Effect of deploying biomedical equipment technician on the functionality of medical equipment in the government hospitals of rural Nepal

Abstract Background

Medical equipment plays a crucial role in the provision of quality healthcare services, despite this more than 50% of equipment in developing countries are non-functioning due to a lack of appropriate human resources to maintain. To address this problem some government hospitals of Nepal have deployed a mid-level technical cadre called 'Biomedical Equipment Technician' (BMET). This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of deploying a BMET on the functionality of medical equipment in government hospitals of rural Nepal.

Methods

We used a mixed-methods approach with a comparative research design. A comprehensive range of 2189 pieces of medical equipment at 22 hospitals with and without BMET were observed to assess their functional status. Medical equipment were stratified into 6 categories based on department and T tests were conducted. We collected qualitative data from 9 BMETs, 22 medical superintendents, and 22 health staff using semi-structured interviews and focus-group discussions. Thematic content analysis was conducted to explore how the BMET's work was perceived.

Findings

The quantity of non-functional devices in hospitals without BMETs was double that of hospitals with BMETs (14% and 7% respectively, p < 0.005). Results were similar across all departments including General (16% versus 3%, p = 0.056), Lab (15% versus 7%, p < 0.005) and Operation Theater (14% versus 5%, p < 0.005). Hospitals with BMETs had fewer overall non-functional devices requiring simple or advanced repair compared to hospitals without BMETs [3% versus 7% (p < 0.005) simple; 4% versus 6% (p < 0.005) advanced]. In our qualitative analysis, we found that BMETs were highly appreciated by hospital staff. Hospital workers perceived that having a BMET on staff, rather than twice-yearly visits from central-level maintenance technicians, is an effective way to keep medical equipment functional. However, without a favorable working environment, the BMET alone cannot perform optimally.

Conclusions

Having a BMET at a rural government hospital has a substantial positive effect on the functional status of medical devices at the hospital. BMETs should be deployed at all rural hospitals to increase the functionality of medical devices, thereby improving the working environment and quality of health services provided.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Health system impact of COVID-19 on urban slum population of Bangladesh: a mixed-method rapid assessment study.

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to rapidly assess the health system impact of COVID-19 in the urban slums of Bangladesh. DESIGN: Setting and participantsA cross-sectional survey among 476 households was conducted during October-December 2020 in five selected urban slums of Dhaka North, Dhaka South and Gazipur City Corporation. In-depth interviews with purposively selected 22 slum dwellers and key informant interviews with 16 local healthcare providers and four policymakers and technical experts were also conducted. OUTCOME MEASURES: Percentage of people suffering from general illness, percentage of people suffering from chronic illness, percentage of people seeking healthcare, percentage of people seeking maternal care, health system challenges resulting from COVID-19. RESULTS: About 12% of members suffered from general illness and 25% reported chronic illness. Over 80% sought healthcare and the majority sought care from informal healthcare providers. 39% of the recently delivered women sought healthcare in 3 months preceding the survey. An overall reduction in healthcare use was reported during the lockdown period compared with prepandemic time. Mismanagement and inefficient use of resources were reported as challenges of health financing during the pandemic. Health information sharing was inadequate at the urban slums, resulting from the lack of community and stakeholder engagement (51% received COVID-19-related information, 49% of respondents knew about the national hotline number for COVID-19 treatment). Shortage of human resources for health was reported to be acute during the pandemic, resulting from the shortage of specialist doctors and uneven distribution of health workforce. COVID-19 test was inadequate due to the lack of adequate test facilities and stigma associated with COVID-19. Lack of strong leadership and stakeholder engagement was seen as the barriers to effective pandemic management. CONCLUSION: The findings of the current study are expected to support the government in tailoring interventions and allocating resources more efficiently and timely during a pandemic.
Categorías: Investigaciones

Facilitators and barriers to routine intimate partner violence screening in antenatal care settings in Uganda

Abstract Background

Uganda clinical guidelines recommend routine screening of pregnant women for intimate partner violence (IPV) during antenatal care (ANC). Healthcare providers play a critical role in identifying IPV during pregnancy in ANC clinics. This study explored facilitators and barriers for IPV screening during pregnancy (perinatal IPV screening) by ANC-based healthcare workers in Uganda.

Methods

We conducted qualitative in-depth interviews among twenty-eight purposively selected healthcare providers in one rural and an urban-based ANC health center in Eastern and Central Uganda respectively. Barriers and facilitators to IPV screening during ANC were identified iteratively using inductive-deductive thematic analysis.

Results

Participants had provided ANC services for a median (IQR) duration of 4.0 (0.1–19) years. Out of 28 healthcare providers, 11 routinely screened women attending ANC clinics for IPV and 10 had received IPV-related training. Barriers to routine IPV screening included limited staffing and space resources, lack of comprehensive gender-based violence (GBV) training and provider unawareness of the extent of IPV during pregnancy. Facilitators were availability of GBV protocols and providers who were aware of IPV (or GBV) tools tended to use them to routinely screen for IPV. Healthcare workers reported the need to establish patient trust and a safe ANC clinic environment for disclosure to occur. ANC clinicians suggested creation of opportunities for triage-level screening and modification of patients’ ANC cards used to document women’s medical history. Some providers expressed concerns of safety or retaliatory abuse if perpetrating partners were to see reported abuse.

Conclusions

Our findings can inform efforts to strengthen GBV interventions focused on increasing routine perinatal IPV screening by ANC-based clinicians. Implementation of initiatives to increase routine perinatal IPV screening should focus on task sharing, increasing comprehensive IPV training opportunities, including raising awareness of IPV severity, trauma-informed care and building trusting patient-physician relationships.

Categorías: Investigaciones

The poverty evolution of typical countries along the Belt and Road and implications from China’s poverty reduction experiences

Abstract

The world is facing a poverty crisis. Despite the great achievements that have been made in poverty alleviation over the past two decades, the extent of poverty in countries along the Belt and Road is still high. Successful poverty reduction in these countries is crucial to meeting the 2030 SDGs. Improving governance to eradicate poverty is a shortcoming that needs to be addressed urgently in poverty reduction pathways along the Belt and Road. In this study, the Standard Deviational Ellipse method was used to study the spatial trajectory of the poverty gravity center. Results showed that the poverty gravity center moved from east to west by 87.60 km annually, while the poverty population decreased by 1211.14 million along the Belt and Road from 2000 to 2020. In addition, the trajectory of the center has shifted due to the different effects of poverty reduction. Among the countries situated along the Belt and Road, China is the most significant contributor to poverty reduction. Accordingly, this study examined the implications of China’s successful poverty reduction strategies in order to understand how other countries can effectively respond to poverty. Ultimately, we propose that sustainable poverty alleviation development strategies should be established with the objectives of promoting social equity and improving the wellbeing of all people.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Artesunate monotherapy versus artesunate plus quinine combination therapy for treatment of imported severe malaria: a TropNet retrospective cohort study

Abstract Background

The addition of intravenous quinine (IVQ) to intravenous artesunate (IVA) has been recently suggested by World Health Organization  in areas where artemisinin resistance is highly prevalent. Since IVA is not yet widely available as “Good Manufacturing Practices” product, for several years combination treatment with IVA and IVQ was used in some Italian centers to mitigate the legal risks in using an unlicensed drug.

Methods

A retrospective cohort study was designed to compare IVA + IVQ and IVA treatment for imported severe malaria. We collected data from three Italian centers. Adult and pediatric cohorts were analyzed separately.

Results

Forty-nine patients treated with IVA and 44 with IVA + IVQ were enrolled, 45 were adults and 48 children. All acquired malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the adult cohort, median of fever clearance time (FCT) was similar in both groups (48 h vs 48 h, p = 0.19) but number of patients who reached apyrexia within 48 h (FCT48) was higher in IVA group (20/24, 83.3% vs 8/17, 47%, p = 0.002). The parasite clearance time (PCT) measure did not differ (median 48 h vs 48 h, p = 0.669). In the pediatric cohort, FCT did not differ in the two groups (median 30 vs 48 h, p = 0.50) while PCT was longer in IVA + IVQ group (median 72 vs 48 h, p = 0.002). Adverse events (AEs) in adults were more common in the combination treatment group (6/19, 31.58% vs 2/26, 7.69%, p = 0.055).

Conclusion

IVA + IVQ treatment did not show better outcome with respect to IVA monotherapy. AEs were more frequent in the IVA + IVQ group compared to the monotherapy. Further studies are necessary to investigate whether IVA + IVQ could be an efficient strategy to treat severe malaria cases in areas at high risk of artemisinin resistance.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Implementation of initiatives designed to improve healthcare worker health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic: comparative case studies from 13 healthcare provider organisations globally.

BACKGROUND: Healthcare workers are at a disproportionate risk of contracting COVID-19. The physical and mental repercussions of such risk have an impact on the wellbeing of healthcare workers around the world. Healthcare workers are the foundation of all well-functioning health systems capable of responding to the ongoing pandemic; initiatives to address and reduce such risk are critical. Since the onset of the pandemic healthcare organizations have embarked on the implementation of a range of initiatives designed to improve healthcare worker health and wellbeing. METHODS: Through a qualitative collective case study approach where participants responded to a longform survey, the facilitators, and barriers to implementing such initiatives were explored, offering global insights into the challenges faced at the organizational level. 13 healthcare organizations were surveyed across 13 countries. Of these 13 participants, 5 subsequently provided missing information through longform interviews or written clarifications. RESULTS: 13 case studies were received from healthcare provider organizations. Mental health initiatives were the most commonly described health and wellbeing initiatives among respondents. Physical health and health and safety focused initiatives, such as the adaption of workspaces, were also described. Strong institutional level direction, including engaged leadership, and the input, feedback, and engagement of frontline staff were the two main facilitators in implementing initiatives. The most common barrier was HCWs' fear of contracting COVID-19 / fear of passing COVID-19 to family members. In organizations who discussed infection prevention and control initiatives, inadequate personal protective equipment and supply chain disruption were highlighted by respondents. CONCLUSIONS: Common themes emerge globally in exploring the enablers and barriers to implementing initiatives to improve healthcare workers health and wellbeing through the COVID-19 pandemic. Consideration of the themes outlined in the paper by healthcare organizations could help influence the design and deployment of future initiatives ahead of implementation.
Categorías: Investigaciones

International Nurse Recruitment Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic: Considerations for the Nursing Workforce Leader.

The global demand for nurses was both proven and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With global migration on the rise, hospitals and health systems are looking to supplement their workforces with migrant nurses. Foreign-educated nurses bring expertise and diversity, but ethical recruitment must consider the balance between 'brain drain' and an individual's right to migrate. This manuscript highlights the contributions of foreign-educated nurses in the United States; explores the landscape, policy perspective, and market element of nurse migration, recruitment, and retention; and identifies key considerations that chief nursing officers should make as they look to build diverse and sustainable workforces.
Categorías: Investigaciones

The association between health workforce availability and HIV-program outcomes in Côte d'Ivoire.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess the distribution of HIV-program staff and the extent to which their availability influences HIV programmatic and patient outcomes. METHODS: The study was a facility level cross-sectional survey. Data from October 2018 to September 2019 were abstracted from HIV program reports conducted in 18 districts of Côte d'Ivoire. The distribution of staff in clinical, laboratory, pharmacy, management, lay, and support cadres were described across high and low antiretroviral therapy (ART) volume facilities. Non-parametric regression was used to estimate the effects of cadre categories on the number of new HIV cases identified, the number of cases initiated on ART, and the proportion of patients achieving viral load suppression. RESULTS: Data from 49,871 patients treated at 216 health facilities were included. Low ART volume facilities had a median of 8.1 staff-per-100 ART patients, significantly higher than the 4.4 staff-per-100 ART patients at high-ART volume facilities. One additional laboratory staff member was associated with 4.30 (IQR: 2.00-7.48, p < 0.001) more HIV cases identified and 3.81 (interquartile range [IQR]: 1.44-6.94, p < 0.001) additional cases initiated on ART. Similarly, one additional lay worker was associated with 2.33 (IQR: 1.00-3.43, p < 0.001) new cases identified and 2.24 (IQR: 1.00-3.31, p < 0.001) new cases initiated on ART. No cadres were associated with viral suppression. CONCLUSIONS: HCWs in the laboratory and lay cadre categories were associated with an increase in HIV-positive case identification and initiation on ART. Our findings suggest that allocation of HCWs across health facilities should take into consideration the ART patient volume. Overall, increasing investment in health workforce is critical to achieve national HIV goals and reaching HIV epidemic control.
Categorías: Investigaciones

Implementation of initiatives designed to improve healthcare worker health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic: comparative case studies from 13 healthcare provider organisations globally

Abstract Background

Healthcare workers are at a disproportionate risk of contracting COVID-19. The physical and mental repercussions of such risk have an impact on the wellbeing of healthcare workers around the world. Healthcare workers are the foundation of all well-functioning health systems capable of responding to the ongoing pandemic; initiatives to address and reduce such risk are critical. Since the onset of the pandemic healthcare organizations have embarked on the implementation of a range of initiatives designed to improve healthcare worker health and wellbeing.

Methods

Through a qualitative collective case study approach where participants responded to a longform survey, the facilitators, and barriers to implementing such initiatives were explored, offering global insights into the challenges faced at the organizational level. 13 healthcare organizations were surveyed across 13 countries. Of these 13 participants, 5 subsequently provided missing information through longform interviews or written clarifications.

Results

13 case studies were received from healthcare provider organizations. Mental health initiatives were the most commonly described health and wellbeing initiatives among respondents. Physical health and health and safety focused initiatives, such as the adaption of workspaces, were also described. Strong institutional level direction, including engaged leadership, and the input, feedback, and engagement of frontline staff were the two main facilitators in implementing initiatives. The most common barrier was HCWs’ fear of contracting COVID-19 / fear of passing COVID-19 to family members. In organizations who discussed infection prevention and control initiatives, inadequate personal protective equipment and supply chain disruption were highlighted by respondents.

Conclusions

Common themes emerge globally in exploring the enablers and barriers to implementing initiatives to improve healthcare workers health and wellbeing through the COVID-19 pandemic. Consideration of the themes outlined in the paper by healthcare organizations could help influence the design and deployment of future initiatives ahead of implementation.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Health systems resilience in fragile and shock-prone settings through the prism of gender equity and justice: implications for research, policy and practice

Abstract

Fragile and shock-prone settings (FASP) present a critical development challenge, eroding efforts to build healthy, sustainable and equitable societies. Power relations and inequities experienced by people because of social markers, e.g., gender, age, education, ethnicity, and race, intersect leading to poverty and associated health challenges. Concurrent to the growing body of literature exploring the impact of these intersecting axes of inequity in FASP settings, there is a need to identify actions promoting gender, equity, and justice (GEJ). Gender norms that emphasise toxic masculinity, patriarchy, societal control over women and lack of justice are unfortunately common throughout the world and are exacerbated in FASP settings. It is critical that health policies in FASP settings consider GEJ and include strategies that promote progressive changes in power relationships. ReBUILD for Resilience (ReBUILD) focuses on health systems resilience in FASP settings and is underpinned by a conceptual framework that is grounded in a broader view of health systems as complex adaptive systems. The framework identifies links between different capacities and enables identification of feedback loops which can drive or inhibit the emergence and implementation of resilient approaches. We applied the framework to four different country case studies (Lebanon, Myanmar, Nepal and Sierra Leone) to illustrate how it can be inclusive of GEJ concerns, to inform future research and support context responsive recommendations to build equitable and inclusive health systems in FASP settings.

Categorías: Investigaciones

The association between health workforce availability and HIV-program outcomes in Côte d’Ivoire

Abstract Objective

The purpose of this study was to assess the distribution of HIV-program staff and the extent to which their availability influences HIV programmatic and patient outcomes.

Methods

The study was a facility level cross-sectional survey. Data from October 2018 to September 2019 were abstracted from HIV program reports conducted in 18 districts of Côte d’Ivoire. The distribution of staff in clinical, laboratory, pharmacy, management, lay, and support cadres were described across high and low antiretroviral therapy (ART) volume facilities. Non-parametric regression was used to estimate the effects of cadre categories on the number of new HIV cases identified, the number of cases initiated on ART, and the proportion of patients achieving viral load suppression.

Results

Data from 49,871 patients treated at 216 health facilities were included. Low ART volume facilities had a median of 8.1 staff-per-100 ART patients, significantly higher than the 4.4 staff-per-100 ART patients at high-ART volume facilities. One additional laboratory staff member was associated with 4.30 (IQR: 2.00–7.48, p < 0.001) more HIV cases identified and 3.81 (interquartile range [IQR]: 1.44–6.94, p < 0.001) additional cases initiated on ART. Similarly, one additional lay worker was associated with 2.33 (IQR: 1.00–3.43, p < 0.001) new cases identified and 2.24 (IQR: 1.00–3.31, p < 0.001) new cases initiated on ART. No cadres were associated with viral suppression.

Conclusions

HCWs in the laboratory and lay cadre categories were associated with an increase in HIV-positive case identification and initiation on ART. Our findings suggest that allocation of HCWs across health facilities should take into consideration the ART patient volume. Overall, increasing investment in health workforce is critical to achieve national HIV goals and reaching HIV epidemic control.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Strengthening institutions for public health education: results of an SWOT analysis from India to inform global best practices

Abstract Background

Developing public health educational programs that provide workers prepared to adequately respond to health system challenges is an historical dilemma. In India, the focus on public health education has been mounting in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic is a harbinger of the increasing complexities surrounding public health challenges and the overdue need to progress public health education around the world. This paper aims to explore strengths and challenges of public health educational institutions in India, and elucidate unique opportunities to emerge as a global leader in reform.

Methods

To capture the landscape of public health training in India, we initiated a web-based desk review of available offerings and categorized by key descriptors and program qualities. We then undertook a series of in-depth interviews with representatives from a purposively sample of institutions and performed a qualitative SWOT analysis.

Results

We found that public health education exists in many formats in India. Although Master of Public Health (MPH) and similar programs are still the most common type of public health training outside of community medicine programs, other postgraduate pathways exist including diplomas, PhDs, certificates and executive trainings. The strengths of public health education institutions include research capacities, financial accessibility, and innovation, yet there is a need to improve collaborations and harmonize training with well-defined career pathways. Growing attention to the sector, improved technologies and community engagement all hold exciting potential for public health education, while externally held misconceptions can threaten institutional efficacy and potential.

Conclusions

The timely need for and attention to public health education in India present a critical juncture for meaningful reform. India may also be well-situated to contextualize and scale the types of trainings needed to address complex challenges and serve as a model for other countries and the world.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Understanding the factors affecting attrition and intention to leave of health extension workers: a mixed methods study in Ethiopia

Abstract Background

The Health Extension Program (HEP) is Ethiopia’s flagship community health program, launched in 2003. Health Extension Workers (HEWs) are key vehicles for the delivery of the HEP. While it is believed that there is high attrition among HEWs, the magnitude of or reasons for attrition is unknown. Their intention to leave their jobs in the next 5 years has also never been investigated on a national scale. This study aimed to assess the magnitude of, and factors affecting HEWs’ attrition and intention to leave in Ethiopia.

Methods

The study used mixed methods to address the research objectives. Using stratified random sampling and regions as strata, 85 districts from nine regions were randomly selected in Ethiopia. Within each study district, six kebeles (village clusters) were randomly selected, and all HEWs working in these kebeles were interviewed to capture their 5-year intention to leave. The study team developed a data-extraction tool for a rapid review of district-level documents covering the period June 30, 2004 through June 30, 2019 to gather their attrition figures. We used survival analysis to model attrition data and checked model goodness-of-fit using the Cox–Snell residual test. We additionally collected qualitative data from HEWs who had left their positions.

Results

The attrition of HEWS over the lifespan of the HEP was 21.1% (95% CI 17.5–25.3%), and the median time to exit from HEWs workforce was 5.8 years. The incidence rate was 3.1% [95% CI 2.8–3.4]. The risk of attrition was lower amongst HEWs with level four certifications, with children, and among those working in urban settings. By contrast, HEWs who were not certified with a certificate of competency (COC), who were deployed after 2008, and those who were diploma/degree holders were more likely to exit the HEWs workforce. The magnitude of intention to leave was 39.5% (95% CI 32.5–47%) and the primary reasons to leave were low incentives, dearth of career development opportunities (50.8%), high workload (24.2%), and other psychosocial factors (25%).

Conclusion

Although the magnitude of attrition is not worryingly high, we see high magnitude in HEWs’ intention to leave, indicating a dissatisfied workforce. Multiple factors have contributed to attrition and intention to leave, the prevalence of many of which can be reduced to fit the needs of this workforce and to retain them for the sustained delivery of primary healthcare in the country. Ensuring HEWs’ job satisfaction is important and linked with their career development and potentially higher rates of retention.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Alternate delivery platforms and implementation models for bringing evidence-based behavioral interventions to scale for youth facing adversity: a case study in West Africa

Abstract Background

Youth Functioning and Organizational Success for West African Regional Development (Youth FORWARD) was launched as an implementation science collaboration focused on scaling out evidence-based mental health interventions for youth exposed to war and other adversities through novel delivery platforms. This implementation science case study examines the use of a collaborative team approach (CTA) as a scale-out strategy to foster the integration of an evidence-based group mental health intervention, the Youth Readiness Intervention, into youth employment programs tied to regional economic development in Sierra Leone.

Methods

A case study methodology is used to explore the feasibility and acceptability of integrating an evidence-based intervention, the Youth Readiness Intervention (YRI), into youth entrepreneurship programs (ENTR) in Sierra Leone, facilitated by the CTA. The authors analyzed field notes logged during program implementation, 8 weeks of supervision notes, 20 interviews with agency leaders and front-line staff delivering the YRI within this alternate delivery platform. Quantitative dissemination and implementation interviews administered to youth, facilitators, and agency leaders were analyzed using descriptive statistics and mixed linear models. A linked Hybrid Type II effectiveness-implementation cluster randomized trial is evaluating the clinical effectiveness of the YRI within this delivery platform.

Results

Extant data indicate the strong feasibility and acceptability of integrating the YRI into the ENTR program. Facilitators of integration of the YRI into the ENTR include mission alignment of the organizations with the delivery of psychosocial interventions, shared commitment to serving vulnerable youth, support from local District Youth Councils, and high interest from the youth served. Barriers include perceived competition between frontline organizations seeking funding for psychosocial interventions, and challenges in flexibility between donors and implementation partners operating in a fragile/post-conflict setting. The CTA was a feasible and acceptable strategy to support fidelity and quality improvement while scaling out the YRI.

Conclusions

Youth entrepreneurship and livelihood programs offer a promising mechanism for expanding the reach of evidence-based interventions to youth in fragile and post-conflict settings. Quality improvement and sustainment of evidence-based interventions are novel concepts in such settings. The CTA strategy institutionalizes the integration of an evidence-based intervention into youth entrepreneurship programs.

Trial registration

NCT03603613 (phase 1 pilot, registered May 18, 2018) and NCT03542500 (phase 2 scale-out study, registered May 18, 2018).

Categorías: Investigaciones

Why many African countries may not achieve the 2022 COVID-19 vaccination coverage target

Abstract

COVID-19 continues to strain, stress, and stretch health systems globally. With the development of the COVID-19 vaccines, there are many issues still lurking behind the widespread coverage; one of which is COVID-19 vaccine nationalism and African countries are not exempted from these issues. This is evident in that many countries in the African region missed the earlier targets set by World Health Organization (WHO) for COVID-19 vaccination coverage. The WHO further set a target of 70% coverage of the COVID-19 vaccines for all countries by June 2022. In this article, we discuss the possible reasons why many African countries are struggling and may not achieve the COVID-19 vaccination target in 2022. With the fundamental issues facing COVID-19 vaccination ranging from nationalism to hesitancy, it is important that stakeholders continue to work harder to ensure that the continent is not left behind in the race to keep the world free and safe from the sting of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Applying the WHO-ICRC BEC course to train emergency and inpatient healthcare workers in Sierra Leone early in the COVID-19 outbreak

Abstract Background

Treating critical illness in resource-limited settings during disease outbreaks is feasible and can save lives. Lack of trained healthcare workers is a major barrier to COVID-19 response. There is an urgent need to train healthcare workers to manage COVID-19. The World Health Organization and International Committee of the Red Cross’s Basic Emergency Care course could provide a framework to cross-train personnel for COVID-19 care while strengthening essential health services.

Methods

We conducted a prospective cohort study evaluating the Basic Emergency Care course for healthcare workers from emergency and inpatient units at two hospitals in Sierra Leone, a low-income country in West Africa. Baseline, post-course, and six month assessments of knowledge and confidence were completed. Questions on COVID-19 were added at six months. We compared change from baseline in knowledge scores and proportions of participants “very comfortable” with course skills using paired Student’s t-tests and McNemar’s exact tests, respectively.

Results

We enrolled 32 participants of whom 31 completed pre- and post-course assessments. Six month knowledge and confidence assessments were completed by 15 and 20 participants, respectively. Mean knowledge score post-course was 85% (95% CI: 82% to 88%), which was increased from baseline (53%, 48% to 57%, p-value < 0.001). There was sustained improvement from baseline at six months (73%, 67% to 80%, p-value 0.001). The percentage of participants who were “very comfortable” performing skills increased from baseline for 27 of 34 skills post-training and 13 skills at six months. Half of respondents strongly agreed the course improved ability to manage COVID-19.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates the feasibility of the Basic Emergency Care course to train emergency and inpatient healthcare workers with lasting impact. The timing of the study, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, provided an opportunity to illustrate the strategic overlap between building human resource capacity for long-term health systems strengthening and COVID-19. Future efforts should focus on integration with national training curricula and training of the trainers for broader dissemination and implementation at scale.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Podoconiosis instruction at nursing schools in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda

Abstract Background

Podoconiosis is a preventable, progressive, and non-infectious form of elephantiasis that can contribute to significant disability and economic burden when not treated early. Nurses play a critical role in early detection and response in rural Africa, but it is unclear if they receive adequate training on podoconiosis. We aimed to characterize podoconiosis instruction at all government accredited, post-secondary nursing institutions in three African countries.

Methods

Data for this cross-sectional study was collected through a quantitative survey with several open-answer questions. Through a rigorous online search, we identified all post-secondary institutions in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda accredited to teach human nursing. A total of 289 accredited programs, including 85 certificate, 56 degree and 148 diploma programs were invited to participate. Respondents completed surveys online or by telephone. Measures focused on podoconiosis knowledge, perceptions of quality/quantity of podoconiosis instruction, and barriers to sufficient podoconiosis education.

Results

We obtained information about 212 curricula across 149 nursing institutions in the three countries (participation rate: 73.4%). Podoconiosis coverage was limited across programs (certificate—24.1%; diploma—55.6%; degree—30.3%). Most respondents felt that the quality and quantity of instruction were insufficient (60.6%, 62.9%), respectively. Exclusion from government curricula, low priority and faculty lack of knowledge were commonly reported barriers to podoconiosis inclusion.

Conclusions

This study demonstrated clear gaps in podoconiosis training for nurses across the three countries and highlights a serious challenge in eliminating podoconiosis as a public health problem. Interventions to improve nurses’ knowledge could include the development and free distribution of podoconiosis teaching materials, designed for integration into pre-existing courses.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Mental health crisis in Somalia: a review and a way forward

Abstract Background

Somalia has been without an effective government since the collapse of the military regime in 1991. Years of conflict, disasters, and insecurity have all contributed to very low scores for most health indicators due to poor governance, protracted conflict, underdevelopment, economic decline, poverty, social and gender inequality, and environmental degradation. The three-decade long protracted conflict has led to widespread psychosocial trauma, social deprivation and substance abuse with devastating consequences on mental health. A WHO study showed Somalia has one of the highest rates of mental illness in the world. The main aim of this study is to assist policy makers in setting priorities for the design and delivery of interventions to promote mental health and psychosocial wellbeing in Somalia.

Methods

The study uses a systematic mapping technique (from January 1991 to May 2020) and data collected from public domain, to collect, collate, and present mental health data mainly from WHO’s Global Health Observatory. Since there is no primary database for Somalia’s public health research, the bibliographic databases used for mental health in this study included Medline, PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Google Scholar. Data were extracted using techniques for web data mining for public health.

Results

Systematic mapping of mental health-related issues in Somalia showed that policy-related determinants and mental health services dominated (74.4%), followed by the disaster-related determinants and women’s health consequences (39.3%). The ratio of the number of beds for mental health in general hospitals (per 100,000 population) in Somalia in 2017 is 0.5 compared to the Eastern Mediterranean region (EMR) at 6.4 and globally at 24. One of the biggest casualties of the civil war was loss of essential human resources in healthcare as most either fled the country or were part of the victims of the war.

Conclusions

The vast scale of the mental health problems in Somalia and the priority setting guidelines for interventions to address the issues outlined in this paper, prompt a dire need that the Somali government and its national/international partners should prioritize and emphasize the need to invest in the prevention and the treatment of mental illness across the country.

Categorías: Investigaciones

An ecological study on the association between International Health Regulations (IHR) core capacity scores and the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) service coverage index

Abstract Background

The pandemic situation due to COVID-19 highlighted the importance of global health security preparedness and response. Since the revision of the International Health Regulations (IHR) in 2005, Joint External Evaluation (JEE) and States Parties Self-Assessment Annual Reporting (SPAR) have been adopted to track the IHR implementation stage in each country. While national IHR core capacities support the concept of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), there have been limited studies verifying the relationship between the two concepts. This study aimed to investigate empirically the association between IHR core capacity scores and the UHC service coverage index.

Method

JEE score, SPAR score and UHC service coverage index data from 96 countries were collected and analyzed using an ecological study design. The independent variable was IHR core capacity scores, measured by JEE 2016-2019 and SPAR 2019 from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the dependent variable, UHC service coverage index, was extracted from the 2019 UHC monitoring report. For examining the association between IHR core capacities and the UHC service coverage index, Spearman’s correlation analysis was used. The correlation between IHR core capacities and UHC index was demonstrated using a scatter plot between JEE score and UHC service coverage index, and the SPAR score and UHC service coverage index were also presented.

Result

While the correlation value between JEE and SPAR was 0.92 (p < 0.001), the countries’ external evaluation scores were lower than their self-evaluation scores. Some areas such as available human resources and points of entry were mismatched between JEE and SPAR. JEE was associated with the UHC score (r = 0.85, p < 0.001) and SPAR was also associated with the UHC service coverage index (r = 0.81, p < 0.001). The JEE and SPAR scores showed a significant positive correlation with the UHC service coverage index after adjusting for several confounding variables.

Conclusion

The study result supports the premise that strengthening national health security capacities would in turn contribute to the achievement of UHC. With the help of the empirical result, it would further guide each country for better implementation of IHR.

Categorías: Investigaciones

On-the-job vocational training of nonprofessional ethnic health workers of a primary health care team improves their sense of coherence

Abstract Objectives

A Primary Care Model Programme had been implemented in Hungary between 2013 and 2017 in which group practices were established that employed—among others—nonprofessional health workers (health mediators, similar to community health workers) to facilitate access for the most disadvantaged population groups. The health of mediators, themselves mostly disadvantaged ethnic Roma, was monitored every odd year of the Programme.

Methods

A repeated cross-sectional health interview survey had been implemented inviting all health mediators who were employed at the time of the survey. The same questionnaire was used in all 3 surveys with items from the European Health Interview Survey 2009 and validated versions of other scales.

Results

Positive changes occurred in the health status of mediators during 5 years of follow-up. Significant improvement in mental health occurred among those who completed on-the-job vocational training. By 2017, significant increase in sense of coherence was observed among those who obtained vocational qualification as opposed to those who did not. The proportion of highly stressed mediators showed a significant increase among those with no vocational training. Improvement was detected in all mediators in health awareness, dysfunctional attitudes, psychological stress and smoking prevalence.

Conclusions

Significant improvement in mental status among those who obtained on-the-job vocational qualification were observed during follow-up of ethnic Roma health mediators in the programme in which they were equal members of the primary health care team. Employment of health mediators in primary care teams not only contributed to improving access to care for disadvantaged groups, but also improved the mental health of mediators themselves.

Categorías: Investigaciones

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