Publications by authors named "Joy E Lawn"

246 Publications

Impact of early kangaroo mother care versus standard care on survival of mild-moderately unstable neonates <2000 grams: A randomised controlled trial.

EClinicalMedicine 2021 Sep 6;39:101050. Epub 2021 Aug 6.

Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and MARCH Centre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Keppel Street, London, UK.

Background: Understanding the effect of early kangaroo mother care on survival of mild-moderately unstable neonates <2000 g is a high-priority evidence gap for small and sick newborn care.

Methods: This non-blinded pragmatic randomised clinical trial was conducted at the only teaching hospital in The Gambia. Eligibility criteria included weight <2000g and age 1-24 h with exclusion if stable or severely unstable. Neonates were randomly assigned to receive either standard care, including KMC once stable at >24 h after admission (control) versus KMC initiated <24 h after admission (intervention). Randomisation was stratified by weight with twins in the same arm. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality at 28 postnatal days, assessed by intention to treat analysis. Secondary outcomes included: time to death; hypothermia and stability at 24 h; breastfeeding at discharge; infections; weight gain at 28d and admission duration. The trial was prospectively registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT03555981).

Findings: Recruitment occurred from 23rd May 2018 to 19th March 2020. Among 1,107 neonates screened for participation 279 were randomly assigned, 139 (42% male [ = 59]) to standard care and 138 (43% male [ = 59]) to the intervention with two participants lost to follow up and no withdrawals. The proportion dying within 28d was 24% (34/139, control) vs. 21% (29/138, intervention) (risk ratio 0·84, 95% CI 0·55 - 1·29,  = 0·423). There were no between-arm differences for secondary outcomes or serious adverse events (28/139 (20%) for control and 30/139 (22%) for intervention, none related). One-third of intervention neonates reverted to standard care for clinical reasons.

Interpretation: The trial had low power due to halving of baseline neonatal mortality, highlighting the importance of implementing existing small and sick newborn care interventions. Further mortality effect and safety data are needed from varying low and middle-income neonatal unit contexts before changing global guidelines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.101050DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8358420PMC
September 2021

Quantifying long-term health and economic outcomes for survivors of group B Streptococcus invasive disease in infancy: protocol of a multi-country study in Argentina, India, Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa.

Gates Open Res 2020 19;4:138. Epub 2021 Jul 19.

Maternal and Child Health Division, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Sepsis and meningitis due to invasive group B (iGBS) disease during early infancy is a leading cause of child mortality. Recent systematic estimates of the worldwide burden of GBS suggested that there are 319,000 cases of infant iGBS disease each year, and an estimated 147,000 stillbirths and young-infant deaths, with the highest burden occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa.  The following priority data gaps were highlighted: (1) long-term outcome data after infant iGBS, including mild disability, to calculate quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) or disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and (2) economic burden for iGBS survivors and their families. Geographic data gaps were also noted with few studies from low- and middle- income countries (LMIC), where the GBS burden is estimated to be the highest. In this paper we present the protocol for a multi-country matched cohort study designed to estimate the risk of long-term neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI), socioemotional behaviors, and economic outcomes for children who survive invasive GBS disease in Argentina, India, Kenya, Mozambique, and South Africa. Children will be identified from health demographic surveillance systems, hospital records, and among participants of previous epidemiological studies. The children will be aged between 18 months to 17 years. A tablet-based custom-designed application will be used to capture data from direct assessment of the child and interviews with the main caregiver. In addition, a parallel sub-study will prospectively measure the acute costs of hospitalization due to neonatal sepsis or meningitis, irrespective of underlying etiology. In summary, these data are necessary to characterize the consequences of iGBS disease and enable the advancement of effective strategies for survivors to reach their developmental and economic potential. In particular, our study will inform the development of a full public health value proposition on maternal GBS immunization that is being coordinated by the World Health Organization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/gatesopenres.13185.2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8313848PMC
July 2021

Mortality, neurodevelopmental impairments, and economic outcomes after invasive group B streptococcal disease in early infancy in Denmark and the Netherlands: a national matched cohort study.

Lancet Child Adolesc Health 2021 06 21;5(6):398-407. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive & Child Health Centre and Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK. Electronic address:

Background: Group B Streptococcus (GBS) disease is a leading cause of neonatal death, but its long-term effects have not been studied after early childhood. The aim of this study was to assess long-term mortality, neurodevelopmental impairments (NDIs), and economic outcomes after infant invasive GBS (iGBS) disease up to adolescence in Denmark and the Netherlands.

Methods: For this cohort study, children with iGBS disease were identified in Denmark and the Netherlands using national medical and administrative databases and culture results that confirmed their diagnoses. Exposed children were defined as having a history of iGBS disease (sepsis, meningitis, or pneumonia) by the age of 89 days. For each exposed child, ten unexposed children were randomly selected and matched by sex, year and month of birth, and gestational age. Mortality data were analysed with the use of Cox proportional hazards models. NDI data up to adolescence were captured from discharge diagnoses in the National Patient Registry (Denmark) and special educational support records (the Netherlands). Health care use and household income were also compared between the exposed and unexposed cohorts.

Findings: 2258 children-1561 in Denmark (born from Jan 1, 1997 to Dec 31, 2017) and 697 in the Netherlands (born from Jan 1, 2000 to Dec 31, 2017)-were identified to have iGBS disease and followed up for a median of 14 years (IQR 7-18) in Denmark and 9 years (6-11) in the Netherlands. 366 children had meningitis, 1763 had sepsis, and 129 had pneumonia (in Denmark only). These children were matched with 22 462 children with no history of iGBS disease. iGBS meningitis was associated with an increased mortality at age 5 years (adjusted hazard ratio 4·08 [95% CI 1·78-9·35] for Denmark and 6·73 [3·76-12·06] for the Netherlands). Any iGBS disease was associated with an increased risk of NDI at 10 years of age, both in Denmark (risk ratio 1·77 [95% CI 1·44-2·18]) and the Netherlands (2·28 [1·64-3·17]). A history of iGBS disease was associated with more frequent outpatient clinic visits (incidence rate ratio 1·93 [95% CI 1·79-2·09], p<0·0001) and hospital admissions (1·33 [1·27-1·38], p<0·0001) in children 5 years or younger. No differences in household income were observed between the exposed and unexposed cohorts.

Interpretation: iGBS disease, especially meningitis, was associated with increased mortality and a higher risk of NDIs in later childhood. This previously unquantified burden underlines the case for a maternal GBS vaccine, and the need to track and provide care for affected survivors of iGBS disease.

Funding: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Translations: For the Dutch and Danish translations of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(21)00022-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8131199PMC
June 2021

Respectful maternal and newborn care: measurement in one EN-BIRTH study hospital in Nepal.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 Mar 26;21(Suppl 1):228. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

Department of Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University, Dag Hammarskjölds väg 14B, Uppsala, Sweden.

Background: Respectful maternal and newborn care (RMNC) is an important component of high-quality care but progress is impeded by critical measurement gaps for women and newborns. The Every Newborn Birth Indicators Research Tracking in Hospitals (EN-BIRTH) study was an observational study with mixed methods assessing measurement validity for coverage and quality of maternal and newborn indicators. This paper reports results regarding the measurement of respectful care for women and newborns.

Methods: At one EN-BIRTH study site in Pokhara, Nepal, we included additional questions during exit-survey interviews with women about their experiences (July 2017-July 2018). The questionnaire was based on seven mistreatment typologies: Physical; Sexual; or Verbal abuse; Stigma/discrimination; Failure to meet professional standards of care; Poor rapport between women and providers; and Health care denied due to inability to pay. We calculated associations between these typologies and potential determinants of health - ethnicity, age, sex, mode of birth - as possible predictors for reporting poor care.

Results: Among 4296 women interviewed, none reported physical, sexual, or verbal abuse. 15.7% of women were dissatisfied with privacy, and 13.0% of women reported their birth experience did not meet their religious and cultural needs. In descriptive analysis, adjusted odds ratios and multivariate analysis showed primiparous women were less likely to report respectful care (β = 0.23, p-value < 0.0001). Women from Madeshi (a disadvantaged ethnic group) were more likely to report poor care (β = - 0.34; p-value 0.037) than women identifying as Chettri/Brahmin. Women who had caesarean section were less likely to report poor care during childbirth (β = - 0.42; p-value < 0.0001) than women with a vaginal birth. However, babies born by caesarean had a 98% decrease in the odds (aOR = 0.02, 95% CI, 0.01-0.05) of receiving skin-to-skin contact than those with vaginal births.

Conclusions: Measurement of respectful care at exit interview after hospital birth is challenging, and women generally reported 100% respectful care for themselves and their baby. Specific questions, with stratification by mode of birth, women's age and ethnicity, are important to identify those mistreated during care and to prioritise action. More research is needed to develop evidence-based measures to track experience of care, including zero separation for the mother-newborn pair, and to improve monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-03516-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995692PMC
March 2021

Barriers and enablers to routine register data collection for newborns and mothers: EN-BIRTH multi-country validation study.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 Mar 26;21(Suppl 1):233. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

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

Background: Policymakers need regular high-quality coverage data on care around the time of birth to accelerate progress for ending preventable maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths. With increasing facility births, routine Health Management Information System (HMIS) data have potential to track coverage. Identifying barriers and enablers faced by frontline health workers recording HMIS source data in registers is important to improve data for use.

Methods: The EN-BIRTH study was a mixed-methods observational study in five hospitals in Bangladesh, Nepal and Tanzania to assess measurement validity for selected Every Newborn coverage indicators. We described data elements required in labour ward registers to track these indicators. To evaluate barriers and enablers for correct recording of data in registers, we designed three interview tools: a) semi-structured in-depth interview (IDI) guide b) semi-structured focus group discussion (FGD) guide, and c) checklist assessing care-to-documentation. We interviewed two groups of respondents (January 2018-March 2019): hospital nurse-midwives and doctors who fill ward registers after birth (n = 40 IDI and n = 5 FGD); and data collectors (n = 65). Qualitative data were analysed thematically by categorising pre-identified codes. Common emerging themes of barriers or enablers across all five hospitals were identified relating to three conceptual framework categories.

Results: Similar themes emerged as both barriers and enablers. First, register design was recognised as crucial, yet perceived as complex, and not always standardised for necessary data elements. Second, register filling was performed by over-stretched nurse-midwives with variable training, limited supervision, and availability of logistical resources. Documentation complexity across parallel documents was time-consuming and delayed because of low staff numbers. Complete data were valued more than correct data. Third, use of register data included clinical handover and monthly reporting, but little feedback was given from data users.

Conclusion: Health workers invest major time recording register data for maternal and newborn core health indicators. Improving data quality requires standardised register designs streamlined to capture only necessary data elements. Consistent implementation processes are also needed. Two-way feedback between HMIS levels is critical to improve performance and accurately track progress towards agreed health goals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-03517-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995573PMC
March 2021

Uterotonics for prevention of postpartum haemorrhage: EN-BIRTH multi-country validation study.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 Mar 26;21(Suppl 1):230. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

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

Background: Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is a leading cause of preventable maternal mortality worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends uterotonic administration for every woman after birth to prevent PPH. There are no standardised data collected in large-scale measurement platforms. The Every Newborn Birth Indicators Research Tracking in Hospitals (EN-BIRTH) is an observational study to assess the validity of measurement of maternal and newborn indicators, and this paper reports findings regarding measurement of coverage and quality for uterotonics.

Methods: The EN-BIRTH study took place in five hospitals in Bangladesh, Nepal and Tanzania, from July 2017 to July 2018. Clinical observers collected tablet-based, time-stamped data. We compared observation data for uterotonics to routine hospital register-records and women's report at exit-interview survey. We analysed the coverage and quality gap for timing and dose of administration. The register design was evaluated against gap analyses and qualitative interview data assessing the barriers and enablers to data recording and use.

Results: Observed uterotonic coverage was high in all five hospitals (> 99%, 95% CI 98.7-99.8%). Survey-report underestimated coverage (79.5 to 91.7%). "Don't know" replies varied (2.1 to 14.4%) and were higher after caesarean (3.7 to 59.3%). Overall, there was low accuracy in survey data for details of uterotonic administration (type and timing). Register-recorded coverage varied in four hospitals capturing uterotonics in a specific column (21.6, 64.5, 97.6, 99.4%). The average coverage measurement gap was 18.1% for register-recorded and 6.0% for survey-reported coverage. Uterotonics were given to 15.9% of women within the "right time" (1 min) and 69.8% within 3 min. Women's report of knowing the purpose of uterotonics after birth ranged from 0.4 to 64.9% between hospitals. Enabling register design and adequate staffing were reported to improve routine recording.

Conclusions: Routine registers have potential to track uterotonic coverage - register data were highly accurate in two EN-BIRTH hospitals, compared to consistently underestimated coverage by survey-report. Although uterotonic coverage was high, there were gaps in observed quality for timing and dose. Standardisation of register design and implementation could improve data quality and data flow from registers into health management information reporting systems, and requires further assessment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-03420-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995712PMC
March 2021

Birthweight measurement processes and perceived value: qualitative research in one EN-BIRTH study hospital in Tanzania.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 Mar 26;21(Suppl 1):232. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

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

Background: Globally an estimated 20.5 million liveborn babies are low birthweight (LBW) each year, weighing less than 2500 g. LBW babies have increased risk of mortality even beyond the neonatal period, with an ongoing risk of stunting and non-communicable diseases. LBW is a priority global health indicator. Now almost 80% of births are in facilities, yet birthweight data are lacking in most high-mortality burden countries and are of poor quality, notably with heaping especially on values ending in 00. We aimed to undertake qualitative research in a regional hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, observing birthweight weighing scales, exploring barriers and enablers to weighing at birth as well as perceived value of birthweight data to health workers, women and stakeholders.

Methods: Observations were undertaken on type of birthweight scale availability in hospital wards. In-depth semi-structured interviews (n = 21) were conducted with three groups: women in postnatal and kangaroo mother care wards, health workers involved in birthweight measurement and recording, and stakeholders involved in data aggregation in Temeke Hospital, Tanzania, a site in the EN-BIRTH study. An inductive thematic analysis was undertaken of translated interview transcripts.

Results: Of five wards that were expected to have scales, three had functional scales, and only one of the functional scales was digital. The labour ward weighed the most newborns using an analogue scale that was not consistently zeroed. Hospital birthweight data were aggregated monthly for reporting into the health management information system. Birthweight measurement was highly valued by all respondents, notably families and healthcare workers, and local use of data was considered an enabler. Perceived barriers to high quality birthweight data included: gaps in availability of precise weighing devices, adequate health workers and imprecise measurement practices.

Conclusion: Birthweight measurement is valued by families and health workers. There are opportunities to close the gap between the percentage of babies born in facilities and the percentage accurately weighed at birth by providing accurate scales, improving skills training and increasing local use of data. More accurate birthweight data are vitally important for all babies and specifically to track progress in preventing and improving immediate and long-term care for low birthweight children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-03356-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995566PMC
March 2021

Neonatal resuscitation: EN-BIRTH multi-country validation study.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 Mar 26;21(Suppl 1):235. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive & Child Health (MARCH), London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT, UK.

Background: Annually, 14 million newborns require stimulation to initiate breathing at birth and 6 million require bag-mask-ventilation (BMV). Many countries have invested in facility-based neonatal resuscitation equipment and training. However, there is no consistent tracking for neonatal resuscitation coverage.

Methods: The EN-BIRTH study, in five hospitals in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Tanzania (2017-2018), collected time-stamped data for care around birth, including neonatal resuscitation. Researchers surveyed women and extracted data from routine labour ward registers. To assess accuracy, we compared gold standard observed coverage to survey-reported and register-recorded coverage, using absolute difference, validity ratios, and individual-level validation metrics (sensitivity, specificity, percent agreement). We analysed two resuscitation numerators (stimulation, BMV) and three denominators (live births and fresh stillbirths, non-crying, non-breathing). We also examined timeliness of BMV. Qualitative data were collected from health workers and data collectors regarding barriers and enablers to routine recording of resuscitation.

Results: Among 22,752 observed births, 5330 (23.4%) babies did not cry and 3860 (17.0%) did not breathe in the first minute after birth. 16.2% (n = 3688) of babies were stimulated and 4.4% (n = 998) received BMV. Survey-report underestimated coverage of stimulation and BMV. Four of five labour ward registers captured resuscitation numerators. Stimulation had variable accuracy (sensitivity 7.5-40.8%, specificity 66.8-99.5%), BMV accuracy was higher (sensitivity 12.4-48.4%, specificity > 93%), with small absolute differences between observed and recorded BMV. Accuracy did not vary by denominator option. < 1% of BMV was initiated within 1 min of birth. Enablers to register recording included training and data use while barriers included register design, documentation burden, and time pressure.

Conclusions: Population-based surveys are unlikely to be useful for measuring resuscitation coverage given low validity of exit-survey report. Routine labour ward registers have potential to accurately capture BMV as the numerator. Measuring the true denominator for clinical need is complex; newborns may require BMV if breathing ineffectively or experiencing apnoea after initial drying/stimulation or subsequently at any time. Further denominator research is required to evaluate non-crying as a potential alternative in the context of respectful care. Measuring quality gaps, notably timely provision of resuscitation, is crucial for programme improvement and impact, but unlikely to be feasible in routine systems, requiring audits and special studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-03422-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995695PMC
March 2021

Counting on birth registration: mixed-methods research in two EN-BIRTH study hospitals in Tanzania.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 Mar 26;21(Suppl 1):236. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive & Child Health (MARCH) Centre, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), London, WC1E 7HT, UK.

Background: Birth registration marks a child's right to identity and is the first step to establishing citizenship and access to services. At the population level, birth registration data can inform effective programming and planning. In Tanzania, almost two-thirds of births are in health facilities, yet only 26% of children under 5 years have their births registered. Our mixed-methods research explores the gap between hospital birth and birth registration in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Methods: The study was conducted in the two Tanzanian hospital sites of the Every Newborn-Birth Indicators Research Tracking in Hospitals (EN-BIRTH) multi-country study (July 2017-2018). We described the business processes for birth notification and registration and collected quantitative data from women's exit surveys after giving birth (n = 8038). We conducted in-depth interviews (n = 21) to identify barriers and enablers to birth registration among four groups of participants: women who recently gave birth, women waiting for a birth certificate at Temeke Hospital, hospital employees, and stakeholders involved in the national birth registration process. We synthesized findings to identify opportunities to improve birth registration.

Results: Standard national birth registration procedures were followed at Muhimbili Hospital; families received birth notification and were advised to obtain a birth certificate from the Registration, Insolvency, and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) after 2 months, for a fee. A pilot programme to improve birth registration coverage included Temeke Hospital; hand-written birth certificates were issued free of charge on a return hospital visit after 42 days. Among 2500 women exit-surveyed at Muhimbili Hospital, 96.3% reported receiving a birth notification form and nearly half misunderstood this to be a birth certificate. Of the 5538 women interviewed at Temeke Hospital, 33.0% reported receiving any documentation confirming the birth of their child. In-depth interview respondents perceived birth registration to be important but considered both the standard and pilot processes in Tanzania complex, burdensome and costly to both families and health workers.

Conclusion: Birth registration coverage in Tanzania could be improved by further streamlining between health facilities, where most babies are born, and the civil registry. Families and health workers need support to navigate processes to register every child.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-03357-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995691PMC
March 2021

Survey of women's report for 33 maternal and newborn indicators: EN-BIRTH multi-country validation study.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 Mar 26;21(Suppl 1):238. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

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

Background: Population-based household surveys, notably the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), remain the main source of maternal and newborn health data for many low- and middle-income countries. As part of the Every Newborn Birth Indicators Research Tracking in Hospitals (EN-BIRTH) study, this paper focuses on testing validity of measurement of maternal and newborn indicators around the time of birth (intrapartum and postnatal) in survey-report.

Methods: EN-BIRTH was an observational study testing the validity of measurement for selected maternal and newborn indicators in five secondary/tertiary hospitals in Bangladesh, Nepal and Tanzania, conducted from July 2017 to July 2018. We compared women's report at exit survey with the gold standard of direct observation or verification from clinical records for women with vaginal births. Population-level validity was assessed by validity ratios (survey-reported coverage: observer-assessed coverage). Individual-level accuracy was assessed by sensitivity, specificity and percent agreement. We tested indicators already in DHS/MICS as well as indicators with potential to be included in population-based surveys, notably the first validation for small and sick newborn care indicators.

Results: 33 maternal and newborn indicators were evaluated. Amongst nine indicators already present in DHS/MICS, validity ratios for baby dried or wiped, birthweight measured, low birthweight, and sex of baby (female) were between 0.90-1.10. Instrumental birth, skin-to-skin contact, and early initiation of breastfeeding were highly overestimated by survey-report (2.04-4.83) while umbilical cord care indicators were massively underestimated (0.14-0.22). Amongst 24 indicators not currently in DHS/MICS, two newborn contact indicators (kangaroo mother care 1.00, admission to neonatal unit 1.01) had high survey-reported coverage amongst admitted newborns and high sensitivity. The remaining indicators did not perform well and some had very high "don't know" responses.

Conclusions: Our study revealed low validity for collecting many maternal and newborn indicators through an exit survey instrument, even with short recall periods among women with vaginal births. Household surveys are already at risk of overload, and some specific clinical care indicators do not perform well and may be under-powered. Given that approximately 80% of births worldwide occur in facilities, routine registers should also be explored to track coverage of key maternal and newborn health interventions, particularly for clinical care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-03425-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995710PMC
March 2021

Electronic data collection for multi-country, hospital-based, clinical observation of maternal and newborn care: EN-BIRTH study experiences.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 Mar 26;21(Suppl 1):234. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

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

Background: Observation of care at birth is challenging with multiple, rapid and potentially concurrent events occurring for mother, newborn and placenta. Design of electronic data (E-data) collection needs to account for these challenges. The Every Newborn Birth Indicators Research Tracking in Hospitals (EN-BIRTH) was an observational study to assess measurement of indicators for priority maternal and newborn interventions and took place in five hospitals in Bangladesh, Nepal and Tanzania (July 2017-July 2018). E-data tools were required to capture individually-linked, timed observation of care, data extraction from hospital register-records or case-notes, and exit-survey data from women.

Methods: To evaluate this process for EN-BIRTH, we employed a framework organised around five steps for E-data design, data collection and implementation. Using this framework, a mixed methods evaluation synthesised evidence from study documentation, standard operating procedures, stakeholder meetings and design workshops. We undertook focus group discussions with EN-BIRTH researchers to explore experiences from the three different country teams (November-December 2019). Results were organised according to the five a priori steps.

Results: In accordance with the five-step framework, we found: 1) Selection of data collection approach and software: user-centred design principles were applied to meet the challenges for observation of rapid, concurrent events around the time of birth with time-stamping. 2) Design of data collection tools and programming: required extensive pilot testing of tools to be user-focused and to include in-built error messages and data quality alerts. 3) Recruitment and training of data collectors: standardised with an interactive training package including pre/post-course assessment. 4) Data collection, quality assurance, and management: real-time quality assessments with a tracking dashboard and double observation/data extraction for a 5% case subset, were incorporated as part of quality assurance. Internet-based synchronisation during data collection posed intermittent challenges. 5) Data management, cleaning and analysis: E-data collection was perceived to improve data quality and reduce time cleaning.

Conclusions: The E-Data system, custom-built for EN-BIRTH, was valued by the site teams, particularly for time-stamped clinical observation of complex multiple simultaneous events at birth, without which the study objectives could not have been met. However before selection of a custom-built E-data tool, the development time, higher training and IT support needs, and connectivity challenges need to be considered against the proposed study or programme's purpose, and currently available E-data tool options.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-03426-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995708PMC
March 2021

Kangaroo mother care: EN-BIRTH multi-country validation study.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 Mar 26;21(Suppl 1):231. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

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

Background: Kangaroo mother care (KMC) reduces mortality among stable neonates ≤2000 g. Lack of data tracking coverage and quality of KMC in both surveys and routine information systems impedes scale-up. This paper evaluates KMC measurement as part of the Every Newborn Birth Indicators Research Tracking in Hospitals (EN-BIRTH) study.

Methods: The EN-BIRTH observational mixed-methods study was conducted in five hospitals in Bangladesh, Nepal and Tanzania from 2017 to 2018. Clinical observers collected time-stamped data as gold standard for mother-baby pairs in KMC wards/corners. To assess accuracy, we compared routine register-recorded and women's exit survey-reported coverage to observed data, using different recommended denominator options (≤2000 g and ≤ 2499 g). We analysed gaps in quality of provision and experience of KMC. In the Tanzanian hospitals, we assessed daily skin-to-skin duration/dose and feeding frequency. Qualitative data were collected from health workers and data collectors regarding barriers and enablers to routine register design, filling and use.

Results: Among 840 mother-baby pairs, compared to observed 100% coverage, both exit-survey reported (99.9%) and register-recorded coverage (92.9%) were highly valid measures with high sensitivity. KMC specific registers outperformed general registers. Enablers to register recording included perceptions of data usefulness, while barriers included duplication of data elements and overburdened health workers. Gaps in KMC quality were identified for position components including wearing a hat. In Temeke Tanzania, 10.6% of babies received daily KMC skin-to-skin duration/dose of ≥20 h and a further 75.3% received 12-19 h. Regular feeding ≥8 times/day was observed for 36.5% babies in Temeke Tanzania and 14.6% in Muhimbili Tanzania. Cup-feeding was the predominant assisted feeding method. Family support during admission was variable, grandmothers co-provided KMC more often in Bangladesh. No facility arrangements for other family members were reported by 45% of women at exit survey.

Conclusions: Routine hospital KMC register data have potential to track coverage from hospital KMC wards/corners. Women accurately reported KMC at exit survey and evaluation for population-based surveys could be considered. Measurement of content, quality and experience of KMC need consensus on definitions. Prioritising further KMC measurement research is important so that high quality data can be used to accelerate scale-up of high impact care for the most vulnerable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-03423-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995571PMC
March 2021

Antibiotic use for inpatient newborn care with suspected infection: EN-BIRTH multi-country validation study.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 Mar 26;21(Suppl 1):229. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

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

Background: An estimated 30 million neonates require inpatient care annually, many with life-threatening infections. Appropriate antibiotic management is crucial, yet there is no routine measurement of coverage. The Every Newborn Birth Indicators Research Tracking in Hospitals (EN-BIRTH) study aimed to validate maternal and newborn indicators to inform measurement of coverage and quality of care. This paper reports validation of reported antibiotic coverage by exit survey of mothers for hospitalized newborns with clinically-defined infections, including sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia.

Methods: EN-BIRTH study was conducted in five hospitals in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Tanzania (July 2017-July 2018). Neonates were included based on case definitions to focus on term/near-term, clinically-defined infection syndromes (sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia), excluding major congenital abnormalities. Clinical management was abstracted from hospital inpatient case notes (verification) which was considered as the gold standard against which to validate accuracy of women's report. Exit surveys were conducted using questions similar to The Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) approach for coverage of childhood pneumonia treatment. We compared survey-report to case note verified, pooled across the five sites using random effects meta-analysis.

Results: A total of 1015 inpatient neonates admitted in the five hospitals met inclusion criteria with clinically-defined infection syndromes. According to case note verification, 96.7% received an injectable antibiotic, although only 14.5% of them received the recommended course of at least 7 days. Among women surveyed (n = 910), 98.8% (95% CI: 97.8-99.5%) correctly reported their baby was admitted to a neonatal ward. Only 47.1% (30.1-64.5%) reported their baby's diagnosis in terms of sepsis, meningitis, or pneumonia. Around three-quarters of women reported their baby received an injection whilst in hospital, but 12.3% reported the correct antibiotic name. Only 10.6% of the babies had a blood culture and less than 1% had a lumbar puncture.

Conclusions: Women's report during exit survey consistently underestimated the denominator (reporting the baby had an infection), and even more so the numerator (reporting known injectable antibiotics). Admission to the neonatal ward was accurately reported and may have potential as a contact point indicator for use in household surveys, similar to institutional births. Strengthening capacity and use of laboratory diagnostics including blood culture are essential to promote appropriate use of antibiotics. To track quality of neonatal infection management, we recommend using inpatient records to measure specifics, requiring more research on standardised inpatient records.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-03424-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995687PMC
March 2021

Chlorhexidine for facility-based umbilical cord care: EN-BIRTH multi-country validation study.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 Mar 26;21(Suppl 1):239. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

Maternal and Child Health Division, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), 68 Shahid Tajuddin Ahmed Sarani, Mohakhali, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Background: Umbilical cord hygiene prevents sepsis, a leading cause of neonatal mortality. The World Health Organization recommends 7.1% chlorhexidine digluconate (CHX) application to the umbilicus after home birth in high mortality contexts. In Bangladesh and Nepal, national policies recommend CHX use for all facility births. Population-based household surveys include optional questions on CHX use, but indicator validation studies are lacking. The Every Newborn Birth Indicators Research Tracking in Hospitals (EN-BIRTH) was an observational study assessing measurement validity for maternal and newborn indicators. This paper reports results regarding CHX.

Methods: The EN-BIRTH study (July 2017-July 2018) included three public hospitals in Bangladesh and Nepal where CHX cord application is routine. Clinical-observers collected tablet-based, time-stamped data regarding cord care during admission to labour and delivery wards as the gold standard to assess accuracy of women's report at exit survey, and of routine-register data. We calculated validity ratios and individual-level validation metrics; analysed coverage, quality and measurement gaps. We conducted qualitative interviews to assess barriers and enablers to routine register-recording.

Results: Umbilical cord care was observed for 12,379 live births. Observer-assessed CHX coverage was very high at 89.3-99.4% in all 3 hospitals, although slightly lower after caesarean births in Azimpur (86.8%), Bangladesh. Exit survey-reported coverage (0.4-45.9%) underestimated the observed coverage with substantial "don't know" responses (55.5-79.4%). Survey-reported validity ratios were all poor (0.01 to 0.38). Register-recorded coverage in the specific column in Bangladesh was underestimated by 0.2% in Kushtia but overestimated by 9.0% in Azimpur. Register-recorded validity ratios were good (0.9 to 1.1) in Bangladesh, and poor (0.8) in Nepal. The non-specific register column in Pokhara, Nepal substantially underestimated coverage (20.7%).

Conclusions: Exit survey-report highly underestimated observed CHX coverage in all three hospitals. Routine register-recorded coverage was closer to observer-assessed coverage than survey reports in all hospitals, including for caesarean births, and was more accurately captured in hospitals with a specific register column. Inclusion of CHX cord care into registers, and tallied into health management information system platforms, is justified in countries with national policies for facility-based use, but requires implementation research to assess register design and data flow within health information systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-03338-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995704PMC
March 2021

Immediate newborn care and breastfeeding: EN-BIRTH multi-country validation study.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 Mar 26;21(Suppl 1):237. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

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

Background: Immediate newborn care (INC) practices, notably early initiation of breastfeeding (EIBF), are fundamental for newborn health. However, coverage tracking currently relies on household survey data in many settings. "Every Newborn Birth Indicators Research Tracking in Hospitals" (EN-BIRTH) was an observational study validating selected maternal and newborn health indicators. This paper reports results for EIBF.

Methods: The EN-BIRTH study was conducted in five public hospitals in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Tanzania, from July 2017 to July 2018. Clinical observers collected tablet-based, time-stamped data on EIBF and INC practices (skin-to-skin within 1 h of birth, drying, and delayed cord clamping). To assess validity of EIBF measurement, we compared observation as gold standard to register records and women's exit-interview survey reports. Percent agreement was used to assess agreement between EIBF and INC practices. Kaplan Meier survival curves showed timing. Qualitative interviews were conducted to explore barriers/enablers to register recording.

Results: Coverage of EIBF among 7802 newborns observed for ≥1 h was low (10.9, 95% CI 3.8-21.0). Survey-reported (53.2, 95% CI 39.4-66.8) and register-recorded results (85.9, 95% CI 58.1-99.6) overestimated coverage compared to observed levels across all hospitals. Registers did not capture other INC practices apart from breastfeeding. Agreement of EIBF with other INC practices was high for skin-to-skin (69.5-93.9%) at four sites, but fair/poor for delayed cord-clamping (47.3-73.5%) and drying (7.3-29.0%). EIBF and skin-to-skin were the most delayed and EIBF rarely happened after caesarean section (0.5-3.6%). Qualitative findings suggested that focusing on accuracy, as well as completeness, contributes to higher quality with register reporting.

Conclusions: Our study highlights the importance of tracking EIBF despite measurement challenges and found low coverage levels, particularly after caesarean births. Both survey-reported and register-recorded data over-estimated coverage. EIBF had a strong agreement with skin-to-skin but is not a simple tracer for other INC indicators. Other INC practices are challenging to measure in surveys, not included in registers, and are likely to require special studies or audits. Continued focus on EIBF is crucial to inform efforts to improve provider practices and increase coverage. Investment and innovation are required to improve measurement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-03421-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995709PMC
March 2021

Stillbirths including intrapartum timing: EN-BIRTH multi-country validation study.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 Mar 26;21(Suppl 1):226. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive & Child Health (MARCH) Centre, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT, UK.

Background: An estimated >2 million babies stillborn around the world each year lack visibility. Low- and middle-income countries carry 84% of the burden yet have the least data. Most births are now in facilities, hence routine register-recording presents an opportunity to improve counting of stillbirths, but research is limited, particularly regarding accuracy. This paper evaluates register-recorded measurement of hospital stillbirths, classification accuracy, and barriers and enablers to routine recording.

Methods: The EN-BIRTH mixed-methods, observational study took place in five hospitals in Bangladesh, Nepal and Tanzania (2017-2018). Clinical observers collected time-stamped data on perinatal care and birth outcomes as gold standard. To assess accuracy of routine register-recorded stillbirth rates, we compared birth outcomes recorded in labour ward registers to observation data. We calculated absolute rate differences and individual-level validation metrics (sensitivity, specificity, percent agreement). We assessed misclassification of stillbirths with neonatal deaths. To examine stillbirth appearance (fresh/macerated) as a proxy for timing of death, we compared appearance to observed timing of intrauterine death based on heart rate at admission.

Results: 23,072 births were observed including 550 stillbirths. Register-recorded completeness of birth outcomes was > 90%. The observed study stillbirth rate ranged from 3.8 (95%CI = 2.0,7.0) to 50.3 (95%CI = 43.6,58.0)/1000 total births and was under-estimated in routine registers by 1.1 to 7.3 /1000 total births (register: observed ratio 0.9-0.7). Specificity of register-recorded birth outcomes was > 99% and sensitivity varied between hospitals, ranging from 77.7-86.1%. Percent agreement between observer-assessed birth outcome and register-recorded birth outcome was very high across all hospitals and all modes of birth (> 98%). Fresh or macerated stillbirth appearance was a poor proxy for timing of stillbirth. While there were similar numbers of stillbirths misclassified as neonatal deaths (17/430) and neonatal deaths misclassified as stillbirths (21/36), neonatal deaths were proportionately more likely to be misclassified as stillbirths (58.3% vs 4.0%). Enablers to more accurate register-recording of birth outcome included supervision and data use.

Conclusions: Our results show these routine registers accurately recorded stillbirths. Fresh/macerated appearance was a poor proxy for intrapartum stillbirths, hence more focus on measuring fetal heart rate is crucial to classification and importantly reduction in these preventable deaths.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-03238-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995570PMC
March 2021

Birthweight: EN-BIRTH multi-country validation study.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 Mar 26;21(Suppl 1):240. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

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

Background: Accurate birthweight is critical to inform clinical care at the individual level and tracking progress towards national/global targets at the population level. Low birthweight (LBW) < 2500 g affects over 20.5 million newborns annually. However, data are lacking and may be affected by heaping. This paper evaluates birthweight measurement within the Every Newborn Birth Indicators Research Tracking in Hospitals (EN-BIRTH) study.

Methods: The EN-BIRTH study took place in five hospitals in Bangladesh, Nepal and Tanzania (2017-2018). Clinical observers collected time-stamped data (gold standard) for weighing at birth. We compared accuracy for two data sources: routine hospital registers and women's report at exit interview survey. We calculated absolute differences and individual-level validation metrics. We analysed birthweight coverage and quality gaps including timing and heaping. Qualitative data explored barriers and enablers for routine register data recording.

Results: Among 23,471 observed births, 98.8% were weighed. Exit interview survey-reported weighing coverage was 94.3% (90.2-97.3%), sensitivity 95.0% (91.3-97.8%). Register-reported coverage was 96.6% (93.2-98.9%), sensitivity 97.1% (94.3-99%). Routine registers were complete (> 98% for four hospitals) and legible > 99.9%. Weighing of stillbirths varied by hospital, ranging from 12.5-89.0%. Observed LBW rate was 15.6%; survey-reported rate 14.3% (8.9-20.9%), sensitivity 82.9% (75.1-89.4%), specificity 96.1% (93.5-98.5%); register-recorded rate 14.9%, sensitivity 90.8% (85.9-94.8%), specificity 98.5% (98-99.0%). In surveys, "don't know" responses for birthweight measured were 4.7%, and 2.9% for knowing the actual weight. 95.9% of observed babies were weighed within 1 h of birth, only 14.7% with a digital scale. Weight heaping indices were around two-fold lower using digital scales compared to analogue. Observed heaping was almost 5% higher for births during the night than day. Survey-report further increased observed birthweight heaping, especially for LBW babies. Enablers to register birthweight measurement in qualitative interviews included digital scale availability and adequate staffing.

Conclusions: Hospital registers captured birthweight and LBW prevalence more accurately than women's survey report. Even in large hospitals, digital scales were not always available and stillborn babies not always weighed. Birthweight data are being captured in hospitals and investment is required to further improve data quality, researching of data flow in routine systems and use of data at every level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-03355-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995711PMC
March 2021

Preterm care during the COVID-19 pandemic: A comparative risk analysis of neonatal deaths averted by kangaroo mother care versus mortality due to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

EClinicalMedicine 2021 Mar 15;33:100733. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive and Child Health Centre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, United Kingdom.

Background: COVID-19 is disrupting health services for mothers and newborns, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Preterm newborns are particularly vulnerable. We undertook analyses of the benefits of kangaroo mother care (KMC) on survival among neonates weighing ≤2000 g compared with the risk of SARS-CoV-2 acquired from infected mothers/caregivers.

Methods: We modelled two scenarios over 12 months. Scenario 1 compared the survival benefits of KMC with universal coverage (99%) and mortality risk due to COVID-19. Scenario 2 estimated incremental deaths from reduced coverage and complete disruption of KMC. Projections were based on the most recent data for 127 LMICs (~90% of global births), with results aggregated into five regions.

Findings: Our worst-case scenario (100% transmission) could result in 1,950 neonatal deaths from COVID-19. Conversely, 125,680 neonatal lives could be saved with universal KMC coverage. Hence, the benefit of KMC is 65-fold higher than the mortality risk of COVID-19. If recent evidence of 10% transmission was applied, the ratio would be 630-fold. We estimated a 50% reduction in KMC coverage could result in 12,570 incremental deaths and full disruption could result in 25,140 incremental deaths, representing a 2·3-4·6% increase in neonatal mortality across the 127 countries.

Interpretation: The survival benefit of KMC far outweighs the small risk of death due to COVID-19. Preterm newborns are at risk, especially in LMICs where the consequences of disruptions are substantial. Policymakers and healthcare professionals need to protect services and ensure clearer messaging to keep mothers and newborns together, even if the mother is SARS-CoV-2-positive.

Funding: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Elma Philanthropies; Wellcome Trust; and Joint Global Health Trials scheme of Department of Health and Social Care, Department for International Development, Medical Research Council, and Wellcome Trust.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.100733DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7955179PMC
March 2021

Small and sick newborn care during the COVID-19 pandemic: global survey and thematic analysis of healthcare providers' voices and experiences.

BMJ Glob Health 2021 03;6(3)

Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, University of Malawi College of Medicine and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi.

Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting health systems globally. Maternity care disruptions have been surveyed, but not those related to vulnerable small newborns. We aimed to survey reported disruptions to small and sick newborn care worldwide and undertake thematic analysis of healthcare providers' experiences and proposed mitigation strategies.

Methods: Using a widely disseminated online survey in three languages, we reached out to neonatal healthcare providers. We collected data on COVID-19 preparedness, effects on health personnel and on newborn care services, including kangaroo mother care (KMC), as well as disruptors and solutions.

Results: We analysed 1120 responses from 62 countries, mainly low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Preparedness for COVID-19 was suboptimal in terms of guidelines and availability of personal protective equipment. One-third reported routine testing of all pregnant women, but 13% had no testing capacity at all. More than 85% of health personnel feared for their own health and 89% had increased stress. Newborn care practices were disrupted both due to reduced care-seeking and a compromised workforce. More than half reported that evidence-based interventions such as KMC were discontinued or discouraged. Separation of the mother-baby dyad was reported for both COVID-positive mothers (50%) and those with unknown status (16%). Follow-up care was disrupted primarily due to families' fear of visiting hospitals (~73%).

Conclusion: Newborn care providers are stressed and there is lack clarity and guidelines regarding care of small newborns during the pandemic. There is an urgent need to protect life-saving interventions, such as KMC, threatened by the pandemic, and to be ready to recover and build back better.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-004347DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7959239PMC
March 2021

Stillbirth maternity care measurement and associated factors in population-based surveys: EN-INDEPTH study.

Popul Health Metr 2021 Feb 8;19(Suppl 1):11. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

Department of Health Policy, Planning and Management, Makerere University School of Public Health, Kampala, Uganda.

Background: Household surveys remain important sources of maternal and child health data, but until now, standard surveys such as Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) have not collected information on maternity care for women who have experienced a stillbirth. Thus, nationally representative data are lacking to inform programmes to address the millions of stillbirths which occur annually.

Methods: The EN-INDEPTH population-based survey of women of reproductive age was undertaken in five Health and Demographic Surveillance System sites in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau and Uganda (2017-2018). All women answered a full birth history with additional questions on pregnancy losses (FBH+) or full pregnancy history (FPH). A sub-sample, including all women reporting a recent stillbirth or neonatal death, was asked additional maternity care questions. These were evaluated using descriptive measures. Associations between stillbirth and maternal socio-demographic characteristics, babies' characteristics and maternity care use were assessed using a weighted logistic regression model for women in the FBH+ group.

Results: A total of 15,591 women reporting a birth since 1 January 2012 answered maternity care questions. Completeness was very high (> 99%), with similar proportions of responses for both live and stillbirths. Amongst the 14,991 births in the FBH+ group, poorer wealth status, higher parity, large perceived baby size-at-birth, preterm or post-term birth, birth in a government hospital compared to other locations and vaginal birth were associated with increased risk of stillbirth after adjusting for potential confounding factors. Regarding association with reported postnatal care, women with a stillbirth were more likely to report hospital stays of > 1 day. However, women with a stillbirth were less likely to report having received a postnatal check compared to those with a live birth.

Conclusions: Women who had experienced stillbirth were able to respond to questions about pregnancy and birth, and we found no reason to omit questions to these women in household surveys. Our analysis identified several potentially modifiable factors associated with stillbirth, adding to the evidence-base for policy and action in low- and middle-income contexts. Including these questions in DHS-8 would lead to increased availability of population-level data to inform action to end preventable stillbirths.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12963-020-00240-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7869205PMC
February 2021

Neonatal and child mortality data in retrospective population-based surveys compared with prospective demographic surveillance: EN-INDEPTH study.

Popul Health Metr 2021 Feb 8;19(Suppl 1). Epub 2021 Feb 8.

Bandim Health Project, Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.

Background: Global mortality estimates remain heavily dependent on household surveys in low- and middle-income countries, where most under-five deaths occur. Few studies have assessed the accuracy of mortality data or determinants of capturing births in surveys.

Methods: The Every Newborn-INDEPTH study (EN-INDEPTH) included a large, multi-country survey of women aged 15-49 interviewed about livebirths and their survival status in five Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSSs). The HDSSs undertake regular household visits to register births and deaths for a given population. We analysed EN-INDEPTH survey data to assess background factors associated with not recalling a complete date-of-birth. We calculated Kaplan-Meier survival estimates for both survey and HDSS data and describe age-at-death distributions during the past 5 years for children born to the same women. We assessed the proportion of HDSS-births that could be matched on month-of-birth to survey-births and used regression models to identify factors associated with matching.

Results: 69,176 women interviewed in the survey reported 109,817 births and 3064 deaths in children under 5 years in the 5 years prior to the survey. In the HDSS data, the same women had 83,768 registered births and 2335 under-five deaths in the same period. A complete date-of-birth was not reported for 1-7% of survey-births. Birthdates were less likely to be complete for dead children and children born to women of higher parity or with little/no education. Distributions of reported age-at-death indicated heaping at full weeks (neonatal period) and at 12 months. Heaping was more pronounced in the survey data. Survey estimates of under-five mortality rates were similar to HDSS estimates of under-five mortality in two of five sites, higher in the survey in two sites (15%, 41%) and lower (24%) in one site. The proportion of HDSS-births matched to survey-births ranged from 51 to 89% across HDSSs and births of children who had died were less likely to be matched.

Conclusions: Mortality estimates in the survey and HDSS were not markedly different for most sites. However, neither source is a "gold standard" and both sources miss some events. Research is required to improve capture and accuracy to better track newborn and child survival targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12963-020-00232-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7869220PMC
February 2021

Termination of pregnancy data completeness and feasibility in population-based surveys: EN-INDEPTH study.

Popul Health Metr 2021 Feb 8;19(Suppl 1):12. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

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

Background: Termination of pregnancy (TOP) is a common cause of maternal morbidity and mortality in low- and middle-income countries. Population-based surveys are the major data source for TOP data in LMICs but are known to have shortcomings that require improving. The EN-INDEPTH multi-country survey employed a full pregnancy history approach with roster and new questions on TOP and Menstrual Restoration. This mixed methods paper assesses the completeness of responses to questions eliciting TOP information from respondents and reports on practices, barriers, and facilitators to TOP reporting.

Methods: The EN-INDEPTH study was a population-based cross-sectional study. The Full Pregnancy History arm of the study surveyed 34,371 women of reproductive age between 2017 and 2018 in five Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) sites of the INDEPTH network: Bandim, Guinea-Bissau; Dabat, Ethiopia; IgangaMayuge, Uganda; Kintampo, Ghana; and Matlab, Bangladesh. Completeness and time spent in answering TOP questions were evaluated using simple tabulations and summary statistics. Exact binomial 95% confidence intervals were computed for TOP rates and ratios. Twenty-eight (28) focus group discussions were undertaken and analysed thematically.

Results: Completeness of responses regarding TOP was between 90.3 and 100.0% for all question types. The new questions elicited between 2.0% (1.0-3.4), 15.5% (13.9-17.3), and 11.5% (8.8-14.7) lifetime TOP cases over the roster questions from Dabat, Ethiopia; Matlab, Bangladesh; and Kintampo, Ghana, respectively. The median response time on the roster TOP questions was below 1.3 minutes in all sites. Qualitative results revealed that TOP was frequently stigmatised and perceived as immoral, inhumane, and shameful. Hence, it was kept secret rendering it difficult and uncomfortable to report. Miscarriages were perceived to be natural, being easier to report than TOP. Interviewer techniques, which were perceived to facilitate TOP disclosure, included cultural competence, knowledge of contextually appropriate terms for TOP, adaptation to interviewee's individual circumstances, being non-judgmental, speaking a common language, and providing detailed informed consent.

Conclusions: Survey roster questions may under-represent true TOP rates, since the new questions elicited responses from women who had not disclosed TOP in the roster questions. Further research is recommended particularly into standardised training and approaches to improving interview context and techniques to facilitate TOP reporting in surveys.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12963-020-00238-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7869447PMC
February 2021

Gestational age data completeness, quality and validity in population-based surveys: EN-INDEPTH study.

Popul Health Metr 2021 Feb 8;19(Suppl 1):16. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

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

Background: Preterm birth (gestational age (GA) <37 weeks) is the leading cause of child mortality worldwide. However, GA is rarely assessed in population-based surveys, the major data source in low/middle-income countries. We examined the performance of new questions to measure GA in household surveys, a subset of which had linked early pregnancy ultrasound GA data.

Methods: The EN-INDEPTH population-based survey of 69,176 women was undertaken (2017-2018) in five Health and Demographic Surveillance System sites in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau and Uganda. We included questions regarding GA in months (GAm) for all women and GA in weeks (GAw) for a subset; we also asked if the baby was 'born before expected' to estimate preterm birth rates. Survey data were linked to surveillance data in two sites, and to ultrasound pregnancy dating at <24 weeks in one site. We assessed completeness and quality of reported GA. We examined the validity of estimated preterm birth rates by sensitivity and specificity, over/under-reporting of GAw in survey compared to ultrasound by multinomial logistic regression, and explored perceptions about GA and barriers and enablers to its reporting using focus group discussions (n = 29).

Results: GAm questions were almost universally answered, but heaping on 9 months resulted in underestimation of preterm birth rates. Preference for reporting GAw in even numbers was evident, resulting in heaping at 36 weeks; hence, over-estimating preterm birth rates, except in Matlab where the peak was at 38 weeks. Questions regarding 'born before expected' were answered but gave implausibly low preterm birth rates in most sites. Applying ultrasound as the gold standard in Matlab site, sensitivity of survey-GAw for detecting preterm birth (GAw <37) was 60% and specificity was 93%. Focus group findings suggest that women perceive GA to be important, but usually counted in months. Antenatal care attendance, women's education and health cards may improve reporting.

Conclusions: This is the first published study assessing GA reporting in surveys, compared with the gold standard of ultrasound. Reporting GAw within 5 years' recall is feasible with high completeness, but accuracy is affected by heaping. Compared to ultrasound-GAw, results are reasonably specific, but sensitivity needs to be improved. We propose revised questions based on the study findings for further testing and validation in settings where pregnancy ultrasound data and/or last menstrual period dates/GA recorded in pregnancy are available. Specific training of interviewers is recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12963-020-00230-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7869446PMC
February 2021

Count Every Newborn: EN-INDEPTH study to improve pregnancy outcome measurement in population-based surveys.

Popul Health Metr 2021 Feb 8;19(Suppl 1). Epub 2021 Feb 8.

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

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12963-020-00243-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7868673PMC
February 2021

Birth, stillbirth and death registration data completeness, quality and utility in population-based surveys: EN-INDEPTH study.

Popul Health Metr 2021 Feb 8;19(Suppl 1):14. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

IgangaMayuge Health and Demographic Surveillance System, Makerere University Centre for Health and Population Research, Iganga, Uganda.

Background: Birth registration is a child's first right. Registration of live births, stillbirths and deaths is foundational for national planning. Completeness of birth registration for live births in low- and middle-income countries is measured through population-based surveys which do not currently include completeness of stillbirth or death registration.

Methods: The EN-INDEPTH population-based survey of women of reproductive age was undertaken in five Health and Demographic Surveillance System sites in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau and Uganda (2017-2018). In four African sites, we included new/modified questions regarding registration for 1177 stillbirths and 11,881 livebirths (1333 neonatal deaths and 10,548 surviving the neonatal period). Questions were evaluated for completeness of responses, data quality, time to administer and estimates of registration completeness using descriptive statistics. Timing of birth registration, factors associated with non-registration and reported barriers were assessed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression.

Results: Almost all women, irrespective of their baby's survival, responded to registration questions, taking an average of < 1 min. Reported completeness of birth registration was 30.7% (6.1-53.5%) for babies surviving the neonatal period, compared to 1.7% for neonatal deaths (0.4-5.7%). Women were able to report age at birth registration for 93.6% of babies. Non-registration of babies surviving the neonatal period was significantly higher for home-born children (aOR 1.43 (95% CI 1.27-1.60)) and in Dabat (Ethiopia) (aOR 4.11 (95% CI 3.37-5.01)). Other socio-demographic factors associated with non-registration included younger age of mother, more prior births, little or no education, and lower socio-economic status. Neonatal death registration questions were feasible (100% women responded; only 1% did not know), revealing extremely low completeness with only 1.2% of neonatal deaths reported as registered. Despite > 70% of stillbirths occurring in facilities, only 2.5% were reported as registered.

Conclusions: Questions on birth, stillbirth and death registration were feasible in a household survey. Completeness of birth registration is low in all four sites, but stillbirth and neonatal death registration was very low. Closing the registration gap amongst facility births could increase registration of both livebirths and facility deaths, including stillbirths, but will require co-ordination between civil registration systems and the often over-stretched health sector. Investment and innovation is required to capture birth and especially deaths in both facility and community systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12963-020-00231-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7869445PMC
February 2021

Birthweight data completeness and quality in population-based surveys: EN-INDEPTH study.

Popul Health Metr 2021 Feb 8;19(Suppl 1):17. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

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

Background: Low birthweight (< 2500 g) is an important marker of maternal health and is associated with neonatal mortality, long-term development and chronic diseases. Household surveys remain an important source of population-based birthweight information, notably Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and UNICEF's Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS); however, data quality concerns remain. Few studies have addressed how to close these gaps in surveys.

Methods: The EN-INDEPTH population-based survey of 69,176 women was undertaken in five Health and Demographic Surveillance System sites (Matlab-Bangladesh, Dabat-Ethiopia, Kintampo-Ghana, Bandim-Guinea-Bissau, IgangaMayuge-Uganda). Responses to existing DHS/MICS birthweight questions on 14,411 livebirths were analysed and estimated adjusted odds ratios (aORs) associated with reporting weighing, birthweight and heaping reported. Twenty-eight focus group discussions with women and interviewers explored barriers and enablers to reporting birthweight.

Results: Almost all women provided responses to birthweight survey questions, taking on average 0.2 min to answer. Of all babies, 62.4% were weighed at birth, 53.8% reported birthweight and 21.1% provided health cards with recorded birthweight. High levels of heterogeneity were observed between sites. Home births and neonatal deaths were less likely to be weighed at birth (home births aOR 0.03(95%CI 0.02-0.03), neonatal deaths (aOR 0.19(95%CI 0.16-0.24)), and when weighed, actual birthweight was less likely to be known (aOR 0.44(95%CI 0.33-0.58), aOR 0.30(95%CI 0.22-0.41)) compared to facility births and post-neonatal survivors. Increased levels of maternal education were associated with increases in reporting weighing and knowing birthweight. Half of recorded birthweights were heaped on multiples of 500 g. Heaping was more common in IgangaMayuge (aOR 14.91(95%CI 11.37-19.55) and Dabat (aOR 14.25(95%CI 10.13-20.3) compared to Bandim. Recalled birthweights were more heaped than those recorded by card (aOR 2.59(95%CI 2.11-3.19)). A gap analysis showed large missed opportunity between facility birth and known birthweight, especially for neonatal deaths. Qualitative data suggested that knowing their baby's weight was perceived as valuable by women in all sites, but lack of measurement and poor communication, alongside social perceptions and spiritual beliefs surrounding birthweight, impacted women's ability to report birthweight.

Conclusions: Substantial data gaps remain for birthweight data in household surveys, even amongst facility births. Improving the accuracy and recording of birthweights, and better communication with women, for example using health cards, could improve survey birthweight data availability and quality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12963-020-00229-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7869202PMC
February 2021

Barriers and enablers to reporting pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes in population-based surveys: EN-INDEPTH study.

Popul Health Metr 2021 Feb 8;19(Suppl 1):15. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

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

Background: Risks of neonatal death, stillbirth and miscarriage are highest in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where data has most gaps and estimates rely on household surveys, dependent on women reporting these events. Underreporting of pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes (APOs) is common, but few studies have investigated barriers to reporting these in LMICs. The EN-INDEPTH multi-country study applied qualitative approaches to explore barriers and enablers to reporting pregnancy and APOs in surveys, including individual, community, cultural and interview level factors.

Methods: The study was conducted in five Health and Demographic Surveillance System sites in Guinea-Bissau, Ethiopia, Uganda, Bangladesh and Ghana. Using an interpretative paradigm and phenomenology methodology, 28 focus group discussions were conducted with 82 EN-INDEPTH survey interviewers and supervisors and 172 women between February and August 2018. Thematic analysis was guided by an a priori codebook.

Results: Survey interview processes influenced reporting of pregnancy and APOs. Women found questions about APOs intrusive and of unclear relevance. Across all sites, sociocultural and spiritual beliefs were major barriers to women reporting pregnancy, due to fear that harm would come to their baby. We identified several factors affecting reporting of APOs including reluctance to speak about sad memories and variation in recognition of the baby's value, especially for APOs at earlier gestation. Overlaps in local understanding and terminology for APOs may also contribute to misreporting, for example between miscarriages and stillbirths. Interviewers' skills and training were the keys to enabling respondents to open up, as was privacy during interviews.

Conclusion: Sociocultural beliefs and psycho-social impacts of APOs play a large part in underreporting these events. Interviewers' skills, careful tool development and translation are the keys to obtaining accurate information. Reporting could be improved with clearer explanations of survey purpose and benefits to respondents and enhanced interviewer training on probing, building rapport and empathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12963-020-00228-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7869448PMC
February 2021

Electronic data collection in a multi-site population-based survey: EN-INDEPTH study.

Popul Health Metr 2021 Feb 8;19(Suppl 1). Epub 2021 Feb 8.

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

Background: Electronic data collection is increasingly used for household surveys, but factors influencing design and implementation have not been widely studied. The Every Newborn-INDEPTH (EN-INDEPTH) study was a multi-site survey using electronic data collection in five INDEPTH health and demographic surveillance system sites.

Methods: We described experiences and learning involved in the design and implementation of the EN-INDEPTH survey, and undertook six focus group discussions with field and research team to explore their experiences. Thematic analyses were conducted in NVivo12 using an iterative process guided by a priori themes.

Results: Five steps of the process of selecting, adapting and implementing electronic data collection in the EN-INDEPTH study are described. Firstly, we reviewed possible electronic data collection platforms, and selected the World Bank's Survey Solutions® as the most suited for the EN-INDEPTH study. Secondly, the survey questionnaire was coded and translated into local languages, and further context-specific adaptations were made. Thirdly, data collectors were selected and trained using standardised manual. Training varied between 4.5 and 10 days. Fourthly, instruments were piloted in the field and the questionnaires finalised. During data collection, data collectors appreciated the built-in skip patterns and error messages. Internet connection unreliability was a challenge, especially for data synchronisation. For the fifth and final step, data management and analyses, it was considered that data quality was higher and less time was spent on data cleaning. The possibility to use paradata to analyse survey timing and corrections was valued. Synchronisation and data transfer should be given special consideration.

Conclusion: We synthesised experiences using electronic data collection in a multi-site household survey, including perceived advantages and challenges. Our recommendations for others considering electronic data collection include ensuring adaptations of tools to local context, piloting/refining the questionnaire in one site first, buying power banks to mitigate against power interruption and paying attention to issues such as GPS tracking and synchronisation, particularly in settings with poor internet connectivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12963-020-00226-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7869201PMC
February 2021

Paradata analyses to inform population-based survey capture of pregnancy outcomes: EN-INDEPTH study.

Popul Health Metr 2021 Feb 8;19(Suppl 1):10. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

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

Background: Paradata are (timestamped) records tracking the process of (electronic) data collection. We analysed paradata from a large household survey of questions capturing pregnancy outcomes to assess performance (timing and correction processes). We examined how paradata can be used to inform and improve questionnaire design and survey implementation in nationally representative household surveys, the major source for maternal and newborn health data worldwide.

Methods: The EN-INDEPTH cross-sectional population-based survey of women of reproductive age in five Health and Demographic Surveillance System sites (in Bangladesh, Guinea-Bissau, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Uganda) randomly compared two modules to capture pregnancy outcomes: full pregnancy history (FPH) and the standard DHS-7 full birth history (FBH+). We used paradata related to answers recorded on tablets using the Survey Solutions platform. We evaluated the difference in paradata entries between the two reproductive modules and assessed which question characteristics (type, nature, structure) affect answer correction rates, using regression analyses. We also proposed and tested a new classification of answer correction types.

Results: We analysed 3.6 million timestamped entries from 65,768 interviews. 83.7% of all interviews had at least one corrected answer to a question. Of 3.3 million analysed questions, 7.5% had at least one correction. Among corrected questions, the median number of corrections was one, regardless of question characteristics. We classified answer corrections into eight types (no correction, impulsive, flat (simple), zigzag, flat zigzag, missing after correction, missing after flat (zigzag) correction, missing/incomplete). 84.6% of all corrections were judged not to be problematic with a flat (simple) mistake correction. Question characteristics were important predictors of probability to make answer corrections, even after adjusting for respondent's characteristics and location, with interviewer clustering accounted as a fixed effect. Answer correction patterns and types were similar between FPH and FBH+, as well as the overall response duration. Avoiding corrections has the potential to reduce interview duration and reproductive module completion by 0.4 min.

Conclusions: The use of questionnaire paradata has the potential to improve measurement and the resultant quality of electronic data. Identifying sections or specific questions with multiple corrections sheds light on typically hidden challenges in the survey's content, process, and administration, allowing for earlier real-time intervention (e.g.,, questionnaire content revision or additional staff training). Given the size and complexity of paradata, additional time, data management, and programming skills are required to realise its potential.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12963-020-00241-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7869213PMC
February 2021

Pregnancy intention data completeness, quality and utility in population-based surveys: EN-INDEPTH study.

Popul Health Metr 2021 Feb 8;19(Suppl 1). Epub 2021 Feb 8.

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

Background: An estimated 40% of pregnancies globally are unintended. Measurement of pregnancy intention in low- and middle-income countries relies heavily on surveys, notably Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), yet few studies have evaluated survey questions. We examined questions for measuring pregnancy intention, which are already in the DHS, and additional questions and investigated associations with maternity care utilisation and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Methods: The EN-INDEPTH study surveyed 69,176 women of reproductive age in five Health and Demographic Surveillance System sites in Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Ethiopia, Uganda and Bangladesh (2017-2018). We investigated responses to survey questions regarding pregnancy intention in two ways: (i) pregnancy-specific intention and (ii) desired-versus-actual family size. We assessed data completeness for each and level of agreement between the two questions, and with future fertility desire. We analysed associations between pregnancy intention and number and timing of antenatal care visits, place of delivery, and stillbirth, neonatal death and low birthweight.

Results: Missing data were <2% in all questions. Responses to pregnancy-specific questions were more consistent with future fertility desire than desired-versus-actual family size responses. Using the pregnancy-specific questions, 7.4% of women who reported their last pregnancy as unwanted reported wanting more children in the future, compared with 45.1% of women in the corresponding desired family size category. Women reporting unintended pregnancies were less likely to attend 4+ antenatal care visits (aOR 0.73, 95% CI 0.64-0.83), have their first visit during the first trimester (aOR 0.71, 95% CI 0.63-0.79), and report stillbirths (aOR 0.57, 95% CI 0.44-0.73) or neonatal deaths (aOR 0.79, 95% CI 0.64-0.96), compared with women reporting intended pregnancies. We found no associations for desired-versus-actual family size intention.

Conclusions: We found the pregnancy-specific intention questions to be a much more reliable assessment of pregnancy intention than the desired-versus-actual family size questions, despite a reluctance to report pregnancies as unwanted rather than mistimed. The additional questions were useful and may complement current DHS questions, although these are not the only possibilities. As women with unintended pregnancies were more likely to miss timely and frequent antenatal care, implementation research is required to improve coverage and quality of care for those women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12963-020-00227-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7869206PMC
February 2021
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