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.
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.
An ecological study on the association between International Health Regulations (IHR) core capacity scores and the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) service coverage index
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.
On-the-job vocational training of nonprofessional ethnic health workers of a primary health care team improves their sense of coherence
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.
To support the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine, the World Health Organization and its partners developed an interactive virtual learning initiative through which vaccination stakeholders could receive the latest guidance, ask questions, and share their experiences. This initiative, implemented between 9 February 2021 and 15 June 2021, included virtual engagement between technical experts and participants during a 15-session interactive webinar series as well as web and text-messaging discussions in English and French.Methods
This article uses a mixed-methods approach to analyze survey data collected following each webinar and a post-series survey conducted after the series had concluded. Participant data were tracked for each session, and feedback surveys were conducted after each session to gauge experience quality and content usability. Chi-square tests were used to compare results across professions (health workers, public health practitioners, and others).Results
The COVID-19 Vaccination: Building Global Capacity webinar series reached participants in 179 countries or 93% of the WHO Member States; 75% of participants were from low- and middle-income countries. More than 60% of participants reported using the resources provided during the sessions, and 47% reported sharing these resources with colleagues. More than 79% of participants stated that this initiative significantly improved their confidence in preparing for and rolling out COVID-19 vaccinations; an additional 20% stated that the initiative “somewhat” improved their confidence. In the post-series survey, 70% of participants reported that they will “definitely use” the knowledge derived from this learning series in their work; an additional 20% will “probably use” and 9% would “possibly use” this knowledge in their work.Conclusion
The COVID-19 Vaccination: Building Global Capacity learning initiative used a digital model of dynamic, interactive learning at scale. The initiative enhanced WHO’s ability to disseminate knowledge, provide normative guidance, and share best practices to COVID-19 vaccination stakeholders in real time. This approach allowed WHO to hear the information needs of stakeholders and respond by developing guidance, tools, and training to support COVID-19 vaccine introduction. WHO and its partners can learn from this capacity-building experience and apply best practices for digital interactive learning to other health programs moving forward.
“At the mercy of some of the regulations”: the impact of the residency match and return of service requirement on the early-career decisions of international medical graduates in Canada
Return-of-service (ROS) agreements require international medical graduates (IMGs) who accept medical residency positions in Canada to practice in specified geographic areas following completion of training. However, few studies have examined how ROS agreements influence career decisions. We examined IMG resident and early-career family physicians’ perceptions of the residency matching process, ROS requirements, and how these factors shaped their early career decisions.Methods
As part of a larger project, we conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews with early-career family physicians and family medicine residents in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia. We asked participants about their actual or intended practice characteristics (e.g., payment model, practice location) and factors shaping actual or intended practice (e.g., personal/professional influences, training experiences, policy environments). Interviews were transcribed verbatim and a thematic analysis approach was employed to identify recurring patterns and themes.Results
For this study, we examined interview data from nine residents and 15 early-career physicians with ROS agreements. We identified three themes: IMGs strategically chose family medicine to increase the likelihood of obtaining a residency position; ROS agreements limited career choices; and ROS agreements delayed preferred practice choice (e.g., scope of practice and location) of an IMGs’ early-career practice.Conclusions
The obligatory nature of ROS agreements influences IMG early-career choices, as they necessitate strategically tailoring practice intentions towards available residency positions. Existing analyses of IMGs’ early-career practice choices neglect to distinguish between ROS and practice choices made independently of ROS requirements. Further research is needed to understand how ROS influences longer term practice patterns of IMGs in Canada.
Healthcare organisations face major challenges to keep healthcare accessible and affordable. This requires them to transform and improve their performance. To do so, organisations must influence employee job performance. Therefore, it is necessary to know what the key dimensions of job performance in healthcare are and how these dimensions can be improved. This study has three aims. The first aim is to determine what key dimensions of job performance are discussed in the healthcare literature. The second aim is to determine to which professionals and healthcare organisations these dimensions of job performance pertain. The third aim is to identify factors that organisations can use to affect the dimensions of job performance in healthcare.Methods
A systematic review was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. The authors searched Scopus, Web of Science, PubMed, and Google Books, which resulted in the identification of 763 records. After screening 92 articles were included.Results
The dimensions – task, contextual, and adaptative performance and counterproductive work behaviour – are reflected in the literature on job performance in healthcare. Adaptive performance and counterproductive work behaviour appear to be under-researched. The studies were conducted in different healthcare organisations and pertain to a variety of healthcare professionals. Organisations can affect job performance on the macro-, meso-, and micro-level to achieve transformation and improvement.Conclusion
Based on more than 90 studies published in over 70 journals, the authors conclude that job performance in healthcare can be conceptualised into four dimensions: task, contextual and adaptive performance, and counterproductive work behaviour. Generally, these dimensions correspond with the dimensions discussed in the job performance literature. This implies that these dimensions can be used for further research into job performance in healthcare. Many healthcare studies on job performance focus on two dimensions: task and contextual performance. However, adaptive performance, which is of great importance in constantly changing environments, is under-researched and should be examined further in future research. This also applies to counterproductive work behaviour. To improve job performance, interventions are required on the macro-, meso-, and micro-levels, which relate to governance, leadership, and individual skills and characteristics.
Trend and projection of skilled birth attendants and institutional delivery coverage for adolescents in 54 low- and middle-income countries, 2000–2030
Limitations to accessing delivery care services increase the risks of adverse outcomes during pregnancy and delivery for all pregnant women, particularly among adolescents in LMICs. In order to inform adolescent-specific delivery care initiatives and coverage, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of trends, projections and inequalities in coverage of delivery care services among adolescents at national, urban-rural and socio-economic levels in LMICs.Methods
Using 224 nationally representative cross-sectional survey data between 2000 and 2019, we estimated the coverage of institutional delivery (INSD) and skilled birth attendants (SBA). Bayesian hierarchical regression models were used to estimate trends, projections and determinants of INSD and SBA.Results
Coverage of delivery care services among adolescents increased substantially at the national level, as well as in both urban and rural areas in most countries between 2000 and 2018. Of the 54 LMICs, 24 countries reached 80% coverage of both INSD and SBA in 2018, and predictions for 40 countries are set to exceed 80% by 2030. The trends in coverage of INSD and SBA of adult mothers mostly align with those for adolescent mothers. Our findings show that urban-rural and wealth-based inequalities to delivery care remain persistent by 2030. In 2018, urban settings across 54 countries had higher rates of coverage exceeding 80% compared to rural for both INSD (45 urban, 16 rural) and SBA (50 urban, 19 rural). Several factors such as household head age ≥ 46 years, household head being female, access to mass media, lower parity, higher education, higher ANC visits and higher socio-economic status could increase the coverage of INSD and SBA among adolescents and adult women.Conclusions
More than three-quarters of the LMICs are predicted to achieve 80% coverage of INSD and SBA among adolescent mothers in 2030, although with sustained inequalities.
Applying WHO COVID-19 workforce estimate tools remotely in an African context: a case report from Mali and Kenya.
Assessing the staffing needs for primary health care centers in Cross River State, Nigeria: a workload indicators of staffing needs study.
Estimating staffing requirements using workload indicators of staffing need at Braun District Hospital in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea.
Determining staffing standards for primary care services using workload indicators of staffing needs in the Philippines.
Adopting workload-based staffing norms at public sector health facilities in Bangladesh: evidence from two districts.
Workforce problems at rural public health-centres in India: a WISN retrospective analysis and national-level modelling study.
Transdisciplinarity of India’s master’s level public health programmes: evidence from admission criteria of the programmes offered since 1995
In the Indian subcontinent, Master’s-level Public Health (MlPH) programmes attract graduates of diverse academic disciplines from health and non-health sciences alike. Considering the current and futuristic importance of the public health cadre, we described them and reviewed their transdisciplinarity status based on MlPH admissibility criteria 1995 to 2021.Methods
Using a search strategy, we abstracted information available in the public domain on MlPH programmes and their admissibility criteria. We categorized the admission criteria based on specified disciplines into Health science, Non-health science and Non-health non-science categories. We described the MlPH programmes by location, type of institution, course duration, curriculum, pedagogical methods, specializations offered, and nature of admission criteria statements. We calculated descriptive statistics for eligible educational qualifications for MlPH admission.Results
Overall, 76 Indian institutions (Medical colleges—21 and Non-medical coleges—55) offered 92 MlPH programmes (Private—58 and Public—34). We included 89 for review. These programmes represent a 51% increase (n = 47) from 2016 to 2021. They are mostly concentrated in 21 Indian provinces. These programmes stated that they admit candidates of but not limited to “graduation in any life sciences”, “3-year bachelor’s degree in any discipline”, “graduation from any Indian universities”, and “graduation in any discipline”. Among the health science disciplines, Modern medicine (n = 89; 100%), Occupational therapy (n = 57; 64%) is the least eligible. Among the non-health science disciplines, life sciences and behavioural sciences (n = 53; 59%) and non-health non-science disciplines, humanities and social sciences (n = 62; 72%) are the topmost eligible disciplines for admission in the MPH programmes.Conclusion
Our review suggests that India’s MlPH programmes are less transdisciplinary. Relatively, non-medical institutions offer admission to various academic disciplines than the medical institutions in their MlPH programmes. India’s Master’s level public health programmes could be more inclusive by opening to graduates from trans-disciplinary backgrounds.
Online faculty development in low- and middle-income countries for health professions educators: a rapid realist review
Health professions educators require support to develop teaching and learning, research, educational leadership, and administrative skills to strengthen their higher education role through faculty development initiatives. Where administration has pursued face-to-face and online faculty development initiatives, results have positively influenced health professions educators. There is limited evidence demonstrating how online faculty development works for health professions educators in low- and middle-income countries who engage in online health professions education (HPE) faculty development.Methods
A Conjecture Map for online HPE faculty development courses identified candidate theories for a rapid realist review. The Conjecture Map and candidate theories, Community of Inquiry and the Conversational Framework guided the development of search terms and analysis for this review. Three searches using EbscoHost databases yielded 1030 abstracts. A primary and secondary research team participated in a multi-reviewer blinded process in assessing abstracts, selecting full-text articles, and data extraction. The primary research team analysed eight articles for this rapid realist review to answer the research question: How do online HPE faculty development courses work, or not work, in low- and middle-income countries? Data were analysed and mapped to the initial Conjecture Map and the research question.Results
The research references US-based organisations forming partnerships with low- and middle-income countries, and who provide funding for online HPE faculty development initiatives. These initiatives design courses that facilitate learning through engagement from which participants report beneficial outcomes of professional and career development. The review does not clarify if the reported outcomes are generalisable for facilitators from low-and middle-income countries. The findings of this review demonstrate the role of a community of practice as the dominant mechanism through which the outcomes are achieved, based on a design that incorporates six triggering events. The design aligns the triggering events with the three categories of the Community of Inquiry—a theory for designing online learning environments.Conclusion
Health professions educators in low- and middle-income countries can develop professional and interpersonal skills through a well-designed, specifically constructed online community that prioritises active discussion.
Informal payments for modern family planning methods at public facilities in Tanzania: room for improvement
Financial access to family planning (FP) is essential to the health and well-being of women in Tanzania. Tanzanian policy dictates that FP methods and services obtained at public facilities are provided for free. However, public sector FP is no longer free when providers solicit informal payments. In this analysis, we investigate the prevalence and amount of informal payments for FP in Tanzania.Methods
We used data from the 2015–2016 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey to investigate whether informal payments for FP had been effectively eliminated by this policy.Results
We found that, at public sector facilities, the majority (84.6%) of women received their current FP method for free (95% confidence interval (CI): 81.9, 87.3), but this proportion varied meaningfully by facility and method type. Injectable contraception was the most commonly used method by women in the lowest wealth quintiles and was most frequently sought by these women from a government dispensary. One in four women (25.8%) seeking injectable contraception from government dispensaries reported paying a fee (95% CI: 19.5, 32.1). Among injectable users who reported payment for their current method, the mean cost at public sector facilities was 1420 Tanzanian Shillings (TSh) and the mean cost at private sector facilities was TSh 1930 (approximately 0.61 United States Dollars (USD) and 0.83 USD, respectively). Among implant users who reported payment for their current method, the mean cost at public sector facilities was TSh 4127 and the mean cost at private sector facilities was TSh 6194 (approximately 1.78 USD and 2.68 USD, respectively).Conclusion
These findings suggest that the majority of women visiting public facilities in Tanzania did not pay informal payments for FP methods or services; however, informal payments at public facilities did occur, varying by facility and method type. Adherence to existing policies mandating free FP methods and services at public facilities, especially government dispensaries, is critical for ensuring contraceptive access among the most economically vulnerable women.
Advances in training of the specialized human resources for health in Tanzania: the case of Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences.
Determining staffing standards for primary care services using workload indicators of staffing needs in the Philippines
Health services cannot be delivered without an adequate, competent health workforce. Evidence suggests a direct relationship between density of health workforce and health outcomes. The Philippines is faced with health workforce challenges including shortages, inequitable distribution and inadequate skill mix which hinder health service delivery. Evidence-based workforce planning is, therefore, critical to achieve universal health care.Methods
The Philippines adopted the World Health Organization’s workload indicators of staffing need methodology. Using a multistage sampling method, nine regions with poor health indicators in tuberculosis, family planning, and maternal child health were identified. Physicians, nurses, midwives, and medical technologists were prioritized in the study from 89 primary care health facilities (barangay health stations, rural health units, and city health offices). Data was collected using in-depth interviews, document reviews, observations, and field visits. The workload indicators of staffing need software were used for data analysis to determine staffing requirements and analyse workforce pressure.Results
The study showed varied results in terms of staffing requirements and workload pressure across cadres and facility types. Some health facilities exhibited staff shortages and high workload pressure. Out of the 40 rural health units and city health offices, only three had the required physicians needed and 22 facilities had a shortage of physicians working under high workload pressure. Other facilities had excess staff compared to the calculated requirements. Nurses at the rural health units showed high workload pressure. Ten rural health units had no medical technologists. Midwives at barangay health stations exhibited extremely low workload pressures.Conclusion
The study identifies the need for the Philippine Health System, both through the Department of Health and the local governments to efficiently optimize the available health workers by revising the services offered at the primary health care facilities. The results provide evidence for staffing requirements at various levels of care based on workloads, scope of practice and time taken to undertake specific tasks at the barangay health stations, rural health units and city health offices to be integrated into the human resources for health management systems.