Afghanistan

To determine if children presenting without complaints related to the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) are at greater risk for suboptimal screening for IMCI conditions, we randomly sampled and observed 3072 sick child visits in 33 provinces of Afghanistan. The study indicated that children with non-IMCI complaints are at greater risk of suboptimal screening compared to children with IMCI-related complaints. We concluded that facility and provider capacity needs to be improved, particularly during training, supervision and guideline dissemination, to ensure that all children receive routine screening for common IMCI conditions.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health problem in Afghanistan, but experience in implementing effective strategies to prevent and control TB in urban areas and conflict zones is limited. This study shares programmatic experience in implementing DOTS in the large city of Kabul. We analyzed data from the 2009–2015 reports of the National TB Program (NTP) for Kabul City and calculated treatment outcomes and progress in case notification. Between 2009 and 2015, the number of DOTS-providing centers in Kabul increased from 22 to 85. In total, 24,619 TB patients were enrolled in TB treatment during this period. The case notification rate for all forms of TB increased from 59 per 100,000 population to 125 per 100,000. The case notification rate per 100,000 population for sputum-smear-positive TB increased from 25 to 33. The treatment success rate for all forms of TB increased from 31% to 67% and from 47% to 77% for sputum-smear-positive TB cases. In 2013, contact screening was introduced, and the TB yield was 723 per 100,000—more than two times higher than the estimated national prevalence of 340 per 100,000. Contact screening contributed to identifying 2,509 child contacts of people with TB, and 76% of those children received isoniazid preventive therapy. The comprehensive urban DOTS program significantly improved service accessibility, TB case finding, and treatment outcomes in Kabul. Public- and private-sector involvement also improved treatment outcomes; however, the treatment success rate remains higher in private health facilities. While the treatment success rate increased significantly, it remains lower than the national average, and more efforts are needed to improve treatment outcomes in Kabul. We recommend that the urban DOTS approach be replicated in other countries and cities in Afghanistan with settings similar to Kabul.

The study aimed to conduct capacity assessments of the community health worker (CHW) system and determine stakeholder perspectives of CHW performance. Formative assessments evidenced that CHWs were highly valued as they provided equitable, accessible and affordable 24-hour care. Their loyalty, dedication and the ability for women to access care without male family escorts was appreciated by communities. With rising concerns of workforce deficits, insecurity and budget constraints, the health system must enhance the capacity of these frontline workers to improve the continuum of care.

We piloted an intervention that placed a people-centred health systems governance approach in the hands of multi-stakeholder committees that govern provincial and district health systems in Afghanistan. We report the results of this intervention from three provinces and eleven districts in Afghanistan over a six month period. This mixed-methods exploratory case study uses analysis of governance self-assessment scores, health management information system data on health system performance, and focus group discussions. The outcomes of interest are governance scores and health system performance indicators. We document the application of a people-centred health systems governance conceptual model based on applying four effective governing practices: cultivating accountability, engaging with stakeholders, setting a shared strategic direction, and stewarding resources responsibly. We found that health systems governance can be improved in fragile and conflict affected environments, and that consistent application of the effective governing practices is key to improving governance. Intervention was associated with a 20% increase in antenatal care visit rate in pilot provinces.

Given similar performance and knowledge of health workers trained in 7-day and 11-day courses, potential cost savings, the possibility of training more health workers and the relative ease with which health workers in remote settings might participate in a short course, it seems prudent to standardize the 7-day course in Afghanistan, where child mortality rates remain unacceptably high.

This supplement to the Journal of Global Public Health is devoted to the re-development of the health system in Afghanistan beginning in 2002. It discusses the processes that were adopted by the Ministry of Public Health and its partners, and the activities of the non-governmental organisations that, for the most part, were responsible for overseeing the delivery of health services to the population. It also presents an overview of the results that were obtained during the ensuing 10 years.

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

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 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.

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.

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