Recent Journal Articles by Bill Newbrander

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.

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.

This study, conducted in five rural districts in Afghanistan, used qualitative methods to explore traditional practices of women, families and communities related to maternal and newborn care, and sociocultural and health system issues that create access barriers. The traditional practices discussed include delayed bathing of mothers and delayed breastfeeding of infants, seclusion of women after childbirth, restricted maternal diet, and use of traditional home remedies and self-medication instead of care in health facilities to treat maternal and newborn conditions. This study also looked at community support structures, transportation and care-seeking behaviour for maternal and newborn problems which create access barriers. Sociocultural barriers to better maternal-newborn health include shame about utilisation of maternal and neonatal services, women's inability to seek care without being accompanied by a male relative, and care-seeking from mullahs for serious health concerns. This study also found a high level of post-partum depression. Targeted and more effective behaviour-change communication programmes are needed. This study presents a set of behaviour-change messages to reduce maternal and newborn mortality associated with births occurring at home in rural communities. This study recommends using religious leaders, trained health workers, family health action groups and radio to disseminate these messages.

Background: Recognition and referral of sick children to a facility where they can obtain appropriate treatment is critical for helping reduce child mortality. A well-functioning referral system and compliance by caretakers with referrals are essential.

After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, the Afghan transitional government and international donors found the health system near collapse. Afghanistan had some of the worst health indicators ever recorded.

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