Publications by authors named "Deborah Sitrin"

16 Publications

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Counseling at all contacts for postpartum contraceptive use: can paper-based tools help community health workers improve continuity of care? A qualitative study from Ethiopia.

Gates Open Res 2019 29;3:1652. Epub 2021 Apr 29.

Jhpiego, Conakry, Immeuble Guinomar, 5ème étage, Guinea.

Globally, there has been a resurgence of interest in postpartum family planning (PPFP) to advance reproductive health outcomes. Few programs have systematically utilized all contacts a woman and her baby have with the health system, from pregnancy through the first year postpartum, to promote PPFP. Nested into a larger study covering two districts, this study assessed the use, acceptability, and feasibility of tools for tracking women's decision-making and use of PPFP in the community health system in Oromia region, Ethiopia. Community-level tracking tools included a modified Integrated Maternal and Child Health (IMCH) card with new PPFP content, and a newly developed tool for pregnant and postpartum women for use by Women Development Armies (WDAs). Proper completion of the tools was monitored during supervision visits. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with health officials, health extension workers, and volunteers. A total of 34 audio-files were transcribed and translated into English, double-coded using MAXQDA, and analyzed using a thematic approach. The results describe how HEWs used the modified IMCH card to track women's decision making through the continuum of care, to assess pregnancy risk and to strengthen client-provider interaction. Supervision data demonstrated how well HEWs completed the modified IMCH card. The WDA tool was intended to promote PPFP and encourage multiple contacts with facilities from pregnancy to extended postpartum period. HEWs have reservations about the engagement of WDAs and their use of the WDA tool. To conclude, the IMCH card improves counseling practices through the continuum of care and is acceptable and feasible to apply. Some elements have been incorporated into a revised national tool and can serve as example for other low-income countries with similar community health systems. Further study is warranted to determine how to engage WDAs in promoting PPFP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/gatesopenres.13071.2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8094216.2PMC
April 2021

Expanding Contraceptive Method Choice With a Hormonal Intrauterine System: Results From Mixed Methods Studies in Kenya and Zambia.

Glob Health Sci Pract 2021 Apr 1;9(1):89-106. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Maternal and Child Survival Program, Jhpiego, Washington, DC, USA.

Introduction: Few women in low- and middle-income countries have access to the hormonal intrauterine system (IUS). Past research from a small number of facilities and the private sector suggest the IUS could be an important addition to the contraceptive method mix because it is the only long-acting method some women will adopt and users report high satisfaction and continuation. We aimed to determine whether these promising results were applicable in public facilities in Kenya and Zambia.

Methods: We used a mixed-methods approach with program monitoring data, interviews with women who received an IUS, and qualitative focus group discussions with providers. Data were collected in 2017-2019.

Results: Facilities in Kenya and Zambia reported 1,985 and 428 IUS insertions, respectively. If the IUS had not been available, 30% of adopters would have chosen a short-acting method. Women and providers gave diverse reasons for adopting the IUS, with the desire for fewer side effects being frequently mentioned in focus group discussions. Many IUS adopters first heard of the method on the day it was inserted (70% in Kenya, 47% in Zambia), yet providers reported that many women were unwilling to try a method they were just hearing about for the first time. Satisfaction and continuation were high: 86% of adopters in Kenya were still using the method 3-6 months after insertion and 78% were in Zambia (average 10 months post insertion). Providers also reported that most IUS adopters were satisfied; they rarely returned with complaints that could not be addressed with additional counseling.

Conclusion: Expanding IUS access through the public sector shows promise to increase contraception use and continuation in low- and middle-income countries. Efforts to strengthen availability should consider demand and engage directly with various communities, including youth, around availability of a new long-acting option.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.9745/GHSP-D-20-00556DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8087423PMC
April 2021

Evidence from household surveys for measuring coverage of newborn care practices.

J Glob Health 2017 Dec;7(2):020503

Institute for International Programs, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Background: Aside from breastfeeding, there are little data on use of essential newborn care practices, such as thermal protection and hygienic cord care, in high mortality countries. These practices have not typically been measured in national household surveys, often the main source for coverage data in these settings. The Action Plan proposed early breastfeeding as a tracer for essential newborn care due to data availability and evidence for the benefits of breastfeeding. In the past decade, a few national surveys have added questions on other practices, presenting an opportunity to assess the performance of early breastfeeding initiation as a tracer indicator.

Methods: We identified twelve national surveys between 2005-2014 that included at least one indicator for immediate newborn care in addition to breastfeeding. Because question wording and reference populations varied, we standardized data to the extent possible to estimate coverage of newborn care practices, accounting for strata and multistage survey design. We assessed early breastfeeding as a tracer by: 1) examining associations with other indicators using Pearson correlations; and 2) stratifying by early breastfeeding to determine differences in coverage of other practices for initiators vs non-initiators in each survey, then pooling across surveys for a meta-analysis, using the inverse standard error as the weight for each observation.

Findings: Associations between pairs of coverage indicators are generally weak, including those with breastfeeding. The exception is drying and wrapping, which have the strongest association of any two interventions in all five surveys where measured; estimated correlations for this range from 0.47 in Bangladesh's 2007 DHS to 0.83 in Nepal's 2006 DHS. The contrast in coverage for other practices by early breastfeeding is generally small; the greatest absolute difference was 6.7%, between coverage of immediate drying for newborns breastfed early compared to those who were not.

Conclusions: Early initiation of breastfeeding is not a high performing tracer indicator for essential newborn care practices measured in previous national surveys. To have informative data on whether newborns are getting life-saving services, standardized questions about specific practices, in addition to breastfeeding initiation, need to be added to surveys.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7189/jogh.07.020503DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5804503PMC
December 2017

Measuring postnatal care contacts for mothers and newborns: An analysis of data from the MICS and DHS surveys.

J Glob Health 2017 Dec;7(2):020502

Save the Children, Washington, D.C., USA.

Background: The postnatal period represents a vulnerable phase for mothers and newborns where both face increased risk of morbidity and death. WHO recommends postnatal care (PNC) for mothers and newborns to include a first contact within 24 hours following the birth of the child. However, measuring coverage of PNC in household surveys has been variable over time. The two largest household survey programs in low and middle-income countries, the UNICEF-supported Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and USAID-funded Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), now include modules that capture these measures. However, the measurement approach is slightly different between the two programs. We attempt to assess the possible measurement differences that might affect comparability of coverage measures.

Methods: We first review the standard questionnaires of the two survey programs to compare approaches to collecting data on postnatal contacts for mothers and newborns. We then illustrate how the approaches used can affect PNC coverage estimates by analysing data from four countries; Bangladesh, Ghana, Kygyz Republic, and Nepal, with both MICS and DHS between 2010-2015.

Results: We found that tools implemented todate by MICS and DHS (up to MICS round 5 and up to DHS phase 6) have collected PNC information in different ways. While MICS dedicated a full module to PNC and distinguishes immediate vs later PNC, DHS implemented a more blended module of pregnancy and postnatal and did not systematically distinguish those phases. The two survey programs differred in the way questions on postnatal care for mothers and newbors were framed. Subsequently, MICS and DHS surveys followed different methodological approach to compute the global indicator of postnatal contacts for mothers and newborns within two days following delivery. Regardless of the place of delivery, MICS estimates for postnatal contacts for mothers and newbors appeared consistently higher than those reported in DHS. The difference was however, far more pronounced in case of newborns.

Conclusions: Difference in questionnaires and the methodology adopted to measure PNC have created comparability issues in the coverage levels. Harmonization of survey instruments on postnatal contacts will allow comparable and better assessment of coverage levels and trends.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7189/jogh.07.020502DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5804502PMC
December 2017

Measuring coverage of essential maternal and newborn care interventions: An unfinished agenda.

J Glob Health 2017 Dec;7(2):020101

Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.7189/jogh.07.020101DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5804033PMC
December 2017

Multi-country analysis of the cost of community health workers kits and commodities for community-based maternal and newborn care.

Health Policy Plan 2017 Oct;32(suppl_1):i84-i92

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, MARCH Centre, London, UK.

Community-based maternal and newborn care with home visits by community health workers (CHWs) are recommended by WHO to complement facility-based care. As part of multi-country economic and systems analyses, we aimed to compare the content and financial costs associated with equipping CHWs or 'home visit kits' from seven studies in Bolivia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. We estimated the equivalent annual costs (EACs) of home visit kits per CHW in constant 2015 USD. We estimated EAC at scale in a population of 100 000 assuming four home visits per mother during the pregnancy and postnatal period. All seven packages were designed for health promotion; six included clinical assessments and one included curative care. The items used by CHWs differed between countries, even for the same task. The EAC per home visit kit ranged from $15 in Tanzania to $116 in South Africa. For health promotion and preventive care, between 82 and 100% of the cost of CHW commodities did not vary with the number of home visits conducted; however, in Ethiopia, the majority of EAC associated with curative care varied with the number of visits conducted. The EAC of equipping CHWs to meet the needs of 95% of expectant mothers in a catchment area of 100 000 people was highest in Bolivia, $40 260 for 633 CHWs, due to mothers being in hard-to-reach areas with CHW conducting few visits per year per, and lowest in Tanzania ($2693 for 172 CHWs), due to the greater number of CHW visits per week and lower EAC of items. To inform and ensure sustainable implementation at scale, national discussions regarding the cadre of CHWs and their workload should also consider carefully the composition and cost of equipping CHWs to carry out their work effectively and efficiently.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czx038DOI Listing
October 2017

Community-Based Interventions for Newborns in Ethiopia (COMBINE): Cost-effectiveness analysis.

Health Policy Plan 2017 Oct;32(suppl_1):i21-i32

Health System Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa.

About 87 000 neonates die annually in Ethiopia, with slower progress than for child deaths and 85% of births are at home. As part of a multi-country, standardized economic evaluation, we examine the incremental benefit and costs of providing management of possible serious bacterial infection (PSBI) for newborns at health posts in Ethiopia by Health Extension Workers (HEWs), linked to improved implementation of existing policy for community-based newborn care (Health Extension Programme). The government, with Save the Children/Saving Newborn Lives and John Snow, Inc., undertook a cluster randomized trial. Both trial arms involved improved implementation of the Health Extension Programme. The intervention arm received additional equipment, support and supervision for HEWs to identify and treat PSBI. In 2012, ∼95% of mothers in the study area received at least one pregnancy or postnatal visit in each arm, an average of 5.2 contacts per mother in the intervention arm (4.9 in control). Of all visits, 79% were conducted by volunteer community health workers. HEWs spent around 9% of their time on the programme. The financial cost per mother and newborn was $34 (in 2015 USD) in the intervention arm ($27 in control), economic costs of $37 and $30, respectively. Adding PSBI management at community level was estimated to reduce neonatal mortality after day 1 by 17%, translating to a cost per DALY averted of $223 or 47% of the GDP per capita, a highly cost-effective intervention by WHO thresholds. In a routine situation, the intervention programme cost would represent 0.3% of public health expenditure per capita and 0.5% with additional monthly supervision meetings. A platform wide approach to improved supervision including a dedicated transport budget may be more sustainable than a programme-specific approach. In this context, strengthening the existing HEW package is cost-effective and also avoids costly transfers to health centres/hospitals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czx054DOI Listing
October 2017

Effect on Neonatal Mortality of Newborn Infection Management at Health Posts When Referral Is Not Possible: A Cluster-Randomized Trial in Rural Ethiopia.

Glob Health Sci Pract 2017 06 27;5(2):202-216. Epub 2017 Jun 27.

International Center for Maternal and Newborn Health, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Background: The World Health Organization recently provided guidelines for outpatient treatment of possible severe bacterial infections (PSBI) in young infants, when referral to hospital is not feasible. This study evaluated newborn infection treatment at the most peripheral level of the health system in rural Ethiopia.

Methods: We performed a cluster-randomized trial in 22 geographical clusters (11 allocated to intervention, 11 to control). In both arms, volunteers and government-employed Health Extension Workers (HEWs) conducted home visits to pregnant and newly delivered mothers; assessed newborns; and counseled caregivers on prevention of newborn illness, danger signs, and care seeking. Volunteers referred sick newborns to health posts for further assessment; HEWs referred newborns with PSBI signs to health centers. In the intervention arm only, between July 2011 and June 2013, HEWs treated newborns with PSBI with intramuscular gentamicin and oral amoxicillin for 7 days at health posts when referral to health centers was not possible or acceptable to caregivers. Intervention communities were informed of treatment availability at health posts to encourage care seeking. Masking was not feasible. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality of newborns 2-27 days after birth, measured by household survey data. Baseline data were collected between June 2008 and May 2009; endline data, between February 2013 and June 2013. We sought to detect a 33% mortality reduction. Analysis was by intention to treat. (ClinicalTrials.gov registry: NCT00743691).

Results: Of 1,011 sick newborns presenting at intervention health posts, 576 (57%) were identified by HEWs as having at least 1 PSBI sign; 90% refused referral and were treated at the health post, with at least 79% completing the antibiotic regimen. Estimated treatment coverage at health posts was in the region of 50%. Post-day 1 neonatal mortality declined more in the intervention arm (17.9 deaths per 1,000 live births at baseline vs. 9.4 per 1,000 at endline) than the comparison arm (14.4 per 1,000 vs. 11.2 per 1,000, respectively). After adjusting for baseline mortality and region, the estimated post-day 1 mortality risk ratio was 0.83, but the result was not statistically significant (95% confidence interval, 0.55 to 1.24; =.33).

Interpretation: When referral to higher levels of care is not possible, HEWs can deliver outpatient antibiotic treatment of newborns with PSBI, but estimated treatment coverage in a rural Ethiopian setting was only around 50%. While our data suggest a mortality reduction consistent with that which might be expected at this level of coverage, they do not provide conclusive results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.9745/GHSP-D-16-00312DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5487084PMC
June 2017

Count every newborn; a measurement improvement roadmap for coverage data.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2015 11;15 Suppl 2:S8. Epub 2015 Sep 11.

Background: The Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP), launched in 2014, aims to end preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths, with national targets of ≤12 neonatal deaths per 1000 live births and ≤12 stillbirths per 1000 total births by 2030. This requires ambitious improvement of the data on care at birth and of small and sick newborns, particularly to track coverage, quality and equity.

Methods: In a multistage process, a matrix of 70 indicators were assessed by the Every Newborn steering group. Indicators were graded based on their availability and importance to ENAP, resulting in 10 core and 10 additional indicators. A consultation process was undertaken to assess the status of each ENAP core indicator definition, data availability and measurement feasibility. Coverage indicators for the specific ENAP treatment interventions were assigned task teams and given priority as they were identified as requiring the most technical work. Consultations were held throughout.

Results: ENAP published 10 core indicators plus 10 additional indicators. Three core impact indicators (neonatal mortality rate, maternal mortality ratio, stillbirth rate) are well defined, with future efforts needed to focus on improving data quantity and quality. Three core indicators on coverage of care for all mothers and newborns (intrapartum/skilled birth attendance, early postnatal care, essential newborn care) have defined contact points, but gaps exist in measuring content and quality of the interventions. Four core (antenatal corticosteroids, neonatal resuscitation, treatment of serious neonatal infections, kangaroo mother care) and one additional coverage indicator for newborns at risk or with complications (chlorhexidine cord cleansing) lack indicator definitions or data, especially for denominators (population in need). To address these gaps, feasible coverage indicator definitions are presented for validity testing. Measurable process indicators to help monitor health service readiness are also presented. A major measurement gap exists to monitor care of small and sick babies, yet signal functions could be tracked similarly to emergency obstetric care.

Conclusions: The ENAP Measurement Improvement Roadmap (2015-2020) outlines tools to be developed (e.g., improved birth and death registration, audit, and minimum perinatal dataset) and actions to test, validate and institutionalise proposed coverage indicators. The roadmap presents a unique opportunity to strengthen routine health information systems, crosslinking these data with civil registration and vital statistics and population-based surveys. Real measurement change requires intentional transfer of leadership to countries with the greatest disease burden and will be achieved by working with centres of excellence and existing networks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2393-15-S2-S8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4577758PMC
June 2016

Improving newborn care practices through home visits: lessons from Malawi, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Uganda.

Glob Health Action 2015 31;8:23963. Epub 2015 Mar 31.

Save the Children, Washington, DC, USA.

Background: Nearly all newborn deaths occur in low- or middle-income countries. Many of these deaths could be prevented through promotion and provision of newborn care practices such as thermal care, early and exclusive breastfeeding, and hygienic cord care. Home visit programmes promoting these practices were piloted in Malawi, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Uganda.

Objective: This study assessed changes in selected newborn care practices over time in pilot programme areas in four countries and evaluated whether women who received home visits during pregnancy were more likely to report use of three key practices.

Design: Using data from cross-sectional surveys of women with live births at baseline and endline, the Pearson chi-squared test was used to assess changes over time. Generalised linear models were used to assess the relationship between the main independent variable - home visit from a community health worker (CHW) during pregnancy (0, 1-2, 3+) - and use of selected practices while controlling for antenatal care, place of delivery, and maternal age and education.

Results: There were statistically significant improvements in practices, except applying nothing to the cord in Malawi and early initiation of breastfeeding in Bangladesh. In Malawi, Nepal, and Bangladesh, women who were visited by a CHW three or more times during pregnancy were more likely to report use of selected practices. Women who delivered in a facility were also more likely to report use of selected practices in Malawi, Nepal, and Uganda; association with place of birth was not examined in Bangladesh because only women who delivered outside a facility were asked about these practices.

Conclusion: Home visits can play a role in improving practices in different settings. Multiple interactions are needed, so programmes need to investigate the most appropriate and efficient ways to reach families and promote newborn care practices. Meanwhile, programmes must take advantage of increasing facility delivery rates to ensure that all babies benefit from these practices.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4385207PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/gha.v8.23963DOI Listing
January 2016

Goodstart: a cluster randomised effectiveness trial of an integrated, community-based package for maternal and newborn care, with prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in a South African township.

Trop Med Int Health 2014 Mar 17;19(3):256-266. Epub 2014 Jan 17.

School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa.

Background: Progress towards MDG4 for child survival in South Africa requires effective prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV including increasing exclusive breastfeeding, as well as a new focus on reducing neonatal deaths. This necessitates increased focus on the pregnancy and early post-natal periods, developing and scaling up appropriate models of community-based care, especially to reach the peri-urban poor.

Methods: We used a randomised controlled trial with 30 clusters (15 in each arm) to evaluate an integrated, scalable package providing two pregnancy visits and five post-natal home visits delivered by community health workers in Umlazi, Durban, South Africa. Primary outcomes were exclusive and appropriate infant feeding at 12 weeks post-natally and HIV-free infant survival.

Results: At 12 weeks of infant age, the intervention was effective in almost doubling the rate of exclusive breastfeeding (risk ratio 1.92; 95% CI: 1.59-2.33) and increasing infant weight and length-for-age z-scores (weight difference 0.09; 95% CI: 0.00-0.18, length difference 0.11; 95% CI: 0.03-0.19). No difference was seen between study arms in HIV-free survival. Women in the intervention arm were also more likely to take their infant to the clinic within the first week of life (risk ratio 1.10; 95% CI: 1.04-1.18).

Conclusions: The trial coincided with national scale up of ARVs for PMTCT, and this could have diluted the effect of the intervention on HIV-free survival. We have demonstrated that implementation of a pro-poor integrated PMTCT and maternal, neonatal and child health home visiting model is feasible and effective. This trial could inform national primary healthcare reengineering strategies in favour of home visits. The dose effect on exclusive breastfeeding is notable as improving exclusive breastfeeding has been resistant to change in other studies targeting urban poor families.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tmi.12257DOI Listing
March 2014

Contribution of community-based newborn health promotion to reducing inequities in healthy newborn care practices and knowledge: evidence of improvement from a three-district pilot program in Malawi.

BMC Public Health 2013 Nov 7;13:1052. Epub 2013 Nov 7.

International Center for Maternal and Newborn Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Background: Inequities in both health status and coverage of health services are considered important barriers to achieving Millennium Development Goal 4. Community-based health promotion is a strategy that is believed to reduce inequities in rural low-income settings. This paper examines the contributions of community-based programming to improving the equity of newborn health in three districts in Malawi.

Methods: This study is a before-and-after evaluation of Malawi's Community-Based Maternal and Newborn Care (CBMNC) program, a package of facility and community-based interventions to improve newborn health. Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) within the catchment area of 14 health facilities were trained to make pregnancy and postnatal home visits to promote healthy behaviors and assess women and newborns for danger signs requiring referral to a facility. "Core groups" of community volunteers were also trained to raise awareness about recommended newborn care practices. Baseline and endline household surveys measured the coverage of the intervention and targeted health behaviors for this before-and-after evaluation. Wealth indices were constructed using household asset data and concentration indices were compared between baseline and endline for each indicator.

Results: The HSAs trained in the intervention reached 36.7% of women with a pregnancy home visit and 10.9% of women with a postnatal home visit within three days of delivery. Coverage of the intervention was slightly inequitable, with richer households more likely to receive one or two pregnancy home visits (concentration indices (CI) of 0.0786 and 0.0960), but not significantly more likely to receive a postnatal visit or know of a core group. Despite modest coverage levels for the intervention, health equity improved significantly over the study period for several indicators. Greater improvements in inequities were observed for knowledge indicators than for coverage of routine health services. At endline, a greater proportion of women from the poorest quintile knew three or more danger signs for pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum mothers than did women from the least poor quintile (change in CI: -0.1704, -0.2464, and -0.4166, respectively; p < 0.05). Equity also significantly improved for coverage of some health behaviors, including delivery at a health facility (change in CI: -0.0591), breastfeeding within the first hour (-0.0379), and delayed bathing (-0.0405).

Conclusions: Although these results indicate promising improvements for newborn health in Malawi, the extent to which the CBMNC program contributed to these improvements in coverage and equity are not known. The strategies through which community-based programs are implemented likely play an important role in their ability to improve equity, and further research and program monitoring are needed to ensure that the poorest households are reached by community-based health programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-1052DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3833651PMC
November 2013

Reaching mothers and babies with early postnatal home visits: the implementation realities of achieving high coverage in large-scale programs.

PLoS One 2013 17;8(7):e68930. Epub 2013 Jul 17.

Save the Children, Washington, DC, USA.

Background: Nearly half of births in low-income countries occur without a skilled attendant, and even fewer mothers and babies have postnatal contact with providers who can deliver preventive or curative services that save lives. Community-based maternal and newborn care programs with postnatal home visits have been tested in Bangladesh, Malawi, and Nepal. This paper examines coverage and content of home visits in pilot areas and factors associated with receipt of postnatal visits.

Methods: Using data from cross-sectional surveys of women with live births (Bangladesh 398, Malawi: 900, Nepal: 615), generalized linear models were used to assess the strength of association between three factors - receipt of home visits during pregnancy, birth place, birth notification - and receipt of home visits within three days after birth. Meta-analytic techniques were used to generate pooled relative risks for each factor adjusting for other independent variables, maternal age, and education.

Findings: The proportion of mothers and newborns receiving home visits within three days after birth was 57% in Bangladesh, 11% in Malawi, and 50% in Nepal. Mothers and newborns were more likely to receive a postnatal home visit within three days if the mother received at least one home visit during pregnancy (OR2.18, CI1.46-3.25), the birth occurred outside a facility (OR1.48, CI1.28-1.73), and the mother reported a CHW was notified of the birth (OR2.66, CI1.40-5.08). Checking the cord was the most frequently reported action; most mothers reported at least one action for newborns.

Conclusions: Reaching mothers and babies with home visits during pregnancy and within three days after birth is achievable using existing community health systems if workers are available; linked to communities; and receive training, supplies, and supervision. In all settings, programs must evaluate what community delivery systems can handle and how to best utilize them to improve postnatal care access.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0068930PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3714261PMC
March 2014

Measuring coverage in MNCH: indicators for global tracking of newborn care.

PLoS Med 2013 7;10(5):e1001415. Epub 2013 May 7.

Save the Children, Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America.

Neonatal mortality accounts for 43% of under-five mortality. Consequently, improving newborn survival is a global priority. However, although there is increasing consensus on the packages and specific interventions that need to be scaled up to reduce neonatal mortality, there is a lack of clarity on the indicators needed to measure progress. In 2008, in an effort to improve newborn survival, the Newborn Indicators Technical Working Group (TWG) was convened by the Saving Newborn Lives program at Save the Children to provide a forum to develop the indicators and standard measurement tools that are needed to measure coverage of key newborn interventions. The TWG, which included evaluation and measurement experts, researchers, individuals from United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations, and donors, prioritized improved consistency of measurement of postnatal care for women and newborns and of immediate care behaviors and practices for newborns. In addition, the TWG promoted increased data availability through inclusion of additional questions in nationally representative surveys, such as the United States Agency for International Development-supported Demographic and Health Surveys and the United Nations Children's Fund-supported Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys. Several studies have been undertaken that have informed revisions of indicators and survey tools, and global postnatal care coverage indicators have been finalized. Consensus has been achieved on three additional indicators for care of the newborn after birth (drying, delayed bathing, and cutting the cord with a clean instrument), and on testing two further indicators (immediate skin-to-skin care and applications to the umbilical cord). Finally, important measurement gaps have been identified regarding coverage data for evidence-based interventions, such as Kangaroo Mother Care and care seeking for newborn infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001415DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3646209PMC
October 2013

Fertility goal-based counseling increases contraceptive implant and IUD use in HIV-discordant couples in Rwanda and Zambia.

Contraception 2013 Jul 12;88(1):74-82. Epub 2012 Nov 12.

Rwanda Zambia HIV Research Group, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.

Background: HIV-discordant heterosexual couples are faced with the dual challenge of preventing sexual HIV transmission and unplanned pregnancies with the attendant risk of perinatal HIV transmission. Our aim was to examine uptake of two long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods--intrauterine devices (IUD) and hormonal implants--among HIV-discordant couples in Rwanda and Zambia.

Study Design: Women were interviewed alone or with their partner during routine cohort study follow-up visits to ascertain fertility goals; those not pregnant, not infertile, not already using LARC, and wishing to limit or delay fertility for ≥3 years were counseled on LARC methods and offered an IUD or implant on-site.

Results: Among 409 fertile HIV-discordant Rwandan women interviewed (126 alone, 283 with partners), 365 (89%) were counseled about LARC methods, and 130 (36%) adopted a method (100 implant, 30 IUD). Of 787 fertile Zambian women interviewed (457 alone, 330 with partners), 528 (67%) received LARC counseling, of whom 177 (34%) adopted a method (139 implant, 38 IUD). In both countries, a woman's younger age was predictive of LARC uptake. LARC users reported fewer episodes of unprotected sex than couples using only condoms.

Conclusions: Integrated fertility goal-based family planning counseling and access to LARC methods with reinforcement of dual-method use prompted uptake of IUDs and implants and reduced unprotected sex among HIV-discordant couples in two African capital cities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2012.10.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3625675PMC
July 2013

Benchmarks to measure readiness to integrate and scale up newborn survival interventions.

Health Policy Plan 2012 Jul;27 Suppl 3:iii29-39

Save the Children, Washington, DC 20036, USA.

Neonatal mortality accounts for 40% of under-five child mortality. Evidence-based interventions exist, but attention to implementation is recent. Nationally representative coverage data for these neonatal interventions are limited; therefore proximal measures of progress toward scale would be valuable for tracking change among countries and over time. We describe the process of selecting a set of benchmarks to assess scale up readiness or the degree to which health systems and national programmes are prepared to deliver interventions for newborn survival. A prioritization and consensus-building process was co-ordinated by the Saving Newborn Lives programme of Save the Children, resulting in selection of 27 benchmarks. These benchmarks are categorized into agenda setting (e.g. having a national newborn survival needs assessment); policy formulation (e.g. the national essential drugs list includes injectable antibiotics at primary care level); and policy implementation (e.g. standards for care of sick newborns exist at district hospital level). Benchmark data were collected by in-country stakeholders teams who filled out a standard form and provided evidence to support each benchmark achieved. Results are presented for nine countries at three time points: 2000, 2005 and 2010. By 2010, substantial improvement was documented in all selected countries, with three countries achieving over 75% of the benchmarks and an additional five countries achieving over 50% of the benchmarks. Progress on benchmark achievement was accelerated after 2005. The policy process was similar in all countries, but did not proceed in a linear fashion. These benchmarks are a novel method to assess readiness to scale up, an important construct along the pathway to scale for newborn care. Similar exercises may also be applicable to other global health issues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czs046DOI Listing
July 2012