 936 in HG. Anaesthesia was predominantly led by physician anaesthesiologists (100% in ND, 66% in AC and HG), then nurse anaesthetists (19% in AC and HG) or uncertified anaesthesia providers (15% in AC and HG). Across all settings and provider groups, patients were mostly healthy young adults (median age range 24-27 years), with predominantly females in HG contexts, and males in AC contexts. Overall intra-operative mortality was 0.2%. CONCLUSION: Our findings contribute to existing knowledge of the nature of anaesthetic provision in humanitarian settings, while demonstrating the value of high-quality, routine data collection at scale in this sector. Further evaluation of perioperative outcomes associated with different models of humanitarian anaesthetic provision is required.
    • Are American Surgical Residents Prepared for Humanitarian Deployment?: A Comparative Analysis of Resident and Humanitarian Case Logs

      Lin, Y; Dahm, J; Kushner, A; Lawrence, J; Trelles, M; Dominguez, L; Kuwayama, D (Springer International Publishing, 2017-08-04)
      Effective humanitarian surgeons require skills in general surgery, OB/GYN, orthopedics, and urology. With increasing specialization, it is unclear whether US general surgery residents are receiving exposure to these disparate fields. We sought to assess the preparedness of graduating American surgical residents for humanitarian deployment.
    • Association Between Gender, Surgery and Mortality for Patients Treated at Médecins Sans Frontières Trauma Centre in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

      Tounsi, LL; Daebes, HL; Warnberg, MG; Jaweed, M; Mamozai, BA; Nasim, M; Drevin, G; Trelles, M; von Schreeb, J (Springer, 2019-05-07)
      INTRODUCTION: There is paucity of literature describing type of injury and care for females in conflicts. This study aimed to describe the injury pattern and outcome in terms of surgery and mortality for female patients presenting to Médecins Sans Frontières Trauma Centre in Kunduz, Afghanistan, and compare them with males. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study retrospectively analysed patient data from 17,916 patients treated at the emergency department in Kunduz between January and September 2015, before its destruction by aerial bombing in October the same year. Routinely collected data on patient characteristics, injury patterns, triage category, time to arrival and outcome were retrieved and analysed. Comparative analyses were conducted using logistic regression. RESULTS: Females constituted 23.6% of patients. Burns and back injuries were more common among females (1.4% and 3.3%) than among males (0.6% and 2.0%). In contrast, open wounds and thoracic injuries were more common among males (10.1% and 0.6%) than among females (5.2% and 0.2%). Females were less likely to undergo surgery (OR 0.60, CI 0.528-0.688), and this remained significant after adjustment for age, nature of injury, triage category, multiple injuries and delay to arrival (OR 0.80, CI 0.690-0.926). Females also had lower unadjusted odds of mortality (OR 0.49, CI 0.277-0.874), but this was not significant in the adjusted analysis (OR 0.81, CI 0.446-1.453). CONCLUSION: Our main findings suggest that females seeking care at Kunduz Trauma Centre arrived later, had different injury patterns and were less likely to undergo surgery as compared to males.
    • Averted Health Burden Over 4 Years at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Trauma Centre in Kunduz, Afghanistan, Prior to its Closure in 2015

      Trelles, M; Stewart, B T; Hemat, H; Naseem, M; Zaheer, S; Zakir, M; Adel, E; Van Overloop, C; Kushner, A L (Elsevier, 2016-07)
    • Cesarean Section Surgical Site Infections in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Multi-Country Study from Medecins Sans Frontieres

      Chu, K; Maine, R; Trelles, M (SpringerLink, 2014-10-31)
      Surgical site infections (SSI) are a significant cause of post-surgical morbidity and mortality and can be an indicator of surgical quality. The objectives of this study were to measure post-operative SSI after cesarean section (CS) at four sites in three sub-Saharan African countries and to describe the associated risk factors in order to improved quality of care in low and middle income surgical programs.
    • Comparison of Operative Logbook Experience of Australian General Surgical Trainees With Surgeons Deployed on Humanitarian Missions: What Can Be Learnt for the Future?

      Coventry, CA; Dominguez, L; Read, DJ; Trelles, M; Ivers, RQ; Montazerolghaem, M; Holland, AJA (Elsevier, 2019-08-23)
      OBJECTIVE: General surgical training in Australia has undergone considerable change in recent years with less exposure to other areas of surgery. General surgeons from many high-income countries have played important roles in assisting with the provision of surgical care in low- and middle-income countries during sudden-onset disasters (SODs) as part of emergency medical teams (EMTs). It is not known if contemporary Australian general surgeons are receiving the broad surgical training required for work in EMTs. DESIGN: Logbook data on the surgical procedures performed by Australian general surgical trainees were obtained from General Surgeons Australia (GSA) for the time period February 2008 to February 2017. Surgical procedures performed by Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) surgeons during 5 projects in 3 SODs (the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2013 Philippines typhoon and the 2015 Nepal earthquake) were obtained from previously published data for 6 months following each disaster. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: This was carried out at the University of Sydney with input from MSF Operational Centre Brussels and GSA. RESULTS: Australian general surgical trainees performed a mean of 2107 surgical procedures (excluding endoscopy) during their training (10 6-month rotations). Common procedures included abdominal wall hernia repairs (268, 12.7%), cholecystectomies (247, 11.8%), and specialist colorectal procedures (242, 11.5%). MSF surgeons performed a total of 3542 surgical procedures across the 5 projects analyzed. Common procedures included Caesarean sections (443, 12.5%), wound debridement (1115, 31.5%), and other trauma-related procedures (472, 13.3%). CONCLUSIONS: Australian general surgical trainees receive exposure to both essential and advanced general surgery but lack exposure to specialty procedures including the obstetric and orthopedic procedures commonly performed by MSF surgeons after SODs. Further training in these areas would likely be beneficial for general surgeons prior to deployment with an EMT.
    • A Consensus Framework for the Humanitarian Surgical Response to Armed Conflict in 21st Century Warfare

      Wren, S; Wild, H; Gurney, J; Amirtharajah, M; Osmers, I; Pagano, H; Trelles, M; Brown, ZW; Burckle, FM (2019-11-13)
      Importance: Armed conflict in the 21st century poses new challenges to a humanitarian surgical response, including changing security requirements, access to patients, and communities in need, limited deployable surgical assets, resource constraints, and the requirement to address both traumatic injuries as well as emergency surgical needs of the population. At the same time, recent improvements in trauma care and systems have reduced injury-related mortality. This combination of new challenges and medical capabilities warrants reconsideration of long-standing humanitarian surgery protocols. Objective: To describe a consensus framework for surgical care designed to respond to this emerging need. Design, Setting, and Participants: An international group of 35 representatives from humanitarian agencies, US military, and academic trauma programs was invited to the Stanford Humanitarian Surgical Response in Conflict Working Group to engage in a structured process to review extant trauma protocols and make recommendations for revision. Main Outcomes and Measures: The working group's method adapted core elements of a modified Delphi process combined with consensus development conference from August 3 to August 5, 2018. Results: Lessons from civilian and military trauma systems as well as recent battlefield experiences in humanitarian settings were integrated into a tiered continuum of response from point of injury through rehabilitation. The framework addresses the security and medical requirements as well as ethical and legal principles that guide humanitarian action. The consensus framework includes trained, lay first responders; far-forward resuscitation/stabilization centers; rapid damage control surgical access; and definitive care facilities. The system also includes nontrauma surgical care, injury prevention, quality improvement, data collection, and predeployment training requirements. Conclusions and Relevance: Evidence suggests that modern trauma systems save lives. However, the requirements of providing this standard of care in insecure conflict settings places new burdens on humanitarian systems that must provide both emergency and trauma surgical care. This consensus framework integrates advances in trauma care and surgical systems in response to a changing security environment. It is possible to reduce disparities and improve the standard of care in these settings.
    • Emergency Obstetric Care in a Rural District of Burundi: What Are the Surgical Needs?

      De Plecker, E; Zachariah, R; Kumar, A M V; Trelles, M; Caluwaerts, S; van den Boogaard, W; Manirampa, J; Tayler-Smith, K; Manzi, M; Nanan-N'zeth, K; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2017-02-07)
      In a rural district hospital in Burundi offering Emergency Obstetric care-(EmOC), we assessed the a) characteristics of women at risk of, or with an obstetric complication and their types b) the number and type of obstetric surgical procedures and anaesthesia performed c) human resource cadres who performed surgery and anaesthesia and d) hospital exit outcomes.
    • Improving Effective Surgical Delivery in Humanitarian Disasters: Lessons from Haiti

      Chu, K; Stokes, C; Trelles, M; Ford, N; Médecins sans Frontières, Cape Town, South Africa; Medecins sans Frontieres, Brussels, Belgium; Medecins sans Frontieres, Geneva, Switzerland (2011-04-26)
      Kathryn Chu and colleagues describe the experiences of Médecins sans Frontières after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and discuss how to improve delivery of surgery in humanitarian disasters.
    • Introduction of a standardised protocol, including systematic use of tranexamic acid, for management of severe adult trauma patients in a low-resource setting: the MSF experience from Port-au-Prince, Haiti

      Jachetti, A; Massenat, RB; Edema, N; Woolley, SC; Benedetti, G; Van Den Bergh, R; Trelles, M (BioMed Central, 2019-10-18)
      Background Bleeding is an important cause of death in trauma victims. In 2010, the CRASH-2 study, a multicentre randomized control trial on the effect of tranexamic acid (TXA) administration to trauma patients with suspected significant bleeding, reported a decreased mortality in randomized patients compared to placebo. Currently, no evidence on the use of TXA in humanitarian, low-resource settings is available. We aimed to measure the hospital outcomes of adult patients with severe traumatic bleeding in the Médecins Sans Frontières Tabarre Trauma Centre in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, before and after the implementation of a Massive Haemorrhage protocol including systematic early administration of TXA. Methods Patients admitted over comparable periods of four months (December2015- March2016 and December2016 - March2017) before and after the implementation of the Massive Haemorrhage protocol were investigated. Included patients had blunt or penetrating trauma, a South Africa Triage Score ≥ 7, were aged 18–65 years and were admitted within 3 h from the traumatic event. Measured outcomes were hospital mortality and early mortality rates, in-hospital time to discharge and time to discharge from intensive care unit. Results One-hundred and sixteen patients met inclusion criteria. Patients treated after the introduction of the Massive Haemorrhage protocol had about 70% less chance of death during hospitalization compared to the group “before” (adjusted odds ratio 0.3, 95%confidence interval 0.1–0.8). They also had a significantly shorter hospital length of stay (p = 0.02). Conclusions Implementing a Massive Haemorrhage protocol including early administration of TXA was associated with the reduced mortality and hospital stay of severe adult blunt and penetrating trauma patients in a context with poor resources and limited availability of blood products.
    • North American pediatric surgery fellows' preparedness for humanitarian surgery

      Traynor, MD; Trelles, M; Hernandez, MC; Dominguez, LB; Kushner, AL; Rivera, M; Zielinski, MD; Moir, CR (Elsevier, 2019-11-29)
      Introduction: The overwhelming burden of pediatric surgical need in humanitarian settings has prompted mutual interest between humanitarian organizations and pediatric surgeons. To assess adequate fit, we correlated pediatric surgery fellowship case mix and load with acute pediatric surgical relief efforts in conflict and disaster zones. Methods: We reviewed pediatric (age < 18) cases logged by the Médecins Sans Frontières Operational Centre Brussels (MSF-OCB) from a previously validated and published database spanning 2008-2014 and cases performed by American College of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) pediatric surgery graduates from 2008 to 2018. Non-operative management for trauma, endoscopic procedures, and basic wound care were excluded as they were not tracked in either dataset. ACGME procedures were classified under 1 of 32 MSF pediatric surgery procedure categories and compared using chi-squared tests. Results: ACGME fellows performed procedures in 44% of tracked MSF-OCB categories. Major MSF-OCB pediatric cases were comprised of 62% general surgery, 23% orthopedic surgery, 9% obstetrical surgery, 3% plastic/reconstructive surgery, 2% urogynecologic surgery, and 1% specialty surgery. In comparison, fellows' cases were 95% general surgery, 0% orthopedic surgery, 0% obstetrical surgery, 5% urogynecologic surgery, and 1% specialty surgery. Fellows more frequently performed abdominal, thoracic, other general surgical, urology/gynecologic, and specialty procedures, but performed fewer wound and burn procedures (all p < 0.05). Fellows received no experience in Cesarean section or open fracture repair. Fellows performed a greater proportion of surgeries for congenital conditions (p < 0.05). Conclusion: While ACGME pediatric surgical trainees receive significant training in general and urogynecologic surgical techniques, they lack sufficient case load for orthopedic and obstetrical care - a common need among children in humanitarian settings. Trainees and program directors should evaluate the fellow's role and scope in a global surgery rotation or provide advanced preparation to fill these gaps. Upon graduation, pediatric surgeons interested in humanitarian missions should seek out additional orthopedic and obstetrical training, or select missions that do not require such skillsets.
    • Operative mortality in resource-limited settings: the experience of Medecins Sans Frontieres in 13 countries.

      Chu, K M; Ford, N; Trelles, M; Medecines Sans Frontieres (2010-08)
      OBJECTIVE: To determine operative mortality in surgical programs from resource-limited settings. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A retrospective cohort study of 17 surgical programs in 13 developing countries by 1 humanitarian organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, was performed between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2008. Participants included patients undergoing surgical procedures. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Operative mortality. Determinants of mortality were modeled using logistic regression. RESULTS: Between 2001 and 2008, 19,643 procedures were performed on 18,653 patients. Among these, 8329 procedures (42%) were emergent; 7933 (40%) were for obstetric-related pathology procedures and 2767 (14%) were trauma related. Operative mortality was 0.2% (31 deaths) and was associated with programs in conflict settings (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 4.6; P = .001), procedures performed under emergency conditions (AOR = 20.1; P = .004), abdominal surgical procedures (AOR = 3.4; P = .003), hysterectomy (AOR = 12.3; P = .001), and American Society of Anesthesiologists classifications of 3 to 5 (AOR = 20.2; P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Surgical care can be provided safely in resource-limited settings with appropriate minimum standards and protocols. Studies on the burden of surgical disease in these populations are needed to improve service planning and delivery. Quality improvement programs are needed for the various stakeholders involved in surgical delivery in these settings.
    • Operative Procedures in the Elderly in Low-Resource Settings: A Review of Médecins Sans Frontières Facilities

      Wong, E G; Trelles, M; Dominguez, L; Mupenda Mwania, J; Kasonga Tshibangu, C; Haq Saqeb, S; Hazrati, K U R; Gupta, S; Burnham, G; Kushner, A L (SpringerLink, 2014-12-02)
      As the demographic transition occurs across developing countries, an increasing number of elderly individuals are affected by disasters and conflicts. This study aimed to evaluate the elderly population that underwent an operative procedure at MSF facilities.
    • Operative Procedures in the Elderly in Low-Resource Settings: A Review of Médecins Sans Frontières Facilities: Reply

      Wong, E G; Trelles, M; Dominguez, L; Mupenda Mwania, J; Kasonga Tshibangu, C; Saqeb, S H; Hazrati, K U R; Gupta, S; Burnham, G; Kushner, A L (SpringerLink, 2015-04-22)
    • Providing Anesthesia Care in Resource-limited Settings: A 6-year Analysis of Anesthesia Services Provided at Médecins Sans Frontières Facilities

      Ariyo, P; Trelles, M; Helmand, R; Amir, Y; Hassani, G H; Mftavyanka, J; Nzeyimana, Z; Akemani, C; Ntawukiruwabo, I B; Charles, A; et al. (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016-03-01)
      Anesthesia is integral to improving surgical care in low-resource settings. Anesthesia providers who work in these areas should be familiar with the particularities associated with providing care in these settings, including the types and outcomes of commonly performed anesthetic procedures.
    • Providing surgical care in Somalia: A model of task shifting.

      Chu, K M; Ford, N P; Trelles, M; Médecins sans Frontières, 49 Jorrisen St, Braamfontein 2017, Johannesburg, South Africa. kathryn_chu@yahoo.com. (2011-07)
      ABSTRACT:
    • Quality of Care in Humanitarian Surgery

      Chu, K M; Trelles, M; Ford, N P; Médecins Sans Frontières-South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa; Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA; Médecins Sans Frontières–Belgium, Brussels, Belgium (2011-04-13)
      Humanitarian surgical programs are set up de novo, within days or hours in emergency or disaster settings. In such circumstances, insuring quality of care is extremely challenging. Basic structural inputs such as a safe structure, electricity, clean water, a blood bank, sterilization equipment, a post-anesthesia recovery unit, appropriate medications should be established. Currently, no specific credentials are needed for surgeons to operate in a humanitarian setting; the training of more humanitarian surgeons is desperately needed. Standard perioperative protocols for the humanitarian setting after common procedures such as Cesarean section, burn care, open fractures, and amputations and antibiotic prophylaxis, and post-operative pain management must be developed. Outcome data, especially long-term outcomes, are difficult to collect as patients often do not return for follow-up and may be difficult to trace; standard databases for post-operative infections and mortality rates should be established. Checklists have recently received significant attention as an instrument to support the improvement of surgical quality; knowing which items are most applicable to humanitarian settings remains unknown. In conclusion, the quality of surgical services in humanitarian settings must be regulated. Many other core medical activities of humanitarian organizations such as therapeutic feeding, mass vaccination, and the treatment of infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus, are subject to rigorous reporting of quality indicators. There is no reason why surgery should be exempted from quality oversight. The surgical humanitarian community should pull together before the next disaster strikes.
    • Regional Anesthesia for Painful Injuries after Disasters (RAPID): Study Protocol For A Randomized Controlled Trial

      Levine, AC; Teicher, C; Aluisio, AR; Wiskel, T; Valles, P; Trelles, M; Glavis-Bloom, J; Grais, RF (BioMed Central, 2016-11-14)
      Lower extremity trauma during earthquakes accounts for the largest burden of disaster-related injuries. Insufficient pain management is common in resource-limited disaster settings, and regional anesthesia (RA) may reduce pain in injured patients beyond current standards of care. To date, no controlled trials have been conducted to evaluate the use of RA for pain management in a disaster setting.
    • Rethinking surgical care in conflict.

      Chu, K; Trelles, M; Ford, N; Médecins Sans Frontières, Braamfontein 2017, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. (2010-01-23)
    • South African General Surgeon Preparedness for Humanitarian Disasters

      Chu, KM; Karjiker, P; Naidu, P; Kruger, D; Taylor, A; Trelles, M; Dominguez, L; Rayne, S (Springer, 2018-12-06)
      Background Humanitarian medical organizations provide surgical care for a broad range of conditions including general surgical (GS), obstetric and gynecologic (OBGYN), orthopedic (ORTHO), and urologic (URO) conditions in unstable contexts. The most common humanitarian operation is cesarean section. The objective of this study was to identify the proportion of South African general surgeons who had operative experience and current competency in GS, OBGYN, ORTHO, and URO humanitarian operations in order to evaluate their potential for working in humanitarian disasters. Methods This was a cross-sectional online survey of South African general surgeons administered from November 2017–July 2018. Rotations in OBGYN, ORTHO, and URO were quantified. Experience and competency in eighteen humanitarian operations were queried. Results There were 154 SA general surgeon participants. Prior to starting general surgery (GS) residency, 129 (83%) had OBGYN, 125 (81%) ORTHO, and 84 (54%) URO experience. Experience and competency in humanitarian procedures by specialty included: 96% experience and 95% competency for GS, 71% experience and 51% com- petency for OBGYN, 77% experience and 66% competency for ORTHO, and 86% experience and 81% competency for URO. 82% reported training, and 51% competency in cesarean section. Conclusions SA general surgeons are potentially well suited for humanitarian surgery. This study has shown that most SA general surgeons received training in OBGYN, ORTHO, and URO prior to residency and many maintain competence in the corresponding humanitarian operations. Other low- to middle-income countries may also have broad-based surgery training, and the potential for their surgeons to offer humanitarian assistance should be further investigated.