In Uganda, various health system challenges impeded scale-up of DR-TB care in 2012; only three treatment initiation facilities existed, with only 41 of the estimated 1010 RR-TB/MDR-TB cases enrolled on treatment yet 300 were on the waiting list and there was no DR-TB treatment scale-up plan. To scale up care, the National TB and Leprosy Program (NTLP) with partners rolled out a DR-TB mixed model of care. In this paper, we share achievements and outcomes resulting from the implementation of this mixed Model of DR-TB care. Routine NTLP DR-TB program data on treatment initiation site, number of patients enrolled, their demographic characteristics, patient category, disease classification (based on disease site and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status), on co-trimoxazole preventive therapy (CPT) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) statuses, culture results, smear results and treatment outcomes (6, 12, and 24 months) from 2012 to 2017 RR-TB/MDR-TB cohorts were collected from all the 15 DR-TB treatment initiation sites. Over the period 2013–2015, the RR-TB/MDR-TB treatment success rate (TSR) was sustained between 70.1% and 74.1%, a performance that is well above the global TSR average rate of 50%. Additionally, the cure rate increased from 48.8% to 66.8% (P = 0.03). The Uganda DR-TB mixed model of care coupled with early application of continuous improvement approaches, enhanced cohort reviews and use of multi-disciplinary teams allowed for rapid DR-TB program expansion, rapid clearance of patient backlog, attainment of high cumulative enrollment and high treatment success rates.

AbstractBackgroundTo strengthen appropriate medicine use (AMU) including the prescribing and dispensing quality at public sector health facilities in Uganda, the Ministry of Health introduced a multipronged approach known as the Supervision, Performance Assessment, and Recognition Strategy (SPARS).

ABSTRACTBackgroundSince the declaration of the 10th Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in DRC on 1st Aug 2018, several neighboring countries have been developing and implementing preparedness efforts to prevent EVD cross-border transmission to enable timely detection, investigation, and response in the event of a confirmed EVD outbreak in the country.

We evaluated the benefit of socioeconomic support (S-E support), comprising various financial and nonfinancial services that are available based on assessment of need, in reducing mortality and loss to follow-up (LTFU) at Reach Out Mbuya, a community-based, antiretroviral therapy program in Uganda.Retrospective observational cohort data from adult patients enrolled between May 31, 2001, and May 31, 2010, were examined. In total 6654 patients were evaluated. Provision of S-E support reduced LTFU and mortality, suggesting the value of incorporating such strategies for promoting continuity of care.Conclusions—Provision of S-E support reduced LTFU and mortality, suggesting the value of incorporating such strategies for promoting continuity of care.

Despite Uganda’s long-standing commitment to its medicines policy, the pharmaceutical supply chain has faced many well-documented constraints. In an effort to improve medicines management capacity at health facilities, Uganda developed and implemented a multi-pronged, evidence-based supervision, performance assessment, and recognition strategy (SPARS). We wanted to estimate the costs and cost effectiveness of SPARS implementation in public (government and private not-for-profit) health facilities in Uganda. This information is critical for further SPARS scale up in Uganda and for SPARS implementation in countries with similar contexts that want to consider rolling out SPARS as a national strategy. SPARS has been implemented by Uganda’s Ministry of Health since 2010 with support from the US Agency for International Development. SPARS is implemented by district-level health care staff who are trained as MMS to provide on-the-job supervision and training of health workers. Evidence shows that SPARS is an effective intervention to improve performance in key medicines management domains. Based on our estimates from this study, implementing and operating SPARS costs about US$370,000 annually for 1460 facilities, which would extrapolate to approximately US$760,000 for about 3000 government sector facilities or about 0.3% of the total government- and donor-funded EMHS budget.

While old age is a known risk factor for developing active tuberculosis (TB), studies on TB in the population aged 60 years and older (considered elderly in this study) are few, especially in the developing world. Results of the TB prevalence survey in Uganda found high TB prevalence (570/100,000) in people over 65. We focused on treatment outcomes in the elderly to understand this epidemic better. We conducted a retrospective analysis of data from TB facility registers in Kampala City for the period 2014-2015. We analyzed the 2014-15 cohort with respect to age, sex, disease class, patients' human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and directly observed therapy (DOT) status, type of facility, and treatment outcomes and compared findings in the elderly (≥60) and younger (<60) age groups. Of 15,429 records, 3.3% (514/15+,429) were for elderly patients. The treatment success rate (TSR) among elderly TB patients (68.3%) was lower than that of the non-elderly (80.9%) and the overall TSR 80.5%, (12,417/15,429) in Kampala. Although the elderly were less likely to test positive for HIV than the young, they had a two-fold higher risk of unfavorable treatment outcomes and were more likely to die while on treatment. However, there was no statistically significantly difference between treatment outcomes among HIV-positive and HIV-negative elderly TB patients. Compared to the younger TB patients, elderly TB patients have markedly poorer treatment outcomes, although TB/HIV co-infection rates in this age group are lower.

A retrospective analysis of diagnosis smear results of PBC TB patients in Kampala District registered between January 2012 and December 2015 at 65 TB diagnosis and treatment units (DTUs) was done. Of the 10,404 records, 6551 (63.0%) belonged to PBC TB patients, 3734 (57.0%) of whom were male. From 2012 through 2015, there was a statistically significant increase in PBC TB patients enrolled on anti-TB treatment from 1389 to 2194. The percentage of HIV positive co-infected PBC TB patients diagnosed decreased from 597 (43%) to 890 (40.6%) within same period. Linkage to HIV care improved from 229 (34.4%) in 2012 to 464 (52.1%) in 2015. The treatment success rate for PBC TB patients improved from 69% in 2012 to 75.5% by the end of 2015 with an improvement in the cure rate from 52.3% to 62%. There was a significant decrease in TB related mortality from 8.9 to 6.4%. The proportion of diagnosed PBC TB patients increased from 2012 to 2015. PBC TB patients diagnosed with 3+ smear positivity grading results consistently contributed to the highest proportion of diagnosed PBC TB patients from 2012 to 2015. This could be due to the delay in diagnosis of TB patients because of late presentation of patients to clinics. 

The National Drug Authority (NDA) inspects and certifies private and public sector pharmacies in Uganda using an indicator-based inspection tool that measures adherence to good pharmacy practices (GPP). 67 measures identify the situation in the domains of premises, dispensing quality, stores management, and operating requirements. Although the GPP measures are well-recognized and used internationally, little is known about their validity and reliability. The study aimed to assess validity, which measures agreement of GPP measures between a gold standard inspector and NDA inspector and inter-rater reliability (IRR), which measures agreement among NDA inspectors, of GPP measures. We assessed validity and IRR by four teams of inspectors in eight government health facilities that represent three levels of care. Each team inspected two facilities, resulting in 24 total inspections. Our findings question the validity and reliability of many GPP inspection measures, particularly critical measures that greatly impact certification decision. This study demonstrates the need for assessments of, and interventions to improve, validity and reproducibility of GPP measures and inspections.

A strong pharmaceutical sector is a precondition for effective and efficient health care and financing systems, and thus for achieving the best possible health of a population. Supported by visionary, long-term donor funds, in conjunction with mutual trust, the USAID-funded Securing Ugandans' Rights to Essential Medicines (SURE) and Uganda Health Supply Chain (UHSC) program engaged in a close, more than 10 year-long (in 2018) collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Uganda. Over time, the partnership implemented numerous multi-pronged comprehensive changes in the pharmaceutical sector and conducted research to document successes and failures. We describe the evolution and key characteristics of the SURE/UHSC interventions.

In late 2010, Uganda introduced a supervision, performance assessment, and recognition strategy (SPARS) to improve staff capacity in medicines management in government and private not-for-profit health facilities. This paper assesses the impact of SPARS in health facilities during their first year of supervision. SPARS was effective in building health facility capacity in medicines management, with a median overall improvement of almost 70% during the first year. The greatest improvements occurred in prescribing quality and at lower levels of care, although the highest level of performance was achieved in storage management. We recommend broad dissemination of the SPARS approach in all Ugandan health facilities as well as in other countries seeking a practical strategy to improve medicines management performance.


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