Background: Community services and supports are essential for children transitioning home to recover from the hospital after surgery. This study assessed the availability and geographic capacity of rehabilitation, assistive devices, familial support, and school reintegration programs for school-aged children in Uganda with identified surgical need.
Methods: This study assessed the geographic epidemiology and spatial analysis of resource availability in communities in Uganda. Participants were children with identified surgical need using the Surgeons OverSeas Assessment of Surgical need (SOSAS). Community-based resources available to children and adolescents after surgery in Uganda were identified using publicly available data sources and searching for resources through consultation with in-country collaborators We sought resources available in all geographic regions for a variety of services.
Results: Of 1082 individuals surveyed aged 5 to 14 yearsr, 6.2% had identified surgical needs. Pediatric surgical conditions were most prevalent in the Northern and Central regions of Uganda. Of the 151 community-based services identified, availability was greatest in the Central region and least in the Northern region, regardless of type. Assuming 30% of children with surgical needs will need services, a maximum of 50.1% of these children would have access to the needed services in the extensive capacity estimates, while only 10.0% would have access in the minimal capacity estimates. The capacity varied dramatically by region with the Northern region having much lower capacity in all scenarios as compared to the Central, Eastern, or Western regions.
Conclusions: Our study found that beyond the city of Kampala in the Central region, community-based services were severely lacking for school-aged children in Uganda. Increased pediatric surgical capacity to additional hospitals in Uganda will need to be met with increased availability and access to community-based services to support recovery and community re-integration.
Keywords: Community-reintegration; Pediatric; Rehabilitation; Surgical; Uganda.