CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVES: Non-communicable diseases and injuries (NCDIs) comprise a large share of mortality and morbidity in low-income countries (LICs), many of which occur earlier in life and with greater severity than in higher income settings. Our objective was to assess availability of essential equipment and medications required for a broad range of acute and chronic NCDI conditions. DESIGN: Secondary analysis of existing cross-sectional survey data. SETTING: We used data from Service Provision Assessment surveys in Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Malawi, Nepal, Senegal and Tanzania, focusing on public first-referral level hospitals in each country. OUTCOME MEASURES: We defined sets of equipment and medications required for diagnosis and management of four acute and nine chronic NCDI conditions and determined availability of these items at the health facilities. RESULTS: Overall, 797 hospitals were included. Medication and equipment availability was highest for acute epilepsy (country estimates ranging from 40% to 95%) and stage 1-2 hypertension (28%-83%). Availability was low for type 1 diabetes (1%-70%), type 2 diabetes (3%-57%), asthma (0%-7%) and acute presentations of diabetes (0%-26%) and asthma (0%-4%). Few hospitals had equipment or medications for heart failure (0%-32%), rheumatic heart disease (0%-23%), hypertensive emergencies (0%-64%) or acute minor surgical conditions (0%-5%). Data for chronic pain were limited to only two countries. Availability of essential medications and equipment was lower than previous facility-reported service availability. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate low availability of essential equipment and medications for diverse NCDIs at first-referral level hospitals in eight LICs. There is a need for decentralisation and integration of NCDI services in existing care platforms and improved assessment and monitoring to fully achieve universal health coverage.
BACKGROUND: Most health systems provide the most specialized, and presumably also the highest quality of care at a central level. This study assessed parental satisfaction and its determinants in the context of neonatal care in a provincial as well as a national hospital of Vietnam. METHODS: In this cross-sectional quantitative study, parents of 340 preterm infants admitted to neonatal care units of a national and a provincial hospital in 2018 were interviewed using structured questionnaires. Unadjusted and adjusted linear regression models were used to assess the relationship between parental satisfaction and hospital rank. RESULTS: The mean parental satisfaction score was 3.74 at the provincial, and 3.56 at the national hospital. These satisfaction differences persisted when parent and child characteristics were adjusted for in multivariate analysis. Longer length of stay and worsening infant health status were associated with parents reporting lower levels of satisfaction with the quality of care being provided at the healthcare facility. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that parents of preterm infants admitted in a provincial hospital were more satisfied with the quality of care received than those in a specialized national hospital. Length of stay and infant health status were the two most important determinants of level of parental satisfaction.
OBJECTIVES: Recent studies have identified large and systematic deficits in clinical care in low-income countries that are likely to limit health gains. This has focused attention on effectiveness of pre-service education. One approach to assessing this is observation of clinical performance among recent graduates providing care. However, no studies have assessed performance in a standard manner across countries. We analysed clinical performance among recently graduated providers in nine low- or middle-income countries. METHODS: Service Provision Assessments from Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda were used. We constructed a Good Medical Practice Index that assesses completion of essential clinical actions using direct observations of care (range 0-1), calculated index scores by country and clinical cadre, and assessed the role of facility and clinical characteristics using regression analysis. RESULTS: Our sample consisted of 2223 clinicians with at least one observation of care. The Good Medical Practice score for the sample was 0.50 (SD = 0.20). Nurses and midwives had the highest score at 0.57 (SD = 0.20), followed by associate clinicians at 0.43 (SD = 0.18), and physicians at 0.42 (SD = 0.16). The average national performance varied from 0.63 (SD = 0.18) in Uganda to 0.39 (SD = 0.17) in Nepal, persisting after adjustment for facility and clinician characteristics. CONCLUSIONS: These results show substantial gaps in clinical performance among recently graduated clinicians, raising concerns about models of clinical education. Competency-based education should be considered to improve quality of care in LMICs. Observations of care offer important insight into the quality of clinical education.
Although mentoring is not a common practice in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), there is a strong need for it. Conceptual frameworks provide the structure to design, study, and problem-solve complex phenomena. Following four workshops in South America, Asia, and Africa, and borrowing on theoretical models from higher education, this article proposes two conceptual frameworks of mentoring in LMICs. In the first model, we propose to focus the mentor-mentee relationship and interactions, and in the second, we look at mentoring activities from a mentees' perspective. Our models emphasize the importance of an ongoing dynamic between the mentor and mentee that is mutually beneficial. It also emphasizes the need for institutions to create enabling environments that encourage mentorship. We expect that these frameworks will help LMIC institutions to design new mentoring programs, clarify expectations, and analyze problems with existing mentoring programs. Our models, while being framed in the context of global health, have the potential for wider application geographically and across disciplines.
BACKGROUND: The ACS QUIK trial showed that a multicomponent quality improvement toolkit intervention resulted in improvements in processes of care for patients with acute myocardial infarction in Kerala but did not improve clinical outcomes in the context of background improvements in care. We describe the development of the ACS QUIK intervention and evaluate its implementation, acceptability, and sustainability. METHODS: We performed a mixed methods process evaluation alongside a cluster randomized, stepped-wedge trial in Kerala, India. The ACS QUIK intervention aimed to reduce the rate of major adverse cardiovascular events at 30 days compared with usual care across 63 hospitals (n = 21,374 patients). The ACS QUIK toolkit intervention, consisting of audit and feedback report, admission and discharge checklists, patient education materials, and guidelines for the development of code and rapid response teams, was developed based on formative qualitative research in Kerala and from systematic reviews. After four or more months of the center's participation in the toolkit intervention phase of the trial, an online survey and physician interviews were administered. Physician interviews focused on evaluating the implementation and acceptability of the toolkit intervention. A framework analysis of transcripts incorporated context and intervening mechanisms. RESULTS: Among 63 participating hospitals, 22 physicians (35%) completed online surveys. Of these, 17 (77%) respondents reported that their hospital had a cardiovascular quality improvement team, 18 (82%) respondents reported having read an audit report, admission checklist, or discharge checklist, and 19 (86%) respondents reported using patient education materials. Among the 28 interviewees (44%), facilitators of toolkit intervention implementation were physicians' support and leadership, hospital administrators' support, ease-of-use of checklists and patient education materials, and availability of training opportunities for staff. Barriers that influenced the implementation or acceptability of the toolkit intervention for physicians included time and staff constraints, Internet access, patient volume, and inadequate understanding of the quality improvement toolkit intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Implementation and acceptability of the ACS QUIK toolkit intervention were enhanced by hospital-level management support, physician and team support, and usefulness of checklists and patient education materials. Wider and longer-term use of the toolkit intervention and its expansion to potentially other cardiovascular conditions or other locations where the quality of care is not as high as in the ACS QUIK trial may be useful for improving acute cardiovascular care in Kerala and beyond. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT02256657.
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.
Mentoring is a proven path to scientific progress, but it is not a common practice in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Existing mentoring approaches and guidelines are geared toward high-income country settings, without considering in detail the differences in resources, culture, and structure of research systems of LMICs. To address this gap, we conducted five Mentoring-the-Mentor workshops in Africa, South America, and Asia, which aimed at strengthening the capacity for evidence-based, LMIC-specific institutional mentoring programs globally. The outcomes of the workshops and two follow-up working meetings are presented in this special edition of the . Seven articles offer recommendations on how to tailor mentoring to the context and culture of LMICs, and provide guidance on how to implement mentoring programs. This introductory article provides both a prelude and executive summary to the seven articles, describing the motivation, cultural context and relevant background, and presenting key findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
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.
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.
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.
BACKGROUND: Achievement of diabetes care goals is suboptimal globally. Diabetes-focused quality improvement (QI) is effective but remains untested in South Asia. OBJECTIVE: To compare the effect of a multicomponent QI strategy versus usual care on cardiometabolic profiles in patients with poorly controlled diabetes. DESIGN: Parallel, open-label, pragmatic randomized, controlled trial. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01212328). SETTING: Diabetes clinics in India and Pakistan. PATIENTS: 1146 patients (575 in the intervention group and 571 in the usual care group) with type 2 diabetes and poor cardiometabolic profiles (glycated hemoglobin [HbA1c] level ≥8% plus systolic blood pressure [BP] ≥140 mm Hg and/or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol [LDLc] level ≥130 mg/dL). INTERVENTION: Multicomponent QI strategy comprising nonphysician care coordinators and decision-support electronic health records. MEASUREMENTS: Proportions achieving HbA1c level less than 7% plus BP less than 130/80 mm Hg and/or LDLc level less than 100 mg/dL (primary outcome); mean risk factor reductions, health-related quality of life (HRQL), and treatment satisfaction (secondary outcomes). RESULTS: Baseline characteristics were similar between groups. Median diabetes duration was 7.0 years; 6.8% and 39.4% of participants had preexisting cardiovascular and microvascular disease, respectively; mean HbA1c level was 9.9%; mean BP was 143.3/81.7 mm Hg; and mean LDLc level was 122.4 mg/dL. Over a median of 28 months, a greater percentage of intervention participants achieved the primary outcome (18.2% vs. 8.1%; relative risk, 2.24 [95% CI, 1.71 to 2.92]). Compared with usual care, intervention participants achieved larger reductions in HbA1c level (-0.50% [CI, -0.69% to -0.32%]), systolic BP (-4.04 mm Hg [CI, -5.85 to -2.22 mm Hg]), diastolic BP (-2.03 mm Hg [CI, -3.00 to -1.05 mm Hg]), and LDLc level (-7.86 mg/dL [CI, -10.90 to -4.81 mg/dL]) and reported higher HRQL and treatment satisfaction. LIMITATION: Findings were confined to urban specialist diabetes clinics. CONCLUSION: Multicomponent QI improves achievement of diabetes care goals, even in resource-challenged clinics. PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and UnitedHealth Group.