Exploring the Use of a Fit-for-Purpose Surgical Headlight in Sub-Saharan Africa: Mixed Methods Study

Published in the World Journal of Surgery, this article explores high-quality lighting constraints in surgical settings in low-resource contexts

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.

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.

AUTHORS: Muaad Hussien, Nina Capo-Chichi, Nichole Starr, Samuel Negash, Terseer Utam, Tihitena Negussie, Katie Fernandez, Thomas G Weiser