Exploring the Use of a Fit-for-Purpose Surgical Headlight in Sub-Saharan Africa: Mixed Methods Study. World journal of surgery Hussien, M., Capo-Chichi, N., Starr, N., Negash, S., Utam, T., Negussie, T., Fernandez, K., Weiser, T. G. 2023


BACKGROUND: High-quality surgical lighting is often lacking in low-resource settings. Commercial surgical headlights are unavailable due to high cost and supply and maintenance challenges. We aimed to understand user needs of a surgical headlight for low-resource settings by evaluating a preselected robust but relatively inexpensive headlight and lighting conditions.METHODS: We observed headlight use by ten surgeons in Ethiopia and six in Liberia. All surgeons completed surveys about their lighting environment and experience using headlight, and were subsequently interviewed. Twelve surgeons completed logbooks on headlight use. We distributed headlights to 48 additional surgeons, and all surgeons were surveyed for feedback.RESULTS: In Ethiopia, five surgeons ranked operating room light quality as poor or very poor; seven delayed or cancelled operations within the last year and five described intraoperative complications due to poor lighting. In Liberia, lighting was rated as "good", however fieldnotes, and interviews noted generator fuel-rationing, and poor lighting conditions. In both countries, the headlight was considered extremely useful. Surgeons recommended nine improvements, including comfort, durability, affordability and availability of multiple rechargeable batteries. Thematic analysis identified factors influencing headlight use, specifications and feedback, and infrastructure challenges.CONCLUSION: Lighting in surveyed operating rooms was poor. Although conditions and need for the headlights differed between Ethiopia and Liberia, headlights were considered highly useful. However, discomfort was a major limiting factor for ongoing use, and the hardest to objectively characterise for specification and engineering purposes. Specific needs for surgical headlights include comfort and durability. Refinement of a fit-for-purpose surgical headlight is ongoing.

View details for DOI 10.1007/s00268-023-06952-3

View details for PubMedID 36864223