quality of care

To identify and to assess factors enhancing or hindering the delivery of breast and cervical cancer screening services in Malawi with regard to accessibility, uptake, acceptability and effectiveness, a search of six bibliographic databases and grey literature was executed to identify relevant studies conducted in Malawi in English. One hundred and one unique records were retrieved and 6 studies were selected for final inclusion in the review. Multiple factors affect breast and cervical cancer service delivery in Malawi, operating at three interlinked levels. At the patient level, lack of knowledge and awareness of the disease, location, poor screening environment and perceived quality of care may act as deterrents to participation in screening; at the health facility level, services are affected by the availability of resources and delivery modalities; and at the healthcare system level, inadequate funding and staffing and lack of appropriate monitoring and guidelines may have a negative impact on services. Convenience of screening, in terms of accessibility and integration with other health services, was found to have a positive effect on service uptake. Building awareness of cancer and related services and offering quality screening are significant determinants of patient satisfaction. Capitalising on these lessons is essential to strengthen breast and cervical cancer service delivery in Malawi, to increase early detection and to improve survival of women.

We used a qualitative approach to explore the contribution of contextual, individual, household-level and health system factors to stillbirth in Afghanistan. We conducted semi-structured in-depth interviews with women and men that experienced stillbirth, female elders, community health workers, healthcare providers, and government officials in Kabul Province, Afghanistan, between October-November 2017. We used thematic analysis to identify contributing factors and developed a conceptual map describing possible pathways to stillbirth. We found that low utilisation and access to healthcare was a key contributing factor, as were unmanaged conditions in pregnancy that increased women’s risk of complications and stillbirth. Sociocultural factors related to the treatment of women and perceptions about medical interventions deprived women of interventions that could potentially prevent stillbirth. The quality of care from public and private providers during pregnancy and childbirth was a recurring concern exacerbated by health system constraints that led to unnecessary delays; while environmental factors linked to the ongoing conflict were also perceived to contribute to stillbirth. These pathways were underscored by social, cultural, economic factors and individual perceptions that contributed to the three-delays.

he Health Care Provider Performance Review (HCPPR) is a comprehensive systematic review of the effectiveness and cost of strategies to improve HCP performance in low- and middle-income countries. We present the HCPPR’s methods, describe methodological and contextual attributes of included studies, and examine time trends of study attributes. We screened 105,299 citations and included 824 reports from 499 studies of 161 intervention strategies. Most strategies had multiple components and were tested by only one study each. Studies were from 79 countries and had diverse methodologies, settings, HCP types, work environments, and health conditions. Training, supervision, and patient and community supports were the most commonly evaluated strategy components. Studies have reported on the efficacy of many strategies to improve HCP performance in LMICs. However, most studies have important methodological limitations.

In 2011 the Help Ethiopia Address the Low TB Performance (HEAL TB) Project used WHO or national TB indicators as standards of care (SOC) for baseline assessment, progress monitoring, gap identification, assessment of health workers’ capacity-building needs, and data quality assurance. In this analysis we present results from 10 zones (of 28) in which 1,165 health facilities were supported from 2011 through 2015. The improvement in the median composite score of 13 selected major indicators (out of 22) over four years was significant. The proportion of health facilities with 100% data accuracy for all forms of TB was 55.1% at baseline and reached 96.5%. In terms of program performance, the TB cure rate improved from 71% to 91.1%, while the treatment success rate increased from 88% to 95.3%. In the laboratory area, where there was previously no external quality assurance (EQA) for sputum microscopy, 1,165 health facilities now have quarterly EQA, and 96.1% of the facilities achieved a ≥ 95% concordance rate in blinded rechecking. The SOC approach for supervision was effective for measuring progress, enhancing quality of services, identifying capacity needs, and serving as a mentorship and an operational research tool.

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.

We assessed a participatory community and health system intervention to reduce the prevalence of disrespect and abuse during childbirth in Tanzania. After implementation of the combined intervention, the likelihood of women’s reports of disrespectful treatment during childbirth was substantially reduced. These results were observed nearly 1 year after the end of the project’s facilitation of implementation, indicating the potential for sustainability. The results indicate that a participatory community and health system intervention designed to tackle disrespect and abuse by changing the norms and standards of care is a potential strategy to improve the treatment of women during childbirth at health facilities.

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