Title

Geospatial Mapping of Pediatric Surgical Capacity in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-10-2020

Institution/Department

Surgery

Journal Title

World journal of surgery

MeSH Headings

Democratic Republic of the Congo, Child, Humans

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Despite recent attention to the provision of healthcare in low- and middle-income countries, improvements in access to surgical services have been disproportionately lagging.

METHODS: This study analyzes the geographic variability in access to pediatric surgical services in the province of North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On-site data collection was conducted using the Global Assessment of Pediatric Surgery tool. Spatial distribution of providers was mapped using the Geographical Information System and open-sourced spatial data to determine distances traveled to access surgical care.

RESULTS: Forty facilities were evaluated across 32 health zones; 68.9% of the provincial population was within 15 km of these facilities. Eleven facilities met a minimum World Health Organization safety score of 8; 48.1% of the population was within 15 km of corresponding facilities. The majority of children were treated by someone with specific pediatric surgery training in only 4 facilities; one facility had a trained pediatric anesthesia provider. Fifty-seven percent of the population was within 15 km of a facility with critical care and emergency medicine (EM) capabilities. There was one pediatric critical care provider and no pediatric EM providers identified within the province. Location-allocation assessment is needed to combine geographic area with potential for greatest impact and facility assessment.

CONCLUSIONS: Limitations in access to surgical care in the DRC are multifactorial with poor resources, few formally trained surgical providers, and near-absent access to pediatric anesthesiologists. The study highlights the deficits in the capacity for surgical care while demonstrating a reproducible model for assessment and identification of ways to improve access to care.

ISSN

1432-2323

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