Kenya

A cross-sectional survey was performed in 24 systems of care providing antiretroviral medications in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda to examine current practices in monitoring rates of treatment adherence and defaulting. Only 20 of 48 facilities reported routinely measuring individual patient adherence levels; only 12 measured rates of adherence for the clinic population. The rules for determining which patients were included in the calculation of rates were unclear. Fourteen different definitions of treatment defaulting were in use. Facilities routinely gather potentially useful data, but the frequency of doing so varied widely. Individual and program treatment adherence and defaulting are not routinely monitored; when done, the operational definitions and methods varied widely, making comparisons across programs unreliable. There is a pressing need to determine which measures are the most feasible and reliable to collect, the most useful for clinical counseling, and most informative for program management.

Several studies have shown effectiveness of SMS interventions to improve health workers’ practices, patients’ adherence to medications and availability of health facility commodities. To inform policymakers about the feasibility of facility-based SMS interventions, the coverage data on mobile phone ownership and SMS use among health workers and patients are needed. In 2012, a national, cross-sectional, cluster sample survey was undertaken at 172 public health facilities in Kenya. Outpatient health workers (219) and caregivers of sick children and adult patients (1,177) were interviewed. Mobile phone ownership and SMS use are ubiquitous among Kenyan health workers in the public sector. Among the patients they serve, phone ownership and SMS use are lower, and disparities exist with respect to gender, age, education, literacy, urbanization and poverty. Some of the disparities in SMS use can be addressed through mHealth interventions and enhanced implementation processes, while further growth in mobile phone ownership is needed to reduce the gap.

This qualitative study at six health facilities in Kenya assessed how staff perceived and used an appointment-keeping system and a revised clinic form to monitor patients’ adherence to antiretroviral treatment. Early detection of treatment defaulters helped the providers to design targeted patient support to enhance appointment keeping. The intervention led to implementation of changes in clinics to enhance patients’ appointment keeping and improve adherence to treatment.

The costs of delivering specific products are poorly understood and ballpark estimates are often used to inadequately plan for the budgetary implications of supply chain expenses. The purpose of this research was to estimate the country level costs of the public sector supply chain for artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) and rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) from the central to the peripheral levels in Benin and Kenya. A micro-costing approach was used and primary data on the various cost components of the supply chain was collected at the central, intermediate, and facility levels between September and November 2013. Information sources included central warehouse databases, health facility records, transport schedules, and expenditure reports. In Benin, supply chain costs added US$0.20 to the initial acquisition cost of ACT and US$0.34 to RDTs; in Kenya, they added US$0.24 to the acquisition cost of ACT and US$0.19 to RDTs (normalized to US$1). Total supply chain costs accounted for more than 30% of the initial acquisition cost of the products in some cases and these costs were highly sensitive to product volumes. The major cost drivers were found to be labour, transport, and utilities, with health facilities carrying the majority of the cost per unit of product. Product volumes should be considered when costing supply chain functions rather than dollar value. Further work is needed to develop extrapolative costing models that can be applied at country level without extensive micro-costing exercises.

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.

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.

Effective surveillance systems are required to track malaria testing and treatment practices. A 26-week study “SMS for Life” was piloted in five rural districts of Kenya to examine whether SMS reported surveillance data could ensure real-time visibility of accurate data and their use by district managers to impact on malaria case-management. The study demonstrated the feasibility of using simple mobile phone text messages to transmit timely surveillance data from peripheral health facilities to higher levels. However, accuracy of data reported was suboptimal. Future work should focus on improving quality of SMS reported surveillance data.

Achieving high rates of adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in resource-poor settings comprises serious, but different, challenges in both the first months of treatment and during the life-long maintenance phase. We measured the impact of a health system-oriented, facility-based intervention to improve clinic attendance and patient adherence. We conducted the study in 12 rural district hospitals (6 intervention, 6 control) in Kenya and randomly selected 1,894 adult patients over 18 years of age in two cohorts. Among experienced patients, the percentage attending the clinic on or before a scheduled appointment increased in both level and trend (increase per month) following the intervention, as did the level and trend of those keeping appointments within three days.

Lessons learned from treating patients with HIV infection can inform care systems for other chronic conditions. For antiretroviral treatment, attending appointments on time correlates with medication adherence; however, HIV clinics in East Africa, where attendance rates vary widely, rarely include systems to schedule appointments or to track missed appointments or patient follow-up.

Background: The purpose of the study was to test the hypothesis that strengthening health systems, through improved leadership and management skills of health teams, can contribute to an increase in health-service delivery outcomes. The study was conducted in six provinces in the Republic of Kenya.

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