child health care

The Democratic Republic of the Congo adopted the strategy of using, at the community level, a dose of rectal artesunate as a pre-referral treatment for severe malaria amongst children under 5 years who could not quickly reach a health care facility and take oral medication. However, the adherence to referral advice after the integration of this strategy and the acceptability of the strategy were unknown. To assess adherence by the mothers/caretakers of children under 5 years to referral advice provided by the community health workers after pre-referral treatment of severe malaria with rectal artesunate, the authors conducted a noninferiority community trial with a pre- and post-intervention design in 63 (pre-intervention) and 51 (post-intervention) community care sites in 4 provinces (Kasaï-Oriental, Kasaï-Central, Lomami, Lualaba) from August 2014 through June 2016. The integration of pre-referral rectal artesunate for severe malaria into the community care site in the DR Congo is feasible and acceptable. It positively affected adherence to referral advice. However, more health education is needed for parents of children under 5 years and community health workers.

The aim of the study was to investigate the prevalence of renal function and liver enzyme abnormalities among HIV‐infected children, changes in prevalence with time on combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), and the factors associated with these abnormalities. A high prevalence of liver enzyme and renal function abnormalities was observed at enrolment. Decreasing liver enzyme levels during follow‐up are possibly reassuring, while the progressive reduction in GFR and the increase in BUN are worrisome and require further study.

Malawi has a mature integrated community case management (iCCM) programme that is led by the Ministry of Health (MOH) but that still relies on donor support. From 2013 until 2017, under the Rapid Access Expansion (RAcE) programme, the World Health Organization supported the MOH to expand and strengthen iCCM services in four districts. This paper examines Malawi’s iCCM programme performance and implementation strength in RAcE districts to further strengthen the broader programme. Baseline and endline household surveys were conducted in iCCM-eligible areas of RAcE districts. Care-seeking from HSAs and treatment of fever improved over the project period. At endline, however, less than half of sick children were brought to an HSA, many caregivers reported a preference for providers other than HSAs, and perceptions of HSAs as trusted providers of high-quality, convenient care had decreased. HSA supervision and mentorship were below MOH targets. Stockouts of malaria medicines were associated with decreased care-seeking from HSAs. Additional qualitative research is needed to examine challenges and to inform potential solutions. Malawi’s mature iCCM programme has a strong foundation but can be improved to strengthen the continuity of care from communities to facilities and to ultimately improve child health outcomes.

In 2000, the Millennium Development Goals set targets for social achievements by 2015 including goals related to maternal and child health, with mixed success. Several initiatives supported these goals including assuring availability of appropriate medicines and commodities to meet health service targets. We compiled indicator data on 15 commodities related to reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) and analyzed them across 75 Countdown to 2015 countries from eight regions to identify problems with specific commodities and determinants of access. The determinants related to policy, regulatory environment, financing, pharmaceutical procurement and supply chain, and information systems. We also developed a dashboard for policy and systems indicators for select countries. The commodities we identified as having the fewest barriers to access had been in use longer. No country reported recent stock-outs of all the 15 commodities at the central level—countries always had some of the 15 commodities available. This analysis highlights country deficiencies in policies and systems, such as incoherent policy guidelines, problems in product registration, lack of logistics data, and central-level stock-outs that may affect access to essential RMNCH commodities.

Community health worker (CHW) interventions to manage childhood illness is a strategy promoted by the global health community, which involves training and supporting CHW to assess, classify, and treat sick children at home. To inform CHW policy, the Government of Tanzania launched a program in 2011 to determine if community case management (CCM) of malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea could be implemented by CHW in that country. This paper reports the results of an observational study on the CCM service delivery quality of a trial cohort of CHW in Tanzania, called WAJA. In the majority of cases, WAJA correctly assess sick children for CCM-treatable illnesses (malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea) and general danger signs (90% and 89%, respectively), but too few correctly assess for physical danger signs (39%). In majority of cases (78%) WAJA treated children correctly (84% of malaria, 74% pneumonia, and 71% diarrhea cases). Errors were often associated with lapses in health systems support, mainly supervision and logistics. For CCM to be effective, in Tanzania, a strategy to implement it must be coordinated with efforts to strengthen local health systems.

In 2013, the Guinean health authority had to reorganise and run a national response against malaria as a priority. The review of the National Strategic Plan to fight malaria in Guinea was carried out and one of its critical components was the prevention and rapid management of fever (RMF) attributable to malaria in children. The study reports on the demographic and health determinants of this rapid management in children under 5. The participants were 4786 children from 2874 representative households. RMF was defined in terms of recourse to primary care. The recourse was defined by child's reference for the treatment of fever which led or not to treatment of malaria. We found that 1491 children (31.2%) had a bout of fever within the 2 weeks that preceded the survey. The prevalence of malaria was 45.4% among those children who have a bout of fever. The recourse to traditional healers was estimated at 9.6% and the use of health facilities was estimated at 71.5%. Overall, 74.9% of children with fever received treatment within the recommended timeliness (24 h), with regional disparity in this rapid response. The high proportion of recourse to traditional healers is still a matter of concern. New control and prevention strategies should be extended to traditional healers for their training and involvement in directing febrile children to health facilities.


The Ethiopian Paediatric HIV Cohort was established to identify clinical and laboratory predictors of virological treatment failure to ultimately develop a clinical–immunological prediction rule with area under the curve of >0.80 for detecting first-line antiretroviral therapy failure (ARTF). It will also assess the performance of the current WHO guidelines for detection of first-line ARTF in children. Using a prospective cohort design, HIV-infected children and adolescents below the age of 18 years are followed every 6 months with a set of clinical and laboratory parameters at 6 hospitals in southern Ethiopia. From October 2015 through April 2016, 628 children have been enrolled. The cohort will be completed in September 2017. The successful completion of this study will allow for better targeting of viral-load testing to those at highest risk in resource-poor settings and provide clinicians and policymakers with a practical prediction rule.

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.

The aim of this study was to assess the incidence and nature of adverse drug events (ADEs) in hospitalized children at a teaching hospital in Ethiopia. We studied 600 children hospitalized at Jimma University Specialized Hospital between 1 February and 1 May 2011. Fifty-eight ADEs were identified, with an incidence of 9.2 per 100 admissions, 1.7 per 1000 medication doses and 9.4 per 1000 patient-days. One-third of ADEs were preventable; 91% caused temporary harms and 9% resulted in permanent harm/death. A strategy to prevent ADEs, including education of nurses and physicians, is of paramount importance.


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