Publications by authors named "Jayne Webster"

96 Publications

Towards universal health coverage for people with stroke in South Africa: a scoping review.

BMJ Open 2021 11 25;11(11):e049988. Epub 2021 Nov 25.

Clinical Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Objectives: To explore the opportunities and challenges within the health system to facilitate the achievement of universal health coverage (UHC) for people with stroke (PWS) in South Africa (SA).

Setting: SA.

Design: Scoping review.

Search Methods: We conducted a scoping review of opportunities and challenges to achieve UHC for PWS in SA. Global and Africa-specific databases and grey literature were searched in July 2020. We included studies of all designs that described the healthcare system for PWS. Two frameworks, the Health Systems Dynamics Framework and WHO Framework, were used to map data on governance and regulation, resources, service delivery, context, reorientation of care and community engagement. A narrative approach was used to synthesise results.

Results: Fifty-nine articles were included in the review. Over half (n=31, 52.5%) were conducted in Western Cape province and most (n=41, 69.4%) were conducted in urban areas. Studies evaluated a diverse range of health system categories and various outcomes. The most common reported component was service delivery (n=46, 77.9%), and only four studies (6.7%) evaluated governance and regulation. Service delivery factors for stroke care were frequently reported as poor and compounded by context-related limiting factors. Governance and regulations for stroke care in terms of government support, investment in policy, treatment guidelines, resource distribution and commitment to evidence-based solutions were limited. Promising supporting factors included adequately equipped and staffed urban tertiary facilities, the emergence of Stroke units, prompt assessment by health professionals, positive staff attitudes and care, two clinical care guidelines and educational and information resources being available.

Conclusion: This review fills a gap in the literature by providing the range of opportunities and challenges to achieve health for all PWS in SA. It highlights some health system areas that show encouraging trends to improve service delivery including comprehensiveness, quality and perceptions of care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-049988DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8627414PMC
November 2021

Healthcare provider and pregnant women's perspectives on the implementation of intermittent screening and treatment with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for malaria in pregnancy in western Kenya: a qualitative study.

Malar J 2021 Jun 29;20(1):291. Epub 2021 Jun 29.

Disease Control Department, London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, London, UK.

Background: In malaria endemic regions in Kenya, pregnant women are offered long-lasting insecticidal nets and intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) at antenatal care (ANC) to prevent the adverse effects of malaria. Fears of growing SP resistance have heightened the search for alternative strategies. The implementation feasibility of intermittent screening and treatment (ISTp) with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) in routine ANC settings was evaluated using qualitative and quantitative methods, including the exploration of healthcare provider and pregnant women's perceptions.

Methods: Qualitative methods included data from 13 focus group discussions (FGDs) with pregnant women and 43 in-depth interviews with healthcare providers delivering ANC services. FGDs were conducted with women who had received either ISTp-DP or current policy (IPTp-SP). Thematic analysis was used to explore experiences among women and providers and findings were used to provide insights into results of the parallel quantitative study.

Results: Women were accepting of testing with rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and receiving treatment if malaria positive. Providers perceived DP to be an effective drug and well tolerated by women. Some providers indicated a preference for test and treat strategies to reduce unnecessary exposure to medication in pregnancy, others preferred a hybrid strategy combining screening at every ANC visit followed by IPTp-SP for women who tested negative, due to the perception that RDTs missed some infections and concerns about the growing resistance to SP. Testing with RDTs during ANC was appreciated as it was perceived to reduce wait times. The positive attitude of healthcare providers towards ISTp supports findings from the quantitative study that showed a high proportion (90%) of women were tested at ANC. There were concerns about affordability of DP and the availability of sufficient RDT stocks.

Conclusion: In ANC settings, healthcare providers and pregnant women found ISTp-DP to be an acceptable strategy for preventing malaria in pregnancy when compared with IPTp-SP. DP was considered an effective anti-malarial and a suitable alternative to IPTp-SP in the context of SP resistance. Despite providers' lack of confidence in RDT results at current levels of sensitivity and specificity, the quantitative findings show their willingness to test women routinely at ANC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-021-03826-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8243500PMC
June 2021

Interventions to improve district-level routine health data in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review.

BMJ Glob Health 2021 06;6(6)

Department of Disease Control, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

Background: Routine health information system(s) (RHIS) facilitate the collection of health data at all levels of the health system allowing estimates of disease prevalence, treatment and preventive intervention coverage, and risk factors to guide disease control strategies. This core health system pillar remains underdeveloped in many low-income and middle-income countries. Efforts to improve RHIS data coverage, quality and timeliness were launched over 10 years ago.

Methods: A systematic review was performed across 12 databases and literature search engines for both peer-reviewed articles and grey literature reports on RHIS interventions. Studies were analysed in three stages: (1) categorisation of RHIS intervention components and processes; (2) comparison of intervention component effectiveness and (3) whether the post-intervention outcome improved above the WHO integrated disease surveillance response framework data quality standard of 80% or above.

Results: 5294 references were screened, resulting in 56 studies. Three key performance determinants-technical, organisational and behavioural-were proposed as critical to RHIS strengthening. Seventy-seven per cent [77%] of studies identified addressed all three determinants. The most frequently implemented intervention components were 'providing training' and 'using an electronic health management information systems'. Ninety-three per cent [93%] of pre-post or controlled trial studies showed improvements in one or more data quality outputs, but after applying a standard threshold of >80% post-intervention, this number reduced to 68%. There was an observed benefit of multi-component interventions that either conducted data quality training or that addressed improvement across multiple processes and determinants of RHIS.

Conclusion: Holistic data quality interventions that address multiple determinants should be continuously practised for strengthening RHIS. Studies with clearly defined and pragmatic outcomes are required for future RHIS improvement interventions. These should be accompanied by qualitative studies and cost analyses to understand which investments are needed to sustain high-quality RHIS in low-income and middle-income countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-004223DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8202107PMC
June 2021

"As a woman who watches how my family is… I take the difficult decisions": a qualitative study on integrated family planning and childhood immunisation services in five African countries.

Reprod Health 2021 Feb 15;18(1):41. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Department of Disease Control, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Background: Family planning (FP) has the potential to improve maternal and child health outcomes and to reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. However, substantial unmet need for modern contraceptive methods (MCMs) persists in this region. Current literature highlights multi-level barriers, including socio-cultural norms that discourage the use of MCMs. This paper explores women's choices and decision-making around MCM use and examines whether integrating FP services with childhood immunisations influenced women's perceptions of, and decision to use, an MCM.

Methods: 94 semi-structured interviews and 21 focus group discussions with women, health providers, and community members (N = 253) were conducted in health facilities and outreach clinics where an intervention was delivering integrated FP and childhood immunisation services in Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda. Data were coded using Nvivo software and an analytical framework was developed to support interpretative and thematic analyses on women's decision-making about MCM use.

Results: Most women shared the reproductive desire to space or limit births because of the perceived benefits of improved health and welfare for themselves and for their children, including the economic advantages. For some, choices about MCM use were restricted because of wider societal influences. Women's decision to use MCMs was driven by their reproductive desires, but for some that was stymied by fears of side effects, community stigma, and disapproving husbands, which led to clandestine MCM use. Health providers acknowledged that women understood the benefits of using MCMs, but highlighted that the wider socio-cultural norms of their community often contributed to a reluctance to use them. Integration of FP and childhood immunisation services provided repeat opportunities for health providers to counter misinformation and it improved access to MCMs, including for women who needed to use them covertly.

Conclusions: Some women chose to use MCMs without the approval of their husbands, and/or despite cultural norms, because of the perceived health and economic benefits for themselves and for their families, and because they lived with the consequences of short birth intervals and large families. Integrated FP and childhood immunisation services expanded women's choices about MCM use and created opportunities for women to make decisions autonomously.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-021-01091-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7885443PMC
February 2021

Context-acceptability theories: example of family planning interventions in five African countries.

Implement Sci 2021 01 12;16(1):12. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Disease Control Department, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Background: Family planning (FP) can lengthen birth intervals and potentially reduce the risk of foetal death, low birthweight, prematurity, and being small for gestational age. Effective FP is most easily achieved through access to and acceptability of modern contraceptive methods (MCMs). This study aimed to identify mechanisms of acceptability and the contexts in which they are triggered and to generate theories to improve the selection and implementation of effective interventions by studying an intervention integrating FP with childhood immunisation services.

Methods: Qualitative interpretative synthesis of findings from realist evaluations of FP interventions in five African countries was guided by an analytical framework. Empirical mechanisms of acceptability were identified from semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with key stakeholders (N = 253). The context in which these mechanisms were triggered was also defined. Empirical mechanisms of acceptability were matched to constructs of a theoretical framework of acceptability. Context-acceptability theories (CATs) were developed, which summarised constructs of acceptability triggered for specific actors in specified contexts. Examples of interventions that may be used to trigger acceptability for these actors were described.

Results: Seven CATs were developed for contexts with strong beliefs in religious values and with powerful religious leaders, a traditional desire for large families, stigmatisation of MCM use, male partners who are non-accepting of FP, and rumours or experiences of MCM side effects. Acceptability mechanisms included alignment with values and beliefs without requiring compromise, actors' certainty about their ability to avoid harm and make the intervention work, and understanding the intervention and how it works. Additionally, acceptability by one group of actors was found to alter the context, triggering acceptability mechanisms amongst others.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated the value of embedding realist approaches within implementation research. CATs are transferable theories that answer the question: given the context, what construct of acceptability does an intervention need to trigger, or more simply, what intervention do we need to apply here to achieve our outcomes? CATs facilitate transfer of interventions across geographies within defined contexts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13012-020-01074-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7805098PMC
January 2021

What mechanisms drive uptake of family planning when integrated with childhood immunisation in Ethiopia? A realist evaluation.

BMC Public Health 2021 01 7;21(1):99. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Department of Disease Control, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Background: Maternal and child health are key priorities among the Sustainable Development Goals, which include a particular focus on reducing morbidity and mortality among women of reproductive age, newborns, and children under the age of five. Two components of maternal and child health are family planning (FP) and immunisation. Providing these services through an integrated delivery system could increase the uptake of vaccines and modern contraceptive methods (MCMs) particularly during the post-partum period.

Methods: A realist evaluation was conducted in two woredas in Ethiopia to determine the key mechanisms and their triggers that drive successful implementation and service uptake of an intervention of integrated delivery of immunisations and FP. The methodological approach included the development of an initial programme theory and the selection of relevant, published implementation related theoretical frameworks to aid organisation and cumulation of findings. Data from 23 semi-structured interviews were then analysed to determine key empirical mechanisms and drivers and to test the initial programme theory. These mechanisms were mapped against published theoretical frameworks and a revised programme theory comprised of context-mechanism-outcome configurations was developed. A critique of theoretical frameworks for abstracting empirical mechanisms was also conducted.

Results: Key contextual factors identified were: the use of trained Health Extension Workers (HEWs) to deliver FP services; a strong belief in values that challenged FP among religious leaders and community members; and a lack of support for FP from male partners based on religious values. Within these contexts, empirical mechanisms of acceptability, access, and adoption of innovations that drove decision making and intervention outcomes among health workers, religious leaders, and community members were identified to describe intervention implementation.

Conclusions: Linking context and intervention components to the mechanisms they triggered helped explain the intervention outcomes, and more broadly how and for whom the intervention worked. Linking empirical mechanisms to constructs of implementation related theoretical frameworks provided a level of abstraction through which findings could be cumulated across time, space, and conditions by theorising middle-range mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-10114-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7791767PMC
January 2021

Competing interests, clashing ideas and institutionalizing influence: insights into the political economy of malaria control from seven African countries.

Health Policy Plan 2021 Mar;36(1):35-44

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK.

This article explores how malaria control in sub-Saharan Africa is shaped in important ways by political and economic considerations within the contexts of aid-recipient nations and the global health community. Malaria control is often assumed to be a technically driven exercise: the remit of public health experts and epidemiologists who utilize available data to select the most effective package of activities given available resources. Yet research conducted with national and international stakeholders shows how the realities of malaria control decision-making are often more nuanced. Hegemonic ideas and interests of global actors, as well as the national and global institutional arrangements through which malaria control is funded and implemented, can all influence how national actors respond to malaria. Results from qualitative interviews in seven malaria-endemic countries indicate that malaria decision-making is constrained or directed by multiple competing objectives, including a need to balance overarching global goals with local realities, as well as a need for National Malaria Control Programmes to manage and coordinate a range of non-state stakeholders who may divide up regions and tasks within countries. Finally, beyond the influence that political and economic concerns have over programmatic decisions and action, our analysis further finds that malaria control efforts have institutionalized systems, structures and processes that may have implications for local capacity development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czaa166DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7938496PMC
March 2021

Intermittent screening and treatment with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy: implementation feasibility in a routine healthcare system setting in western Kenya.

Malar J 2020 Nov 25;19(1):433. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Disease Control Department, London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, London, UK.

Background: Intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) is recommended for preventing malaria in pregnancy in areas of moderate-to-high transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. However, due to increasing parasite resistance to SP, research on alternative strategies is a priority. The study assessed the implementation feasibility of intermittent screening and treatment (ISTp) in the second and third trimester at antenatal care (ANC) with malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and treatment of positive cases with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) compared to IPTp-SP in western Kenya.

Methods: A 10-month implementation study was conducted in 12 government health facilities in four sub-counties. Six health facilities were assigned to either ISTp-DP or IPTp-SP. Evaluation comprised of facility audits, ANC observations, and exit interviews. Intermediate and cumulative effectiveness analyses were performed on all processes involved in delivery of ISTp-DP including RDT proficiency and IPTp-SP ± directly observed therapy (DOT, standard of care). Logistic regression was used to identify predictors of receiving each intervention.

Results: A total of 388 and 389 women were recruited in the ISTp-DP and IPTp-SP arms, respectively. For ISTp-DP, 90% (289/320) of eligible women received an RDT. Of 11% (32/289) who tested positive, 71% received the correct dose of DP and 31% the first dose by DOT, and only 6% were counselled on subsequent doses. Women making a sick visit and being tested in a facility with a resident microscopist were more likely to receive ISTp-DP (AOR 1.78, 95% CI 1.31, 2.41; and AOR 3.75, 95% CI 1.31, 2.40, respectively). For IPTp-SP, only 57% received a dose of SP by DOT. Payment for a laboratory test was independently associated with receipt of SP by DOT (AOR 6.43, 95% CI 2.07, 19.98).

Conclusions: The findings indicate that the systems effectiveness of ANC clinics to deliver ISTp-DP under routine conditions was poor in comparison to IPTp-SP. Several challenges to integration of ISTp with ANC were identified that may need to be considered by countries that have introduced screening at first ANC visit and, potentially, for future adoption of ISTp with more sensitive RDTs. Understanding the effectiveness of ISTp-DP will require additional research on pregnant women's adherence to ACT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-020-03505-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7690090PMC
November 2020

Cost-effectiveness of intermittent preventive treatment with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine versus single screening and treatment for the control of malaria in pregnancy in Papua, Indonesia: a provider perspective analysis from a cluster-randomised trial.

Lancet Glob Health 2020 12;8(12):e1524-e1533

Disease Control Department, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Background: Malaria infection during pregnancy is associated with serious adverse maternal and birth outcomes. A randomised controlled trial in Papua, Indonesia, comparing the efficacy of intermittent preventive treatment with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine with the current strategy of single screening and treatment showed that intermittent preventive treatment is a promising alternative treatment for the reduction of malaria in pregnancy. We aimed to estimate the incremental cost-effectiveness of intermittent preventive treatment with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine compared with single screening and treatment with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine.

Methods: We did a provider perspective analysis. A decision tree model was analysed from a health provider perspective over a lifetime horizon. Model parameters were used in deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. Simulations were run in hypothetical cohorts of 1000 women who received intermittent preventive treatment or single screening and treatment. Disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for fetal loss or neonatal death, low birthweight, moderate or severe maternal anaemia, and clinical malaria were calculated from trial data and cost estimates in 2016 US dollars from observational studies, health facility costings and public procurement databases. The main outcome measure was the incremental cost per DALY averted.

Findings: Relative to single screening and treatment, intermittent preventive treatment resulted in an incremental cost of US$5657 (95% CI 1827 to 9448) and 107·4 incremental DALYs averted (-719·7 to 904·1) per 1000 women; the average incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was $53 per DALY averted.

Interpretation: Intermittent preventive treatment with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine offers a cost-effective alternative to single screening and treatment for the prevention of the adverse effects of malaria infection in pregnancy in the context of the moderate malaria transmission setting of Papua. The higher cost of intermittent preventive treatment was driven by monthly administration, as compared with single-administration single screening and treatment. However, acceptability and feasibility considerations will also be needed to inform decision making.

Funding: Medical Research Council, Department for International Development, and Wellcome Trust.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30386-7DOI Listing
December 2020

Adoption of evidence-based global policies at the national level: intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in pregnancy and first trimester treatment in Kenya, Malawi, Mali and The Gambia.

Health Policy Plan 2021 Feb;35(10):1364-1375

Department of Clinical Sciences, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Pembroke Place, Liverpool L3 5QA, UK.

In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its policy on intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP). A global recommendation to revise the WHO policy on the treatment of malaria in the first trimester is under review. We conducted a retrospective study of the national policy adoption process for revised IPTp-SP dosing in four sub-Saharan African countries. Alongside this retrospective study, we conducted a prospective policy adoption study of treatment of first trimester malaria with artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs). A document review informed development and interpretation of stakeholder interviews. An analytical framework was used to analyse data exploring stakeholder perceptions of the policies from 47 in-depth interviews with a purposively selected range of national level stakeholders. National policy adoption processes were categorized into four stages: (1) identify policy need; (2) review the evidence; (3) consult stakeholders and (4) endorse and draft policy. Actors at each stage were identified with the roles of evidence generation; technical advice; consultative and statutory endorsement. Adoption of the revised IPTp-SP policy was perceived to be based on strong evidence, support from WHO, consensus from stakeholders; and followed these stages. Poor tolerability of quinine was highlighted as a strong reason for a potential change in treatment policy. However, the evidence on safety of ACTs in the first trimester was considered weak. For some, trust in WHO was such that the anticipated announcement on the change in policy would allay these fears. For others, local evidence would first need to be generated to support a change in treatment policy. A national policy change from quinine to ACTs for the treatment of first trimester malaria will be less straightforward than experienced with increasing the IPTp dosing regimen despite following the same policy processes. Strong leadership will be needed for consultation and consensus building at national level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czaa132DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7886437PMC
February 2021

The Technical Feasibility of Integrating Primary Eye Care Into Primary Health Care Systems in Nigeria: Protocol for a Mixed Methods Cross-Sectional Study.

JMIR Res Protoc 2020 Oct 27;9(10):e17263. Epub 2020 Oct 27.

Department of Clinical Research, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.

Background: Approximately 90% of the 253 million blind or visually impaired people worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries. Lack of access to eye care is why most people remain or become blind. The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO-AFRO) recently launched a primary eye care (PEC) package for sub-Saharan Africa-the WHO-AFRO PEC package-for integration into the health system at the primary health care (PHC) level. This has the potential to increase access to eye care, but feasibility studies are needed to determine the extent to which the health system has the capacity to deliver the package in PHC facilities.

Objective: Our objective is to assess the technical feasibility of integrating the WHO-AFRO PEC package in PHC facilities in Nigeria.

Methods: This study has several components, which include (1) a literature review of PEC in sub-Saharan Africa, (2) a Delphi exercise to reach consensus among experts regarding the technical complexity of the WHO-AFRO PEC package and the capacities needed to deliver it in PHC facilities, (3) development of PEC technical capacity assessment tools, and (4) data collection, including facility surveys and semistructured interviews with PHC staff and their supervisors and village health workers to determine the capacities available to deliver PEC in PHC facilities. Analysis will identify opportunities and the capacity gaps that need to be addressed to deliver PEC.

Results: Consensus was reached among experts regarding the technical complexity of the WHO-AFRO PEC package and the capacities needed to deliver it as part of PHC. Quantitative tools (ie, structured questionnaires, in-depth interviews, and observation checklists) and topic guides based on agreed-upon technical capacities have been developed and relevant stakeholders have been identified. Surveys in 48 PHC facilities and interviews with health professionals and supervisors have been undertaken. Capacity gaps are being analyzed.

Conclusions: This study will determine the capacity of PHC centers to deliver the WHO-AFRO PEC package as an integral part of the health system in Nigeria, with identification of capacity gaps. Although capacity assessments have to be context specific, the tools and findings will assist policy makers and health planners in Nigeria and similar settings, who are considering implementing the package, in making informed choices.

International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/17263.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/17263DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7655465PMC
October 2020

Achieving universal health coverage for people with stroke in South Africa: protocol for a scoping review.

BMJ Open 2020 10 12;10(10):e041221. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Division of Physiotherapy, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.

Introduction: Stroke is the second most common cause of death after HIV/AIDS and a significant health burden in South Africa. The extent to which universal health coverage (UHC) is achieved for people with stroke in South Africa is unknown. Therefore, a scoping review to explore the opportunities and challenges within the South African health system to facilitate the achievement of UHC for people with stroke is warranted.

Methods And Analysis: The scoping review will follow the approach recommended by Levac, Colquhoun and O'Brien, which includes five steps: (1) identifying the research question, (2) identifying relevant studies, (3) selecting the studies, (4) charting the data, and (5) collating, summarising and reporting the results. Health Systems Dynamics Framework and WHO Framework on integrated people-centred health services will be used to map, synthesise and analyse data thematically.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethical approval is not required for this scoping review, as it will only include published and publicly available data. The findings of this review will be published in an open-access, peer-reviewed journal and we will develop an accessible summary of the results for website posting and stakeholder meetings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-041221DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7552861PMC
October 2020

How useful are malaria risk maps at the country level? Perceptions of decision-makers in Kenya, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Malar J 2020 Oct 2;19(1):353. Epub 2020 Oct 2.

Department of Disease Control, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Background: Declining malaria prevalence and pressure on external funding have increased the need for efficiency in malaria control in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Modelled Plasmodium falciparum parasite rate (PfPR) maps are increasingly becoming available and provide information on the epidemiological situation of countries. However, how these maps are understood or used for national malaria planning is rarely explored. In this study, the practices and perceptions of national decision-makers on the utility of malaria risk maps, showing prevalence of parasitaemia or incidence of illness, was investigated.

Methods: A document review of recent National Malaria Strategic Plans was combined with 64 in-depth interviews with stakeholders in Kenya, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The document review focused on the type of epidemiological maps included and their use in prioritising and targeting interventions. Interviews (14 Kenya, 17 Malawi, 27 DRC, 6 global level) explored drivers of stakeholder perceptions of the utility, value and limitations of malaria risk maps.

Results: Three different types of maps were used to show malaria epidemiological strata: malaria prevalence using a PfPR modelled map (Kenya); malaria incidence using routine health system data (Malawi); and malaria prevalence using data from the most recent Demographic and Health Survey (DRC). In Kenya the map was used to target preventative interventions, including long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) and intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp), whilst in Malawi and DRC the maps were used to target in-door residual spraying (IRS) and LLINs distributions in schools. Maps were also used for operational planning, supply quantification, financial justification and advocacy. Findings from the interviews suggested that decision-makers lacked trust in the modelled PfPR maps when based on only a few empirical data points (Malawi and DRC).

Conclusions: Maps were generally used to identify areas with high prevalence in order to implement specific interventions. Despite the availability of national level modelled PfPR maps in all three countries, they were only used in one country. Perceived utility of malaria risk maps was associated with the epidemiological structure of the country and use was driven by perceived need, understanding (quality and relevance), ownership and trust in the data used to develop the maps.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-020-03425-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7530951PMC
October 2020

Integrated delivery of family planning and childhood immunisation services in routine outreach clinics: findings from a realist evaluation in Malawi.

BMC Health Serv Res 2020 Aug 24;20(1):777. Epub 2020 Aug 24.

Department of Disease Control, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT, UK.

Background: Family planning (FP) needs among postpartum women in low- and middle-income countries remain largely unmet. Integrating FP with childhood immunisation services could partially reduce this unmet need by creating multiple opportunities for timely contact with FP services during the 12 months following childbirth.

Methods: A realist evaluation of an intervention integrating FP and childhood immunisation services in routine outreach clinics in two rural districts of Malawi was conducted. A Context-Mechanism-Outcome (CMO) framework was used to describe the drivers of the intervention. A detailed programme theory was developed based on the analysis of semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with 50 stakeholders.

Results: A total of 9 core mechanisms were identified, which centred on constructs of access. Findings revealed that on the demand side, women were motivated to attend outreach clinics due to shorter travel distances; they felt confident they could access FP services and use contraceptive methods covertly if needed; and when supported by their husband, they were empowered to take up the use of contraceptive methods. On the supply side, providers were empowered through the training they received to provide integrated services; they were confident in their ability to provide essential services; and they were motivated by teamwork and by the recognition they received for their work. Additionally, some providers were found to be unwilling to walk long distances to reach remote clinics, which was seen to negatively affect the availability of services.

Conclusions: The delivery of integrated FP and childhood immunisation services in the context of routine outreach clinics in rural Malawi was seen to trigger mechanisms of accessibility and to improve the acceptability and availability of FP services. However, further research is needed to understand how the integration of these services in a routine outreach clinic setting may affect other dimensions of accessibility, including the approachability, appropriateness and affordability of services.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05571-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7447579PMC
August 2020

Evaluation of Implementation of Intermittent Screening and Treatment for Control of Malaria in Pregnancy in Jharkhand, India.

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2020 06;102(6):1343-1350

National Institute for Malaria Research, Delhi, India.

This study evaluated intermittent screening and treatment during pregnancy (ISTp) for malaria using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) at antenatal care (ANC) compared with passive case detection within the routine health system. The mixed-method evaluation included two cross-sectional household surveys (pre- and post-implementation of ISTp), in-depth interviews with health workers, and focus group discussions (FGDs) with pregnant women. Differences in proportions between surveys for a number of outcomes were tested; 553 and 534 current and recently pregnant women were surveyed (pre- and post-implementation, respectively). In-depth interviews were conducted with 29 health providers, and 13 FGDs were held with pregnant women. The proportion of pregnant women who received an RDT for malaria at ANC at least once during their pregnancy increased from pre- to post-implementation (19.2%; 95% CI: 14.9, 24.3 versus 42.5%; 95% CI: 36.6, 48.7; < 0.0001), and the proportion of women who had more than one RDT also increased (16.5%; 95% CI: 13.1, 20.5 versus 27.7%; 95% CI: 23.0, 33.0; = 0.0008). Post-implementation, however, only 8% of women who had completed their pregnancy received an RDT on three visits to ANC. Health workers were positive about ISTp mainly because of their perception that many pregnant women with malaria were asymptomatic. Health workers perceived pregnant women to have reservations about ISTp because of their dislike of frequent blood withdrawal, but pregnant women themselves were more positive. Intermittent screening and treatment during pregnancy was not sufficiently adopted by health workers to ensure the increased detection of malaria infections achievable with this strategy in this setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.19-0514DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7253127PMC
June 2020

Evaluation of a capacity building intervention on malaria treatment for under-fives in rural health facilities in Niger State, Nigeria.

Malar J 2020 Feb 24;19(1):90. Epub 2020 Feb 24.

Disease Control Department, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, WC1E 7HT, UK.

Background: Despite the uptake of parasitological testing into policy and practice, appropriate prescription of anti-malarials and artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) in accordance with test results is variable. This study describes a National Malaria Control Programme-led capacity building intervention which was implemented in 10 States of Nigeria. Using the experience of Niger State, this study assessed the effect on malaria diagnosis and prescription practices among febrile under-fives in rural health facilities.

Methods: The multicomponent capacity building intervention consisted of revised case management manuals; cascade training from national to state level carried out at the local government area (LGA) level; and on the job capacity development through supportive supervision. The evaluation was conducted in 28, principally government-owned, health facilities in two rural LGAs of Niger State, one in which the intervention case management of malaria was implemented and the other acted as a comparison area with no implementation of the intervention. Three outcomes were considered in the context of rapid diagnostic testing (RDT) for malaria which were: the prevalence of RDT testing in febrile children; appropriate treatment of RDT-positive children; and appropriate treatment of RDT-negative children. Outcomes were compared post-intervention between intervention and comparison areas using multivariate logistic regression.

Results: The intervention did not improve appropriate management of under-fives in intervention facilities above that seen for under-fives in comparison facilities. Appropriate treatment with artemisinin-based combinations of RDT-positive and RDT-negative under-fives was equally high in both areas. However, appropriate treatment of RDT-negative children, when defined as receipt of no ACT or any other anti-malarials, was better in comparison areas. In both areas, a small number of RDT-positives were not given ACT, but prescribed an alternative anti-malarial, including artesunate monotherapy. Among RDT-negatives, no under-fives were prescribed artesunate as monotherapy.

Conclusion: In a context of significant stock-outs of both ACT medicines and RDTs, under-fives were not more appropriately managed in intervention than comparison areas. The malaria case management intervention implemented through cascade training reached only approximately half of health workers managing febrile under-fives in this setting. Implementation studies on models of cascade training are needed to define what works in what context.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-020-03167-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7041190PMC
February 2020

An investigation into the knowledge, perceptions and role of personal protective technologies in Zika prevention in Colombia.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2020 01 21;14(1):e0007970. Epub 2020 Jan 21.

Department of Disease Control, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.

Background: Arboviruses transmitted by day-biting Aedes mosquitoes are a major public health concern. With the challenges inherent in arbovirus vaccine and therapeutics development, vector control and bite prevention strategies are among the limited options available for immediate intervention. Bite prevention through personal protective technologies (PPT), such as topical mosquito repellents or repellent-impregnated clothing, may help to decrease biting rates and, therefore, the risk of disease in groups most susceptible to adverse outcomes from Zika virus. However, achieving high uptake and compliance with PPT can be challenging.

Methodology/principal Findings: To gain an insight into the knowledge and concerns of pregnant women surrounding Zika and their opinions regarding PPT, particularly repellent clothing, a focus group study was carried out with pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and semi-structured interviews with their male partners in two cities in Colombia. The discussions revealed shortfalls in basic knowledge of Zika virus, with several pregnant participants reporting being unaware of the potential for Zika-related congenital malformations. Although participants generally considered Zika to be a significant personal threat, most rated it as less of a concern than dengue or diarrheal diseases. Overall, repellent clothing and other forms of PPT were viewed as effective, although some participants expressed concerns over the high costs of repellents, and safety fears of regular contact with repellent chemicals, which they perceived as potentially harmful. Plant-derived repellents were considered to be safer than synthetic chemical repellents. Discussions also highlighted that health centers were the preferred source of information on bite-reduction.

Conclusions/significance: Achieving high uptake and compliance with PPT in populations most at risk of adverse outcomes from Zika infection requires engaging key users in open dialogue to identify and address any practical issues regarding PPT use, and concerns over safety. The findings presented here suggest that educational campaigns should strongly emphasize the risks associated with Zika during pregnancy, and discuss safety profiles of approved synthetic repellents and the availability of EPA-approved plant-based repellents. In addition, the economic and political context should be a major consideration when evaluating personal mosquito-repellent strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007970DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7010294PMC
January 2020

Mental health consumer involvement in occupational therapy education in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Aust Occup Ther J 2020 02 13;67(1):83-93. Epub 2019 Dec 13.

School of Occupational Therapy (Hamilton site), Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Introduction: Recovery-oriented practice policies and occupational therapy education accreditation standards require that consumers are engaged in the design, delivery and evaluation of curricula. This consumer involvement (sometimes referred to as service-user involvement or patient involvement in other contexts) should go beyond consumers simply 'telling their stories' to more meaningful collaboration in curricula. This study was designed to map the current patterns of consumer involvement in occupational therapy programs across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Method: A survey was distributed to all occupational therapy programs across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. The survey included questions related to: (a) perceived enablers and barriers to consumer involvement in education; (b) organisational structures and support; (c) ways in which consumer are involved in the design, delivery and evaluation of curricula; (d) access to remuneration for consumers; (e) overall ratings of the level of consumer involvement in curricula; and (f) academic confidence in working with consumers.

Results: Usable responses were received for 23 programs from 19 universities (83% response rate). Every program reported some consumer involvement in the curriculum. Consumer participation tended to be mainly focussed on curriculum delivery with less frequent involvement in curriculum design or evaluation. The most common barrier to consumer involvement in curricula was 'funding/remuneration for consumers' and the most common enabler of consumer involvement was 'positive attitudes of teaching staff'.

Conclusion: In comparison to previous reports, consumer involvement in occupational therapy curricula has increased over the past decade. However, ongoing effort is required to support true collaboration in all aspects of curriculum design, delivery and evaluation. While this will require attention and effort from academic teams, changes at a university level to establish systems to engage and effectively remunerate consumers for their involvement (especially in design and evaluation elements) are also required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1440-1630.12634DOI Listing
February 2020

Five Challenges in the Design and Conduct of IS Trials for HIV Prevention and Treatment.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2019 12;82 Suppl 3:S261-S270

Y Lab, the Public Services Innovation Lab for Wales, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales.

Background: Implementation science (IS) trials in HIV treatment and prevention evaluate implementation strategies that deliver health-enhancing tools such as antiretroviral medicines or prevention technologies to those who need them, rather than evaluating the tools themselves.

Method: Opinion piece drawing on a non-systematic review of HIV prevention and treatment trials to inform an assessment of 5 key challenges for IS trials.

Results: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are an appropriate design for IS but must address 5 challenges. IS trials must be feasible to deliver, which will require addressing challenges in maintaining multisectoral partnerships, strengthening routine data, and clarifying ethical principles. IS trials should be informative, evaluating implementation strategies that are well designed and adequately described, and measuring implementation outcomes, coverage of tools, and, when appropriate, epidemiological impacts. IS trials should be rigorous, striving for internally valid estimates of effect by adopting best practices, and deploying optimal nonrandomized designs where randomization is not feasible. IS trials should be relevant, considering and documenting how "real-life" is the implementation monitoring and whether research participants are representative of the target population. Finally, IS trials should be useful, deploying process evaluations to provide results that can be used in onward decision-making.

Conclusions: IS trials can help ensure that efficacious tools for HIV prevention and treatment have maximum impact in the real world. These trials will be an important component of this scientific agenda if they are feasible to deliver and if their results are informative, rigorous, relevant, and useful.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000002192DOI Listing
December 2019

Consequences of restricting antimalarial drugs to rapid diagnostic test-positive febrile children in south-west Nigeria.

Trop Med Int Health 2019 11 3;24(11):1291-1300. Epub 2019 Oct 3.

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

Objectives: To investigate the consequence of restricting antimalarial treatment to febrile children that test positive to a malaria rapid diagnostic test (MRDT) only in an area of intense malaria transmission.

Methods: Febrile children aged 3-59 months were screened with an MRDT at health facilities in south-west Nigeria. MRDT-positive children received artesunate-amodiaquine (ASAQ), while MRDT-negative children were treated based on the clinical diagnosis of non-malaria febrile illness. The primary endpoint was the risk of developing microscopy-positive malaria within 28 days post-treatment.

Results: 309 (60.5%) of 511 children were MRDT-positive while 202 (39.5%) were MRDT-negative at enrolment. 18.5% (50/275) of MRDT-positive children and 7.6% (14/184) of MRDT-negative children developed microscopy-positive malaria by day 28 post-treatment (ρ = 0.001). The risk of developing clinical malaria by day 28 post-treatment was higher among the MRDT-positive group than the MRDT-negative group (adjusted OR 2.74; 95% CI, 1.4, 5.4). A higher proportion of children who were MRDT-positive at enrolment were anaemic on day 28 compared with the MRDT-negative group (12.6% vs. 3.1%; ρ = 0.001). Children in the MRDT-negative group made more unscheduled visits because of febrile illness than those in MRDT-positive group (23.2% vs. 12.0%; ρ = 0.001).

Conclusion: Restricting ACT treatment to MRDT-positive febrile children only did not result in significant adverse outcomes. However, the risk of re-infection within 28 days was significantly higher among MRDT-positive children despite ASAQ treatment. A longer-acting ACT may be needed as the first-line drug of choice for treating uncomplicated malaria in high-transmission settings to prevent frequent re-infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tmi.13304DOI Listing
November 2019

Effectiveness of intermittent screening and treatment for the control of malaria in pregnancy: a cluster randomised trial in India.

BMJ Glob Health 2019 29;4(4):e001399. Epub 2019 Jul 29.

Department of Disease Control, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London, UK.

Background: The control of malaria in pregnancy (MiP) in India relies on testing women who present with symptoms or signs suggestive of malaria. We hypothesised that intermittent screening and treatment for malaria at each antenatal care visit (ISTp) would improve on this approach and reduce the adverse effects of MiP.

Methods: A cluster randomised controlled trial comparing ISTp versus passive case detection (PCD) was conducted in Jharkhand state. Pregnant women of all parities with a gestational age of 18-28 weeks were enrolled. Women in the ISTp group were screened with a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for malaria at each antenatal clinic visit and those in the PCD group were screened only if they had symptoms or signs suggestive of malaria. All RDT positive women were treated with artesunate/sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. The primary endpoint was placental malaria, determined by placental histology, and the key secondary endpoints were birth weight, gestational age, vital status of the newborn baby and maternal anaemia.

Results: Between April 2012 and September 2015, 6868 women were enrolled; 3300 in 46 ISTp clusters and 3568 in 41 PCD clusters. In the ISTp arm, 4.9% of women were tested malaria positive and 0.6% in the PCD arm. There was no difference in the prevalence of placental malaria in the ISTp (87/1454, 6.0%) and PCD (65/1560, 4.2%) groups (6.0% vs 4.2%; OR 1.34, 95% CI 0.78 to 2.29, p=0.29) or in any of the secondary endpoints.

Conclusion: ISTp detected more infections than PCD, but monthly ISTp with the current generation of RDT is unlikely to reduce placental malaria or impact on pregnancy outcomes. ISTp trials with more sensitive point-of-care diagnostic tests are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2019-001399DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6666812PMC
July 2019

Intermittent screening and treatment or intermittent preventive treatment compared to current policy of single screening and treatment for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy in Eastern Indonesia: acceptability among health providers and pregnant women.

Malar J 2018 Sep 27;17(1):341. Epub 2018 Sep 27.

Department of Clinical Sciences, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK.

Background: The control of malaria in pregnancy in much of Asia relies on screening asymptomatic women for malaria infection, followed by passive case detection and prevention with insecticide-treated nets. In 2012, Indonesia introduced screening for malaria by microscopy or rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) at pregnant women's first antenatal care (ANC) visit to detect and treat malaria infections regardless of the presence of symptoms. Acceptability among health providers and pregnant women of the current 'single screen and treat' (SSTp) strategy compared to two alternative strategies that were intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp) and intermittent screening and treatment (ISTp) was assessed in the context of a clinical trial in two malaria endemic provinces of Eastern Indonesia.

Methods: Qualitative data were collected through in-depth interviews with 121 health providers working in provision of antenatal care, heads of health facilities and District Health Office staff. Trial staff were also interviewed. Focus group discussions were conducted with 16 groups of pregnant women (N = 106) to discuss their experiences of each intervention in the trial.

Results: Health providers and pregnant women were receptive to screening for malaria at every ANC visit due to the increased opportunity to detect and treat asymptomatic infections. A primary concern for providers was the accuracy and availability of RDTs used for screening in the SSTp and ISTp arms, which they considered less accurate than microscopy. Providers had reservations about giving anti-malarials presumptively as IPTp, due to concerns of causing potential harm to mother and baby and as a possible driver of drug resistance. Pregnant women were accepting of all three interventions. Women in the IPTp arm were happy to take anti-malarials presumptively to protect themselves and their babies against malaria.

Conclusions: The findings indicate that, within a trial context, malaria screening of pregnant women at every ANC visit ISTp was an acceptable strategy among both health providers and pregnant women owing to an existing culture of screening and treatment. The adoption of IPTp however would require a considerable shift in health provider attitudes and a clear communication strategy. By contrast, pregnant women welcomed the opportunity to prevent malaria infections during pregnancy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-018-2490-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6161378PMC
September 2018

Evaluation of the implementation of single screening and treatment for the control of malaria in pregnancy in Eastern Indonesia: a systems effectiveness analysis.

Malar J 2018 Aug 24;17(1):310. Epub 2018 Aug 24.

Department of Clinical Sciences, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK.

Background: Indonesia introduced single screening and treatment (SST) of pregnant women for the control of malaria in pregnancy in 2012. Under this policy pregnant women are screened for malaria at their first antenatal clinic (ANC) visit and on subsequent visits are tested for malaria only if symptomatic. The implementation of this policy in two districts of Indonesia was evaluated. Cross sectional survey structured observations of the ANC visit and exit interviews with pregnant women were conducted to assess health provider compliance with SST guidelines. Systems effectiveness analysis was performed on components of the strategy. Multiple logistic regression was used to test for predictors of women being screened at their first ANC visit.

Results: A total of 865 and 895 ANC visits in Mimika and West Sumba across seven and ten health facilities (plus managed health posts) respectively, were included in the study. Adherence to malaria screening at first ANC visit among pregnant women was 51.4% (95% CI 11.9, 89.2) in health facilities in Mimika (94.8% in health centres) and 24.8% (95% CI 10.3, 48.9) in West Sumba (60.0% in health centres). Reported fever was low amongst women presenting for their second and above ANC visit (2.8% in Mimika and 3.5% in West Sumba) with 89.5% and 46.2% of these women tested for malaria in Mimka and West Sumba, respectively. Cumulative systems effectiveness for SST on first visit to ANC was 7.6% for Mimika and 0.1% for West Sumba; and for second or above visits to ANC was 0.7% in Mimika and 0% in West Sumba. Being screened on a 1st visit to ANC was associated with level of health facility in both sites.

Conclusion: Cumulative systems effectiveness of the SST strategy was poor in both sites. Both elements of the SST strategy, screening on first visit and passive case detection on second and above visits, was driven by the difference in implementation of malaria testing in health centres and health posts, and by low malaria transmission levels and reported fever.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-018-2448-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6108152PMC
August 2018

Evaluation of the national policy of single screening and treatment for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy in two districts in Eastern Indonesia: health provider perceptions.

Malar J 2018 Aug 24;17(1):309. Epub 2018 Aug 24.

Disease Control Department, London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, London, UK.

Background: Malaria in pregnancy has devastating consequences for both the expectant mother and baby. Annually, 88.2 (70%) of the 125.2 million pregnancies in malaria endemic regions occur in the Asia-Pacific region. The control of malaria in pregnancy in most of Asia relies on passive case detection and prevention with long-lasting insecticide-treated nets. Indonesia was the first country in the region to introduce, in 2012, malaria screening at pregnant women's first antenatal care visit to reduce the burden of malaria in pregnancy. The study assessed health providers' acceptability and perceptions on the feasibility of implementing the single screening and treatment (SST) strategy in the context of the national programme in two endemic provinces of Indonesia.

Methods: Qualitative data were collected through in-depth interviews with 86 health providers working in provision of antenatal care (midwives, doctors, laboratory staff, pharmacists, and heads of drug stores), heads of health facilities and District Health Office staff in West Sumba and Mimika districts in East Nusa Tenggara and Papua provinces, respectively.

Results: Health providers of all cadres were accepting of SST as a preventive strategy, showing a strong preference for microscopy over rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) as the method of screening. Implementation of the policy was inconsistent in both sites, with least extensive implementation reported in West Sumba compared to Mimika. SST was predominantly implemented at health centre level using microscopy, whereas implementation at community health posts was said to occur in less than half the selected health facilities. Lack of availability of RDTs was cited as the major factor that prevented provision of SST at health posts, however as village midwives cannot prescribe medicines women who test positive are referred to health centres for anti-malarials. Few midwives had received formal training on SST or related topics.

Conclusions: The study findings indicate that SST was an acceptable strategy among health providers, however implementation was inconsistent with variation across different localities within the same district, across levels of facility, and across different cadres within the same health facility. Implementation should be re-invigorated through reorientation and training of health providers, stable supplies of more sensitive RDTs, and improved data capture and reporting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-018-2426-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6108151PMC
August 2018

Treatment of uncomplicated and severe malaria during pregnancy.

Lancet Infect Dis 2018 04 31;18(4):e133-e146. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

Manhiça Health Research Center (CISM), Manhiça, Mozambique; Faculty of Medicine, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, Mozambique.

Over the past 10 years, the available evidence on the treatment of malaria during pregnancy has increased substantially. Owing to their relative ease of use, good sensitivity and specificity, histidine rich protein 2 based rapid diagnostic tests are appropriate for symptomatic pregnant women; however, such tests are less appropriate for systematic screening because they will not detect an important proportion of infections among asymptomatic women. The effect of pregnancy on the pharmacokinetics of antimalarial drugs varies greatly between studies and class of antimalarial drugs, emphasising the need for prospective studies in pregnant and non-pregnant women. For the treatment of malaria during the first trimester, international guidelines are being reviewed by WHO. For the second and third trimester of pregnancy, results from several trials have confirmed that artemisinin-based combination treatments are safe and efficacious, although tolerability and efficacy might vary by treatment. It is now essential to translate such evidence into policies and clinical practice that benefit pregnant women in countries where malaria is endemic. Access to parasitological diagnosis or appropriate antimalarial treatment remains low in many countries and regions. Therefore, there is a pressing need for research to identify quality improvement interventions targeting pregnant women and health providers. In addition, efficient and practical systems for pharmacovigilance are needed to further expand knowledge on the safety of antimalarial drugs, particularly in the first trimester of pregnancy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(18)30065-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6590069PMC
April 2018

Prevention of malaria in pregnancy.

Lancet Infect Dis 2018 04 31;18(4):e119-e132. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK.

Malaria remains one of the most preventable causes of adverse birth outcomes. Intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine is used to prevent malaria, but resistance to this drug combination has decreased its efficacy and new alternatives are needed. In Africa, a meta-analysis showed three-course or monthly IPTp with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine to be safe and more effective than the original two-course sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine strategy, prompting WHO to update its policy in 2012. Although resistance to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine reduces the parasitological efficacy of IPTp, this drug combination remains associated with reduced incidence of low birthweight in areas where prevalence of parasites with quintuple Plasmodium falciparum dihydrofolate reductase (Pfdhfr) and dihydropteroate synthetase (Pfdhps) mutations is greater than 90%. Nevertheless, its effectiveness is compromised in women infected with sextuple mutant parasites. Six trials of IPTp showed that neither amodiaquine, mefloquine, nor chloroquine-azithromycin are suitable replacements for sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine because of poor tolerability. Furthermore, four trials showed that intermittent screening and treatment with the current generation of malaria rapid diagnostic tests was not a suitable alternative strategy to IPTp with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, even in areas with high prevalence of quintuple mutations. Two trials showed that IPTp with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine was well tolerated, effective, and acceptable for IPTp, with monthly regimens being the most effective. Coverage of IPTp and insecticide-treated nets continues to lag behind targets. The key barriers to uptake are well documented, and many are open to intervention. Outside of Africa, a single trial suggests a potential role for integrated approaches that combine sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine with azithromycin for IPTp in areas of Papua New Guinea where malaria transmission is high. Modelling analysis suggests the importance of the prevention of malaria early in pregnancy and the need to protect pregnant women declines more slowly than the rate at which transmission declines. Improved funding has led to an increase in the number of prevention trials in the past decade, showing the value of more sustained protection with monthly IPTp regimens. There is a need for confirmatory trials of the safety, efficacy, and feasibility of IPTp with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, for studies of intermittent screening and treatment with more sensitive rapid diagnostic tests, for studies of integrated strategies for malaria and other co-infections, and for studies of prevention strategies for malaria in pregnant women who are HIV-positive and living outside of Africa. Additional research is required on how to improve uptake of WHO's updated policy on IPTp with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and insecticide-treated nets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(18)30064-1DOI Listing
April 2018

Effectiveness of two community-based strategies on disease knowledge and health behaviour regarding malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia in Ghana.

BMC Public Health 2017 Dec 12;17(1):948. Epub 2017 Dec 12.

Disease Control Department, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Background: Ghana has developed two community-based strategies that aim to increase access to quality treatment for malaria, diarrhoea and suspected pneumonia, and to improve household and family practices: integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) and Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS). The objective of the study was to assess the effectiveness of iCCM and CHPS on disease knowledge and health behaviour regarding malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia.

Methods: A household survey was conducted two and eight years after implementation of iCCM in the Volta and Northern Regions of Ghana respectively, and more than ten years of CHPS implementation in both regions. The study population included 1356 carers of children under- five years of age who had fever, diarrhoea and/or cough in the two weeks prior to the interview. Disease knowledge was assessed based on the knowledge of causes and identification of signs of severe disease and its association with the sources of health education messages received. Health behaviour was assessed based on reported prompt care seeking behaviour, adherence to treatment regime, utilization of mosquito nets and having improved sanitation facilities, and its association with the sources of health education messages received.

Results: Health education messages from community-based agents (CBAs) in the Northern Region were associated with the identification of at least two signs of severe malaria (adjusted Odds Ratio (OR) 1.8, 95%CI 1.0, 3.3, p = 0.04), two practices that can cause diarrhoea (adjusted OR 4.7, 95%CI 1.4, 15.5, p = 0.02) 0and two signs of severe pneumonia (adjusted OR 7.7, 95%CI2.2, 26.5, p = 0.01)-the later also associated with prompt care seeking behaviour (p = 0.04). In the Volta Region, receiving messages on diarrhoea from CHPS was associated with the identification of at least two signs of severe diarrhoea (adjusted OR 3.6, 95%CI 1.4, 9.0), p = 0.02). iCCM was associated with prompt care seeking behaviour in the Volta Region and CHPS with prompt care seeking behaviour in the Northern Region (p < 0.5).

Conclusions: Both iCCM and CHPS were associated with disease knowledge and health behaviour, but this was more pronounced for iCCM and in the Northern Region. HBC should continue to be considered as the strategy through which community-IMCI is implemented.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-4964-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5727982PMC
December 2017

The Impact of Introducing Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Tests on Fever Case Management: A Synthesis of Ten Studies from the ACT Consortium.

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2017 Oct 18;97(4):1170-1179. Epub 2017 Aug 18.

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.

Since 2010, the World Health Organization has been recommending that all suspected cases of malaria be confirmed with parasite-based diagnosis before treatment. These guidelines represent a paradigm shift away from presumptive antimalarial treatment of fever. Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (mRDTs) are central to implementing this policy, intended to target artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT) to patients with confirmed malaria and to improve management of patients with nonmalarial fevers. The ACT Consortium conducted ten linked studies, eight in sub-Saharan Africa and two in Afghanistan, to evaluate the impact of mRDT introduction on case management across settings that vary in malaria endemicity and healthcare provider type. This synthesis includes 562,368 outpatient encounters (study size range 2,400-432,513). mRDTs were associated with significantly lower ACT prescription (range 8-69% versus 20-100%). Prescribing did not always adhere to malaria test results; in several settings, ACTs were prescribed to more than 30% of test-negative patients or to fewer than 80% of test-positive patients. Either an antimalarial or an antibiotic was prescribed for more than 75% of patients across most settings; lower antimalarial prescription for malaria test-negative patients was partly offset by higher antibiotic prescription. Symptomatic management with antipyretics alone was prescribed for fewer than 25% of patients across all scenarios. In community health worker and private retailer settings, mRDTs increased referral of patients to other providers. This synthesis provides an overview of shifts in case management that may be expected with mRDT introduction and highlights areas of focus to improve design and implementation of future case management programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.16-0955DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5637593PMC
October 2017

Cost-effectiveness analysis of the national implementation of integrated community case management and community-based health planning and services in Ghana for the treatment of malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia.

Malar J 2017 07 5;16(1):277. Epub 2017 Jul 5.

Disease Control Department, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Background: Ghana has developed two main community-based strategies that aim to increase access to quality treatment for malaria, diarrhoea and suspected pneumonia: the integrated community case management (iCCM) and the community-based health planning and services (CHPS). The aim of the study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of these strategies under programme conditions.

Methods: A cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted. Appropriate diagnosis and treatment given was the effectiveness measure used. Appropriate diagnosis and treatment data was obtained from a household survey conducted 2 and 8 years after implementation of iCCM in the Volta and Northern Regions of Ghana, respectively. The study population was carers of children under-5 years who had fever, diarrhoea and/or cough in the last 2 weeks prior to the interview. Costs data was obtained mainly from the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), the Ministry of Health, CHPS compounds and from a household survey.

Results: Appropriate diagnosis and treatment of malaria, diarrhoea and suspected pneumonia was more cost-effective under the iCCM than under CHPS in the Volta Region, even after adjusting for different discount rates, facility costs and iCCM and CHPS utilization, but not when iCCM appropriate treatment was reduced by 50%. Due to low numbers of carers visiting a CBA in the Northern Region it was not possible to conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis in this region. However, the cost analysis showed that iCCM in the Northern Region had higher cost per malaria, diarrhoea and suspected pneumonia case diagnosed and treated when compared to the Volta Region and to the CHPS strategy in the Northern Region.

Conclusions: Integrated community case management was more cost-effective than CHPS for the treatment of malaria, diarrhoea and suspected pneumonia when utilized by carers of children under-5 years in the Volta Region. A revision of the iCCM strategy in the Northern Region is needed to improve its cost-effectiveness. Long-term financing strategies should be explored including potential inclusion in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) benefit package. An acceptability study of including iCCM in the NHIS should be conducted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-017-1906-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5498878PMC
July 2017

Mental health education in occupational therapy professional preparation programs: Alignment between clinician priorities and coverage in university curricula.

Aust Occup Ther J 2017 Dec 29;64(6):436-447. Epub 2017 Jun 29.

School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

Background/aim: Occupational therapy programs must prepare graduates for work in mental health. However, this area of practice is complex and rapidly changing. This study explored the alignment between educational priorities identified by occupational therapists practising in mental health and level of coverage of these topics in occupational therapy programs in Australia and New Zealand.

Methods: Surveys were distributed to heads of all occupational therapy programs across Australia and New Zealand. The survey included educational priorities identified by occupational therapists in mental health from a previous study. Respondents were requested to identify the level of coverage given to each of these priorities within their curriculum. These data were analysed to determine a ranking of educational topics in terms of level of coverage in university programs.

Results: Responses were received for 19 programs from 16 universities. Thirty-four topics were given 'High-level coverage' in university programs, and these were compared against the 29 topics classified as 'Essential priorities' by clinicians. Twenty topics were included in both the 'Essential priorities' and 'High-level coverage' categories. Topics considered to be 'Essential priorities' by clinicians which were not given 'High-level coverage' in university programs included the following: mental health fieldwork experiences; risk assessment and management; professional self-care resilience and sensory approaches.

Conclusion: While there appears to be overall good alignment between mental health curricula and priorities identified by practising occupational therapists, there are some discrepancies. These discrepancies are described and establish a strong foundation for further discussion between clinicians, academics and university administration to support curriculum review and revision.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1440-1630.12397DOI Listing
December 2017
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