Publications by authors named "Josephine Borghi"

76 Publications

Falling aid for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health in the lead-up to the COVID-19 pandemic.

BMJ Glob Health 2021 06;6(6)

Department of Global Health and Development, Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Dakar, Senegal.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2021-006089DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8190982PMC
June 2021

Can Results-Based Financing improve health outcomes in resource poor settings? Evidence from Zimbabwe.

Soc Sci Med 2021 Jun 7;279:113959. Epub 2021 May 7.

Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.

Result Based Financing (RBF) has been implemented in health systems across low and middle-income countries (LMICs), with the objective of improving population health. Most evaluations of RBF schemes have focused on average programme effects for incentivised services. There is limited evidence on the potential effect of RBF on health outcomes, as well as on the heterogeneous effects across socio-economic groups and time periods. This study analyses the effect of Zimbabwe's national RBF scheme on neonatal, infant and under five mortality, using Demographic and Health Survey data from 2005, 2010 and 2015. We use a difference in differences design, which exploits the staggered roll-out of the scheme across 60 districts. We examine average programme effects and perform sub-group analyses to assess differences between socio-economic groups. We find that RBF reduced under-five mortality by two percentage points overall, but that this decrease was only significant for children of mothers with above median wealth (2.7 percentage points) and education (2.1 percentage points). RBF increased institutional delivery by seven percentage points - with a statistically significant effect for poorer socio-economic groups and least educated. We also find that RBF reduced c-section rates by three percentage points. We find no detectable effect of RBF on other incentivised services. When considering programme effects over time, we find that effects were only observed during the second phase of the programme (March 2012) with the exception of c-sections, which only reduced in the longer term. Further research is needed to examine whether these findings can be generalised to other settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113959DOI Listing
June 2021

Does Ghana's National Health Insurance Scheme provide financial protection to tuberculosis patients and their households?

Soc Sci Med 2021 05 27;277:113875. Epub 2021 Mar 27.

Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.

Financial barriers are a key limitation to accessing health services, such as tuberculosis (TB) care in resource-poor settings. In Ghana, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), established in 2003, officially offers free TB care to those enrolled. Using data from the first Ghana's national TB patient cost survey, we address two key questions 1) what are the key determinants of costs and affordability for TB-affected households, and 2) what would be the impact on costs for TB-affected households of expanding NHIS to all TB patients? We reported the level of direct and indirect costs, the proportion of TB-affected households experiencing catastrophic costs (defined as total TB-related costs, i.e., direct and indirect, exceeding 20% of their estimated pre-diagnosis annual household income), and potential determinants of costs, stratified by insurance status. Regression models were used to determine drivers of costs and affordability. The effect of enrolment into NHIS on costs was investigated through Inverse Probability of Treatment Weighting Analysis. Higher levels of education and income, a bigger household size and an multi-drug resistant TB diagnosis were associated with higher direct costs. Being in a low wealth quintile, living in an urban setting, losing one's job and having MDR-TB increased the odds of experiencing catastrophic costs. There was no evidence to suggest that enrolment in NHIS defrayed medical, non-medical, or total costs, nor mitigated income loss. Even if we expanded NHIS to all TB patients, the analyses suggest no evidence for any impact of insurance on medical cost, income loss, or total cost. An expansion of the NHIS programme will not relieve the financial burden for TB-affected households. Social protection schemes require enhancement if they are to protect TB patients from financial catastrophe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113875DOI Listing
May 2021

Political economy analysis of the performance-based financing programme in Afghanistan.

Glob Health Res Policy 2021 03 10;6(1). Epub 2021 Mar 10.

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Faculty of Public Health and Policy, Department of Global Health and Development, London, UK.

Background: Performance-based financing (PBF) has attracted considerable attention in recent years in low and middle-income countries. Afghanistan's Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) implemented a PBF programme between 2010 and 2015 to strengthen the utilisation of maternal and child health services in primary health facilities. This study aimed to examine the political economy factors influencing the adoption, design and implementation of the PBF programme in Afghanistan.

Methods: Retrospective qualitative research methods were employed using semi structured interviews as well as a desk review of programme and policy documents. Key informants were selected purposively from the national level (n = 9), from the province level (n = 6) and the facility level (n = 15). Data analysis was inductive as well as deductive and guided by a political economy analysis framework to explore the factors that influenced the adoption and design of the PBF programme. Thematic content analysis was used to analyse the data.

Results: The global policy context, and implementation experience in other LMIC, shaped PBF and its introduction in Afghanistan. The MoPH saw PBF as a promise of additional resources needed to rebuild the country's health system after a period of conflict. The MoPH support for PBF was also linked to their past positive experience of performance-based contracting. Power dynamics and interactions between PBF programme actors also shaped the policy process. The PBF programme established a centralised management structure which strengthened MoPH and donor ability to manage the programme, but overlooked key stakeholders, such as provincial health offices and non-state providers. However, MoPH had limited input in policy design, resulting in a design which was not well tailored to the national setting.

Conclusions: This study shows that PBF programmes need to be designed and adapted according to the local context, involving all relevant actors in the policy cycle. Future studies should focus on conducting empirical research to not only understand the multiple effects of PBF programmes on the performance of health systems but also the main political economy dynamics that influence the PBF programmes in different stages of the policy process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s41256-021-00191-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7945625PMC
March 2021

Socioeconomic inequalities in the quality of primary care under Brazil's national pay-for-performance programme: a longitudinal study of family health teams.

Lancet Glob Health 2021 03;9(3):e331-e339

Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Background: Many governments have introduced pay-for-performance programmes to incentivise health providers to improve quality of care. Evidence on whether these programmes reduce or exacerbate disparities in health care is scarce. In this study, we aimed to assess socioeconomic inequalities in the performance of family health teams under Brazil's National Programme for Improving Primary Care Access and Quality (PMAQ).

Methods: For this longitudinal study, we analysed data on the quality of care delivered by family health teams participating in PMAQ over three rounds of implementation: round 1 (November, 2011, to March, 2013), round 2 (April, 2013, to September, 2015), and round 3 (October, 2015, to December, 2019). The primary outcome was the percentage of the maximum performance score obtainable by family health teams (the PMAQ score), based on several hundred (ranging from 598 to 914) indicators of health-care delivery. Using census data on household income of local areas, we examined the PMAQ score by income ventile. We used ordinary least squares regressions to examine the association between PMAQ scores and the income of each local area across implementation rounds, and we did an analysis of variance to assess geographical variation in PMAQ score.

Findings: Of the 40 361 family health teams that were registered as ever participating in PMAQ, we included 13 934 teams that participated in the three rounds of PMAQ in our analysis. These teams were located in 11 472 census areas and served approximately 48 million people. The mean PMAQ score was 61·0% (median 61·8, IQR 55·3-67·9) in round 1, 55·3% (median 56·0, IQR 47·6-63·4) in round 2, and 61·6% (median 62·7, IQR 54·4-69·9) in round 3. In round 1, we observed a positive socioeconomic gradient, with the mean PMAQ score ranging from 56·6% in the poorest group to 64·1% in the richest group. Between rounds 1 and 3, mean PMAQ performance increased by 7·1 percentage points for the poorest group and decreased by 0·8 percentage points for the richest group (p<0·0001), with the gap between richest and poorest narrowing from 7·5 percentage points (95% CI 6·5 to 8·5) to -0·4 percentage points over the same period (-1·6 to 0·8).

Interpretation: Existing income inequalities in the delivery of primary health care were eliminated during the three rounds of PMAQ, plausibly due to a design feature of PMAQ that adjusted financial payments for socioeconomic inequalities. However, there remains an important policy agenda in Brazil to address the large inequities in health.

Funding: UK Medical Research Council, Newton Fund, and CONFAP (Conselho Nacional das Fundações Estaduais de Amparo à Pesquisa).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30480-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7900523PMC
March 2021

A realist review to assess for whom, under what conditions and how pay for performance programmes work in low- and middle-income countries.

Soc Sci Med 2021 02 18;270:113624. Epub 2020 Dec 18.

School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.

Pay for performance (P4P) programmes are popular health system-focused interventions aiming to improve health outcomes in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). This realist review aims to understand how, why and under what circumstance P4P works in LMICs.We systematically searched peer-reviewed and grey literature databases, and examined the mechanisms underpinning P4P effects on: utilisation of services, patient satisfaction, provider productivity and broader health system, and contextual factors moderating these. This evidence was then used to construct a causal loop diagram.We included 112 records (19 grey literature; 93 peer-reviewed articles) assessing P4P schemes in 36 countries. Although we found mixed evidence of P4P's effects on identified outcomes, common pathways to improved outcomes include: community outreach; adherence to clinical guidelines, patient-provider interactions, patient trust, facility improvements, access to drugs and equipment, facility autonomy, and lower user fees. Contextual factors shaping the system response to P4P include: degree of facility autonomy, efficiency of banking, role of user charges in financing public services; staffing levels; staff training and motivation, quality of facility infrastructure and community social norms. Programme design features supporting or impeding health system effects of P4P included: scope of incentivised indicators, fairness and reach of incentives, timely payments and a supportive, robust verification system that does not overburden staff. Facility bonuses are a key element of P4P, but rely on provider autonomy for maximum effect. If health system inputs are vastly underperforming pre-P4P, they are unlikely to improve only due to P4P. This is the first realist review describing how and why P4P initiatives work (or fail) in different LMIC contexts by exploring the underlying mechanisms and contextual and programme design moderators. Future studies should systematically examine health system pathways to outcomes for P4P and other health system strengthening initiatives, and offer more understanding of how programme design shapes mechanisms and effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113624DOI Listing
February 2021

Participatory learning and action cycles with women's groups to prevent neonatal death in low-resource settings: A multi-country comparison of cost-effectiveness and affordability.

Health Policy Plan 2021 Feb;35(10):1280-1289

UCL Institute for Global Health, UCL (University College London), 30 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1EH, UK.

WHO recommends participatory learning and action cycles with women's groups as a cost-effective strategy to reduce neonatal deaths. Coverage is a determinant of intervention effectiveness, but little is known about why cost-effectiveness estimates vary significantly. This article reanalyses primary cost data from six trials in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Malawi to describe resource use, explore reasons for differences in costs and cost-effectiveness ratios, and model the cost of scale-up. Primary cost data were collated, and costing methods harmonized. Effectiveness was extracted from a meta-analysis and converted to neonatal life-years saved. Cost-effectiveness ratios were calculated from the provider perspective compared with current practice. Associations between unit costs and cost-effectiveness ratios with coverage, scale and intensity were explored. Scale-up costs and outcomes were modelled using local unit costs and the meta-analysis effect estimate for neonatal mortality. Results were expressed in 2016 international dollars. The average cost was $203 (range: $61-$537) per live birth. Start-up costs were large, and spending on staff was the main cost component. The cost per neonatal life-year saved ranged from $135 to $1627. The intervention was highly cost-effective when using income-based thresholds. Variation in cost-effectiveness across trials was strongly correlated with costs. Removing discounting of costs and life-years substantially reduced all cost-effectiveness ratios. The cost of rolling out the intervention to rural populations ranges from 1.2% to 6.3% of government health expenditure in the four countries. Our analyses demonstrate the challenges faced by economic evaluations of community-based interventions evaluated using a cluster randomized controlled trial design. Our results confirm that women's groups are a cost-effective and potentially affordable strategy for improving birth outcomes among rural populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czaa081DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7886438PMC
February 2021

The cost-effectiveness of using performance-based financing to deliver the basic package of health services in Afghanistan.

BMJ Glob Health 2020 09;5(9)

Department of Global Health Development, Faculty of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, London, UK.

Performance-based financing (PBF) is a mechanism to improve the quality and the utilisation of health benefit packages. There is a dearth of economic evaluations of PBF in the 'real world'. Afghanistan implemented PBF between 2010 and 2015 and evaluated the programme using a pragmatic cluster-randomised control trial. We conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis of the PBF programme in Afghanistan, compared with the standard of care, from the provider payer's perspective. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of PBF compared with the standard of care was US$1242 per disability-adjusted life year averted; not cost-effective when compared with an opportunity cost threshold of US$349. Incentive payments were the main contributor to PBF financial cost (70%) followed by data verification (23%), staff time (5%) and administration (2%). The unit cost per case of antenatal care (ANC), skilled birth attendance (SBA) and postnatal care (PNC) services in the standard of care was US$0.96 (95% CI 0.92-1.0), US$4.8 (95% CI 4.1-6.3) and US$1.3 (95% CI 1.2-1.4), respectively, whereas the cost of ANC, SBA and PNC services per case in PBF areas were US$4.72 (95% CI 4.68-5.7), US$48.5 (95% CI 48.0-52.5) and US$5.4 (95% CI 5.1-5.9), respectively. To conclude, our study found that PBF, as implemented in the Afghan context, was not the best use of funds to strengthen the delivery of maternal and child health services. The cost-effectiveness of alternative PBF designs needs to be appraised before using PBF at scale to support health benefit packages. PBF needs to be considered in the context of funding the range of constraints that inhibit health service performance improvement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-002381DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7507335PMC
September 2020

Pay for Performance: A Reflection on How a Global Perspective Could Enhance Policy and Research.

Int J Health Policy Manag 2020 09 1;9(9):365-369. Epub 2020 Sep 1.

Health, Organisation, Policy and Economics (HOPE), Centre for Primary Care and Health Service Research, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.

Pay-for-performance (P4P) is the provision of financial incentives to healthcare providers based on pre-specified performance targets. P4P has been used as a policy tool to improve healthcare provision globally. However, researchers tend to cluster into those working on high or low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), with still limited knowledge exchange, potentially constraining opportunities for learning from across income settings. We reflect here on some commonalities and differences in the design of P4P schemes, research questions, methods and data across income settings. We highlight how a global perspective on knowledge synthesis could lead to innovations and further knowledge advancement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.34172/ijhpm.2020.23DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7557422PMC
September 2020

How are pay-for-performance schemes in healthcare designed in low- and middle-income countries? Typology and systematic literature review.

BMC Health Serv Res 2020 Apr 7;20(1):291. Epub 2020 Apr 7.

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Faculty of Public Health and Policy, London, UK.

Background: Pay for performance (P4P) schemes provide financial incentives to health workers or facilities based on the achievement of pre-specified performance targets and have been widely implemented in health systems across low and middle-income countries (LMICs). The growing evidence base on P4P highlights that (i) there is substantial variation in the effect of P4P schemes on outcomes and (ii) there appears to be heterogeneity in incentive design. Even though scheme design is likely a key determinant of scheme effectiveness, we currently lack systematic evidence on how P4P schemes are designed in LMICs.

Methods: We develop a typology to classify the design of P4P schemes in LMICs, which highlights different design features that are a priori likely to affect the behaviour of incentivised actors. We then use results from a systematic literature review to classify and describe the design of P4P schemes that have been evaluated in LMICs. To capture academic publications, Medline, Embase, and EconLit databases were searched. To include relevant grey literature, Google Scholar, Emerald Insight, and websites of the World Bank, WHO, Cordaid, Norad, DfID, USAID and PEPFAR were searched.

Results: We identify 41 different P4P schemes implemented in 29 LMICs. We find that there is substantial heterogeneity in the design of P4P schemes in LMICs and pinpoint precisely how scheme design varies across settings. Our results also highlight that incentive design is not adequately being reported on in the literature - with many studies failing to report key design features.

Conclusions: We encourage authors to make a greater effort to report information on P4P scheme design in the future and suggest using the typology laid out in this paper as a starting point.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05075-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7137308PMC
April 2020

Assessing health system responsiveness in primary health care facilities in Tanzania.

BMC Health Serv Res 2020 Feb 10;20(1):104. Epub 2020 Feb 10.

Department of Public Health, St. Francis University College of Health and Allied Sciences, P. O Box 175, Ifakara, Tanzania.

Background: Health system performance is one of the important components of the health care delivery; its achievement depends on the quality of services rendered and the health system responsiveness of its beneficiaries. Health system responsiveness is a multi-dimensional concept and is usually measured through several domains. Health system responsiveness (HSR) remains to be a key indicator for evaluation of health system performance in any settings. This study aimed at assessing the situation of health system responsiveness in primary health facilities in Tanzania prior to introduction of the Direct Health Facility Financing (DHFF) program.

Methods: This was a cross sectional study conducted between January and February in 2018. We collected data from 42 primary health facilities (14 health centers and 28 dispensaries) where a questionnaire was administered to a total of 422 participants. The questionnaire collected information on attention, respect to dignity, clear communication, autonomy, access to care, respect to confidentiality and basic amenities. Descriptive analysis was done to determine the distribution of the variables whereas ANOVA and linear regression analysis was employed to discern the association between variables.

Results: More than 67% of participants had visited the same health facility more than 5 times. Sixty seven percent of the patients were residing within 5kms from the public primary health care facilities. The geographical access to health care scored the lowest (43.5% for Dispensaries and 36% for Health center) mean as compared to other domains of health system responsiveness. The highest score was in respect to confidentiality (86.7%) followed by respect to dignity (81.4%). Linear regression analysis revealed no statistical association between any of the social demographic features with the overall HSR performances. However, in post hoc analysis, Pwani and Shinyanga regions didn't differ significantly in terms of their performances whereas those two regions differ from all other regions.

Conclusion: Based on the study findings health system responsiveness domains has performed relatively poor in many regions except for respect of dignity and confidentiality scored high of all the domains. Shinyanga and Pwani regions scored relatively well in all domains this could have been due to the effect of Results Based financing (RBF) in the respective regions. All in all the Government and other stakeholders in the health sector they should deliberately invest on the access to care domain as seem to be a challenge as compared to others.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-4961-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7011252PMC
February 2020

Estimates of aid for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health: findings from application of the Muskoka2 method, 2002-17.

Lancet Glob Health 2020 03 5;8(3):e374-e386. Epub 2020 Feb 5.

Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK. Electronic address:

Background: Four methods have previously been used to track aid for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH). At a meeting of donors and stakeholders in May, 2018, a single, agreed method was requested to produce accurate, predictable, transparent, and up-to-date estimates that could be used for analyses from both donor and recipient perspectives. Muskoka2 was developed to meet these needs. We describe Muskoka2 and present estimates of levels and trends in aid for RMNCH in 2002-17, with a focus on the latest estimates for 2017.

Methods: Muskoka2 is an automated algorithm that generates disaggregated estimates of aid for reproductive health, maternal and newborn health, and child health at the global, donor, and recipient-country levels. We applied Muskoka2 to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Creditor Reporting System (CRS) aid activities database to generate estimates of RMNCH disbursements in 2002-17. The percentage of disbursements that benefit RMNCH was determined using CRS purpose codes for all donors except Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the UN Population Fund; and UNICEF; for which fixed percentages of aid were considered to benefit RMNCH. We analysed funding by donor for the 20 largest donors, by recipient-country income group, and by recipient for the 16 countries with the greatest RMNCH need, defined as the countries with the worst levels in 2015 on each of seven health indicators.

Findings: After 3 years of stagnation, reported aid for RMNCH reached $15·9 billion in 2017, the highest amount ever reported. Among donors reporting in both 2016 and 2017, aid increased by 10% ($1·4 billion) to $15·4 billion between 2016 and 2017. Child health received almost half of RMNCH disbursements in 2017 (46%, $7·4 billion), followed by reproductive health (34%, $5·4 billion), and maternal and newborn health (19%, $3·1 billion). The USA ($5·8 billion) and the UK ($1·6 billion) were the largest bilateral donors, disbursing 46% of all RMNCH funding in 2017 (including shares of their core contributions to multilaterals). The Global Fund and Gavi were the largest multilateral donors, disbursing $1·7 billion and $1·5 billion, respectively, for RMNCH from their core budgets. The proportion of aid for RMNCH received by low-income countries increased from 31% in 2002 to 52% in 2017. Nigeria received 7% ($1·1 billion) of all aid for RMNCH in 2017, followed by Ethiopia (6%, $876 million), Kenya (5%, $754 million), and Tanzania (5%, $751 million).

Interpretation: Muskoka2 retains the speed, transparency, and donor buy-in of the G8's previous Muskoka approach and incorporates eight innovations to improve precision. Although aid for RMNCH increased in 2017, low-income and middle-income countries still experience substantial funding gaps and threats to future funding. Maternal and newborn health receives considerably less funding than reproductive health or child health, which is a persistent issue requiring urgent attention.

Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30005-XDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7031705PMC
March 2020

What Happens When Donors Pull Out? Examining Differences in Motivation Between Health Workers Who Recently Had Performance-Based Financing (PBF) Withdrawn With Workers Who Never Received PBF in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Int J Health Policy Manag 2019 11 1;8(11):646-661. Epub 2019 Nov 1.

Faculty of Public Health Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Background: A motivated workforce is necessary to ensure the delivery of high quality health services. In developing countries, performance-based financing (PBF) is often employed to increase motivation by providing financial incentives linked to performance. However, given PBF schemes are usually funded by donors, their long-term financing is not always assured, and the effects of withdrawing PBF on motivation are largely unknown. This cross-sectional study aimed to identify differences in motivation between workers who recently had donor-funded PBF withdrawn, with workers who had not received PBF.

Methods: Quantitative data were collected from 485 health workers in 5 provinces using a structured survey containing questions on motivation which were based on an established motivation framework. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to verify dimensions of motivation, and multiple regression to assess differences in motivation scores between workers who had previously received PBF and those who never had. Qualitative interviews were also carried out in Kasai Occidental province with 16 nurses who had previously or never received PBF.

Results: The results indicated that workers in facilities where PBF had been removed scored significantly lower on most dimensions of motivation compared to workers who had never received PBF. The removal of the PBF scheme was blamed for an exodus of staff due to the dramatic reduction in income, and negatively impacted on relationships between staff and the local community.

Conclusion: Donors and governments unable to sustain PBF or other donor-payments should have clear exit strategies and institute measures to mitigate any adverse effects on motivation following withdrawal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15171/ijhpm.2019.55DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6885854PMC
November 2019

Mathematical modelling for health systems research: a systematic review of system dynamics and agent-based models.

BMC Health Serv Res 2019 Nov 19;19(1):845. Epub 2019 Nov 19.

Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 15-17 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9SH, UK.

Background: Mathematical modelling has been a vital research tool for exploring complex systems, most recently to aid understanding of health system functioning and optimisation. System dynamics models (SDM) and agent-based models (ABM) are two popular complementary methods, used to simulate macro- and micro-level health system behaviour. This systematic review aims to collate, compare and summarise the application of both methods in this field and to identify common healthcare settings and problems that have been modelled using SDM and ABM.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, MathSciNet, ACM Digital Library, HMIC, Econlit and Global Health databases to identify literature for this review. We described papers meeting the inclusion criteria using descriptive statistics and narrative synthesis, and made comparisons between the identified SDM and ABM literature.

Results: We identified 28 papers using SDM methods and 11 papers using ABM methods, one of which used hybrid SDM-ABM to simulate health system behaviour. The majority of SDM, ABM and hybrid modelling papers simulated health systems based in high income countries. Emergency and acute care, and elderly care and long-term care services were the most frequently simulated health system settings, modelling the impact of health policies and interventions such as those targeting stretched and under resourced healthcare services, patient length of stay in healthcare facilities and undesirable patient outcomes.

Conclusions: Future work should now turn to modelling health systems in low- and middle-income countries to aid our understanding of health system functioning in these settings and allow stakeholders and researchers to assess the impact of policies or interventions before implementation. Hybrid modelling of health systems is still relatively novel but with increasing software developments and a growing demand to account for both complex system feedback and heterogeneous behaviour exhibited by those who access or deliver healthcare, we expect a boost in their use to model health systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-019-4627-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6862817PMC
November 2019

Who pays and how much? A cross-sectional study of out-of-pocket payment for modern contraception in Kenya.

BMJ Open 2019 02 20;9(2):e022414. Epub 2019 Feb 20.

Faculty of Epidemiology & Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Objectives: Out-of-pocket (OOP) payment for modern contraception is an understudied component of healthcare financing in countries like Kenya, where wealth gradients in met need have prompted efforts to expand access to free contraception. This study aims to examine whether, among public sector providers, the poor are more likely to receive free contraception and to compare how OOP payment for injectables and implants-two popular methods-differs by public/private provider type and user's sociodemographic characteristics.

Design, Setting And Participants: Secondary analyses of nationally representative, cross-sectional household data from the 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey. Respondents were women of reproductive age (15-49 years). The sample comprised 5717 current modern contraception users, including 2691 injectable and 1073 implant users with non-missing expenditure values.

Main Outcome: Respondent's self-reported source and payment to obtain their current modern contraceptive method.

Methods: We used multivariable logistic regression to examine predictors of free public sector contraception and compared average expenditure for injectable and implant. Quintile ratios examined progressivity of non-zero expenditure by wealth.

Results: Half of public sector users reported free contraception; this varied considerably by method and region. Users of implants, condoms, pills and intrauterine devices were all more likely to report receiving their method for free (p<0.001) compared with injectable users. The poorest were as likely to pay for contraception as the wealthiest users at public providers (OR: 1.10, 95% CI: 0.64 to 1.91). Across all providers, among users with non-zero expenditure, injectable and implant users reported a mean OOP payment of Kenyan shillings (KES) 80 (US$0.91), 95% CI: KES 78 to 82 and KES 378 (US$4.31), 95% CI: KES 327 to 429, respectively. In the public sector, expenditure was pro-poor for injectable users yet weakly pro-rich for implant users.

Conclusions: More attention is needed to targeting subsidies to the poorest and ensuring government facilities are equipped to cope with lost user fee revenue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022414DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6398787PMC
February 2019

Implementation and effectiveness of free health insurance for the poor pregnant women in Tanzania: A mixed methods evaluation.

Soc Sci Med 2019 03 10;225:17-25. Epub 2019 Feb 10.

Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Demand side financing strategies have been a popular means of increasing coverage and availability of effective maternal and child health services in low and middle income countries (LMIC). However, most research to date has focused on the effects of demand side financing on the use and costs of care with less attention being paid to how they work to achieve outcomes. This study used a mixed methods evaluation to determine the effect of a targeted health insurance scheme on access to affordable quality maternal and child care, and assess implementation fidelity and how this affected programme outcomes. Programme effects on service access, affordability and quality were evaluated using difference in difference regression analysis, with outcomes being measured through facility, patient and household surveys and observations of care before the intervention started and eighteen months later. A simultaneous process evaluation was designed as a case study of the implementation experience. A total of 90 in-depth interviews (IDIs) and five focus group discussions were conducted during three rounds of data collection among respondents from management, facility and community. The scheme achieved high coverage among the target population and reduced the amount paid for antenatal and delivery care; however, there was no effect on service coverage and limited effects on quality of care. The lack of programme effects was partly due to the late timing of first antenatal care visits and registration for the scheme together with limited understanding of entitlements among beneficiaries and providers. Better communication of programme benefits is needed to enhance effects together with integration of such schemes within existing purchasing mechanisms and in financially decentralised health systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.02.005DOI Listing
March 2019

Should performance-based incentives be used to motivate health care providers? Views of health sector managers in Cambodia, China and Pakistan.

Health Econ Policy Law 2020 04 31;15(2):247-260. Epub 2019 Jan 31.

Faculty of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

This study qualitatively investigates what factors apart from or in addition to financial incentives can encourage better performance of frontline health care providers. We interviewed health sector managers in Pakistan, Cambodia and China, and they highlighted many potential limitations in the applicability of financial incentives in their contexts. There was a consistent view that providers are not always primarily driven by monetary rewards and that non-monetary rewards - such as recognition from direct supervisors and career development - could have a greater influence on performance. Managers also highlighted several challenges related to the design and implementation of performance management schemes: supervisors may not have performance information necessary to determine which agents to reward; when performance information is available, organisational culture may value other attributes such as social ties or years of experience; finally, concentration of power at higher levels of the health system can reduce supervisors' ability to manage performance, rewards and accountability. Although health sector managers were enthusiastic about measures to improve performance of providers, our study indicated that specific social, cultural and health system factors may mean that non-monetary rewards and structural changes to support a more transparent and meritocratic working environment should also be considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1744133118000506DOI Listing
April 2020

Understanding the implementation of Direct Health Facility Financing and its effect on health system performance in Tanzania: a non-controlled before and after mixed method study protocol.

Health Res Policy Syst 2019 Jan 30;17(1):11. Epub 2019 Jan 30.

Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 15-17 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9SH, United Kingdom.

Background: Globally, good health system performance has resulted from continuous reform, including adaptation of Decentralisation by Devolution policies, for example, the Direct Health Facility Financing (DHFF). Generally, the role of decentralisation in the health sector is to improve efficiency, to foster innovations and to improve quality, patient experience and accountability. However, such improvements have not been well realised in most low- and middle-income countries, with the main reason cited being the poor mechanism for disbursement of funds, which remain largely centralised. The introduction of the DHFF programme in Tanzania is expected to help improve the quality of health service delivery and increase service utilisation resulting in improved health system performance. This paper describes the protocol, which aims to evaluate the effects of DHFF on health system performance in Tanzania.

Methods: An evaluation of the effect of the DHFF programme will be carried out as part of a nationwide programme rollout. A before and after non-controlled concurrent mixed methods design study will be employed to examine the effect of the DHFF programme implementation on the structural quality of maternal health, health facility governing committee governance and accountability, and health system responsiveness as perceived by the patients' experiences. Data will be collected from a nationally representative sample involving 42 health facilities, 422 patient consultations, 54 health workers, and 42 health facility governing committees in seven regions from the seven zones of the Tanzanian mainland. The study is grounded in a conceptual framework centered on the Theory of Change and the Implementation Fidelity Framework. The study will utilise a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data collection tools (questionnaires, focus group discussions, in-depth interviews and documentary review). The study will collect information related to knowledge, acceptability and practice of the programme, fidelity of implementation, structural qualities of maternal and child health services, accountability, governance, and patient perception of health system responsiveness.

Discussion: This evaluation study will generate evidence on both the process and impact of the DHFF programme implementation, and help to inform policy improvement. The study is expected to inform policy on the implementation of DHFF within decentralised health system government machinery, with particular regard to health system strengthening through quality healthcare delivery. Health system responsiveness assessment, accountability and governance of Health Facility Government Committee should bring autonomy to lower levels and improve patient experiences. A major strength of the proposed study is the use of a mixed methods approach to obtain a more in-depth understanding of factors that may influence the implementation of the DHFF programme. This evaluation has the potential to generate robust data for evidence-based policy decisions in a low-income setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12961-018-0400-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6354343PMC
January 2019

Bank accounts for public primary health care facilities: Reflections on implementation from three districts in Tanzania.

Int J Health Plann Manage 2019 Jan 20;34(1):e860-e874. Epub 2018 Nov 20.

Health Systems Department, Ifakara Health Institute, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Health care financing reforms are gaining popularity in a number of African countries to increase financial resources and promote financial autonomy, particularly at peripheral health care facilities. The paper explores the establishment of facility bank accounts at public primary facilities in Tanzania, with the intention of informing other countries embarking on such reform of the lessons learned from its implementation process. A case study approach was used, in which three district councils were purposively sampled. A total of 34 focus group discussions and 14 in-depth interviews were conducted. Thematic content analysis was used during analysis. The study revealed that the main use of bank account revenue was for the purchase of drugs, medical supplies, and minor facility needs. To ensure accountability for funds, health care facilities had to submit monthly reports of expenditures incurred. District managers also undertook quality control of facility infrastructure, which had been renovated using facility resources and purchases of facility needs. Facility autonomy in the use of revenue retained in their accounts would improve the availability of drugs and service delivery. The experienced process of opening facility bank accounts, managing, and using the funds highlights the need to strengthen the capacity of staff and health-governing committees.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hpm.2702DOI Listing
January 2019

Does payment for performance increase performance inequalities across health providers? A case study of Tanzania.

Health Policy Plan 2018 Nov;33(9):1026-1036

Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 15-17 Tavistock Place, London, UK.

The impact of payment-for-performance (P4P) schemes in the health sector has been documented, but there has been little attention to the distributional effects of P4P across health facilities. We examined the distribution of P4P payouts over time and assessed whether increased service coverage due to P4P differed across facilities in Tanzania. We used two service outcomes that improved due to P4P [facility-based deliveries and provision of antimalarials during antenatal care (ANC)], to also assess whether incentive design matters for performance inequalities. We used data from 150 facilities from intervention and comparison areas in January 2012 and 13 months later. Our primary data were gathered through facility survey and household survey, while data on performance payouts were obtained from the programme administrator. Descriptive inequality measures were used to examine the distribution of payouts across facility subgroups. Difference-in-differences regression analyses were used to identify P4P differential effects on the two service coverage outcomes across facility subgroups. We found that performance payouts were initially higher among higher-level facilities (hospitals and health centres) compared with dispensaries, among facilities with more medical commodities and among facilities serving wealthier populations, but these inequalities declined over time. P4P had greater effects on coverage of institutional deliveries among facilities with low baseline performance, serving middle wealth populations and located in rural areas. P4P effects on antimalarials provision during ANC was similar across facilities. Performance inequalities were influenced by the design of incentives and a range of facility characteristics; however, the nature of the service being targeted is also likely to have affected provider response. Further research is needed to examine in more detail the effects of incentive design on outcomes and researchers should be encouraged to report on design aspects in their evaluations of P4P and systematically monitor and report subgroup effects across providers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czy084DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6263023PMC
November 2018

Performance-based financing versus improving salary payments to workers: insights from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

BMJ Glob Health 2018 25;3(5):e000958. Epub 2018 Sep 25.

Global Health Department, Faculty of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2018-000958DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6169662PMC
September 2018

Cost-effectiveness and economies of scale of a mass radio campaign to promote household life-saving practices in Burkina Faso.

BMJ Glob Health 2018 16;3(4):e000809. Epub 2018 Jul 16.

Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Introduction: Child health promotion through mass media has not been rigorously evaluated for cost-effectiveness in low-income and middle-income countries. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of a mass radio campaign on health-seeking behaviours for child survival within a trial in Burkina Faso and at national scale.

Methods: We collected provider cost data prospectively alongside a 35-month cluster randomised trial in rural Burkina Faso in 2012-2015. Out-of-pocket costs of care-seeking were estimated through a household survey. We modelled intervention effects on child survival based on increased care-seeking and estimated the intervention's incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) in terms of the cost per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted versus current practice. Model uncertainty was gauged using one-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. We projected the ICER of national-scale implementation in five sub-Saharan countries with differing media structures. All costs are in 2015 USD.

Results: The provider cost of the campaign was $7 749 128 ($9 146 101 including household costs). The campaign broadcast radio spots 74 480 times and 4610 2-hour shows through seven local radio stations, reaching approximately 2.4 million people including 620 000 direct beneficiaries (pregnant women and children under five). It resulted in an average estimated 24% increase in care-seeking for children under five and a 7% reduction in child mortality per year. The ICER was estimated at $94 ($111 including household costs (95% CI -38 to 320)). The projected provider cost per DALY averted of a national level campaign in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique and Niger in 2018-2020, varied between $7 in Malawi to $27 in Burundi.

Conclusion: This study suggests that mass-media campaigns can be very cost-effective in improving child survival in areas with high media penetration and can potentially benefit from considerable economies of scale.

Trial Registration Number: NCT01517230; Results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2018-000809DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6058168PMC
July 2018

Modelling the effect of a mass radio campaign on child mortality using facility utilisation data and the Lives Saved Tool (LiST): findings from a cluster randomised trial in Burkina Faso.

BMJ Glob Health 2018 16;3(4):e000808. Epub 2018 Jul 16.

Centre for Maternal Adolescent Reproductive and Child Health (MARCH), London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Background: A cluster randomised trial (CRT) in Burkina Faso was the first to demonstrate that a radio campaign increased health-seeking behaviours, specifically antenatal care attendance, health facility deliveries and primary care consultations for children under 5 years.

Methods: Under-five consultation data by diagnosis was obtained from primary health facilities in trial clusters, from January 2011 to December 2014. Interrupted time-series analyses were conducted to assess the intervention effect by time period on under-five consultations for separate diagnosis categories that were targeted by the media campaign. The Lives Saved Tool was used to estimate the number of under-five lives saved and the per cent reduction in child mortality that might have resulted from increased health service utilisation. Scenarios were generated to estimate the effect of the intervention in the CRT study areas, as well as a national scale-up in Burkina Faso and future scale-up scenarios for national media campaigns in five African countries from 2018 to 2020.

Results: Consultations for malaria symptoms increased by 56% in the first year (95% CI 30% to 88%; p<0.001) of the campaign, 37% in the second year (95% CI 12% to 69%; p=0.003) and 35% in the third year (95% CI 9% to 67%; p=0.006) relative to the increase in the control arm. Consultations for lower respiratory infections increased by 39% in the first year of the campaign (95% CI 22% to 58%; p<0.001), 25% in the second (95% CI 5% to 49%; p=0.010) and 11% in the third year (95% CI -20% to 54%; p=0.525). Diarrhoea consultations increased by 73% in the first year (95% CI 42% to 110%; p<0.001), 60% in the second (95% CI 12% to 129%; p=0.010) and 107% in the third year (95% CI 43% to 200%; p<0.001). Consultations for other diagnoses that were not targeted by the radio campaign did not differ between intervention and control arms. The estimated reduction in under-five mortality attributable to the radio intervention was 9.7% in the first year (uncertainty range: 5.1%-15.1%), 5.7% in the second year and 5.5% in the third year. The estimated number of under-five lives saved in the intervention zones during the trial was 2967 (range: 1110-5741). If scaled up nationally, the estimated reduction in under-five mortality would have been similar (9.2% in year 1, 5.6% in year 2 and 5.5% in year 3), equating to 14 888 under-five lives saved (range: 4832-30 432). The estimated number of lives that could be saved by implementing national media campaigns in other low-income settings ranged from 7205 in Burundi to 21 443 in Mozambique.

Conclusion: Evidence from a CRT shows that a child health radio campaign increased under-five consultations at primary health centres for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea (the leading causes of postneonatal child mortality in Burkina Faso) and resulted in an estimated 7.1% average reduction in under-five mortality per year. These findings suggest important reductions in under-five mortality can be achieved by mass media alone, particularly when conducted at national scale.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2018-000808DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6058176PMC
July 2018

Tracking aid for global health goals: a systematic comparison of four approaches applied to reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health.

Lancet Glob Health 2018 08;6(8):e859-e874

Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Background: Four initiatives have estimated the value of aid for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH): Countdown to 2015, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), the Muskoka Initiative, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) policy marker. We aimed to compare the estimates, trends, and methodologies of these initiatives and make recommendations for future aid tracking.

Methods: We compared estimates of aid for RMNCH from the four initiatives for all years available at the time of our analysis (1990-2016). We used publicly available datasets for IHME and Countdown. We produced estimates for Muskoka and the OECD policy marker using data in the OECD Creditor Reporting System. We sought to explain differences in estimates by critically comparing the methods used by each approach to identify and analyse aid, and quantifying the effects of these choices on estimates.

Findings: All four approaches indicated substantial increases over time in global aid for RMNCH, but estimates of aid amounts and year-on-year trends differed substantially, especially for individual donors and recipient countries. Muskoka (US$ 13·0 billion in 2013, constant 2015 US$) and Countdown's RMNCH estimates ($13·1 billion in 2013) tended to be the highest and most similar, although they often indicated different year-on-year trends. IHME produced lower estimates ($10·8 billion in 2013), which often indicated different trends from the other approaches. The OECD policy marker produced by far the lowest estimates ($2·0 billion in 2013) because half of bilateral donors did not report on it consistently and those who did tended to apply it narrowly. Estimates differed across approaches primarily because of differences in methods for distinguishing aid for RMNCH from aid for other purposes; adjustments for inflation, exchange rates, and under-reporting; whether donors were credited for their support to multilateral institutions; and the handling of aid to unspecified recipients.

Interpretation: The four approaches are likely to lead to different conclusions about whether individual donors and recipient countries have fulfilled their obligations and commitments and whether aid was sufficient, targeted to countries with greater need, or effective. We recommend that efforts to track aid for the Sustainable Development Goals reflect their multisectoral and interconnected nature and make analytical choices that are appropriate to their objectives, recognising the trade-offs between simplicity, timeliness, precision, accuracy, efficiency, flexibility, replicability, and the incentives that different metrics create for donors.

Funding: Subgrant OPP1058954 from the US Fund for UNICEF under their Countdown to 2015 for Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30276-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6057137PMC
August 2018

Understanding for whom, why and in what circumstances payment for performance works in low and middle income countries: protocol for a realist review.

BMJ Glob Health 2018 27;3(3):e000695. Epub 2018 Jun 27.

Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Global Health Innovation, Centre for Health Policy, Imperial College, London, UK.

Background: Many low and middle income countries (LMIC) are implementing payment for performance (P4P) schemes to strengthen health systems and make progress towards universal health coverage. A number of systematic reviews have considered P4P effectiveness but did not explore how P4P works in different settings to improve outcomes or shed light on pathways or mechanisms of programme effect. This research will undertake a realist review to investigate how, why and in what circumstances P4P leads to intended and unintended outcomes in LMIC.

Methods: Our search was guided by an initial programme theory of mechanisms and involved a systematic search of Medline, Embase, Popline, Business Source Premier, Emerald Insight and EconLit databases for studies on P4P and health in LMIC. Inclusion and exclusion criteria identify literature that is relevant to the initial programme theory and the research questions underpinning the review. Retained evidence will be used to test, revise or refine the programme theory and identify knowledge gaps. The evidence will be interrogated by examining the relationship between context, mechanisms and intended and unintended outcomes to establish what works for who, in which contexts and why.

Discussion: By synthesising current knowledge on how P4P affects health systems to produce outcomes in different contexts and to what extent the programme design affects this, we will inform more effective P4P programmes to strengthen health systems and achieve sustainable service delivery and health impacts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000695DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6035508PMC
June 2018

Validity of parental recalls to estimate vaccination coverage: evidence from Tanzania.

BMC Health Serv Res 2018 06 13;18(1):440. Epub 2018 Jun 13.

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 15-17 Tavistock Place, WC1H 9SH, London, UK.

Background: The estimates of vaccination coverage are measured from administrative data and from population based survey. While both card-based and recall data are collected through population survey, and the recall is when the card is missing, the preferred estimates remain of the card-based due to limited validity of parental recalls. As there is a concern of missing cards in poor settings, the evidence on validity of parental recalls is limited and varied across vaccine types, and therefore timely and needed. We validated the recalls against card-based data based on population survey in Tanzania.

Methods: We used a cross-sectional survey of about 3000 households with women who delivered in the last 12 months prior to the interview in 2012 from three regions in Tanzania. Data on the vaccination status on four vaccine types were collected using two data sources, card and recall-based. We compared the level of agreement and identified the recall bias between the two data sources. We further computed the sensitivity and specificity of parental recalls, and used a multivariate logit model to identify the determinants of parental recall bias.

Results: Most parents (85.4%) were able to present the vaccination cards during the survey, and these were used for analysis. Although the coverage levels were generally similar across data sources, the recall-based data slightly overestimated the coverage estimates. The level of agreement between the two data sources was high above 94%, with minimal recall bias of less than 6%. The recall bias due to over-reporting were slightly higher than that due to under-reporting. The sensitivity of parental recalls was generally high for all vaccine types, while the specificity was generally low across vaccine types except for measles. The minimal recall bias for DPT and measles were associated with the mother's age, education level, health insurance status, region location and child age.

Conclusion: Parental recalls when compared to card-based data are hugely accurate with minimal recall bias in Tanzania. Our findings support the use of parental recall collected through surveys to identify the child vaccination status in the absence of vaccination cards. The use of recall data alongside card-based estimates also ensures more representative coverage estimates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-018-3270-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5998457PMC
June 2018

How affordable is TB care? Findings from a nationwide TB patient cost survey in Ghana.

Trop Med Int Health 2018 08 25;23(8):870-878. Epub 2018 Jun 25.

Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Objectives: Tuberculosis (TB) is known as a disease of the poor. Despite TB diagnosis and care usually being offered for free, TB patients can still face substantial costs, especially in the context of multi-drug resistance (MDR). The End TB Strategy calls for zero TB-affected families incurring 'catastrophic' costs due to TB by 2025. This paper examines, by MDR status, the level and composition of costs incurred by TB-affected households during care seeking and treatment; assesses the affordability of TB care using catastrophic and impoverishment measures; and describes coping strategies used by TB-affected households to pay for TB care.

Methods: A nationally representative survey of TB patients at public health facilities across Ghana.

Results: We enrolled 691 patients (66 MDR). The median expenditure for non-MDR TB was US$429.6 during treatment, vs. US$659.0 for MDR patients (P-value = 0.001). Catastrophic costs affected 64.1% of patients. MDR patients were pushed significantly further over the threshold for catastrophic payments than DS patients. Payments for TB care led to a significant increase in the proportion of households in the study sample that live below the poverty line at the time of survey compared to pre-TB diagnosis. Over half of patients undertook coping strategies.

Conclusion: TB patients in Ghana incur substantial costs, despite free diagnosis and treatment. High rates of catastrophic costs and coping strategies in both non-MDR and MDR patients show that new policies are urgently needed to ensure TB care is actually affordable for TB patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tmi.13085DOI Listing
August 2018

Donor funding for family planning: levels and trends between 2003 and 2013.

Health Policy Plan 2018 May;33(4):574-582

Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 15-17 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SH, UK.

The International Conference on Population and Development in 1994 set targets for donor funding to support family planning programmes, and recent initiatives such as FP2020 have renewed focus on the need for adequate funding to rights-based family planning. Disbursements supporting family planning disaggregated by donor, recipient country and year are not available for recent years. We estimate international donor funding for family planning in 2003-13, the period covering the introduction of reproductive health targets to the Millennium Development Goals and up to the beginning of FP2020, and compare funding to unmet need for family planning in recipient countries. We used the dataset of donor disbursements to support reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health developed by the Countdown to 2015 based on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Creditor Reporting System. We assessed levels and trends in disbursements supporting family planning in the period 2003-13 and compared this to unmet need for family planning. Between 2003 and 2013, disbursements supporting family planning rose from under $400 m prior to 2008 to $886 m in 2013. More than two thirds of disbursements came from the USA. There was substantial year-on-year variation in disbursement value to some recipient countries. Disbursements have become more concentrated among recipient countries with higher national levels of unmet need for family planning. Annual disbursements of donor funding supporting family planning are far short of projected and estimated levels necessary to address unmet need for family planning. The reimposition of the US Global Gag Rule will precipitate an even greater shortfall if other donors and recipient countries do not find substantial alternative sources of funding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czy006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5894079PMC
May 2018