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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The gap between implementers and researchers of quality improvement (QI) has hampered the degree and speed of change needed to reduce avoidable suffering and harm in health care. Underlying causes of this gap include differences in goals and incentives, preferred methodologies, level and types of evidence prioritized and targeted audiences. The Salzburg Global Seminar on 'Better Health Care: How do we learn about improvement?' brought together researchers, policy makers, funders, implementers, evaluators from low-, middle- and high-income countries to explore how to increase the impact of QI. In this paper, we describe some of the reasons for this gap and offer suggestions to better bridge the chasm between researchers and implementers. Effectively bridging this gap can increase the generalizability of QI interventions, accelerate the spread of effective approaches while also strengthening the local work of implementers. Increasing the effectiveness of research and work in the field will support the knowledge translation needed to achieve quality Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Rohit Ramaswamy, Julie Reed, Nigel Livesley, Victor Boguslavsky, Ezequiel Garcia-Elorrio, Sylvia Sax, Diarra Houleymata, Leighann Kimble, and Gareth Parry. 2018. “Unpacking the black box of improvement.” Int J Qual Health Care, 30, suppl_1, Pp. 15-19.Abstract
During the Salzburg Global Seminar Session 565-'Better Health Care: How do we learn about improvement?', participants discussed the need to unpack the 'black box' of improvement. The 'black box' refers to the fact that when quality improvement interventions are described or evaluated, there is a tendency to assume a simple, linear path between the intervention and the outcomes it yields. It is also assumed that it is enough to evaluate the results without understanding the process of by which the improvement took place. However, quality improvement interventions are complex, nonlinear and evolve in response to local settings. To accurately assess the effectiveness of quality improvement and disseminate the learning, there must be a greater understanding of the complexity of quality improvement work. To remain consistent with the language used in Salzburg, we refer to this as 'unpacking the black box' of improvement. To illustrate the complexity of improvement, this article introduces four quality improvement case studies. In unpacking the black box, we present and demonstrate how Cynefin framework from complexity theory can be used to categorize and evaluate quality improvement interventions. Many quality improvement projects are implemented in complex contexts, necessitating an approach defined as 'probe-sense-respond'. In this approach, teams experiment, learn and adapt their changes to their local setting. Quality improvement professionals intuitively use the probe-sense-respond approach in their work but document and evaluate their projects using language for 'simple' or 'complicated' contexts, rather than the 'complex' contexts in which they work. As a result, evaluations tend to ask 'How can we attribute outcomes to the intervention?', rather than 'What were the adaptations that took place?'. By unpacking the black box of improvement, improvers can more accurately document and describe their interventions, allowing evaluators to ask the right questions and more adequately evaluate quality improvement interventions.
BACKGROUND: While focused antenatal care (ANC) has served as an entry point in the continuum of care for both mothers and children, fewer than a third of pregnant women in the most remote and poorest communities of Zambia achieve the four ANC visits recommended by the World Health Organization. Current evidence suggests that attending ANC provided by a skilled healthcare worker at least once is common and associated with skilled birth attendance. The aim of this study was to explain why one ANC visit with a skilled provider seemed more common than four ANC visits among women in the remote and poorest districts of Zambia. METHODS: A qualitative case study design was conducted in 2012 among 84 participants in the selected remote and poorest districts of Zambia. Focus group discussions were conducted with mothers and community health volunteers, while key informant interviews were conducted with healthcare providers. Thematic analysis was conducted. RESULTS: Most women delayed starting antenatal care visits due to uncertainties about the timing for initiation of ANC and due to waiting for confirmation of the pregnancy by an elderly woman. Attendance of ANC once with a skilled provider was due to the need to assess their health status and that of their baby. In some facilities, attendance of ANC at least once was enforced by financial charges imposed on women for late ANC initiation, and/or incentives provided by nongovernmental organisations. Unavailability of services at health posts closest to these remote communities led to failure to return for subsequent ANC visits. Women's livelihoods such as nomadic lifestyles made it harder for them to initiate and make additional ANC visits. CONCLUSION: The popularity of ANC attendance once by a skilled provider among the remote and poorest women of Zambia was explained through perceived unavoidable social and economic barriers to care, and the punitive and incentive procedures implemented by health services. Maximising comprehensive care by skilled healthcare workers in the one visit a woman makes at the health facility, may lead to optimal utilisation of quality focused ANC. Enhancing community-based interventions may increase the potential to reach the vulnerable populations.
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.
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.
BACKGROUND: A rapid transition from severe physician workforce shortage to massive production to ensure the physician workforce demand puts the Ethiopian health care system in a variety of challenges. Therefore, this study discovered how the health system response for physician workforce shortage using the so-called flooding strategy was viewed by different stakeholders. METHODS: The study adopted the grounded theory research approach to explore the causes, contexts, and consequences (at the present, in the short and long term) of massive medical student admission to the medical schools on patient care, medical education workforce, and medical students. Forty-three purposively selected individuals were involved in a semi-structured interview from different settings: academics, government health care system, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Data coding, classification, and categorization were assisted using ATLAs.ti qualitative data analysis scientific software. RESULTS: In relation to the health system response, eight main categories were emerged: (1) reasons for rapid medical education expansion; (2) preparation for medical education expansion; (3) the consequences of rapid medical education expansion; (4) massive production/flooding as human resources for health (HRH) development strategy; (5) cooperation on HRH development; (6) HRH strategies and planning; (7) capacity of system for HRH development; and (8) institutional continuity for HRH development. The demand for physician workforce and gaining political acceptance were cited as main reasons which motivated the government to scale up the medical education rapidly. However, the rapid expansion was beyond the capacity of medical schools' human resources, patient flow, and size of teaching hospitals. As a result, there were potential adverse consequences in clinical service delivery, and teaching learning process at the present: "the number should consider the available resources such as number of classrooms, patient flows, medical teachers, library…". In the future, it was anticipated to end in surplus in physician workforce, unemployment, inefficiency, and pressure on the system: "…flooding may seem a good strategy superficially but it is a dangerous strategy. It may put the country into crisis, even if good physicians are being produced; they may not get a place where to go…". CONCLUSION: Massive physician workforce production which is not closely aligned with the training capacity of the medical schools and the absorption of graduates in to the health system will end up in unanticipated adverse consequences.
OBJECTIVES: The nature of patient-provider interactions and communication is widely documented to significantly impact on patient experiences, treatment adherence and health outcomes. Yet little is known about the broader contextual factors and dynamics that shape patient-provider interactions in high HIV prevalence and limited-resource settings. Drawing on qualitative research from five sub-Saharan African countries, we seek to unpack local dynamics that serve to hinder or facilitate productive patient-provider interactions. METHODS: This qualitative study, conducted in Kisumu (Kenya), Kisesa (Tanzania), Manicaland (Zimbabwe), Karonga (Malawi) and uMkhanyakude (South Africa), draws upon 278 in-depth interviews with purposively sampled people living with HIV with different diagnosis and treatment histories, 29 family members of people who died due to HIV and 38 HIV healthcare workers. Data were collected using topic guides that explored patient testing and antiretroviral therapy treatment journeys. Thematic analysis was conducted, aided by NVivo V.8.0 software. RESULTS: Our analysis revealed an array of inter-related contextual factors and power dynamics shaping patient-provider interactions. These included (1) participants' perceptions of roles and identities of 'self' and 'other'; (2) conformity or resistance to the 'rules of HIV service engagement' and a 'patient-persona'; (3) the influence of significant others' views on service provision; and (4) resources in health services. We observed that these four factors/dynamics were located in the wider context of conceptualisations of power, autonomy and structure. CONCLUSION: Patient-provider interaction is complex, multidimensional and deeply embedded in wider social dynamics. Multiple contextual domains shape patient-provider interactions in the context of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. Interventions to improve patient experiences and treatment adherence through enhanced interactions need to go beyond the existing focus on patient-provider communication strategies.
Performance-based financing (PBF) programs are increasingly implemented in low and middle-income countries to improve health service quality and utilization. In April 2011, a PBF pilot program was launched in Boulsa, Leo and Titao districts in Burkina Faso with the objective of increasing the provision and quality of maternal health services. We evaluate the impact of this program using facility-level administrative data from the national health management information system (HMIS). Primary outcomes were the number of antenatal care visits, the proportion of antenatal care visits that occurred during the first trimester of pregnancy, the number of institutional deliveries and the number of postnatal care visits. To assess program impact we use a difference-in-differences approach, comparing changes in health service provision post-introduction with changes in matched comparison areas. All models were estimated using ordinary least squares (OLS) regression models with standard errors clustered at the facility level. On average, PBF facilities had 2.3 more antenatal care visits (95% CI [0.446-4.225]), 2.1 more deliveries (95% CI [0.034-4.069]) and 9.5 more postnatal care visits (95% CI [6.099, 12.903]) each month after the introduction of PBF. Compared to the service provision levels prior to the interventions, this implies a relative increase of 27.7 percent for ANC, of 9.2 percent for deliveries, and of 118.7 percent for postnatal care. Given the positive results observed during the pre-pilot period and the limited resources available in the health sector, the PBF program in Burkina Faso may be a low-cost, high impact intervention to improve maternal and child health.
OBJECTIVE: Optimal utilization of maternal health-care services is associated with reduction of mortality and morbidity for both mothers and their neonates. However, deficiencies and disparity in the use of key maternal health services within most developing countries still persist. We examined patterns and predictors associated with the utilization of specific indicators for maternal health services among mothers living in the poorest and remote district populations of Zambia. METHODS: A cross-sectional baseline household survey was conducted in May 2012. A total of 551 mothers with children between the ages 0 and 5 months were sampled from 29 catchment areas in four rural and remote districts of Zambia using the lot quality assurance sampling method. Using multilevel modeling, we accounted for individual- and community-level factors associated with utilization of maternal health-care services, with a focus on antenatal care (ANC), skilled birth attendance (SBA), and postnatal care (PNC). RESULTS: Utilization rates of focused ANC, SBA, and PNC within 48 h were 30, 37, and 28%, respectively. The mother's ability to take an HIV test and receiving test results and uptake of intermittent preventive treatment for malaria were positive predictors of focused ANC. Receiving ANC at least once from skilled personnel was a significant predictor of SBA and PNC within 48 h after delivery. Women who live in centralized rural areas were more likely to use SBA than those living in remote rural areas. CONCLUSION: Utilization of maternal health services by mothers living among the remote and poor marginalized populations of Zambia is much lower than the national averages. Finding that women that receive ANC once from a skilled attendant among the remote and poorest populations are more likely to have a SBA and PNC, suggests the importance of contact with a skilled health worker even if it is just once, in influencing use of services. Therefore, it appears that in order for women in these marginalized communities to benefit from SBA and PNC, it is important for them to have at least one ANC provided by a skilled personnel, rather than non-skilled health-care providers.
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.
BACKGROUND: Shortages and imbalances in physician workforce distribution between urban and rural and among the different regions in Ethiopia are enormous. However, with the recent rapid expansion in medical education training, it is expected that the country can make progress in physician workforce supply. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the distribution of physician workforce in Ethiopia and assess the role of retention mechanisms in the reduction of physician migration from the public health sector of Ethiopia. METHODS: This organizational survey examined physician workforce data from 119 hospitals from 5 regions (Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region [SNNPR], Tigray, and Harari) and 2 city administrations (Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa City). Training opportunity, distribution, and turnover between September 2009 and July 2015 were analyzed descriptively. Poisson regression model was used to find the association of different covariates with physician turnover. RESULTS: There were 2,300 medical doctors in 5 regions and 2 city administrations in ~6 years of observations. Of these, 553 (24.04%) medical doctors moved out of their duty stations and the remaining 1,747 (75.96%) were working actively. Of the actively working, the majority of the medical doctors, 1,407 (80.5%), were males, in which 889 (50.9%) were born after the year 1985, 997 (57%) had work experience of <3 years, and most, 1,471 (84.2%), were general practitioners. Within the observation period, physician turnover among specialists ranged from 21.4% in Dire Dawa to 43.3% in Amhara region. The capital, Addis Ababa, was the place of destination for 32 (82%) of the physicians who moved out to other regions from elsewhere in the country. The Poisson regression model revealed a decreased incidence of turnover among physicians born between the years 1975 and 1985 (incident rate ratio [IRR]: 0.63; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.51, 0.79) and among those who were born prior to 1975 (IRR: 0.24; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.34) compared to those who were born after 1985. Female physicians were 1.4 times (IRR: 1.44; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.81) more likely to move out from their duty stations compared to males. In addition, physicians working in district hospitals were 2 times (IRR: 2.14; 95% CI: 1.59, 2.89) more likely to move out and those working in general hospitals had 1.39 times (IRR: 1.39; 95% CI: 1.08, 1.78) increased rate of turnover in comparison with those who were working in referral hospitals. Physicians working in the Amhara region had 2 times (IRR: 2.01; 95% CI: 1.49, 2.73) increased risk of turnover in comparison with those who were working in the capital, Addis Ababa. The probability of migration did not show a statistically significant difference in all other regions (>0.05). CONCLUSION: The public health sector physician workforce largely constituted of male physicians, young and less experienced. High turnover rate among females, the young and less experienced physicians, and those working in distant places (district hospitals) indicate the need for special attention in devising human resources management and retention strategies.