Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/22 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 01/22 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/22 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 01/22 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/22 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 01/22 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/22 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 01/22 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/22 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/22 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 01/21 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/22 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 01/21 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 01/22 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/22 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 01/22 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 01/21 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 01/22 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 01/21 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/22 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 01/21 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
Afp

Surgery death rates in Africa are twice global average: study

By AFP
media On average, there were 0.7 surgical specialists -- surgeons, obstetricians and anaesthesiologists -- to every 100,000 patients in Africa, the study also found AFP/File

The risk of dying from scheduled surgery in Africa is more than double the global average, researchers said on Wednesday, in a study shedding light on one of the continent's biggest but poorly investigated healthcare problems.

Patients who go under the knife in Africa in theory have a lower profile for risk than counterparts elsewhere, as they tend to be younger and are likelier to be admitted for minor rather than major surgery, the investigators found.

But, they discovered, nearly one in five people who underwent surgery in Africa developed complications.

In the case of elective surgery -- operations that are scheduled in advance and do not involve a medical emergency -- the death rate was 1.0 percent, compared with 0.5 percent in the global average.

The paper, published in The Lancet medical journal, is described as the deepest and widest probe into surgery across Africa.

It brought together more than 30 researchers who trawled through data from 247 hospitals in 25 countries.

The main goal was to cover the outcome on 10,885 in-patient surgical procedures, a third of which was for a Caesarean section.

But the data net also included details about any complications, the number of beds, operating rooms and surgical staff, providing vital but fine-grained information about hospital infrastructure.

More than four in every five patients could be considered low-risk candidates for surgery, as they were physically strong and were young, with an average age of 38.5 years.

But complications, mostly entailing an infection, occurred in 18.2 percent of all patients. Nearly one in 10 (9.5 percent) of patients with complications died.

- Post-operative risk -

Lead researcher Bruce Biccard, a professor at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, pointed the finger at the post-operative phase, where 95 percent of surgery deaths occurred.

Many of these fatalities could have been prevented, he said.

"Many lives could be saved by effective monitoring of patients who have developed complications and increasing the resources necessary to achieve this objective," Biccard said.

"Surgical outcomes will remain poor in Africa until the problem of under-resourcing is addressed."

- Dire need for surgery -

Other experts said they were even more alarmed by other figures that turned up in the study -- Africa's glaring need for surgery.

On average, just 212 operations were carried out per 100,000 people, said the commentary, authored by Anna Dare from the University of Toronto; Bisola Onajin-Obembe from Nigeria's University of Port Harcourt; and Emmanuel Makasa from University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

"These numbers are 20 times lower than the crucial surgical volume required to meet a country’s essential surgical needs each year," they said.

On average, there were 0.7 surgical specialists -- surgeons, obstetricians and anaesthesiologists -- to every 100,000 patients in Africa, the study also found.

This, too, is far below recommended levels of 20-40 specialists per 100,000 patients.

Even though improvement in post-operative care is crucial, "the absence of surgery in Africa represents a silent killer that probably claims more lives," the commentary said.

The study included Algeria, Libya and Egypt in its scope, but did not include some of Africa's poorest countries, such as Burkina Faso, Liberia and Sudan, or war-torn Somalia. Smaller remote hospitals, too, generally lay outside the data haul.

 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.