Title

The Impact of COVID-19 on Neurosurgical Services in Africa

Document Type

Article

Department

General Surgery (East Africa)

Abstract

Introduction: COVID-19 has affected the global provision of neurosurgical services. We sought to review the impact of COVID-19 on the neurosurgical services in Africa.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was distributed to African neurosurgeons seeking to review demographics, national and neurosurgical preparedness, and change in clinical services in April 2020.

Results: A total of 316 responses from 42 countries were received. Of these, 81.6% of respondents were male and 79.11% were under the age of 45 years. In our sample, 123 (38.92%) respondents were in training. Most (94.3%) respondents stated they had COVID-19 cases reported in their country as of April 2020. Only 31 (41.50%) had received training on managing COVID-19. A total of 173 (54.70%) respondents were not performing elective surgery. There was a deficit in the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE): surgical masks (90.80%), gloves (84.80%), N95 masks (50.80%), and shoe covers (49.10%). Health ministry (80.40%), World Health Organization (74.50%), and journal papers (41.40%) were the most common sources of information on COVID-19. A total of 43.60% had a neurosurgeon in the COVID-19 preparedness team; 59.8% were concerned they may contract COVID-19 at work with a further 25.90% worried they may infect their family. Mental stress as a result of COVID-19 was reported by 14.20% of respondents. As of April 2020, 73.40% had no change in their income.

Conclusions: Most African countries have a national COVID-19 policy response plan that is not always fully suited to the local neurosurgery services. There is an ongoing need for PPE and training for COVID-19 preparedness. There has been a reduction in clinical activities both in clinic and surgeries undertaken.

Publication

World Neurosurgery

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