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Abstract An increasing number of countries are exploring the introduction or expansion of autonomous hospitals as one of the numerous health reforms they are introducing to their health system. Hospital autonomy is one of the forms of decentralization that is focused on a specific institution rather than on a political unit.

Abstract Objective To assess the sustainability, robustness and economic advantages of high-performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC) for quality control of pharmaceutical products. Method We compared three laboratories where three lots of cotrimoxazole tablets were assessed using different techniques for quantifying the active ingredient.

Malaria during pregnancy is a major public health problem in Nigeria especially in malaria-endemic areas. It increases the risk of low birth weight and child/maternal morbidity/mortality. This paper addresses the impact of radio campaigns on the use of insecticide-treated bed nets among pregnant women in Nigeria. Pregnant women who listened to mass media campaigns were more likely to adopt strategies to protect themselves from malaria.

Monitoring implementation of the ‘‘test and treat’’ case-management policy for malaria is an important component of all malaria control programmes in Africa. Unfortunately, routine information systems are commonly deficient to provide necessary information. Using health facility surveys we monitored health systems readiness and malaria case management practices prior to and following implementation of the 2010 ‘‘test and treat’’ policy in Kenya. Between 2010 and 2013 six national, cross-sectional, health facility surveys were undertaken. Major improvements in the implementation of the ‘‘test and treat’’ policy were observed. Some gaps towards universal targets still remained. Other countries facing similar needs and challenges may consider health facility surveys to monitor malaria case-management.

To better meet women's emergency contraceptive needs and to contribute to the limited knowledge base regarding this method in Africa, this study examines data from a sample of EC users drawn from a large, representative household survey that included sexually experienced women in urban Kenya and Nigeria. Bivariate and multivariate analyses reveal greater knowledge of EC among these urban women than was reported in other nationally representative surveys. Recent users of EC were more likely to be in their 20s, unmarried, and more highly educated than never users or ever users of EC in both countries. Results contradict public perceptions of EC users as young adolescents and indicate the importance of strengthening EC provision in Africa, including targeting information and services to unmarried women and supporting private pharmacies in delivering quality services.

The shortage of skilled birth attendants has been a key factor in the high maternal and newborn mortality in Afghanistan. Efforts to strengthen pre-service midwifery education in Afghanistan have increased the number of midwives from 467 in 2002 to 2954 in 2010. We analyzed the costs and graduate performance outcomes of the two types of pre-service midwifery education programs in Afghanistan that were either established or strengthened between 2002 and 2010 to guide future program implementation and share lessons learned. CME graduates achieved an overall mean competency score of 63.2% on the clinical competency assessment, compared to 57.3% for IHS graduates. Reproductive health activities accounted for 76% of midwives' time over an average of three months. Approximately 1% of childbirths required referral or resulted in maternal death. On the basis of known costs for the programs, the estimated cost of graduating a class with 25 students averaged US$298,939, or US$10,784 per graduate.

We examined the spatial pattern and risk factors of co-morbidity of malaria and non-malarial febrile illness among children aged 6-59 months in Nigeria. Using data from the 2010 Nigeria Malaria Indicator Survey, we considered the co-morbidity of malaria and non-malarial febrile illness among the children as multicategorical and selected a mixed multinomial logit model capable of incorporating covariates of different types. Inference was Bayesian, based on multicategorical linear mixed-model representation. We found that the risk of co-morbidity of malaria and non-malarial febrile illness increases as a child advances in age while the risk of non-malarial fever reduces after about 32 months of age. Area of residence (urban or rural), wealth index and type of roofing material used in the dwelling are other important risk factors for the co-morbidity found in this study. Further, children from four of Nigeria's 37 states are at high risk of malaria. Disease preventive measures need to be intensified, with more focus on rural areas and the poor. Campaigns for use of insecticide-treated bed nets need be more aggressive in all Nigerian states.

Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programs can greatly reduce the vertical transmission rate (VTR) of HIV, and Malawi is expanding PMTCT access by offering HIV-infected pregnant women life-long antiretroviral therapy (Option B+). There is currently no empirical data on the effectiveness of Malawian PMTCT programs. This study describes a surveillance approach to obtain population-based estimates of the VTR of infants

Abstract In 2001, Afghanistan's Ministry of Public Health inherited a devastated health system and some of the worst health statistics in the world. The health system was rebuilt based on the Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS). This paper examines why the BPHS was needed, how it was developed, its content and the changes resulting from the rebuilding.

Abstract The Paris Declaration defined five components of aid effectiveness: ownership, alignment, harmonisation, managing for results and mutual accountability. Afghanistan, which has received a high level of donor aid for health since 2002, has seen significant improvements in health indicators, expanded access to health services and an increased range of services.

Abstract In Afghanistan, malnutrition in children less than 60 months of age remains high despite nutritional services being offered in health facilities since 2003.

This paper examines the possible relationship between Hb concentration and severity of anemia with individual and household characteristics of children aged 6-59 months in Nigeria; and explores possible geographical variations of these outcome variables. Spatial analyses reveal a distinct north-south divide in Hb concentration of the children analyzed. States in Northern Nigeria possess a higher risk of anemia. Other important risk factors include the household wealth index, sex of the child, whether or not the child had fever or malaria in the 2 weeks preceding the survey, and age under 24 months of age. There is a need for state-level implementation of programs that target vulnerable children.

BRICS’ leaders have an opportunity to pool capacity, technical expertise and financial resources to accelerate progress towards the 2020 goals for neglected tropical disease control and elimination. First, they can lead by example. Brazil, China, India and South Africa can help close the treatment gap by prioritizing neglected tropical diseases, scaling up national programmes and achieving domestic goals for control and elimination of the diseases relevant to their settings. Second, by sharing expertise each BRICS country can help other countries tackle neglected tropical diseases, through new partnerships. Third, BRICS can shape the policy agenda, increasing political commitment, mobilizing resources and implementing policies that support neglected tropical disease control and elimination on the international level.

Key components to support local institutional and consumer markets are: supply chain, finance, clinical use, and consumer use. Key lessons learned: (1) Build supply and demand simultaneously. (2) Support a lead organization to drive the introduction process. (3) Plan for scale up from the start. (4) Profitability for the private sector is an absolute.

This study assessed the effects of facility-based interventions using existing resources to improve overall patient attendance and adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) at ART-providing facilities in Uganda. Patients’ adherence was improved with low-cost and easily implemented interventions using existing health facilities’ resources. We recommend that such interventions be considered for scale-up at national levels as measures to improve clinic attendance and ART adherence among patients in Uganda and other low-resource settings in sub-Saharan Africa.

Recent studies in Guyana and Suriname revealed diminished efficacy of artemisinin derivatives based on day-3 parasitaemia. Data on malaria medicine quality and pharmaceutical management, generated in the context of the Amazon Malaria Initiative, were reviewed and discussed. Numerous substandard artemisinin-containing malaria medicines were identified in both countries, particularly in Guyana. The quality of malaria medicines and the availability and use of non-recommended treatments could have played a role in the diminished efficacy of artemisinin derivatives described in Guyana and Suriname.

Our objective in this study was to identify the missed opportunities for the integration of HIV care and family planning services and to inform future network strengthening. In two sub-cities of Addis Ababa, we identified each organization providing either HIV care or family planning services. We interviewed representatives of each of them about exchanges of clients with each of the others. With network analysis, we identified network characteristics in each sub-city network, such as referral density and centrality; and gaps in the referral patterns. Representatives from the networks confirmed the results reflected their experience and expressed an interest in establishing more links between organizations. Because of organizations not working together, women in the two sub-cities were at risk of not receiving needed family planning or HIV care services. Facilitating referrals among a few organizations that are most often working in isolation could remedy the problem, but the overall referral densities suggests that improved connections throughout might benefit conditions in addition to HIV and family planning that need service integration.

The Integrated Infectious Diseases Capacity Building Evaluation designed two interventions for mid-level practitioners from 36 primary care facilities in Uganda: the Integrated Management of Infectious Disease (IMID) training program and On-Site Support (OSS). We evaluated their effects on 23 facility performance indicators, including malaria case management.The combination of IMID and OSS was associated with statistically significant improvements in malaria case management.

Estimating the size of populations most affected by HIV such as men who have sex with men (MSM) though crucial for structuring responses to the epidemic presents significant challenges, especially in a developing society. Using capture-recapture methodology, the size of MSM-SW in Nigeria was estimated in three major cities (Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt) between July and December 2009. Following interviews with key informants, locations and times when MSM-SW were available to male clients were mapped and designated as "hotspots." Port Harcourt had the largest estimated population of MSM sex workers, 723, followed by Lagos state with 620, and Kano with 353. This study documents a large population of MSM-SW in three Nigerian cities where higher HIV prevalence among MSM compared to the general population has been documented. Research and programming are needed to better understand and address the health vulnerabilities that MSM-SW and their clients face.

A pilot project, implemented in 2 rural districts of Malawi between 2010 and 2011, introduced a mobile phone system to strengthen knowledge exchange within networks of CHWs and district staff. To evaluate the mobile phone intervention, a participatory evaluation method called Net-Map was used. At baseline, community health workers were not mentioned as actors in the information network, while at endline they were seen to have significant connections with colleagues, beneficiaries, supervisors, and district health facilities, as both recipients and providers of information. Focus groups with CHWs complemented the Net-Map findings with reports of increased self-confidence and greater trust by their communities. These qualitative results were bolstered by surveys that showed decreases in stock-outs of essential medicines, lower communication costs, wider service coverage, and more efficient referrals. As an innovative, participatory form of social network analysis, Net-Map yielded important visual, quantitative, and qualitative information at reasonable cost.

Problems with the quality of medicines abound in countries where regulatory and legal oversight are weak, where medicines are unaffordable to most, and where the official supply often fails to reach patients. Quality is important to ensure effective treatment, to maintain patient and health-care worker confidence in treatment, and to prevent the development of resistance. In 2001, the WHO established the Prequalification of Medicines Programme in response to the need to select good-quality medicines for UN procurement. Member States of the WHO had requested its assistance in assessing the quality of low-cost generic medicines that were becoming increasingly available especially in treatments for HIV/AIDS. From a public health perspective, WHO PQP’s greatest achievement is improved quality of life-saving medicines used today by millions of people in developing countries. Prequalification has made it possible to believe that everyone in the world will have access to safe, effective, and affordable medicines. Yet despite its track record and recognized importance to health, funding for the programme remains uncertain.

Improving women’s health throughout the life course will contribute to other post-2015 goals. Conversely, women’s social empowerment will improve health. For this virtuous cycle to occur, the next iteration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has to embrace women’s health and wellbeing as a priority—particularly since indicators of women’s health are those lagging the farthest behind in the current MDGs. Universal health coverage is generally agreed to be an essential means of achieving post-2015 health goals, including addressing inequalities in women’s health care. This article looks at critical factors for designing and implementing universal health coverage to improve women’s health. The authors draw on examples from Afghanistan, Mexico, Thailand, and Rwanda.

In low income countries, Ziehl-Neelsen sputum smear microscopy is the only cost-effective tool for diagnosis and monitoring of patients on treatment for tuberculosis.The objective of this study was to investigate the role of AFB microscopy refresher training on the performance of laboratory professionals in Ethiopia. Training has improved theoretical and practical performance of laboratory professionals. Pre-placement and continuous training irrespective of lab professionals' qualifications and service year and sustainable external quality assessment are highly recommended to ensure quality of AFB microscopy services.

Roughly 70% of infected children are not receiving live-saving HIV care and treatment. Strengthening case finding through improved diagnosis strategies and actively linking identified HIV-infected children to care and treatment are essential to ensuring that these children benefit from the care and treatment available to them. This article summarizes the challenges of identifying HIV-infected infants and children, reviews currently available evidence and guidance, describes promising new strategies for case finding, and makes recommendations for future research and interventions to improve identification of HIV-infected infants and children.

As of 2012, only 34% of treatment eligible children in low- and middle-income countries were receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) despite proven benefits of early initiation of antiretroviral treatment (ART) on child survival. We reviewed routine EID (early infant diagnosis) laboratory and paediatric ART patient records to determine missed opportunities for optimizing EID and current status of linkage between EID entry points to paediatric ART initiation in Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. These are three countries with EID coverage of 22, 11 and 14%, respectively and ART coverage rates of 18, 16 and 32%, respectively. This article examines the most likely delivery points for collection of blood samples for EID testing for infant and young children and the most likely referral points for ART initiation of HIV-infected children in these three countries. This data provides evidence of consistent missed opportunities for linking HIV-infected children identified during EID to early ART treatment. We also argue for expanding the provision of EID to other service delivery points beyond PMTCT platform and provide suggestions for better linkages from EID to care and treatment.

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