Scielo RSS <![CDATA[SAMJ: South African Medical Journal]]> vol. 112 num. 10 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Have we forgotten about HIV?</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>A descriptive study of the spectrum of dermatological surgery services provided by the University of KwaZulu-Natal Department of Dermatology at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>The South African Health Reforms 2015 -2020: The Road Ahead</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Dolutegravir as first-line antiretroviral therapy in South Africa: Beware the one-size-fits-all approach</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Fetal intervention (EXIT procedure) for a rare fetal abnormality in a public sector hospital in South Africa - exploring what is possible</b>]]> Congenital high airway obstruction syndrome (CHAOS) is a rare condition that can be diagnosed antenatally by ultrasound. It is usually lethal without immediate intervention at delivery. A 24-year-old woman was diagnosed with fetal CHAOS at 27 weeks' gestation. The couple declined termination of pregnancy. A multidisciplinary team including obstetricians, geneticists, paediatric surgeons, neonatologists and anaesthetists was constituted to plan an ex utero intrapartum treatment (EXIT) procedure. After several simulations, a caesarean section was performed at 38 weeks' gestation under deep inhalational anaesthesia. The fetus was fully delivered with placenta remaining in utero to maintain perfusion. A surgical airway was established via tracheostomy in approximately 5 minutes. The operation was then completed with no maternal complications. The child remains well at 3 years of age. To our knowledge, this is the first EXIT procedure performed for CHAOS in the public sector. This procedure can be lifesaving and is possible with proper planning. <![CDATA[<b>Evaluating the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio as an indicator for early referral of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia to a high-care facility</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Early identification of patients at high risk of severe disease requiring referral and treatment at a high-care facility is imperative in the management of COVID-19 pneumonia in a limited-resource setting, as transfer of unstable patients can be detrimental OBJECTIVES: To examine the value of the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) calculated on admission to a healthcare facility as a predictor of the need for early referral to a high-care facility for further treatment METHODS: We designed a cohort analytical study of 198 patients with COVID-19 pneumonia admitted to the COVID-19 unit at Universitas Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein, South Africa, between 20 May and 30 September 2021 RESULTS: Of the 198 patients enrolled in the study, 134 (67.7%) were admitted to high care and 93 (46.9%) died. The median (interquartile range (IQR)) NLR measured on admission to the hospital was 8.09 (4.90 - 14.86), and the NLR ranged from 0.26 to 136.7. The admission NLR was statistically significantly higher in the high-care group v. the general ward group (p<0.001). After converting the NLR to log scale, to bring it closer to conditional normality, logistic regression analysis identified log NLR (odds ratio (OR) 4.089; 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.464 - 6.787; p<0.001) and age (OR 1.029; 95% CI 1.004 - 1.056; p=0.024) as significant in determining who will require high care. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the combined model of NLR and age was 0.829 (95% CI 0.767 - 0.891). An NLR cut-off value of 7.5 (sensitivity 0.7462, specificity 0.7968j has been calculated as the optimal cut-off value to determine who will need high care. Admission log NLR and age were significant in determining who died (OR 2.067; 95% CI 1.404 - 3.045; p<0.001, and OR 1.043; 95% CI 1.018 - 1.068; p=0.001, respectively CONCLUSION: The NLR measured on admission and age can be used to predict whether a patient with COVID-19 pneumonia will require high care <![CDATA[<b>Training, guideline access and knowledge of antiretroviral interactions: Is the South African private sector being left behind?</b>]]> BACKGROUND: South Africa (SA) has the largest antiretroviral therapy programme in the world. While the majority of the country accesses healthcare in the public sector, 15.2% access private healthcare. In 2019, dolutegravir was introduced as first-line treatment for HIV. Dolutegravir has clinically significant interactions with numerous commonly used medicines, e.g. rifampicin and cation-containing medicines such as calcium and iron. They require dosage adjustments, detailed in public and private HIV guidelines OBJECTIVES: To describe SA healthcare workers' guideline access, training and knowledge of dolutegravir's interactions, focusing on differences between the public and private sectors METHODS: A cross-sectional, descriptive study was done using an online survey of healthcare workers in the field of HIV in SA, conducted by the National HIV and TB Healthcare Worker Hotline. Convenience sampling was used, with electronic dissemination to users of the hotline and by relevant HIV-focused organisations. Simple descriptive statistics and statistical analyses were used RESULTS: A total of 1 939 surveys were analysed, with 22% from the private sector. Training on the dolutegravir guidelines was received by significantly fewer healthcare workers in the private sector v. the public sector: 42.4% (95% confidence interval (CI) 37 - 48) v. 67.5% (95% CI I 65 - 70), respectively. Significantly fewer healthcare workers in the private sector had access to the guidelines (63.8%; 95% CI 59 - 69 v. 78.8%; 95% CI 77 - 81). When asked if they were aware that dolutegravir has interactions, just over half (56.9%) of healthcare workers in the private sector responded 'yes', 24.6% responded 'no' and 18.5% did not answer. Of those who were aware that dolutegravir has interactions, 48.9% knew that dolutegravir interacts with calcium, 44.6% with iron and 82.0% with rifampicin. Private sector knowledge of dosing changes was lower for all interacting drugs, with the difference only significant for calcium and iron. Private sector healthcare workers reported significantly lower levels of counselling on dolutegravir use in all appropriate situations CONCLUSION: Private sector healthcare worker access to HIV training and guidelines requires attention. In a high-burden HIV setting such as SA, it is vital that healthcare workers across all professions, in both the public and private sector, know how to adjust antiretroviral dosing due to clinically significant interactions. Without these adjustments, there is a risk of treatment failure, increased mother-to-child transmission and morbidity and mortality <![CDATA[<b>Autologous whole blood clot and negative-pressure wound therapy in South Africa: A comparison of the cost and social considerations</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Advanced wound treatment modalities enhance healing of hard-to-heal wounds, decrease the risk of amputations, and improve the quality of life of patients. Modalities have different rates of efficacy and incur different social and financial costs to the individual and the healthcare system. Two such modalities, the autologous whole blood clot (WBC) and negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT), were compared in the South African (SA) context. The comparison was conducted on hard-to-heal wounds, with a specific focus on diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs OBJECTIVES: To compare the social considerations and financial costs of using autologous WBC v. NPWT in the treatment of DFUs in SA METHODS: Data were obtained based on current supply costs from SA suppliers for the two modalities, the standard of care for both modalities, the number of applications required for each, and social considerations provided by SA wound management clinicians. Wound healing rates were obtained from the published literature. This information was used to calculate costs of two scenarios (scenario 1: low exudate v. scenario 2: high exudate), which were compared over two treatment durations (4 and 12 weeks) for each treatment modality. Calculations included weekly cost of supplies, total cost saved by a patient with a DFU managed with either of the wound therapies, and the difference in total cost saved between the two modalities. Key social considerations were assessed qualitatively from discussions with SA clinicians experienced in both autologous WBC and NPWT, and from published research RESULTS: The cost of supplies per week was ZAR3 250 for autologous WBC and ZAR4 804 for NPWT in scenario 1, and ZAR3 332 and ZAR6 612 in scenario 2. With healing rates over 4 weeks' treatment duration of 19% for autologous WBC and 10% for NPWT, autologous WBC saved ZAR17 719.93, or 9% more than using NPWT, in scenario 1 and ZAR18 381.47, or 10% more, in scenario 2. At 12 weeks' treatment duration, healing rates for autologous WBC and NPWT were 75% and 43%, respectively. In scenario 1, results indicated a 43% cost difference between the two modalities. Autologous WBC had a total cost saving of ZAR61 874.40 compared with NPWT over a period of 12 weeks. In scenario 2, results indicated a 46% cost difference between the two modalities. Autologous WBC had a total cost saving of ZAR70 454.68 compared with NPWT over a period of 12 weeks. One of the identified social considerations is that NPWT needs a reliable supply of electricity to recharge the pump, while autologous WBC does not CONCLUSION: Both modalities are safe and effective in treating hard-to-heal wounds of the lower extremities. Autologous WBC consistently demonstrated better outcomes than NPWT in terms of both healing rate and cost-effectiveness, as well as having some advantages in terms of social considerations in SA <![CDATA[<b>Improving primary care antimicrobial stewardship by implementing a peer audit and feedback intervention in Cape Town community healthcare centres</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health. Primary care, where 80% of antibiotics are consumed, is a pivotal setting to direct antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) efforts. However, the ideal model to improve antibiotic prescribing in primary care in low-resource settings is not known OBJECTIVE: To implement a multidisciplinary audit and feedback AMS intervention with the aim to improve appropriate antibiotic prescribing at primary care level METHODS: The intervention was implemented and monitored in 10 primary care centres of the Cape Town metropole between July 2017 and June 2019. The primary and secondary outcome measures were monthly adherence to a bundle of antibiotic quality process measures and monthly antibiotic consumption, respectively. Multidisciplinary audit and feedback meetings were initiated and integrated into facility clinical meetings. Two Excel tools were utilised to automatically calculate facility audit scores and consumption. Once a month, 10 antibiotic prescriptions were randomly selected for a peer review audit by the team. The prescriptions were audited for adherence to a bundle of seven antibiotic process measures using the standard treatment guidelines (STG) and Essential Medicines List (EML) as standard. Concurrently, primary care pharmacists monitored monthly antibiotic consumption by calculating defined daily doses (DDDs) per 100 prescriptions dispensed. Adherence and consumption feedback were regularly provided to the facilities. Learning collaboratives involving representative multidisciplinary teams were held twice-yearly. Pre-, baseline and post-intervention periods were defined as 6 months before, first 6 months and last 6 months of the study, respectively RESULTS: The mean overall adherence increased from 19% (baseline) to 47% (post intervention) (p<0.001). Of the 2 077 prescriptions analysed, 33.7% had an antibiotic prescribed inappropriately. No diagnosis had been captured in patient notes, and the antibiotic chosen was not according to the STG and EML in 30.1% and 31.7% of cases, respectively. Seasonal variation was observed in prescribing adherence, with significantly lower adherence in winter and spring months (adjusted odds ratio 0.60). A reduction of 12.9 DDDs between the pre- and post-intervention periods (p=0.0084) was documented, which represented a 19.3% decrease in antibiotic consumption CONCLUSION: The study demonstrated that peer reviewed audit and feedback is an effective AMS intervention to improve antibiotic prescribing in primary care in a low-resource setting. The intervention, utilising existing resources and involving multidisciplinary engagement, may be incorporated into existing quality improvement processes at facility level, to ensure sustainable change <![CDATA[<b>Leveraging routine data in impact evaluation: Understanding data systems in primary healthcare prior to a matched cluster-randomised evaluation of adherence guidelines in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: An essential part of providing high-quality patient care and a means of efficiently conducting research studies relies upon high-quality routinely collected medical information OBJECTIVES: To describe the registers, paper records and databases used in a sample of primary healthcare clinics in South Africa (SA) with the view to conduct an impact evaluation using routine data METHODS: Between October 2015 and December 2015, we collected information on the presence, quality and completeness of registers, clinical stationery and databases at 24 public health facilities in SA. We describe each register and type of clinical stationery we encountered, their primary uses, and the quality of completion. We also mapped the ideal flow of data through a site to better understand how its data collection works RESULTS: We identified 13 registers (9 standard, 4 non-standard), 5 types of stationery and 4 databases as sources of medical information within a site. Not all clinics used all the standardised registers, and in those that did, registers were kept in various degrees of completeness: a common problem was inconsistent recording of folder numbers. The quality of patient stationery was generally high, with only the chronic patient record being considered of varied quality. The TIER.Net database had high-quality information on key variables, but national identification (ID) number was incompletely captured (42% complete). Very few evaluation sites used electronic data collection systems for conditions other than HIV/AIDS CONCLUSION: Registers, databases and clinical stationery were not implemented or completed consistently across the 24 evaluation sites. For those considering using routinely collected data for research and evaluation purposes, we would recommend a thorough review of clinic data collection systems for both quality and completeness before considering them to be a reliable data source <![CDATA[<b>Heterologous vaccination of BNT162b2 in Ad26. COV2.S-vaccinated healthcare workers elicits long-term humoral immune response</b>]]> BACKGROUND: To date, there are no immunological data for the SARS-CoV-2 heterologous vaccination schedule in the South African (SA) population OBJECTIVES: To assess and compare the immunogenicity and reactogenicity of the Jansen Ad26.COV2.S vaccine with the Pfizer/BioNTech-BNT162b2 booster following prime Ad26.COV2.S in 65 SA healthcare workers METHODS: In a prospective, quantitative, cross-sectional trial on individuals &gt;18 years of age vaccinated with a single Ad26.COV2.S dose or single Ad26.COV2.S and a BNT162b2 single-dose/both doses booster, participants filled in a questionnaire on their demographics, type of vaccination, breakthrough infection/s (BTI/s), vaccine reactogenicity, prior SARS-CoV-2 infection and dates of vaccination. Qualitative analysis for presence/absence of anti-S (spike) immunoglobulin G (IgG) was performed using the Euroimmun anti-IgG enzyme-linked immunoassay kit, and anti-S IgG titres were quantitatively assessed using the Abbott IgG Quant II kit RESULTS: Between 28 October 2021 and 30 November 2021, 65 individuals were enrolled and assigned as either prime Ad26.COV2.S (n=18) or Ad26.COV2.S with a BNT162b2 supplement (n=47) at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, SA (mean age 45 years (95% confidence interval (CI) 29.5 - 58), 42 women (64.6%) and 23 men (35.4%)). The median IgG titre for the primed Ad26.COV2.S group was 4 272.55 (95% CI 68.40 - 10 351.40) and that for the BNT162b2 supplement group was 7 360.80 (95% CI 4 207.40 - 15 372.60). In the univariate model, the BNT162b2 supplement group showed a significant 1.99 times higher antibody titre factor (95% CI 0.045 -5.553; p<0.005) than the Ad26.COV2.S group. In both univariate and multivariate models, age, time since prime vaccination, BTI and prior infection failed to show any statistically significant association (p&gt;0.05) with antibody titres in both groups. However, sex (-55.381 (95% CI -76.984 - -13.498; p=0.018) in a multivariate model was found to have a statistically significant association with anti-S IgG titres observed in both groups. Participants who received their first dose of BNT162b2 9-10 months after their prime Ad26.COV2.S (n=44) had a higher degree of antibody response than those who received it earlier. Reactogenicity was observed to be manageable, with mild/moderate adverse effects in the study population CONCLUSION: A BNT162b2 supplement given in single or two doses as booster in individuals primed with Ad26.COV2.S induced immunological response, with acceptable and manageable reactogenicity. This study provides novel evidence of the highest degree of antibody response in individuals who received a BNT162b2 first dose 9-10 months after prime Ad26.COV2.S, implying that a longer time gap between the two vaccines stimulates higher antibody response than a shorter gap, and that this antibody response can persist for as long as 6 months after the last BNT162b2 dose