The socioeconomic impact of a pediatric ostomy in Uganda: a pilot study

Muzira, A.; Kakembo, N.; Kisa, P.; Langer, M.; Sekabira, J.; Ozgediz, D.; Fitzgerald, T. N.

Pediatr Surg Int. 2018 Jan 26


INTRODUCTION: Multiple pediatric surgical conditions require ostomies in low-middle-income countries. Delayed presentations increase the numbers of ostomies. Patients may live with an ostomy for a prolonged time due to the high backlog of cases with insufficient surgical capacity. In caring for these patients in Uganda, we frequently witnessed substantial socioeconomic impact of their surgical conditions. METHODS: The operative log at the only pediatric surgery referral center in Uganda was reviewed to assess the numbers of children receiving ostomies over a 3-year period. Charts for patients with anorectal malformations (ARM) and Hirschsprung's disease (HD) were reviewed to assess delays in accessing care. Focus group discussions (FGD) were held with family members of children with ostomies based on themes from discussions with the surgical and nursing teams. A pilot survey was developed based on these themes and administered to a sample of patients in the outpatient clinic. RESULTS: During the period of January 2012-December 2014, there was one specialty-certified pediatric surgeon in the country. There were 493 ostomies placed for ARM (n = 234), HD (N = 114), gangrenous ileocolic intussusception (n = 95) and typhoid-induced intestinal perforation (n = 50). Primary themes covered in the FGD were: stoma care, impact on caregiver income, community integration of the child, impact on family unit, and resources to assist families. Many patients with HD and ARM did not present for colostomy until after 1 year of life. None had access to formal ostomy bags. 15 caregivers completed the survey. 13 (86%) were mothers and 2 (13%) were fathers. Almost half of the caregivers (n = 7, 47%) stated that their spouse had left the family. 14 (93%) caregivers had to leave jobs to care for the stoma. 14 respondents (93%) reported that receiving advice from other caregivers was beneficial. CONCLUSION: The burden of pediatric surgical disease in sub-Saharan Africa is substantial with significant disparities compared to high-income countries. Significant socioeconomic complexity surrounds these conditions. While some solutions are being implemented, we are seeking resources to implement others. This data will inform the design of a more expansive survey of this patient population to better measure the socioeconomic impact of pediatric ostomies and guide more comprehensive advocacy and program development.

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