Publications

    Svetlana V Doubova, Hannah H Leslie, Margaret E Kruk, Ricardo Pérez-Cuevas, and Catherine Arsenault. 2021. “Disruption in essential health services in Mexico during COVID-19: an interrupted time series analysis of health information system data.” BMJ Glob Health, 6, 9.Abstract
    INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted health systems around the world. The objectives of this study are to estimate the overall effect of the pandemic on essential health service use and outcomes in Mexico, describe observed and predicted trends in services over 24 months, and to estimate the number of visits lost through December 2020. METHODS: We used health information system data for January 2019 to December 2020 from the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS), which provides health services for more than half of Mexico's population-65 million people. Our analysis includes nine indicators of service use and three outcome indicators for reproductive, maternal and child health and non-communicable disease services. We used an interrupted time series design and linear generalised estimating equation models to estimate the change in service use and outcomes from April to December 2020. Estimates were expressed using average marginal effects on the risk ratio scale. RESULTS: The study found that across nine health services, an estimated 8.74 million patient visits were lost in Mexico. This included a decline of over two thirds for breast and cervical cancer screenings (79% and 68%, respectively), over half for sick child visits and female contraceptive services, approximately one-third for childhood vaccinations, diabetes, hypertension and antenatal care consultations, and a decline of 10% for deliveries performed at IMSS. In terms of patient outcomes, the proportion of patients with diabetes and hypertension with controlled conditions declined by 22% and 17%, respectively. Caesarean section rate did not change. CONCLUSION: Significant disruptions in health services show that the pandemic has strained the resilience of the Mexican health system and calls for urgent efforts to resume essential services and plan for catching up on missed preventive care even as the COVID-19 crisis continues in Mexico.
    Hannah H Leslie, Denisse Laos, Cesar Cárcamo, Ricardo Pérez-Cuevas, and Patricia J García. 2021. “Health care provider time in public primary care facilities in Lima, Peru: a cross-sectional time motion study.” BMC Health Serv Res, 21, 1, Pp. 123.Abstract
    BACKGROUND: In Peru, a majority of individuals bypass primary care facilities even for routine services. Efforts to strengthen primary care must be informed by understanding of current practice. We conducted a time motion assessment in primary care facilities in Lima with the goals of assessing the feasibility of this method in an urban health care setting in Latin America and of providing policy makers with empirical evidence on the use of health care provider time in primary care. METHODS: This cross-sectional continuous observation time motion study took place from July - September 2019. We used two-stage sampling to draw a sample of shifts for doctors, nurses, and midwives in primary health facilities and applied the Work Observation Method by Activity Timing tool to capture type and duration of provider activities over a 6-h shift. We summarized time spent on patient care, paper and electronic record-keeping, and non-work (personal and inactive) activities across provider cadres. Observations are weighted by inverse probability of selection. RESULTS: Two hundred seventy-five providers were sampled from 60 facilities; 20% could not be observed due to provider absence (2% schedule error, 8% schedule change, 10% failure to appear). One hundred seventy-four of the 220 identified providers consented (79.1%) and were observed for a total of 898 h of provider time comprising 30,312 unique tasks. Outpatient shifts included substantial time on patient interaction (110, 82, and 130 min for doctors, nurses, and midwives respectively) and on paper records (132, 97, and 141 min) on average. Across all shifts, 1 in 6 h was spent inactive or on personal activities. Two thirds of midwives used computers compared to half of nurses and one third of doctors. CONCLUSIONS: The time motion study is a feasible method to capture primary care operations in Latin American countries and inform health system strengthening. In the case of Lima, absenteeism undermines health worker availability in primary care facilities, and inactive time further erodes health workforce availability. Productive time is divided between patient-facing activities and a substantial burden of paper-based record keeping for clinical and administrative purposes. Electronic health records remain incompletely integrated within routine care, particularly beyond midwifery.
    Jessica L Cohen, Hannah H Leslie, Indrani Saran, and Günther Fink. 2020. “Quality of clinical management of children diagnosed with malaria: A cross-sectional assessment in 9 sub-Saharan African countries between 2007-2018.” PLoS Med, 17, 9, Pp. e1003254.Abstract
    BACKGROUND: Appropriate clinical management of malaria in children is critical for preventing progression to severe disease and for reducing the continued high burden of malaria mortality. This study aimed to assess the quality of care provided to children under 5 diagnosed with malaria across 9 sub-Saharan African countries. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We used data from the Service Provision Assessment (SPA) survey. SPAs are nationally representative facility surveys capturing quality of sick-child care, facility readiness, and provider and patient characteristics. The data set contained 24,756 direct clinical observations of outpatient sick-child visits across 9 countries, including Uganda (2007), Rwanda (2007), Namibia (2009), Kenya (2010), Malawi (2013), Senegal (2013-2017), Ethiopia (2014), Tanzania (2015), and Democratic Republic of the Congo (2018). We assessed the proportion of children with a malaria diagnosis who received a blood test diagnosis and an appropriate antimalarial. We used multilevel logistic regression to assess facility and provider and patient characteristics associated with these outcomes. Subgroup analyses with the 2013-2018 country surveys only were conducted for all outcomes. Children observed were on average 20.5 months old and were most commonly diagnosed with respiratory infection (47.7%), malaria (29.7%), and/or gastrointestinal infection (19.7%). Among the 7,340 children with a malaria diagnosis, 32.5% (95% CI: 30.3%-34.7%) received both a blood-test-based diagnosis and an appropriate antimalarial. The proportion of children with a blood test diagnosis and an appropriate antimalarial ranged from 3.4% to 57.1% across countries. In the more recent surveys (2013-2018), 40.7% (95% CI: 37.7%-43.6%) of children with a malaria diagnosis received both a blood test diagnosis and appropriate antimalarial. Roughly 20% of children diagnosed with malaria received no antimalarial at all, and nearly 10% received oral artemisinin monotherapy, which is not recommended because of concerns regarding parasite resistance. Receipt of a blood test diagnosis and appropriate antimalarial was positively correlated with being seen at a facility with diagnostic equipment in stock (adjusted OR 3.67; 95% CI: 2.72-4.95) and, in the 2013-2018 subsample, with being seen at a facility with Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs) in stock (adjusted OR 1.60; 95% CI:1.04-2.46). However, even if all children diagnosed with malaria were seen by a trained provider at a facility with diagnostics and medicines in stock, only a predicted 37.2% (95% CI: 34.2%-40.1%) would have received a blood test and appropriate antimalarial (44.4% for the 2013-2018 subsample). Study limitations include the lack of confirmed malaria test results for most survey years, the inability to distinguish between a diagnosis of uncomplicated or severe malaria, the absence of other relevant indicators of quality of care including dosing and examinations, and that only 9 countries were studied. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we found that a majority of children diagnosed with malaria across the 9 surveyed sub-Saharan African countries did not receive recommended care. Clinical management is positively correlated with the stocking of essential commodities and is somewhat improved in more recent years, but important quality gaps remain in the countries studied. Continued reductions in malaria mortality will require a bigger push toward quality improvements in clinical care.
    Rachel R Yorlets, Katherine R Iverson, Hannah H Leslie, Anna Davies Gage, Sanam Roder-DeWan, Humphreys Nsona, and Mark G Shrime. 2019. “Latent class analysis of the social determinants of health-seeking behaviour for delivery among pregnant women in Malawi.” BMJ Glob Health, 4, 2, Pp. e000930.Abstract
    Introduction: In the era of Sustainable Development Goals, reducing maternal and neonatal mortality is a priority. With one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world, Malawi has a significant opportunity for improvement. One effort to improve maternal outcomes involves increasing access to high-quality health facilities for delivery. This study aimed to determine the role that quality plays in women's choice of delivery facility. Methods: A revealed-preference latent class analysis was performed with data from 6625 facility births among women in Malawi from 2013 to 2014. Responses were weighted for national representativeness, and model structure and class number were selected using the Bayesian information criterion. Results: Two classes of preferences exist for pregnant women in Malawi. Most of the population 65.85% (95% CI 65.847% to 65.853%) prefer closer facilities that do not charge fees. The remaining third (34.15%, 95% CI 34.147% to 34.153%) prefers central hospitals, facilities with higher basic obstetric readiness scores and locations further from home. Women in this class are more likely to be older, literate, educated and wealthier than the majority of women. Conclusion: For only one-third of pregnant Malawian women, structural quality of care, as measured by basic obstetric readiness score, factored into their choice of facility for delivery. Most women instead prioritise closer care and care without fees. Interventions designed to increase access to high-quality care in Malawi will need to take education, distance, fees and facility type into account, as structural quality alone is not predictive of facility type selection in this population.
    Vanessa Brizuela, Hannah H Leslie, Jigyasa Sharma, Ana Langer, and Özge Tunçalp. 2019. “Measuring quality of care for all women and newborns: how do we know if we are doing it right? A review of facility assessment tools.” Lancet Glob Health, 7, 5, Pp. e624-e632.Abstract
    BACKGROUND: Ensuring quality of care during pregnancy and childbirth is crucial to improving health outcomes and reducing preventable mortality and morbidity among women and their newborns. In this pursuit, WHO developed a framework and standards, defining 31 quality statements and 352 quality measures to assess and improve quality of maternal and newborn care in health-care facilities. We aimed to assess the capacity of globally used, large-scale facility assessment tools to measure quality of maternal and newborn care as per the WHO framework. METHODS: We identified assessment tools through a purposive sample that met the following inclusion criteria: multicountry, facility-level, major focus on maternal and newborn health, data on input and process indicators, used between 2007 and 2017, and currently in use. We matched questions in the tools with 274 quality measures associated with inputs and processes within the WHO standards. We excluded quality measures relating to outcomes because these are not routinely measured by many assessment tools. We used descriptive statistics to calculate how many quality measures could be assessed using each of the tools under review. Each tool was assigned a 1 for fulfilling a quality measure based on the presence of any or all components as indicated in the standards. FINDINGS: Five surveys met our inclusion criteria: the Service Provision Assessment (SPA), developed for the Demographic and Health Surveys programme; the Service Availability and Readiness Assessment, developed by WHO; the Needs Assessment of Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care developed by the Averting Maternal Death and Disability programme at Columbia University; and the World Bank's Service Delivery Indicator (SDI) and Impact Evaluation Toolkit for Results Based Financing in Health. The proportion of quality measures covered ranged from 62% for the SPA to 12% for the SDI. Although the broadest tool addressed parts of each of the 31 quality statements, 68 (25%) of 274 input and process quality measures were not measured at all. Measures of health information systems and patient experience of care were least likely to be included. INTERPRETATION: Existing facility assessment tools provide a valuable way to assess quality of maternal and newborn care as one element within the national measurement toolkit. Guidance is clearly needed on priority measures and for better harmonisation across tools to reduce measurement burden and increase data use for quality improvement. Targeted development of measurement modules to address important gaps is a key priority for research. FUNDING: None.
    Jigyasa Sharma, Hannah H Leslie, Mathilda Regan, Devaki Nambiar, and Margaret E Kruk. 2018. “Can India's primary care facilities deliver? A cross-sectional assessment of the Indian public health system's capacity for basic delivery and newborn services.” BMJ Open, 8, 6, Pp. e020532.Abstract
    OBJECTIVES: To assess input and process capacity for basic delivery and newborn (intrapartum care hereafter) care in the Indian public health system and to describe differences in facility capacity between rural and urban areas and across states. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Data from the nationally representative 2012-2014 District Level Household and Facility Survey, which includes a census of community health centres (CHC) and sample of primary health centres (PHC) across 30 states and union territories in India. PARTICIPANTS: 8536 PHCs and 4810 CHCs. OUTCOME MEASURES: We developed a summative index of 33 structural and process capacity items matching the Indian Public Health Standards for PHCs as a metric of minimum facility capacity for intrapartum care. We assessed differences in performance on this index across facility type and location. RESULTS: About 30% of PHCs and 5% of CHCs reported not offering any intrapartum care. Among those offering services, volumes were low: median monthly delivery volume was 8 (IQR=13) in PHCs and 41 (IQR=73) in CHCs. Both PHCs and CHCs failed to meet the national standards for basic intrapartum care capacity. Mean facility capacity was low in PHCs in both urban (0.64) and rural (0.63) areas, while in CHCs, capacity was slightly higher in urban areas (0.77vs0.74). Gaps were most striking in availability of skilled human resources and emergency obstetric services. Poor capacity facilities were more concentrated in the more impoverished states, with 37% of districts from these states receiving scores in the lowest third of the facility capacity index (<0.70), compared with 21% of districts otherwise. CONCLUSIONS: Basic intrapartum care capacity in Indian public primary care facilities is weak in both rural and urban areas, especially lacking in the poorest states with worst health outcomes. Improving maternal and newborn health outcomes will require focused attention to quality measurement, accountability mechanisms and quality improvement. Policies to address deficits in skilled providers and emergency service availability are urgently required.
    Frederico Guanais, Svetlana V Doubova, Hannah H Leslie, Ricardo Perez-Cuevas, Ezequiel García-Elorrio, and Margaret E Kruk. 2018. “Patient-centered primary care and self-rated health in 6 Latin American and Caribbean countries: Analysis of a public opinion cross-sectional survey.” PLoS Med, 15, 10, Pp. e1002673.Abstract
    BACKGROUND: Despite the substantial attention to primary care (PC), few studies have addressed the relationship between patients' experience with PC and their health status in low-and middle-income countries. This study aimed to (1) test the association between overall patient-centered PC experience (OPCE) and self-rated health (SRH) and (2) identify specific features of patient-centered PC associated with better SRH (i.e., excellent or very good SRH) in 6 Latin American and Caribbean countries. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We conducted a secondary analysis of a 2013 public opinion cross-sectional survey on perceptions and experiences with healthcare systems in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Jamaica, Mexico, and Panama; the data were nationally representative for urban populations. We analyzed 9 features of patient-centered PC. We calculated OPCE score as the arithmetic mean of the PC features. OPCE score ranged from 0 to 1, where 0 meant that the participant did not have any of the 9 patient-centered PC experiences, while 1 meant that he/she reported having all these experiences. After testing for interaction on the additive scale, we analyzed countries pooled for aim 1, with an interaction term for Mexico, and each country separately for aim 2. We used multiple Poisson regression models double-weighted by survey and inverse probability weights to deal with the survey design and missing data. The study included 6,100 participants. The percentage of participants with excellent or very good SRH ranged from 29.5% in Mexico to 52.4% in Jamaica. OPCE was associated with reporting excellent or very good SRH in all countries: adjusting for socio-demographic and health covariates, patients with an OPCE score of 1 in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Jamaica, and Panama were more likely to report excellent or very good SRH than those with a score of 0 (adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR] 1.61, 95% CI 1.37-1.90, p < 0.001); in Mexico, this association was even stronger (aPR 4.27, 95% CI 2.34-7.81, p < 0.001). The specific features of patient-centered PC associated with better SRH differed by country. The perception that PC providers solve most health problems was associated with excellent or very good SRH in Colombia (aPR 1.38, 95% CI 1.01-1.91, p = 0.046) and Jamaica (aPR 1.21, 95% CI 1.02-1.43, p = 0.030). Having a provider who knows relevant medical history was positively associated with better SRH in Mexico (aPR 1.47, 95% CI 1.03-2.12, p = 0.036) but was negatively associated with better SRH in Brazil (aPR 0.71, 95% CI 0.56-0.89, p = 0.003). Finally, easy contact with PC facility (Mexico: aPR 1.35, 95% CI 1.04-1.74, p = 0.023), coordination of care (Mexico: aPR 1.53, 95% CI 1.19-1.98, p = 0.001), and opportunity to ask questions (Brazil: aPR 1.42, 95% CI 1.11-1.83, p = 0.006) were each associated with better SRH. The main study limitation consists in the analysis being of cross-sectional data, which does not allow making causal inferences or identifying the direction of the association between the variables. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, a higher OPCE score was associated with better SRH in these 6 Latin American and Caribbean countries; associations between specific characteristics of patient-centered PC and SRH differed by country. The findings underscore the importance of high-quality, patient-centered PC as a path to improved population health.
    Margaret E Kruk, Anna D Gage, Godfrey M Mbaruku, and Hannah H Leslie. 2018. “Content of Care in 15,000 Sick Child Consultations in Nine Lower-Income Countries.” Health Serv Res, 53, 4, Pp. 2084-2098.Abstract
    OBJECTIVE: Describe content of clinical care for sick children in low-resource settings. DATA SOURCES: Nationally representative health facility surveys in Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda from 2007 to 2015. STUDY DESIGN: Clinical visits by sick children under 5 years were observed and caregivers interviewed. We describe duration and content of the care in the visit and estimate associations between increased content and caregiver knowledge and satisfaction. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The median duration of 15,444 observations was 8 minutes; providers performed 8.4 of a maximum 24 clinical actions per visit. Content of care was minimally greater for severely ill children. Each additional clinical action was associated with 2 percent higher caregiver knowledge. CONCLUSIONS: Consultations for children in nine lower-income countries are brief and limited. A greater number of clinical actions was associated with caregiver knowledge and satisfaction.
    Svetlana V Doubova, Sebastián García-Saisó, Ricardo Pérez-Cuevas, Odet Sarabia-González, Paulina Pacheco-Estrello, Hannah H Leslie, Carmen Santamaría, Laura Del Pilar Torres-Arreola, and Claudia Infante-Castañeda. 2018. “Barriers and opportunities to improve the foundations for high-quality healthcare in the Mexican Health System.” Health Policy Plan, 33, 10, Pp. 1073-1082.Abstract
    This study aimed to describe the foundations for quality of care (QoC) in the Mexican public health sector and identify barriers to quality evaluation and improvement from the perspective of the QoC leaders of the main public health sector institutions: Ministry of Health (MoH), the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) and the Institute of Social Security of State Workers (ISSSTE). We administered a semi-structured online questionnaire that gathered information on foundations (governance, health workforce, platforms, tools and population), evaluation and improvement activities for QoC; 320 leaders from MoH, IMSS and ISSSTE participated. We used thematic content and descriptive analyses to analyse the data. We found that QoC foundations, evaluation and improvement activities pose essential challenges for the Mexican health sector. Governance for QoC is weakly aligned across MoH, IMSS and ISSSTE. Each institution follows its own agenda of evaluation and improvement programmes and has distinct QoC indicators and information systems. The institutions share similar barriers to strengthening QoC: poor organizational structure at a facility level, scarcity of financial resources, lack of training in QoC for executive/managerial staff and health professionals and limited public participation. In conclusion, a stronger legal framework and policy dialogue is needed to foster governance by the MoH, to define and align health sector-wide QoC policies, and to set common goals and articulate QoC improvement actions among institutions. Robust QoC organizational structure with designated staff and clarity on their responsibilities should be established at all levels of healthcare. Investment is necessary to fund formal and in-service QoC training programmes for health professionals and to reinforce quality evaluation and improvement activities and quality information systems. QoC evaluation results should be available to healthcare providers and the population. Active public participation in the design and implementation of improvement initiatives should be strengthened.
    Omolara T Uwemedimo, Todd P Lewis, Elsie A Essien, Grace J Chan, Humphreys Nsona, Margaret E Kruk, and Hannah H Leslie. 2018. “Distribution and determinants of pneumonia diagnosis using Integrated Management of Childhood Illness guidelines: a nationally representative study in Malawi.” BMJ Glob Health, 3, 2, Pp. e000506.Abstract
    Background: Pneumonia remains the leading cause of child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) strategy was developed to standardise care in low-income and middle-income countries for major childhood illnesses and can effectively improve healthcare worker performance. Suboptimal clinical evaluation can result in missed diagnoses and excess morbidity and mortality. We estimate the sensitivity of pneumonia diagnosis and investigate its determinants among children in Malawi. Methods: Data were obtained from the 2013-2014 Service Provision Assessment survey, a census of health facilities in Malawi that included direct observation of care and re-examination of children by trained observers. We calculated sensitivity of pneumonia diagnosis and used multilevel log-binomial regression to assess factors associated with diagnostic sensitivity. Results: 3136 clinical visits for children 2-59 months old were observed at 742 health facilities. Healthcare workers completed an average of 30% (SD 13%) of IMCI guidelines in each encounter. 573 children met the IMCI criteria for pneumonia; 118 (21%) were correctly diagnosed. Advanced practice clinicians were more likely than other providers to diagnose pneumonia correctly (adjusted relative risk 2.00, 95% CI 1.21 to 3.29). Clinical quality was strongly associated with correct diagnosis: sensitivity was 23% in providers at the 75th percentile for guideline adherence compared with 14% for those at the 25th percentile. Contextual factors, facility structural readiness, and training or supervision were not associated with sensitivity. Conclusions: Care quality for Malawian children is poor, with low guideline adherence and missed diagnosis for four of five children with pneumonia. Better sensitivity is associated with provider type and higher adherence to IMCI. Existing interventions such as training and supportive supervision are associated with higher guideline adherence, but are insufficient to meaningfully improve sensitivity. Innovative and scalable quality improvement interventions are needed to strengthen health systems and reduce avoidable child mortality.
    Anna D Gage, Hannah H Leslie, Asaf Bitton, Gregory J Jerome, Jean Paul Joseph, Roody Thermidor, and Margaret E Kruk. 2018. “Does quality influence utilization of primary health care? Evidence from Haiti.” Global Health, 14, 1, Pp. 59.Abstract
    BACKGROUND: Expanding coverage of primary healthcare services such as antenatal care and vaccinations is a global health priority; however, many Haitians do not utilize these services. One reason may be that the population avoids low quality health facilities. We examined how facility infrastructure and the quality of primary health care service delivery were associated with community utilization of primary health care services in Haiti. METHODS: We constructed two composite measures of quality for all Haitian facilities using the 2013 Service Provision Assessment survey. We geographically linked population clusters from the Demographic and Health Surveys to nearby facilities offering primary health care services. We assessed the cross-sectional association between quality and utilization of four primary care services: antenatal care, postnatal care, vaccinations and sick child care, as well as one more complex service: facility delivery. RESULTS: Facilities performed poorly on both measures of quality, scoring 0.55 and 0.58 out of 1 on infrastructure and service delivery quality respectively. In rural areas, utilization of several primary cares services (antenatal care, postnatal care, and vaccination) was associated with both infrastructure and quality of service delivery, with stronger associations for service delivery. Facility delivery was associated with infrastructure quality, and there was no association for sick child care. In urban areas, care utilization was not associated with either quality measure. CONCLUSIONS: Poor quality of care may deter utilization of beneficial primary health care services in rural areas of Haiti. Improving health service quality may offer an opportunity not only to improve health outcomes for patients, but also to expand coverage of key primary health care services.
    Hannah H Leslie, Zeye Sun, and Margaret E Kruk. 2017. “Association between infrastructure and observed quality of care in 4 healthcare services: A cross-sectional study of 4,300 facilities in 8 countries.” PLoS Med, 14, 12, Pp. e1002464.Abstract
    BACKGROUND: It is increasingly apparent that access to healthcare without adequate quality of care is insufficient to improve population health outcomes. We assess whether the most commonly measured attribute of health facilities in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)-the structural inputs to care-predicts the clinical quality of care provided to patients. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Service Provision Assessments are nationally representative health facility surveys conducted by the Demographic and Health Survey Program with support from the US Agency for International Development. These surveys assess health system capacity in LMICs. We drew data from assessments conducted in 8 countries between 2007 and 2015: Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda. The surveys included an audit of facility infrastructure and direct observation of family planning, antenatal care (ANC), sick-child care, and (in 2 countries) labor and delivery. To measure structural inputs, we constructed indices that measured World Health Organization-recommended amenities, equipment, and medications in each service. For clinical quality, we used data from direct observations of care to calculate providers' adherence to evidence-based care guidelines. We assessed the correlation between these metrics and used spline models to test for the presence of a minimum input threshold associated with good clinical quality. Inclusion criteria were met by 32,531 observations of care in 4,354 facilities. Facilities demonstrated moderate levels of infrastructure, ranging from 0.63 of 1 in sick-child care to 0.75 of 1 for family planning on average. Adherence to evidence-based guidelines was low, with an average of 37% adherence in sick-child care, 46% in family planning, 60% in labor and delivery, and 61% in ANC. Correlation between infrastructure and evidence-based care was low (median 0.20, range from -0.03 for family planning in Senegal to 0.40 for ANC in Tanzania). Facilities with similar infrastructure scores delivered care of widely varying quality in each service. We did not detect a minimum level of infrastructure that was reliably associated with higher quality of care delivered in any service. These findings rely on cross-sectional data, preventing assessment of relationships between structural inputs and clinical quality over time; measurement error may attenuate the estimated associations. CONCLUSION: Inputs to care are poorly correlated with provision of evidence-based care in these 4 clinical services. Healthcare workers in well-equipped facilities often provided poor care and vice versa. While it is important to have strong infrastructure, it should not be used as a measure of quality. Insight into health system quality requires measurement of processes and outcomes of care.
    Hannah H Leslie, Donna Spiegelman, Xin Zhou, and Margaret E Kruk. 2017. “Service readiness of health facilities in Bangladesh, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.” Bull World Health Organ, 95, 11, Pp. 738-748.Abstract
    Objective: To evaluate the service readiness of health facilities in Bangladesh, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Methods: Using existing data from service provision assessments of the health systems of the 10 study countries, we calculated a service readiness index for each of 8443 health facilities. This index represents the percentage availability of 50 items that the World Health Organization considers essential for providing health care. For our analysis we used 37-49 of the items on the list. We used linear regression to assess the independent explanatory power of four national and four facility-level characteristics on reported service readiness. Findings: The mean values for the service readiness index were 77% for the 636 hospitals and 52% for the 7807 health centres/clinics. Deficiencies in medications and diagnostic capacity were particularly common. The readiness index varied more between hospitals and health centres/clinics in the same country than between them. There was weak correlation between national factors related to health financing and the readiness index. Conclusion: Most health facilities in our study countries were insufficiently equipped to provide basic clinical care. If countries are to bolster health-system capacity towards achieving universal coverage, more attention needs to be given to within-country inequities.
    Hannah H Leslie, Address Malata, Youssoupha Ndiaye, and Margaret E Kruk. 2017. “Effective coverage of primary care services in eight high-mortality countries.” BMJ Glob Health, 2, 3, Pp. e000424.Abstract
    Introduction: Measurement of effective coverage (quality-corrected coverage) of essential health services is critical to monitoring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal for health. We combine facility and household surveys from eight low-income and middle-income countries to examine effective coverage of maternal and child health services. Methods: We developed indices of essential clinical actions for antenatal care, family planning and care for sick children from existing guidelines and used data from direct observations of clinical visits conducted in Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda between 2007 and 2015 to measure quality of care delivered. We calculated healthcare coverage for each service from nationally representative household surveys and combined quality with utilisation estimates at the subnational level to quantify effective coverage. Results: Health facility and household surveys yielded over 40 000 direct clinical observations and over 100 000 individual reports of healthcare utilisation. Coverage varied between services, with much greater use of any antenatal care than family planning or sick-child care, as well as within countries. Quality of care was poor, with few regions demonstrating more than 60% average performance of basic clinical practices in any service. Effective coverage across all eight countries averaged 28% for antenatal care, 26% for family planning and 21% for sick-child care. Coverage and quality were not strongly correlated at the subnational level; effective coverage varied by as much as 20% between regions within a country. Conclusion: Effective coverage of three primary care services for women and children in eight countries was substantially lower than crude service coverage due to major deficiencies in care quality. Better performing regions can serve as examples for improvement. Systematic increases in the quality of care delivered-not just utilisation gains-will be necessary to progress towards truly beneficial universal health coverage.