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This quasi-experimental study conducted in Afghanistan examines the causal impact of a provincial health governance intervention on the provincial health system’s performance. It compares health system performance indicators between 16 intervention provinces and 18 nonintervention provinces using a difference-in-differences analysis to draw inference. The intervention consisted of governance action planning, implementation of the governance action plan, and self-assessment of governance performance before and after the intervention. The intervention had a statistically and practically significant impact on six indicators.

Ethiopia has a high prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) and is one of the countries with the highest burden of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). This study's purpose was to understand the costs that patients incur in obtaining diagnosis and treatment for MDR-TB. In March 2013, interviews were conducted with 169 MDR-TB patients at three hospitals in Ethiopia to identify the cost to patients and the impact on employment and family income. The average MDR-TB patient incurred a total cost of US$1378, which represented 25 months of a mid-treatment household income of US$54. The impact on the patient's employment and on overall patient and family income was generally catastrophic: 74% of all respondents reported losing their jobs, 66% of patients lost household income, and household income was reduced by 38%. To help cover the costs, 38% of patients sold some type of property, while 7% leased out property and 41% took out loans, any of which could jeopardize their future financial situation even further. Despite services being officially free of charge, most patients incurred catastrophic costs and suffered significant income loss as a result of obtaining diagnosis and treatment for MDR-TB.

The 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health, October 24-27, brings together over 3,000 researchers, global advocates, scientists, healthcare professionals, students and community members working on all aspects of lung health. 

To build capacity in medicines management, the Uganda Ministry of Health introduced a nationwide supervision, performance assessment and recognition strategy (SPARS) in 2012. Medicines management supervisors (MMS) assess performance using 25 indicators to identify problems, focus supervision, and monitor improvement in medicines stock and storage management, ordering and reporting, and prescribing and dispensing. Although the indicators are well-recognized and used internationally, little was known about the reliability of these indicators. An initial assessment of inter-rater reliability (IRR), which measures agreement among raters (i.e., MMS), showed poor IRR; subsequently, we implemented efforts to improve IRR. The aim of this study was to assess IRR for SPARS indicators at two subsequent time points to determine whether IRR increased following efforts to improve reproducibility. Initially only five (21%) indicators had acceptable reproducibility, defined as an IRR score ≥ 75%. At the initial assessment, prescribing quality indicators had the lowest and stock management indicators had the highest IRR. By the third IRR assessment, 12 (50%) indicators had acceptable reproducibility, and the overall IRR score improved from 57% to 72%. The IRR of simple indicators was consistently higher than that of complex indicators in the three assessment periods. We found no correlation between IRR scores and MMS experience or professional background.

A follow up study among 735 new TB cases registered at health facilities in districts of southwest Ethiopia was conducted from January 2015 to June 2016. Patients reported days elapsed between onset of illness and treatment commencement. The overall treatment success among the treatment cohort was 89.7% respectively among those initiated treatment beyond and within of 30 days of onset of illness. Higher risk of unsuccessful outcome was predicted by treatment initiation beyond 30 days of onset, HIV co-infection, and received treatment at hospital. On the other hand, lower risk of unsuccessful outcome was predicted by weight gain and sputum smear negative conversion the end of second month treatment. Higher risk of unsuccessful outcome is associated with prolonged days elapsed between onset of illness and treatment commencement. Hence, promotion of early care seeking, improving diagnostic and case holding efficiencies of health facilities and TB/HIV collaborative interventions can reduce risk of unsuccessful outcome.

A longitudinal study among 735 new TB cases was conducted from January 2015 through June 2016 in 10 woredas (districts) of southwestern Ethiopia. Between onset of illness and anti-TB treatment course, patients incurred a median of US$201.48. Of the total cost, the indirect and direct costs respectively constituted 70.6 and 29.4%. TB patients incurred a median of US$97.62 and US$93.75 during the pre- and post-diagnosis periods, respectively. Thus, patients incurred 53.6% of the total cost during the pre-diagnosis period. Direct out-of-pocket expenses during the pre- and post-diagnosis periods respectively amount to median of US$21.64 and US$35.02. Patient delay days, provider delay days, number of healthcare facilities visited until TB diagnosis, and TB diagnosis at private facilities independently predicted increased pre-diagnosis cost. Similarly, rural residence, hospitalization during anti-TB treatment, patient delay days, and provider delay days predicted increased post-diagnosis costs. TB patients incur substantial cost for care seeking and treatment despite “free service” for TB. Therefore, promoting early care seeking, decentralizing efficient diagnosis, and treatment services within reach of peoples, and introducing reimbursement system for direct costs can help minimize financial burden to the patient.

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.

Observational data characterizing the pediatric and adolescent HIV epidemics in real-world settings are critical to informing clinical guidelines, governmental HIV programs, and donor prioritization. In this commentary, we describe existing sources of observational data for children and youth living with HIV, focusing on larger regional and global research cohorts, and targeted surveillance studies and programs. Observational studies were among the first to highlight the growing population of children surviving perinatal HIV and transitioning to adolescence and young adulthood, and have raised serious concerns about high rates of treatment failure, loss to follow-up, and death among older perinatally infected youth. The use of observational data to inform modeling of the current global epidemic, predict future patterns of the youth cascade, and facilitate antiretroviral forecasting are critical priorities and key end products of observational HIV research. Greater investments into data infrastructure are needed at the local level to improve data quality and at the global level to faciliate reliable interpretation of the evolving patterns of the pediatric and youth epidemics. Harmonized data forms, use of unique patient identifiers to allow for data linkages across routine data sets, electronic medical record systems, and competent data managers and analysts are essential to make optimal use of the data collected.

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.

We present Ethiopia's experience in implementing LTBI management. Our objective is to share promising practices and existing opportunities and to suggest specific steps required for further scale up of the services. Our report is based on synthesis of data from secondary sources including official routine reports of Ministry of Health, materials presented at review meetings, and findings from supervisory visits to districts and health facilities. Our results suggest that Ethiopia has made significant strides toward strengthening LTBI management in people living with HIV and among under-five-year-old household contacts of TB patients. The use of contact investigation as entry point for LTBI management could be taken as best practice.

World Health Organization/International Network of Rational use of Drugs (WHO/INRUD) indicators are widely used to assess medicine use. However, there is limited evidence on their validity in Namibia's primary health care (PHC) to assess the quality of prescribing. An analytical cross-sectional survey design was used to examine and validate WHO/INRUD indicators in out-patient units of two PHC facilities and one hospital in Namibia from 1 February 2015 to 31 July 2015. Out of 1243 prescriptions; compliance to NSTG prescribing in ambulatory care was sub-optimal (target was >80%). Three of the four WHO/INRUD indicators did not meet Namibian or WHO targets: antibiotic prescribing, average number of medicines per prescription and generic prescribing. The majority of the indicators had low sensitivity and/or specificity. All WHO/INRUD indicators had poor accuracy in predicting rational prescribing.

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.

This manual was created to increase participant knowledge of the Champion Community strategy and approach and to provide staff and stakeholders with the necessary information, procedures, and guidelines to be able to implement the strategy and measure its effectiveness.

The neonatal mortality rate (NMR) in Malawi has remained stagnant at around 27 per 1000 live births over the last 15 years, despite an increase in the uptake of targeted health care interventions. We used the nationally representative 2015/16 Demographic Health Survey data set to evaluate the effect of two types of maternal exposures, namely, lack of access to maternal or intra-partum care services and birth history factors, on the risk of neonatal mortality. We included 9553 women and their most recent live birth within 3 years of the survey. The sample's overall neonatal mortality rate was 18.5 per 1000 live births. The adjusted population attributable risk for first pregnancies was 3.9/1000 (P < 0.001), while non-institutional deliveries and the shortest preceding birth interval (8-24 months) each had an attributable risk of 1.3/1000 (Ps = 0.01). Having 2 or more pregnancy outcomes within the last 5 years had an attributable risk of 3/1000 (P = 0.006). Attending less than 4 ANC visits had, a relatively large attributable risk (2.1/1,000), and it was not statistically significant at alpha level 0.05.  

In 2011, the Malawi Ministry of Health introduced option B+, a universal treatment strategy for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV. Under option B+, all pregnant or breastfeeding women with HIV are eligible for lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) regardless of clinical stage or CD4. Routine data from Malawi's prevention of MTCT option B+ programme suggest high uptake of antiretroviral therapy (ART) among pregnant women. Malawi's Ministry of Health led the National Evaluation of Malawi's PMTCT Program to obtain nationally representative data on maternal ART coverage and prevention of MTCT effectiveness. Here we present the early transmission data for infants aged 4–12 weeks and used a multistage cluster design to recruit a nationally representative sample of HIV-exposed infants and their mothers. Between October 16, 2014 and May 17, 2016, we screened for HIV in all mothers attending an under-5 vaccination or outpatient sick-child clinic with infants aged 4–26 weeks. They confirmed HIV exposure in 3542 (10·4%) of 33 980 mother (guardian)–infant pairs with infants aged 4–26 weeks. These data suggest that Malawi's decentralization of ART services has resulted in higher ART coverage and lower early MTCT. However, the uptake of services for HIV-exposed infants remains suboptimal.

In the last decade, many strategies have called for integration of HIV and child survival platforms to reduce missed opportunities and improve child health outcomes. Countries with generalized HIV epidemics have been encouraged to optimize each clinical encounter to bend the HIV epidemic curve. This systematic review looks at integrated child health services and summarizes evidence on their health outcomes, service uptake, acceptability, and identified enablers and barriers. Interventions of interest were HIV services integrated with: neonatal/child services for children <5 years, hospital care of children <5 years, immunizations, and nutrition services. Outcomes of interest were: health outcomes of children <5 years, integrated services uptake, acceptability, and enablers and barriers. Twenty-eight articles were reviewed. Service integration had positive effects on child health outcomes, HIV testing, and postnatal service uptake. Integrated services were generally acceptable, although confidentiality and stigma were concerns. Each clinical “touch point” with infants and children is an opportunity to provide comprehensive health services. In the current era of flat funding levels, integration of HIV and child health services is an effective, acceptable way to achieve positive child health outcomes.

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 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.

The threat of epidemics and pandemics has increased as our world has become more interconnected. Recent epidemics have highlighted the need for increased investment in preparedness and the critical role of the private sector in health system strengthening and preparedness. Our manuscript seeks to bring attention to and promote public–private collaboration in global health preparedness by discussing areas on which public and private organizations can focus their efforts to improve partnerships. It does this by expanding on themes discussed at a conference on public–private partnerships in pandemic preparedness, Ready Together. We hope that this article will encourage effective partnerships.

The success of the Namibian government's “treatment for all” approach to control and stop the country's HIV epidemic is dependent on an uninterrupted supply of antiretrovirals (ARVs) for people living with HIV. The public health system in Namibia, however, was constrained by an inefficient paper-based pharmaceutical information system resulting in unreliable and inaccessible data, contributing to persistent stock-outs of ARVs and other essential pharmaceuticals. This article describes the incremental implementation of an integrated pharmaceutical management information system to provide timely and reliable commodity and patient data for decision making in Namibia's national antiretroviral therapy (ART) program and the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS). Namibia's pharmaceutical management information system demonstrates the feasibility and benefits of integrating related tools while maintaining their specialized functionality to address country-specific information and inventory management needs.

All health care systems face problems of justice and efficiency related to setting priorities for allocating limited financial resources. Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) have emerged as policy tools to assist informed decision-making. Both, MCDA and HTA have pros and cons. This paper briefly presents the current challenges of the Colombian health system, the general features of the new health sector reform, the main characteristics of HTA in Colombia and the potential benefits and caveats of incorporating MCDA approaches into the decision-making process. Further testing and validation of HTA and MCDA solely or combined in LMICs are needed to advance these approaches into healthcare decision-making worldwide.

The success of the Namibian government’s “treatment for all” approach to control and stop the country’s HIV epidemic is dependent on an uninterrupted supply of antiretrovirals (ARVs) for people living with HIV. The public health system in Namibia, however, was constrained by an inefficient paper-based pharmaceutical information system resulting in unreliable and inaccessible data, contributing to persistent stock-outs of ARVs and other essential pharmaceuticals. This article describes the incremental implementation of an integrated pharmaceutical management information system to provide timely and reliable commodity and patient data for decision making in Namibia’s national antiretroviral therapy (ART) program and the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS). Namibia’s pharmaceutical management information system demonstrates the feasibility and benefits of integrating related tools while maintaining their specialized functionality to address country-specific information and inventory management needs.

Blended learning is an approach that combines independent reading with short off-site training. Management Sciences for Health (MSH), under the guidance of the Ethiopia National TB Program and in partnership with the All-Africa Leprosy, Tuberculosis and Rehabilitation Training Center (ALERT), pioneered a blended learning approach for TB training in Ethiopia.

Request for proposals Small Grants Mechanism

Proposal template Small Grants Mechanism

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