Publications

    Hannah L Ratcliffe, Dan Schwarz, Lisa R Hirschhorn, Cintia Cejas, Abdoulaye Diallo, Ezequiel Garcia Elorrio, Jocelyn Fifield, Diane Gashumba, Lucy Hartshorn, Nicholas Leydon, Mohamed Mohamed, Yoriko Nakamura, Youssoupha Ndiaye, Jacob Novignon, Anthony Ofosu, Sanam Roder-DeWan, Angelique Rwiyereka, Federica Secci, Jeremy H Veillard, and Asaf Bitton. 2019. “PHC Progression Model: a novel mixed-methods tool for measuring primary health care system capacity.” BMJ Glob Health, 4, 5, Pp. e001822.Abstract
    High-performing primary health care (PHC) is essential for achieving universal health coverage. However, in many countries, PHC is weak and unable to deliver on its potential. Improvement is often limited by a lack of actionable data to inform policies and set priorities. To address this gap, the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative (PHCPI) was formed to strengthen measurement of PHC in low-income and middle-income countries in order to accelerate improvement. PHCPI's Vital Signs Profile was designed to provide a comprehensive snapshot of the performance of a country's PHC system, yet quantitative information about PHC systems' capacity to deliver high-quality, effective care was limited by the scarcity of existing data sources and metrics. To systematically measure the capacity of PHC systems, PHCPI developed the PHC Progression Model, a rubric-based mixed-methods assessment tool. The PHC Progression Model is completed through a participatory process by in-country teams and subsequently reviewed by PHCPI to validate results and ensure consistency across countries. In 2018, PHCPI partnered with five countries to pilot the tool and found that it was feasible to implement with fidelity, produced valid results, and was highly acceptable and useful to stakeholders. Pilot results showed that both the participatory assessment process and resulting findings yielded novel and actionable insights into PHC strengths and weaknesses. Based on these positive early results, PHCPI will support expansion of the PHC Progression Model to additional countries to systematically and comprehensively measure PHC system capacity in order to identify and prioritise targeted improvement efforts.
    Christopher W Belter, Patricia J Garcia, Alicia A Livinski, Fabiola Leon-Velarde, Kristen H Weymouth, and Roger I Glass. 2019. “The catalytic role of a research university and international partnerships in building research capacity in Peru: A bibliometric analysis.” PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 13, 7, Pp. e0007483.Abstract
    OBJECTIVE: In Peru, the past three decades have witnessed impressive growth in biomedical research catalyzed from a single research university and its investigators who secured international partnerships and funding. We conducted a bibliometric analysis of publications by Peruvian authors to understand the roots of this growth and the spread of research networks within the country. METHODS: For 1997-2016, publications from Web of Science with at least one author affiliated with a Peruvian institution were examined by year, author affiliations, funding agencies, co-authorship linkages, and research topics. RESULTS: From 1997-2016, the annual number of publications from Peru increased 9-fold from 75 to 672 totaling 6032. Of these, 56% of the articles had co-authors from the US, 13% from the UK, 12% from Brazil, and 10% from Spain. Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH) was clearly the lead research institution noted on one-third of publications. Of the 20 most published authors, 15 were Peruvians, 14 trained at some point at UPCH, and 13 received advanced training abroad. Plotting co-authorships documented the growth of institutional collaborations, the robust links between investigators and some lineages of mentorship. CONCLUSIONS: This analysis suggests that international training of Peruvian physician-scientists who built and sustained longstanding international partnerships with funding accelerated quality research on diseases of local importance. The role of a single research university, UPCH, was critical to advance a culture of biomedical research. Increased funding from the Peruvian Government and its Council for Science, Technology and Innovation will be needed to sustain this growth in the future. Middle-income countries might consider the Peruvian experience where long-term research and training partnerships yielded impressive advances to address key health priorities of the country.
    Teketo Kassaw Tegegne, Catherine Chojenta, Theodros Getachew, Roger Smith, and Deborah Loxton. 2019. “Antenatal care use in Ethiopia: a spatial and multilevel analysis.” BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 19, 1, Pp. 399.Abstract
    BACKGROUND: Accessibility and utilization of antenatal care (ANC) service varies depending on different geographical locations, sociodemographic characteristics, political and other factors. A geographically linked data analysis using population and health facility data is valuable to map ANC use, and identify inequalities in service access and provision. Thus, this study aimed to assess the spatial patterns of ANC use, and to identify associated factors among pregnant women in Ethiopia. METHOD: A secondary data analysis of the 2016 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey linked with the 2014 Ethiopian Service Provision Assessment was conducted. A multilevel analysis was carried out using the SAS GLIMMIX procedure. Furthermore, hot spot analysis and spatial regressions were carried out to identify the hot spot areas of and factors associated with the spatial variations in ANC use using ArcGIS and R softwares. RESULTS: A one-unit increase in the mean score of ANC service availability in a typical region was associated with a five-fold increase in the odds of having more ANC visits. Moreover, every one-kilometre increase in distance to the nearest ANC facility in a typical region was negatively associated with having at least four ANC visits. Twenty-five percent of the variability in having at least four ANC visits was accounted for by region of living. The spatial analysis found that the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region had high clusters of at least four ANC visits. Furthermore, the coefficients of having the first ANC visit during the first trimester were estimated to have spatial variations in the use of at least four ANC visits. CONCLUSION: There were significant variations in the use of ANC services across the different regions of Ethiopia. Region of living and distance were key drivers of ANC use underscoring the need for increased ANC availability, particularly in the cold spot regions.
    Kavita Singh, Mohammed K Ali, Raji Devarajan, Roopa Shivashankar, Dimple Kondal, Vamadevan S Ajay, Usha V Menon, Premlata K Varthakavi, Vijay Viswanathan, Mala Dharmalingam, Ganapati Bantwal, Rakesh Kumar Sahay, Muhammad Qamar Masood, Rajesh Khadgawat, Ankush Desai, Dorairaj Prabhakaran, Venkat KM Narayan, Victoria L Phillips, Nikhil Tandon, and Nikhil Tandon. 2019. “Rationale and protocol for estimating the economic value of a multicomponent quality improvement strategy for diabetes care in South Asia.” Glob Health Res Policy, 4, Pp. 7.Abstract
    Background: Economic dimensions of implementing quality improvement for diabetes care are understudied worldwide. We describe the economic evaluation protocol within a randomised controlled trial that tested a multi-component quality improvement (QI) strategy for individuals with poorly-controlled type 2 diabetes in South Asia. Methods/design: This economic evaluation of the Centre for Cardiometabolic Risk Reduction in South Asia (CARRS) randomised trial involved 1146 people with poorly-controlled type 2 diabetes receiving care at 10 diverse diabetes clinics across India and Pakistan. The economic evaluation comprises both a within-trial cost-effectiveness analysis (mean 2.5 years follow up) and a microsimulation model-based cost-utility analysis (life-time horizon). Effectiveness measures include multiple risk factor control (achieving HbA1c < 7% and blood pressure < 130/80 mmHg and/or LDL-cholesterol< 100 mg/dl), and patient reported outcomes including quality adjusted life years (QALYs) measured by EQ-5D-3 L, hospitalizations, and diabetes related complications at the trial end. Cost measures include direct medical and non-medical costs relevant to outpatient care (consultation fee, medicines, laboratory tests, supplies, food, and escort/accompanying person costs, transport) and inpatient care (hospitalization, transport, and accompanying person costs) of the intervention compared to usual diabetes care. Patient, healthcare system, and societal perspectives will be applied for costing. Both cost and health effects will be discounted at 3% per year for within trial cost-effectiveness analysis over 2.5 years and decision modelling analysis over a lifetime horizon. Outcomes will be reported as the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER) to achieve multiple risk factor control, avoid diabetes-related complications, or QALYs gained against varying levels of willingness to pay threshold values. Sensitivity analyses will be performed to assess uncertainties around ICER estimates by varying costs (95% CIs) across public vs. private settings and using conservative estimates of effect size (95% CIs) for multiple risk factor control. Costs will be reported in US$ 2018. Discussion: We hypothesize that the additional upfront costs of delivering the intervention will be counterbalanced by improvements in clinical outcomes and patient-reported outcomes, thereby rendering this multi-component QI intervention cost-effective in resource constrained South Asian settings. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01212328.
    Anubha Agarwal, Ehete Bahiru, Sang Gune Kyle Yoo, Mark A Berendsen, Sivadasanpillai Harikrishnan, Adrian F Hernandez, Dorairaj Prabhakaran, and Mark D Huffman. 2019. “Hospital-based quality improvement interventions for patients with heart failure: a systematic review.” Heart, 105, 6, Pp. 431-438.Abstract
    OBJECTIVE: To estimate the direction and magnitude of effect and quality of evidence for hospital-based heart failure (HF) quality improvement interventions on process of care measures and clinical outcomes among patients with acute HF. REVIEW METHODS: We performed a structured search to identify relevant randomised trials evaluating the effect of in-hospital quality improvement interventions for patients hospitalised with HF through February 2017. Studies were independently reviewed in duplicate for key characteristics, outcomes were summarised and a qualitative synthesis was performed due to substantial heterogeneity. RESULTS: From 3615 records, 14 randomised controlled trials were identified for inclusion with multifaceted interventions. There was a trend towards higher in-hospital use of ACE inhibitors (ACE-I; 57.9%vs40.0%) and beta-blockers (BBs; 46.7%vs10.2%) in the intervention than the comparator in one trial (n=429 participants). Five trials (n=78 727 participants) demonstrated no effect of the intervention on use of ACE-I or angiotensin receptor blocker at discharge. Three trials (n=89 660 participants) reported no effect on use of BB at discharge. Two trials (n=419 participants) demonstrated a trend towards lower hospital readmission up to 90 days after discharge. There was no consistent effect of the quality improvement intervention on 30-day all-cause mortality, hospital length of stay and patient-level health-related quality of life. CONCLUSIONS: Randomised trials of hospital-based HF quality improvement interventions do not show a consistent effect on most process of care measures and clinical outcomes. The overall quality of evidence for the prespecified primary and key secondary outcomes was very low to moderate, suggesting that future research will likely influence these estimates. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42016049545.
    Emma Clarke-Deelder, Gil Shapira, Hadia Samaha, György Bèla Fritsche, and Günther Fink. 2019. “Quality of care for children with severe disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” BMC Public Health, 19, 1, Pp. 1608.Abstract
    BACKGROUND: Despite the almost universal adoption of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of sick children under the age of five in low- and middle-income countries, child mortality remains high in many settings. One possible explanation of the continued high mortality burden is lack of compliance with diagnostic and treatment protocols. We test this hypothesis in a sample of children with severe illness in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). METHODS: One thousand one hundred eighty under-five clinical visits were observed across a regionally representative sample of 321 facilities in the DRC. Based on a detailed list of disease symptoms observed, patients with severe febrile disease (including malaria), severe pneumonia, and severe dehydration were identified. For all three disease categories, treatments were then compared to recommended case management following IMCI guidelines. RESULTS: Out of 1180 under-five consultations observed, 332 patients (28%) had signs of severe febrile disease, 189 patients (16%) had signs of severe pneumonia, and 19 patients (2%) had signs of severe dehydration. Overall, providers gave the IMCI-recommended treatment in 42% of cases of these three severe diseases. Less than 15% of children with severe disease were recommended to receive in-patient care either in the facility they visited or in a higher-level facility. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that adherence to IMCI protocols for severe disease remains remarkably low in the DRC. There is a critical need to identify and implement effective approaches for improving the quality of care for severely ill children in settings with high child mortality.
    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.
    Mark D Huffman, Padinhare P Mohanan, Raji Devarajan, Abigail S Baldridge, Dimple Kondal, Lihui Zhao, Mumtaj Ali, Mangalath N Krishnan, Syam Natesan, Rajesh Gopinath, Sunitha Viswanathan, Joseph Stigi, Johny Joseph, Somanathan Chozhakkat, Donald M Lloyd-Jones, Dorairaj Prabhakaran, and Acute Coronary Syndrome Quality Improvement Kerala (ACS QUIK) in Investigators. 2018. “Effect of a Quality Improvement Intervention on Clinical Outcomes in Patients in India With Acute Myocardial Infarction: The ACS QUIK Randomized Clinical Trial.” JAMA, 319, 6, Pp. 567-578.Abstract
    Importance: Wide heterogeneity exists in acute myocardial infarction treatment and outcomes in India. Objective: To evaluate the effect of a locally adapted quality improvement tool kit on clinical outcomes and process measures in Kerala, a southern Indian state. Design, Setting, and Participants: Cluster randomized, stepped-wedge clinical trial conducted between November 10, 2014, and November 9, 2016, in 63 hospitals in Kerala, India, with a last date of follow-up of December 31, 2016. During 5 predefined steps over the study period, hospitals were randomly selected to move in a 1-way crossover from the control group to the intervention group. Consecutively presenting patients with acute myocardial infarction were offered participation. Interventions: Hospitals provided either usual care (control group; n = 10 066 participants [step 0: n = 2915; step 1: n = 2649; step 2: n = 2251; step 3: n = 1422; step 4; n = 829; step 5: n = 0]) or care using a quality improvement tool kit (intervention group; n = 11 308 participants [step 0: n = 0; step 1: n = 662; step 2: n = 1265; step 3: n = 2432; step 4: n = 3214; step 5: n = 3735]) that consisted of audit and feedback, checklists, patient education materials, and linkage to emergency cardiovascular care and quality improvement training. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was the composite of all-cause death, reinfarction, stroke, or major bleeding using standardized definitions at 30 days. Secondary outcomes included the primary outcome's individual components, 30-day cardiovascular death, medication use, and tobacco cessation counseling. Mixed-effects logistic regression models were used to account for clustering and temporal trends. Results: Among 21 374 eligible randomized participants (mean age, 60.6 [SD, 12.0] years; n = 16 183 men [76%] ; n = 13 689 [64%] with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction), 21 079 (99%) completed the trial. The primary composite outcome was observed in 5.3% of the intervention participants and 6.4% of the control participants. The observed difference in 30-day major adverse cardiovascular event rates between the groups was not statistically significant after adjustment (adjusted risk difference, -0.09% [95% CI, -1.32% to 1.14%]; adjusted odds ratio, 0.98 [95% CI, 0.80-1.21]). The intervention group had a higher rate of medication use including reperfusion but no effect on tobacco cessation counseling. There were no unexpected adverse events reported. Conclusions and Relevance: Among patients with acute myocardial infarction in Kerala, India, use of a quality improvement intervention compared with usual care did not decrease a composite of 30-day major adverse cardiovascular events. Further research is needed to understand the lack of efficacy. Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT02256657.
    Nana Mensah Abrampah, Shamsuzzoha Babar Syed, Lisa R Hirschhorn, Bejoy Nambiar, Usman Iqbal, Ezequiel Garcia-Elorrio, Vijay Kumar Chattu, Mahesh Devnani, and Edward Kelley. 2018. “Quality improvement and emerging global health priorities.” Int J Qual Health Care, 30, suppl_1, Pp. 5-9.Abstract
    Quality improvement approaches can strengthen action on a range of global health priorities. Quality improvement efforts are uniquely placed to reorient care delivery systems towards integrated people-centred health services and strengthen health systems to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). This article makes the case for addressing shortfalls of previous agendas by articulating the critical role of quality improvement in the Sustainable Development Goal era. Quality improvement can stimulate convergence between health security and health systems; address global health security priorities through participatory quality improvement approaches; and improve health outcomes at all levels of the health system. Entry points for action include the linkage with antimicrobial resistance and the contentious issue of the health of migrants. The work required includes focussed attention on the continuum of national quality policy formulation, implementation and learning; alongside strengthening the measurement-improvement linkage. Quality improvement plays a key role in strengthening health systems to achieve UHC.
    Joshua S Ng-Kamstra, Sumedha Arya, Sarah LM Greenberg, Meera Kotagal, Catherine Arsenault, David Ljungman, Rachel R Yorlets, Arnav Agarwal, Claudia Frankfurter, Anton Nikouline, Francis Yi Xing Lai, Charlotta L Palmqvist, Terence Fu, Tahrin Mahmood, Sneha Raju, Sristi Sharma, Isobel H Marks, Alexis Bowder, Lebei Pi, John G Meara, and Mark G Shrime. 2018. “Perioperative mortality rates in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” BMJ Glob Health, 3, 3, Pp. e000810.Abstract
    Introduction: Commission on Global Surgery proposed the perioperative mortality rate (POMR) as one of the six key indicators of the strength of a country's surgical system. Despite its widespread use in high-income settings, few studies have described procedure-specific POMR across low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). We aimed to estimate POMR across a wide range of surgical procedures in LMICs. We also describe how POMR is defined and reported in the LMIC literature to provide recommendations for future monitoring in resource-constrained settings. Methods: We did a systematic review of studies from LMICs published from 2009 to 2014 reporting POMR for any surgical procedure. We extracted select variables in duplicate from each included study and pooled estimates of POMR by type of procedure using random-effects meta-analysis of proportions and the Freeman-Tukey double arcsine transformation to stabilise variances. Results: We included 985 studies conducted across 83 LMICs, covering 191 types of surgical procedures performed on 1 020 869 patients. Pooled POMR ranged from less than 0.1% for appendectomy, cholecystectomy and caesarean delivery to 20%-27% for typhoid intestinal perforation, intracranial haemorrhage and operative head injury. We found no consistent associations between procedure-specific POMR and Human Development Index (HDI) or income-group apart from emergency peripartum hysterectomy POMR, which appeared higher in low-income countries. Inpatient mortality was the most commonly used definition, though only 46.2% of studies explicitly defined the time frame during which deaths accrued. Conclusions: Efforts to improve access to surgical care in LMICs should be accompanied by investment in improving the quality and safety of care. To improve the usefulness of POMR as a safety benchmark, standard reporting items should be included with any POMR estimate. Choosing a basket of procedures for which POMR is tracked may offer institutions and countries the standardisation required to meaningfully compare surgical outcomes across contexts and improve population health outcomes.
    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.
    Anna D Gage, Margaret E Kruk, Tsinuel Girma, and Ephrem T Lemango. 2018. “The know-do gap in sick child care in Ethiopia.” PLoS One, 13, 12, Pp. e0208898.Abstract
    BACKGROUND: While health care provider knowledge is a commonly used measure for process quality of care, evidence demonstrates that providers don't always perform as much as they know. We describe this know-do gap for malaria care for sick children among providers in Ethiopia and examine what may predict this gap. METHODS: We use a 2014 nationally-representative survey of Ethiopian providers that includes clinical knowledge vignettes of malaria care and observations of care provided to children in facilities. We compare knowledge and performance of assessment, treatment and counseling items and overall. We subtract performance scores from knowledge and use regression analysis to examine what facility and provider characteristics predict the gap. 512 providers that completed the malaria vignette and were observed providing care to sick children were included in the analysis. RESULTS: Vignette and observed performance were both low, with providers on average scoring 39% and 34% respectively. The know-do gap for assessment was only 1%, while the gap for treatment and counseling items was 39%. Doctors had the largest gap between knowledge and performance. Only provider type and availability of key equipment significantly predicted the know-do gap. CONCLUSIONS: While both provider knowledge and performance in sick child care are poor, there is a gap between knowledge and performance particularly with regard to treatment and counseling. Interventions to improve quality of care must address not only deficiencies in provider knowledge, but also the gap between knowledge and action.
    Choolwe Jacobs, Charles Michelo, and Mosa Moshabela. 2018. “Implementation of a community-based intervention in the most rural and remote districts of Zambia: a process evaluation of safe motherhood action groups.” Implement Sci, 13, 1, Pp. 74.Abstract
    BACKGROUND: A community-based intervention known as Safe Motherhood Action Groups (SMAGs) was implemented to increase coverage of maternal and neonatal health (MNH) services among the poorest and most remote populations in Zambia. While the outcome evaluation demonstrated statistically significant improvement in the MNH indicators, targets for key indicators were not achieved, and reasons for this shortfall were not known. This study was aimed at understanding why the targeted key indicators for MNH services were not achieved. METHODS: A process evaluation, in accordance with the Medical Research Council (MRC) framework, was conducted in two selected rural districts of Zambia using qualitative approaches. Focus group discussions were conducted with SMAGs, volunteer community health workers, and mothers and in-depth interviews with healthcare providers. Content analysis was done. RESULTS: We found that SMAGs implemented much of the intervention as was intended, particularly in the area of women's education and referral to health facilities for skilled MNH services. The SMAGs went beyond their prescribed roles to assist women with household chores and personal problems and used their own resources to enhance the success of the intervention. Deficiencies in the intervention were reported and included poor ongoing support, inadequate supplies and lack of effective transportation such as bicycles needed for the SMAGs to facilitate their work. Factors external to the intervention, such as inadequacy of health services and skilled healthcare providers in facilities where SMAGs referred mothers and poor geographical access, may have led SMAGs to engage in the unintended role of conducting deliveries, thus compromising the outcome of the intervention. CONCLUSION: We found evidence suggesting that although SMAGs continue to play pivotal roles in contribution towards accelerated coverage of MNH services among hard-to-reach populations, they are unable to meet some of the critical sets of MNH service-targeted indicators. The complexities of the implementation mechanisms coupled with the presence of setting specific socio-cultural and geographical contextual factors could partially explain this failure. This suggests a need for innovating existing implementation strategies so as to help SMAGs and any other community health system champions to effectively respond to MNH needs of most-at-risk women and promote universal health coverage targeting hard-to-reach groups.
    Choolwe Jacobs, Charles Michelo, Mumbi Chola, Nicholas Oliphant, Hikabasa Halwiindi, Sitali Maswenyeho, Kumar Sridutt Baboo, and Mosa Moshabela. 2018. “Evaluation of a community-based intervention to improve maternal and neonatal health service coverage in the most rural and remote districts of Zambia.” PLoS One, 13, 1, Pp. e0190145.Abstract
    BACKGROUND: A community-based intervention comprising both men and women, known as Safe Motherhood Action Groups (SMAGs), was implemented in four of Zambia's poorest and most remote districts to improve coverage of selected maternal and neonatal health interventions. This paper reports on outcomes in the coverage of maternal and neonatal care interventions, including antenatal care (ANC), skilled birth attendance (SBA) and postnatal care (PNC) in the study areas. METHODOLOGY: Three serial cross-sectional surveys were conducted between 2012 and 2015 among 1,652 mothers of children 0-5 months of age using a 'before-and-after' evaluation design with multi-stage sampling, combining probability proportional to size and simple random sampling. Logistic regression and chi-square test for trend were used to assess effect size and changes in measures of coverage for ANC, SBA and PNC during the intervention. RESULTS: Mothers' mean age and educational status were non-differentially comparable at all the three-time points. The odds of attending ANC at least four times (aOR 1.63; 95% CI 1.38-1.99) and SBA (aOR 1.72; 95% CI 1.38-1.99) were at least 60% higher at endline than baseline surveillance. A two-fold and four-fold increase in the odds of mothers receiving PNC from an appropriate skilled provider (aOR 2.13; 95% CI 1.62-2.79) and a SMAG (aOR 4.87; 95% CI 3.14-7.54), respectively, were observed at endline. Receiving birth preparedness messages from a SMAG during pregnancy (aOR 1.76; 95% CI, 1.20-2.19) and receiving ANC from a skilled provider (aOR 4.01; 95% CI, 2.88-5.75) were significant predictors for SBA at delivery and PNC. CONCLUSIONS: Strengthening community-based action groups in poor and remote districts through the support of mothers by SMAGs was associated with increased coverage of maternal and newborn health interventions, measured through ANC, SBA and PNC. In remote and marginalised settings, where the need is greatest, context-specific and innovative task-sharing strategies using community health volunteers can be effective in improving coverage of maternal and neonatal services and hold promise for better maternal and child survival in poorly-resourced parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
    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.

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