community health care

We are conducting a cluster randomised controlled trial in Mokhotlong district, Lesotho, to evaluate a newly developed community-based intervention program to integrate HIV-testing and treatment services, early childhood care and development, and nutrition education for caregivers with children aged 1-5 years living in rural villages. Caregivers and their children are randomly assigned by village to intervention or control condition. We select, train, and supervise community health workers recruited to implement the intervention, which consists of nine group-based sessions with caregivers and children over 12 weeks (eight weekly sessions, and a ninth top-up session 1 month later), followed by a locally hosted community health outreach day event. This study provides a unique opportunity to assess the potential of an integrated early childhood development intervention to prevent or mitigate developmental delays in children living in a context of extreme poverty and high HIV rates in rural Lesotho. This paper presents the intervention content and research protocol for the study.

Integrated community case management (iCCM) can be an effective strategy for expanding the provision of diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria services to children under 5 years old but there are concerns in some countries about the corresponding cost and impact. This paper presents and compares findings from a multi–country analysis of iCCM program costs. Data were collected on iCCM programs in seven sub–Saharan African countries: Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Zambia. The data were used to compare some elements of program performance as well as costs per capita and costs per service (which are key indicators of resource allocation and efficiency). A comprehensive understanding of iCCM program costs and results can help countries obtain resources and use them efficiently. To be cost–effective and affordable, iCCM programs must be well utilized, while program management and supervision should be organized to minimize costs and ensure quality of care. iCCM programs will not always be low–cost, however, particularly in small, remote villages where supervision and supply challenges are greater.

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.

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.

Low-income countries with high HIV/AIDS burdens in sub-Saharan Africa must deal with severe shortages of qualified human resources for health. This situation has triggered the renewed interest in community health workers, as they may play an important role in scaling-up antiretroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS by taking over a number of tasks from the professional health workers.

The India Local Initiatives Program adapted a model used in Indonesia and Bangladesh to implement the government’s reproductive and child health strategy. From 1999 to 2003, three Indian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) provided services for 784,000 people in four northern states.

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