Impact of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) on the Surgical Care of Patients and Surgical Training in Africa

Nseobong Charles Akpabio junior 1 * , Ugochukwu Chigozie Okeke 1, Chinweoge Frances Epum 1, Chukwuamaka Jennifer Okise 1, Oluwaloni Olaitan Familoni 1, Babajide Joseph Oyekunle 1, Modupeoluwa Mercy Abidakun 1, Isioma Dianne Okolo 2

EUROPEAN J MED ED TE, Volume 14, Issue 2, Article No: em2105

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The Coronavirus pandemic poses a significant threat to the healthcare sectors of some African countries due to poor healthcare organisation, financing, and reduced uptake of recent technological advancements. Surgical  care  of  patients  and surgical training  of  healthcare workers are considerably affected, due to the dearth  of  policies  and  strategic  health  plans, to ensure the provision  of  safe  and  affordable surgical care  and  continuity  of  training. The purpose of this study is to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Surgery in Africa and to provide recommendations geared towards the current pandemic and for the future. This review involved a search of the electronic databases MEDLINE/PubMed and Google Scholar, and 31 papers from African countries which explored the impact of COVID-19 across different surgical specialities were screened. The cancellation rate of elective surgeries and benign conditions across some countries were seen to be as high as 74-81% with prioritisation of cancer patients and emergencies. The volume of emergency surgical cases presenting in some hospitals was reduced due to the associated lockdowns and fear of contracting the virus, while Telemedicine became increasingly adopted with newer platforms being used across some countries. The pandemic has exposed the inequities in health systems and further studies need to be done to evaluate its impact across more surgical specialities.