Outcomes and unmet need for neonatal surgery in a resource-limited environment: estimates of global health disparities from Kampala, Uganda.

Document Type


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Surgery, Pediatrics

Journal Title

Journal of pediatric surgery

MeSH Headings

Female, Health Services Needs and Demand, Healthcare Disparities, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Male, Poverty, Prospective Studies, Surgical Procedures, Operative, Uganda


PURPOSE: Reported outcomes of neonatal surgery in low-income countries (LICs) are poor. We examined epidemiology, outcomes, and met and unmet need of neonatal surgical diseases in Uganda.

METHODS: Pediatric general surgical admissions and consults from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2012, at a national referral center in Uganda were analyzed using a prospective database. Outcomes were compared with high-income countries (HICs), and met and unmet need was estimated using burden of disease metrics (disability-adjusted life years or DALYs).

RESULTS: 23% (167/724) of patients were neonates, and 68% of these survived. Median age of presentation was 5days, and 53% underwent surgery. 88% survived postoperatively, while 55% died without surgery (p

CONCLUSIONS: More than two thirds of surgical neonates survived despite late presentation and lack of critical care. Epidemiology and outcomes differ greatly with HICs. A high burden of hidden mortality exists, and only a negligible fraction of the population need for neonatal surgery is met by health services.



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