Background. Doctors' strikes have a negative effect on hospital performance indicators. Hospital mortality during such strikes is the most important indicator.
Objective. To determine the effects of the 2010 strike on Polokwane Hospital.
Methods. Information was collected from the Hospital Information System, Polokwane Hospital Casualty Department, wards and theatres.
Results. During the 20-day strike, a total of 262 patients were admitted to Polokwane Hospital, with 40 patients to the surgical department; 96 operations were performed in the hospital and 40 in the surgical department; and 50 deaths were reported in the hospital (8 deaths in the surgical department). During 20 days of a non-striking period in May 2010, there were 975 admissions to the hospital, with 125 to the surgical department. In the entire hospital, 340 operations were performed, and 79 in the surgical department. For this period, 61 deaths were reported in the hospital and 12 in the surgical department.
Conclusions. The total number of patients admitted to the hospital and the surgical department during the strike was significantly lower than during a non-striking situation. Total mortality during the strike in Polokwane Hospital decreased, compared with the normal situation, but it increased when judged against emergency cases. However, when mortality was qualified by the number of admissions, it showed a significant increase. Strikes seriously and significantly affect service delivery.
Objective. After previously reporting the presence of disease by cytology findings after treatment for cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN) in 64.6% of HIV-infected women and in 13.0% of HIV-negative women, we aimed to determine the severity of cytological disease after treatment in HIV-infected women.
Methods. We studied HIV-infected (N=571) women treated at the Colposcopy Clinic at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Gauteng, between April 2003 and December 2006. We compared the initial histology results with Pap smears ≥6 months later, and evaluated factors associated with reduction in the grade of disease.
Results. Mean age was 36.68 (SD+7.33) years; mean parity was 2 (SD+1.46); mean CD4+ count was 242.70 cells/µl (SD+187.56); 262 (45.80%) were receiving antiretroviral treatment. Persistent disease was detected on the repeat Pap smear in 199 (65.03%); of these, 223 (72.88%) were of a lesser grade than in the original histology results. Of the 152 with histologically confirmed CIN3, 67 (44.08%) had improved to a lesser grade, and 54 (44.63%) had normal cytology results. Among the latter two subject groups (n=141) who had CIN2 histologically, 91 (64.53%) had improved, 29 (20.57%) remained unchanged, and 20 (14.88%) had CIN3; 13 (4.25%) patients with CIN1 returned for follow-up; 11 (84.62%) of these had normal Pap smears and 2 (15.38%) had CIN3.
Conclusion. Recurrences were of a lesser degree than initial histology results. This reduction in the grade of disease was related to CD4+ count, complete excision and parity. Antiretroviral therapy use did not improve outcome, perhaps owing to low initial CD4 counts.
Introduction. Between 2009 and 2010, South Africa experienced a major measles outbreak, with more than 18 000 confirmed cases reported to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.
Methods. We studied measles admissions during the outbreak to Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, Cape Town, between 1 November 2009 and 31 July 2010. Factors associated with mortality were retrospectively identified from notification records and hospital admissions data. Multivariate logistic regression was used to investigate potential risk factors for death.
Results. In total, 1 861 children were diagnosed with measles; 552 (30%) were admitted to hospital. The most common reason for admission was pneumonia (379 (68%)) and/or diarrhoea (262 (48%)). The median age at admission was 7.36 months (interquartile range (IQR) 5.0 - 10.7). The median duration of admission was 4 days (IQR 2 - 6); total hospital admission time was 3 746 days (10.3 child-years). HIV status was known in 404 (73%) children: 39/400 (14%) were HIV-infected. Eighteen children died (3% of all admissions); 15 (83%) of them were less than 1 year old. In the regression model, HIV-infection (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 7.55, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.27 - 25.12) and female sex (aOR 3.86, 95% CI 1.26 - 11.84) were associated with higher odds of death.
Conclusions. There was a large paediatric admission burden during the 2009 - 2010 measles outbreak in Cape Town; young children were predominantly affected. HIV-infected children had a significantly higher case fatality.
Introduction. Stroke is among the top 4 causes of death in South Africa and the top 10 leading causes of disability worldwide. There is a dearth of literature on stroke incidence, prevalence and outcome in sub-Saharan Africa. We aimed to establish the case fatality of stroke patients over a 12-month period post discharge from hospital.
Methods. A total of 200 patients with first-time ischaemic stroke were recruited from Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and followed up for 12 months. The Barthel Index (BI) and Rivermead Mobility Index (RMI) were used to establish patient functional ability and, by inference, stroke severity. Follow-up assessments were performed at 3, 6 and 12 months post discharge. Data analysis was largely descriptive in nature.
Results. Thirty-eight per cent of patients died within the 12 month follow-up period; 25.5% within 3 months of discharge. The average length of hospital stay was 6 days. Low BI scores at discharge were observed in the majority of patients who died.
Conclusion. The 12-month cumulative mortality was high (highest at the 3-month follow-up). The short hospital stay and poor functional ability of the patients post stroke possibly left them vulnerable to bed-rest complications, such as chest infections and pressure sores.
Background. In 2011 an experienced HIV nurse from the UK was deployed for 3 months to act as a mentor to nurses learning to initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART) in primary care clinics in a small town in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.
Methods. A review of existing pre-ART patient files (N=286) was carried out and lost-to-follow-up (LTFU) HIV patients were recalled.
Results. Only 24% of patients had attended the clinics within the preceding 6 months and 20% had not attended for longer than 2 years. Two lay counsellors visited 222 patients to encourage them to return to care; 65/286 (23%) were untraceable, 11/286 (4%) had relocated, 30/286 (10%) declined, and 8/286 (3%) had died. In the 6 weeks following recall, 51/286 patients (18%) returned to the clinics. CD4 count testing was repeated and screening for tuberculosis (TB) and other opportunistic infections was performed for all patients; ART was initiated in 13/51 (25%), 1 patient tested positive for TB, and isionazid (INH) prophylaxis was initiated in 23/51 (45%). The cost of recall was R130/patient. Within 6 months, all clinics began providing full ART services, 17 professional nurses were mentored and they initiated ART in 55 patients.
Conclusions. Mentoring plays an important role in professional nurse training and support. Recall of LTFU patients is feasible and effective in improving ART services in rural settings.