Publications by authors named "Kondwani Kawaza"

35 Publications

Mothers' quality of life delivering kangaroo mother care at Malawian hospitals: a qualitative study.

Health Qual Life Outcomes 2021 Jul 28;19(1):186. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Blantyre, Malawi.

Introduction: Kangaroo mother care is known to help save the lives of preterm and low birthweight infants, particularly in resource-limited health settings, yet barriers to implementation have been documented. Mothers and their families are very involved in the process of providing kangaroo mother care and the impact on their well-being has not been well explored. The objective of this research was to investigate the perspectives and experiences of a mother's quality of life while delivering facility-based kangaroo mother care.

Methods: This study is a secondary analysis of the qualitative data collected within the "Integrating a neonatal healthcare package for Malawi" project. Twenty-seven health workers and 24 caregivers engaged with kangaroo mother care at four hospitals in southern Malawi were interviewed between May-August 2019. All interviews were face-to-face and followed a topic guide. Content analysis was conducted on NVivo 12 (QSR International, Melbourne, Australia) based on the six World Health Organization Quality of Life domains (physical, psychological, level of independence, social relationships, environment, spirituality).

Results: Fifty-one interviews were conducted with 24 caregivers and 14 health workers. Mothers experienced multidimensional challenges to their quality of life while delivering facility-based KMC. Though kangaroo mother care was considered a simple intervention, participants highlighted that continuous kangaroo mother care was difficult to practice. Kangaroo mother care was an exhausting experience for mothers due to being in one position for prolonged periods, compromised sleep, restricted movement, boredom, and isolation during their stay at the hospital as well as poor support for daily living needs such as food.

Discussion: A heavy burden is placed on mothers who become the key person responsible for care during kangaroo mother care, especially in resource-limited health settings. More focus is needed on supporting caregivers during the delivery of kangaroo mother care through staff support, family inclusion, and conducive infrastructure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12955-021-01823-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8317316PMC
July 2021

Facility assessment and qualitative analysis of health worker perspectives on neonatal health in Malawi.

BMC Res Notes 2021 Jul 12;14(1):267. Epub 2021 Jul 12.

Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Blantyre, Malawi.

Objectives: The "Integrating a neonatal healthcare package for Malawi" (IMCHA#108030) project conducted mixed-methods to understand facility-based implementation factors for newborn health innovations in low-resourced health settings. The objective of the two datasets was to evaluate: (a) capacity of quality newborn care in three districts in southern Malawi, and (b) barriers and facilitators the scale up of bubble continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a newborn health innovation to support babies with respiratory distress.

Data Description: The Integrated Maternal, Neonatal and Child Quality of Care Assessment and Improvement Tool (version April-2014) is a standardized facility assessment tool developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) that examines quality as well as quantity and availability. The facility survey is complemented by a qualitative dataset of illustrative quotes from health service providers and supervisors on bubble CPAP implementation factors. Research was conducted in one primary health centre (facility assessment only), three district-level hospitals (both) and a tertiary hospital (qualitative only) in southern Malawi. These datasets may be used by other researchers for insights into health systems of low-income countries and implementation factors for the roll-out of neonatal health innovations as well as to frame future research questions or preliminary exploratory research on similar topics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13104-021-05679-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8273934PMC
July 2021

Barriers and facilitators for early and exclusive breastfeeding in health facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review.

Glob Health Res Policy 2021 Jul 6;6(1):21. Epub 2021 Jul 6.

Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Blantyre, Malawi.

Background: Sub-Saharan Africa carries a disproportionate burden of under-five child deaths in the world and appropriate breastfeeding practices can support efforts to reduce child mortality rates. Health facilities are important in the promotion of early and exclusive breastfeeding. The purpose of this review was to examine facility-based barriers and facilitators to early and exclusive breastfeeding in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods: A systematic search was conducted on Medline, Web of Science, CINAHL, African Journals Online and African Index Medicus from database inception to April 29, 2021 and primary research studies on breastfeeding practices in health facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa were included in the review. We assessed qualitative studies with the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Qualitative Checklist and quantitative studies using the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute tool. The review protocol was registered to Prospero prior to conducting the review (CRD42020167414).

Results: Of the 56 included studies, relatively few described health facility infrastructure and supplies-related issues (5, 11%) while caregiver factors were frequently described (35, 74%). Facility-based breastfeeding policies and guidelines were frequently available but challenged by implementation gaps, especially at lower health service levels. Facilitators included positive caregiver and health worker attitudes, knowledge and support during the postpartum period. Current studies have focused on caregiver factors, particularly around their knowledge and attitudes, while health facility infrastructure and supplies factors appear to be growing concerns, such as overcrowding and lack of privacy during breastfeeding counselling that lowers the openness and comfort of mothers especially those HIV-positive.

Conclusion: There has been a dramatic rise in rates of facility births in Sub-Saharan Africa, which must be taken into account when considering the capacities of health facilities to support breastfeeding practices. As the number of facility births rise in Sub-Saharan Africa, so does the responsibility of skilled healthcare workers to provide the necessary breastfeeding support and advice to caregivers. Our review highlighted that health facility infrastructure, supplies and staffing appears to be a neglected area in breastfeeding promotion and a need to strengthen respectful maternity care in the delivery of breastfeeding counselling, particularly in supporting HIV-positive mothers within the context of Sub-Saharan Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s41256-021-00206-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8259208PMC
July 2021

Immediate "Kangaroo Mother Care" and Survival of Infants with Low Birth Weight.

N Engl J Med 2021 05;384(21):2028-2038

The affiliations of the members of the writing committee are as follows: the Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health, and Ageing, World Health Organization, Geneva (S.P.N.R., S.Y., N.M., H.V.J., H.T., R.B.); Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital (S.A., P.M., N.C., J.S., P.A., K.N., I.S., K.C.A., H.C.) and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (M.J.S.), New Delhi, and Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad (N.W.) - all in India; Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (H.N., E.A., A.M.) and Muhimbili National Hospital (M.N., R.M.) - both in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; the University of Malawi, College of Medicine, Blantyre, Malawi (K.K., L.G., A.T.M., V.S., Q.D.); Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria (C.H.A., O.K., B.P.K., E.A.A.); Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (S.N., R.L.-R., D.A., G.P.-R.) and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (A.B.-Y., N.W.-B., I.N.), Kumasi, and the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Accra (A.A.M.) - all in Ghana; Karolinska University Hospital (A.L.) and Karolinska Institute (N.B., A.L., B.W.), Stockholm; the Institute for Safety Governance and Criminology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa (B.M.); and Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger, Norway (S.R.).

Background: "Kangaroo mother care," a type of newborn care involving skin-to-skin contact with the mother or other caregiver, reduces mortality in infants with low birth weight (<2.0 kg) when initiated after stabilization, but the majority of deaths occur before stabilization. The safety and efficacy of kangaroo mother care initiated soon after birth among infants with low birth weight are uncertain.

Methods: We conducted a randomized, controlled trial in five hospitals in Ghana, India, Malawi, Nigeria, and Tanzania involving infants with a birth weight between 1.0 and 1.799 kg who were assigned to receive immediate kangaroo mother care (intervention) or conventional care in an incubator or a radiant warmer until their condition stabilized and kangaroo mother care thereafter (control). The primary outcomes were death in the neonatal period (the first 28 days of life) and in the first 72 hours of life.

Results: A total of 3211 infants and their mothers were randomly assigned to the intervention group (1609 infants with their mothers) or the control group (1602 infants with their mothers). The median daily duration of skin-to-skin contact in the neonatal intensive care unit was 16.9 hours (interquartile range, 13.0 to 19.7) in the intervention group and 1.5 hours (interquartile range, 0.3 to 3.3) in the control group. Neonatal death occurred in the first 28 days in 191 infants in the intervention group (12.0%) and in 249 infants in the control group (15.7%) (relative risk of death, 0.75; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.64 to 0.89; P = 0.001); neonatal death in the first 72 hours of life occurred in 74 infants in the intervention group (4.6%) and in 92 infants in the control group (5.8%) (relative risk of death, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.58 to 1.04; P = 0.09). The trial was stopped early on the recommendation of the data and safety monitoring board owing to the finding of reduced mortality among infants receiving immediate kangaroo mother care.

Conclusions: Among infants with a birth weight between 1.0 and 1.799 kg, those who received immediate kangaroo mother care had lower mortality at 28 days than those who received conventional care with kangaroo mother care initiated after stabilization; the between-group difference favoring immediate kangaroo mother care at 72 hours was not significant. (Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry number, ACTRN12618001880235; Clinical Trials Registry-India number, CTRI/2018/08/015369.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2026486DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8108485PMC
May 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

Barriers and facilitators of facility-based kangaroo mother care in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 Mar 4;21(1):176. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Blantyre, Malawi.

Background: Hospital-based kangaroo mother care can help reduce preventable newborn deaths and has been recommended by the World Health Organization in the care of low birthweight babies weighing 2000 g or less. However, implementation has been limited. The objective of this review is to understand the barriers and facilitators of kangaroo mother care implementation in health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa, where there are the highest rates of neonatal mortality in the world.

Methods: A systematic search was performed on MEDLINE, Web of Science, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, African Journals Online, African Index Medicus as well as the references of relevant articles. Inclusion criteria included primary research, facility-based kangaroo mother care in sub-Saharan Africa. Studies were assessed by the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Qualitative Checklist and the National Institutes of Health quality assessment tools and underwent narrative synthesis.

Results: Thirty studies were included in the review. This review examined barriers and facilitators to kangaroo mother care practice at health systems level, health worker experiences and perspectives of mothers and their families. Strong local leadership was essential to overcome barriers of inadequate space, limited budget for supplies, inadequate staffing, lack of guidelines and policies and insufficient supportive supervision. Workload burdens, knowledge gaps and staff attitudes were highlighted as challenges at health workers' level, which could be supported by sharing of best practices and success stories. Support for mothers and their families was also identified as a gap.

Conclusion: Building momentum for kangaroo mother care in health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa continues to be a challenge. Strengthening health systems and communication, prioritizing preterm infant care in public health strategies and supporting health workers and mothers and their families as partners in care are important to scale up. This will support sustainable kangaroo mother care implementation as well as strengthen quality of newborn care overall. PROSPERO registration: CRD42020166742.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-021-03646-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7934357PMC
March 2021

"So sometimes, it looks like it's a neglected ward": Health worker perspectives on implementing kangaroo mother care in southern Malawi.

PLoS One 2020 17;15(12):e0243770. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Department of Health Systems and Policy, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Blantyre, Malawi.

Introduction: Kangaroo mother care (KMC) involves continuous skin-to-skin contact of baby on mother's chest to provide warmth, frequent breastfeeding, recognizing danger signs of illness, and early discharge. Though KMC is safe, effective and recommended by the World Health Organization, implementation remains limited in practice. The objective of this study is to understand barriers and facilitators to KMC practice at tertiary and secondary health facilities in southern Malawi from the perspective of health workers.

Methods: This study is part of the "Integrating a neonatal healthcare package for Malawi" project in the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa initiative. In-depth interviews were conducted between May-Aug 2019 with a purposively drawn sample of service providers and supervisors working in newborn health at a large tertiary hospital and three district-level hospitals in southern Malawi. Data were analyzed using a thematic approach using NVivo 12 software (QSR International, Melbourne, Australia).

Findings: A total of 27 nurses, clinical officers, paediatricians and district health management officials were interviewed. Staff attitudes, inadequate resources and reliance on families emerged as key themes. Health workers from Malawi described KMC practice positively as a low-cost, low-technology solution appropriate for resource-constrained health settings. However, staff perceptions that KMC babies were clinically stable was associated with lower prioritization in care and poor monitoring practices. Neglect of the KMC ward by medical staff, inadequate staffing and reliance on caregivers for supplies were associated with women self-discharging early.

Conclusion: Though routine uptake of KMC was policy for stable low birthweight and preterm infants in the four hospitals, there were gaps in monitoring and maintenance of practice. While conceptualized as a low-cost intervention, sustainable implementation requires investments in technologies, staffing and hospital provisioning of basic supplies such as food, bedding, and KMC wraps. Strengthening hospital capacities to support KMC is needed as part of a continuum of care for premature infants.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0243770PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7746165PMC
January 2021

Scaling up newborn care technologies from tertiary- to secondary-level hospitals in Malawi: an implementation case study of health professional perspectives on bubble CPAP.

Implement Sci Commun 2020 Nov 4;1(1):100. Epub 2020 Nov 4.

School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Department of Health Systems and Policy, College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Blantyre, Malawi.

Background: While Malawi has achieved success in reducing overall under-five mortality, reduction of neonatal mortality remains a persistent challenge. There has, therefore, been a push to strengthen the capacity for quality newborn care at district hospitals through the implementation of innovative neonatal technologies such as bubble continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This study investigates tertiary- versus secondary-level hospital differences in capacities for bubble CPAP use and implications for implementation policies.

Methods: A secondary analysis of interviews was conducted with 46 health workers at one tertiary hospital and three secondary hospitals in rural Southern Malawi. Grounded theory was utilized to explore the emerging themes according to health worker cadres (nurse, clinician, district health management) and facility level (tertiary- and secondary-level facilities), which were managed using NVivo 12 (QSR International, Melbourne, Australia).

Results: We identified frequent CPAP use and the availability of neonatal nurses, physicians, and reliable electricity as facilitators for CPAP use at the tertiary hospital. Barriers at the tertiary hospital included initiation eligibility disagreements between clinicians and nurses and insufficient availability of the CPAP machines. At secondary-level hospitals, the use was supported by decision-making and initiation by nurses, involving caretakers to assist in monitoring and reliable availability of CPAP machines. Bubble CPAP was hindered by unreliable electricity, staffing shortages and rotation policies, and poor systems of accountability.

Conclusion: While this study looked at the implementation of bubble CPAP in Malawi, the findings may be applicable for scaling up other novel neonatal technologies in low-resource settings. Implementation policies must consider staffing and management structures at different health services levels for effective scale-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s43058-020-00092-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7640662PMC
November 2020

"It brought hope and peace in my heart:" Caregivers perceptions on kangaroo mother care services in Malawi.

BMC Pediatr 2020 12 2;20(1):541. Epub 2020 Dec 2.

College of Medicine, IMCHA Project, Blantyre, Malawi.

Background: Kangaroo mother care (KMC) is an effective intervention for preterm and low birth weight infants. Effective implementation of KMC relies on a multidisciplinary team centering on the newborn's caregiver, who delivers care with support from health care workers. This study explored the experiences of caregivers on the implementation of KMC.

Methods: We conducted a descriptive qualitative study in the phenomenological tradition, an interpretative approach to describe the caregivers' lived experience with KMC at four health facilities in Malawi from April and June 2019 through 10 non-participatory observations and 24 face-to-face interviews. We drew a purposive sample of 14 mothers, six fathers, three grandmothers, and one grandfather of infants receiving KMC in three secondary and one tertiary level hospitals. Data were analyzed following a thematic approach.

Results: Caregivers had limited information on KMC before admission with most of the information learned from peers rather than medical professionals. Stories of positive outcomes following KMC contributed to a shift in perceptions of premature babies and acceptability of KMC as an effective intervention. Unintended consequences resulting from admission due to KMC disrupts responsibilities around the home and disrupts economic activities. Gender division of roles exists with the implementation of KMC and a mother's support networks are crucial.

Conclusion: Kangaroo mother care is feasible and acceptable among caregivers. KMC babies are described more positively with the potential to grow into strong and healthy children. KMC remains focused on the mother, which undervalues the important roles of her support network. A change in the nomenclature from kangaroo mother care to kangaroo care would include fathers and others delivering care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12887-020-02443-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7709227PMC
December 2020

SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Pregnant Women and Their Newborns.

Ann Glob Health 2020 10 8;86(1):132. Epub 2020 Oct 8.

Paediatric Infectious Diseases Research Group, Institute for Infection and Immunity, St George's, University of London, UK.

There remain a number of uncertainties globally about the risks posed to women who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy. Furthermore, our understanding of the spread of COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa is limited, owing to low testing rates in many parts of the continent. PeriCOVID Africa, in conjunction with the WHO/HRP Alliance, plans to address these knowledge gaps by harnessing research infrastructures in place in five sub-Saharan African countries in order to screen more than 50,000 pregnant women and their infants for SARS-CoV-2, while monitoring pregnancy and neonatal outcomes. We anticipate that the results of this study will provide much needed information about the risks that SARS-CoV-2 poses to pregnant women and their babies, as well as establishing potential routes of mother-to-child transmission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/aogh.3072DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7546109PMC
October 2020

Evaluation of a continuous neonatal temperature monitor for low-resource settings: a device feasibility pilot study.

BMJ Paediatr Open 2020 7;4(1):e000655. Epub 2020 May 7.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Malawi College of Medicine, Blantyre, Southern Region, Malawi.

Objective: Evaluate a novel continuous temperature monitor in a low-resource neonatal ward.

Design: We developed a low-cost continuous neonatal temperature monitor (NTM) for use in low-resource settings. Accuracy of NTM was initially assessed in the laboratory. Clinical evaluation then was performed in a neonatal ward in a central hospital in Malawi; eligible neonates (<1 week of age) were recruited for continuous temperature monitoring with NTM and a Philips Intellivue MP30 Patient Monitor.

Interventions And Outcome Measures: The temperature probes of NTM and the reference patient monitor were attached to the infant's abdomen, and core temperature was continuously recorded for up to 3 hours. Axillary temperatures were taken every hour. We compared temperatures measured using NTM, the patient monitor and the axillary thermometer.

Results: Laboratory temperature measurements obtained with NTM were within 0.059°C (range: -0.035°C to 0.195°C) of a reference thermometer. A total of 39 patients were recruited to participate in the clinical evaluation of NTM; data from four patients were excluded due to faulty hardware connections. The mean difference in measured temperatures between the NTM and the Intellivue MP30 was -0.04°C (95% CI -0.52°C to 0.44°C).

Conclusion: NTM meets ISO 80601-2-56 standards for accuracy and is an appropriate, low-cost continuous temperature monitor for neonatal wards in low-resource settings.

Trial Registration Numbers: NCT03965312 and NCT03866122.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjpo-2020-000655DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7228652PMC
May 2020

Barriers and facilitators to implementing bubble CPAP to improve neonatal health in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review.

Public Health Rev 2020 28;41. Epub 2020 Apr 28.

3Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Blantyre, Malawi.

Background: Bubble continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) has been shown to be effective in supporting breathing in newborns with respiratory distress. The factors that influence implementation in resource-constrained settings remain unclear. The objective of this review is to evaluate the barriers and facilitators of CPAP implementation for newborn care at sub-Saharan African health facilities and how different facility levels and types of bubble CPAP systems may impact utilization.

Methods: A systematic search (database inception to July 2019) was performed on MEDLINE Ovid, EMBASE, CINAHL, The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL, The Cochrane Library), the WHO Regional Database for Africa, African Index Medicus (AIM), African Journals Online, grey literature and the references of relevant articles. Studies that met the inclusion criteria (primary research, bubble CPAP implementation with neonates ≤ 28 days old at a health facility in sub-Saharan Africa) were included in the review and assessed with National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) quality assessment tools. The review protocol was published to PROSPERO (CRD42018116082).

Results: Seventeen studies were included in the review. Reliable availability of equipment, effectively informing and engaging caregivers and staffing shortages were frequently mentioned barriers to the implementation of bubble CPAP. Understaffed neonatal units and high turnover of nurses and doctors compromised effective training. Provider-to-provider clinical mentorship models as well as affordability and cost-effectiveness of innovative bubble CPAP systems were identified as frequently mentioned facilitators of implementation.

Conclusions: With a strong recommendation by the World Health Organization for its use with premature infants with respiratory distress, it is important to understand the barriers and facilitators that can inform the implementation of bubble CPAP. More research is needed into health system factors that can support or impede the use of this potentially promising intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40985-020-00124-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7189679PMC
April 2020

Health workers' views on factors affecting caregiver engagement with bubble CPAP.

BMC Pediatr 2020 04 23;20(1):180. Epub 2020 Apr 23.

Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Blantyre, Malawi.

Background: Severe respiratory distress is a leading cause of mortality among neonates in Malawi. Despite evidence on the safety, cost effectiveness and efficacy of bubble continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in managing the condition, its use in Malawian health facilities is limited and little is known about caregivers' engagement with perspectives of bubble CPAP. The purpose of this study was to explore caregiver perspectives for bubble CPAP at both central and district hospitals and key factors that enable effective caregiver engagement in Malawi.

Methods: This was a descriptive qualitative study employing secondary analysis of 46 health care worker in-depth interviews. We interviewed the health workers about their thoughts on caregiver perspectives regarding use of bubble CPAP. We implemented the study at a tertiary facility and three district hospitals in southern Malawi. This was a part of a larger study to understand barriers and facilitators to implementing neonatal innovations in resource-constrained hospitals. Interviews were thematically analysed in NVivo 12 software (QSR International, Melbourne, Australia). Health workers were purposively selected to include nurses, clinicians and district health management involved in the use of bubble CPAP.

Results: Emerging issues included caregiver fears around bubble CPAP equipment as potentially harmful to their new-borns and how inadequate information provided to caregivers exacerbated knowledge gaps and was associated with refusal of care. However, good communication between health care providers and caregivers was associated with acceptance of care. Caregivers' decision-making was influenced by relatives and peer advocates were helpful in supporting caregivers and alleviating fears or misconceptions about bubble CPAP.

Conclusions: Since caregivers turn to relatives and peers for support, there is need to ensure that both relatives and peers are counselled on bubble CPAP for improved understanding and uptake. Health workers need to provide simplified, accurate, up-to-date information on the intervention as per caregivers' level of understanding. Notably, contextualised comprehensible information will help alleviate caregivers' fear and anxieties about bubble CPAP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12887-020-02088-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7179004PMC
April 2020

Assessing quality of newborn care at district facilities in Malawi.

BMC Health Serv Res 2020 Mar 18;20(1):227. Epub 2020 Mar 18.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, BC Children's and Women's Hospital and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Background: Malawi is celebrated as one of the few countries in sub-Saharan Africa to meet the Millennium Development Goal of reducing under-5 mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. However, within this age range neonatal mortality rates are the slowest to decline, even though rates of facility births are increasing. Examining the quality of neonatal care at district-level facilities where most deliveries occur is warranted.

Objective: The objective of this paper is to evaluate the quality of neonatal care in three district hospitals and one primary health centre in southern Malawi as well as to report the limitations and lessons learned on using the WHO integrated quality of care assessment tool.

Methods: These facility assessments were part of the "Integrating a neonatal healthcare package for Malawi" project, a part of the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa (IMCHA) initiative. The WHO integrated quality of care assessment tool was used to assess quality of care and availability and quantity of supplies and resources. The modules on infrastructure, neonatal care and labour and delivery were included. Facility assessments were administered in November 2017 and aspects of care were scored on a Likert scale from one to five (a score of 5 indicating compliance with WHO standards of care; one as lowest indicating inadequate care).

Results: The continuum of labour, delivery and neonatal care were assessed to identify areas that required improvements to meet standards of care. Critical areas for improvements included infection control (mean score 2.9), equipment, supplies and setup for newborn care in the labor ward (2.3), in the surgical theater (3.3), and nursery (3.4 nursery facilities, 3.0 supplies and equipment), as well as for management of sick newborns (3.2), monitoring and follow-up (3.6). Only one of the 12 domains, laboratory, met the standards of care with only minor improvements needed (4.0).

Conclusion: The WHO integrated quality of care assessment tool is a validated tool that can shed light on the complex quality of care challenges faced by district-level health facilities. The results reveal that the quality of care needs improvement, particularly for sick and vulnerable newborns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-5065-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7079536PMC
March 2020

Barriers and enablers of implementing bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): Perspectives of health professionals in Malawi.

PLoS One 2020 13;15(2):e0228915. Epub 2020 Feb 13.

Department of Pediatrics, BC Children's Hospital and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Background: Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of neonatal deaths. Malawi has high rates of preterm birth, with 18.1 preterm births per 100 live births. More than 50% of preterm neonates develop respiratory distress which if left untreated, can lead to respiratory failure and death. Term and preterm neonates with respiratory distress can often be effectively managed with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and this is considered an essential intervention for the management of preterm neonates by the World Health Organization. Bubble CPAP may represent a safe and cost-effective method for delivering CPAP in low-income settings.

Objective: The study explored the factors that influence the implementation of bubble CPAP among health care professionals in secondary and tertiary hospitals in Malawi.

Methods: This was a qualitative study conducted in three district hospitals and a tertiary hospital in southern Malawi. We conducted 46 in-depth interviews with nurses, clinicians and clinical supervisors, from June to August 2018. All data were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim and thematically analyzed.

Results: Factors that influenced implementation of bubble CPAP occurred in an interconnected manner and included: inadequate healthcare provider training in preparation for use, rigid division of roles and responsibilities among providers, lack of effective communication among providers and between providers and newborn's caregivers, human resource constraints, and inadequate equipment and infrastructure.

Conclusion: There are provider, caregiver and health system level factors that influence the implementation of bubble CPAP among neonates in Malawian health facilities. Ensuring adequate staffing in the nurseries, combined with ongoing training for providers, team cohesion, improved communication with caregivers, and improved hospital infrastructure would ensure optimal utilization of bubble CPAP and avoid inadvertent harm from inappropriate use.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0228915PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7018070PMC
June 2020

Neonatal CPAP for Respiratory Distress Across Malawi and Mortality.

Pediatrics 2019 10;144(4)

Rice 360 Institute for Global Health Technology, Houston, Texas;

Objectives: Our aim in this observational study was to monitor continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) usage and outcomes in newborn wards at 26 government hospitals in Malawi after the introduction of CPAP as part of a quality-improvement initiative. CPAP was implemented in 3 phases from 2013 through 2015.

Methods: Survival to discharge was analyzed for neonates treated with nasal oxygen and/or CPAP with admission weights of 1 to 2.49 kg at 24 government hospitals with transfer rates <15%. This analysis includes neonates admitted with respiratory illness for 5.5 months before (621 neonates) and 15 months immediately after CPAP implementation (1836 neonates). A follow-up data analysis was completed for neonates treated with CPAP at all hospitals during an additional 11 months (194 neonates).

Results: On implementation of CPAP, survival to discharge improved for all neonates admitted with respiratory distress (48.6% vs 54.5%; = .012) and for those diagnosed with respiratory distress syndrome (39.8% vs 48.3%; = .042). There were no significant differences in outcomes for neonates treated with CPAP during the implementation and follow-up periods. Hypothermia on admission was pervasive and associated with poor outcomes. Neonates with normal mean temperatures during CPAP treatment experienced the highest survival rates (65.7% for all neonates treated with CPAP and 60.0% for those diagnosed with respiratory distress syndrome).

Conclusions: A nurse-led CPAP service can improve outcomes for neonates in respiratory distress in low-resource settings. However, the results show that real-world improvements in survival may be limited without access to comprehensive newborn care, especially for small and sick infants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2019-0668DOI Listing
October 2019

Using a peer mentorship approach improved the use of neonatal continuous positive airway pressure and related outcomes in Malawi.

Acta Paediatr 2020 04 16;109(4):705-710. Epub 2019 Oct 16.

Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi.

Aim: This study evaluated whether peer mentorship was an effective and sustainable way of improving and maintaining knowledge and skills on neonatal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in a low-resource setting with a high turnover of healthcare providers.

Methods: The Malawi Ministry of Health recruited five nurses with considerable CPAP experience and provided them with mentorship training from July to August 2014. The mentors then provided 1-week on-site mentorship for 113 colleagues at 10 secondary and one tertiary hospital where gaps in neonatal CPAP use had been identified. CPAP competencies and outcomes were compared 3 months before and after each mentorship.

Results: In the 3 months before and after mentorship, the average CPAP competency score increased from 32 ± 4% to 97 ± 2%, while CPAP usage increased from 7% to 23% among eligible neonates. Survival following CPAP mentorship increased from 23% to 35%, but this was not significant due to the small sample size. Both mentees and mentors reported useful transfers of knowledge and skills when using CPAP.

Conclusion: Mentorship effectively bridged the knowledge and skills gaps among health workers and increased CPAP use, competency scores and survival rates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/apa.15025DOI Listing
April 2020

Emerging Resistance to Empiric Antimicrobial Regimens for Pediatric Bloodstream Infections in Malawi (1998-2017).

Clin Infect Dis 2019 06;69(1):61-68

Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Background: The adequacy of the World Health Organization's Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) antimicrobial guidelines for the treatment of suspected severe bacterial infections is dependent on a low prevalence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We describe trends in etiologies and susceptibility patterns of bloodstream infections (BSI) in hospitalized children in Malawi.

Methods: We determined the change in the population-based incidence of BSI in children admitted to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi (1998-2017). AMR profiles were assessed by the disc diffusion method, and trends over time were evaluated.

Results: A total 89643 pediatric blood cultures were performed, and 10621 pathogens were included in the analysis. Estimated minimum incidence rates of BSI for those ≤5 years of age fell from a peak of 11.4 per 1000 persons in 2002 to 3.4 per 1000 persons in 2017. Over 2 decades, the resistance of Gram-negative pathogens to all empiric, first-line antimicrobials (ampicillin/penicillin, gentamicin, ceftriaxone) among children ≤5 years increased from 3.4% to 30.2% (P < .001). Among those ≤60 days, AMR to all first-line antimicrobials increased from 7.0% to 67.7% (P < .001). Among children ≤5 years, Klebsiella spp. resistance to all first-line antimicrobial regimens increased from 5.9% to 93.7% (P < .001).

Conclusions: The incidence of BSI among hospitalized children has decreased substantially over the last 20 years, although gains have been offset by increases in Gram-negative pathogens' resistance to all empiric first-line antimicrobials. There is an urgent need to address the broader challenge of adapting IMCI guidelines to the local setting in the face of rapidly-expanding AMR in childhood BSI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciy834DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6579959PMC
June 2019

Impact of hypothermia on implementation of CPAP for neonatal respiratory distress syndrome in a low-resource setting.

PLoS One 2018 15;13(3):e0194144. Epub 2018 Mar 15.

Department of Bioengineering, Rice University, Houston, Texas, United States of America.

Background: Neonatal hypothermia is widely associated with increased risks of morbidity and mortality, but remains a pervasive global problem. No studies have examined the impact of hypothermia on outcomes for preterm infants treated with CPAP for respiratory distress syndrome (RDS).

Methods: This retrospective analysis assessed the impact of hypothermia on outcomes of 65 neonates diagnosed with RDS and treated with either nasal oxygen (N = 17) or CPAP (N = 48) in a low-resource setting. A classification tree approach was used to develop a model predicting survival for subjects diagnosed with RDS.

Findings: Survival to discharge was accurately predicted based on three variables: mean temperature, treatment modality, and mean respiratory rate. None of the 23 neonates with a mean temperature during treatment below 35.8°C survived to discharge, regardless of treatment modality. Among neonates with a mean temperature exceeding 35.8°C, the survival rate was 100% for the 31 neonates treated with CPAP and 36.4% for the 11 neonates treated with nasal oxygen (p<0.001). For neonates treated with CPAP, outcomes were poor if more than 50% of measured temperatures indicated hypothermia (5.6% survival). In contrast, all 30 neonates treated with CPAP and with more than 50% of temperature measurements above 35.8°C survived to discharge, regardless of initial temperature.

Conclusion: The results of our study suggest that successful implementation of CPAP to treat RDS in low-resource settings will require aggressive action to prevent persistent hypothermia. However, our results show that even babies who are initially cold can do well on CPAP with proper management of hypothermia.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0194144PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5854332PMC
July 2018

Efficacy of a low-cost bubble CPAP system in treatment of respiratory distress in a neonatal ward in Malawi.

Malawi Med J 2016 09;28(3):131-137

Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Blantyre, Malawi.

Background: Respiratory failure is a leading cause of neonatal mortality in the developing world. Bubble continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) is a safe, effective intervention for infants with respiratory distress and is widely used in developed countries. Because of its high cost, bCPAP is not widely utilized in low-resource settings. We evaluated the performance of a new bCPAP system to treat severe respiratory distress in a low resource setting, comparing it to nasal oxygen therapy, the current standard of care.

Methods: We conducted a non-randomized convenience sample study to test the efficacy of a low-cost bCPAP system treating newborns with severe respiratory distress in the neonatal ward of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, in Blantyre, Malawi. Neonates weighing >1,000 g and presenting with severe respiratory distress who fulfilled inclusion criteria received nasal bCPAP if a device was available; if not, they received standard care. Clinical assessments were made during treatment and outcomes compared for the two groups.

Findings: 87 neonates (62 bCPAP, 25 controls) were recruited. Survival rate for neonates receiving bCPAP was 71.0% (44/62) compared with 44.0% (11/25) for controls. 65.5% (19/29) of very low birth weight neonates receiving bCPAP survived to discharge compared to 15.4% (1/13) of controls. 64.6% (31/48) of neonates with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) receiving bCPAP survived to discharge, compared to 23.5% (4/17) of controls. 61.5% (16/26) of neonates with sepsis receiving bCPAP survived to discharge, while none of the seven neonates with sepsis in the control group survived.

Interpretation: Use of a low-cost bCPAP system to treat neonatal respiratory distress resulted in 27% absolute improvement in survival. The beneficial effect was greater for neonates with very low birth weight, RDS, or sepsis. Implementing appropriate bCPAP devices could reduce neonatal mortality in developing countries.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5117003PMC
September 2016

Outcomes of Patients with Respiratory Distress Treated with Bubble CPAP on a Pediatric Ward in Malawi.

J Trop Pediatr 2015 Dec 11;61(6):421-7. Epub 2015 Sep 11.

Paediatric Department, College of Medicine, Blantyre 3, Malawi.

Objective: To describe the outcomes of infants and young children with respiratory distress when treated with a novel, low-cost, stand-alone bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (bCPAP) system in a resource-limited setting.

Methods: A non-randomized, convenience sample study in a pediatric unit in Blantyre, Malawi, 2013. Patients weighing ≤10 kg with respiratory distress were eligible. We compared outcomes for patients with bronchiolitis, pneumonia and Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PJP) after treatment with bCPAP.

Results: Seventy percent of patients treated with bCPAP survived. Outcomes were best for patients with bronchiolitis and worst for those with PJP. Most survivors (80%) showed improvement within 24 h. All treating physicians found bCPAP useful, leading to a change in practice.

Conclusions: Bubble CPAP was most beneficial to patients with bronchiolitis. Children, who were going to get well, tended to get well quickly. Physicians believed the bCPAP system provided a higher level of care than nasal oxygen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/tropej/fmv052DOI Listing
December 2015

Task sharing within a managed clinical network to improve child health in Malawi.

Hum Resour Health 2015 Jul 21;13:60. Epub 2015 Jul 21.

College of Medicine, Blantyre, Malawi.

Background: Eighty per cent of Malawi's 8 million children live in rural areas, and there is an extensive tiered health system infrastructure from village health clinics to district hospitals which refers patients to one of the four central hospitals. The clinics and district hospitals are staffed by nurses, non-physician clinicians and recently qualified doctors. There are 16 paediatric specialists working in two of the four central hospitals which serve the urban population as well as accepting referrals from district hospitals. In order to provide expert paediatric care as close to home as possible, we describe our plan to task share within a managed clinical network and our hypothesis that this will improve paediatric care and child health.

Presentation Of The Hypothesis: Managed clinical networks have been found to improve equity of care in rural districts and to ensure that the correct care is provided as close to home as possible. A network for paediatric care in Malawi with mentoring of non-physician clinicians based in a district hospital by paediatricians based at the central hospitals will establish and sustain clinical referral pathways in both directions. Ultimately, the plan envisages four managed paediatric clinical networks, each radiating from one of Malawi's four central hospitals and covering the entire country. This model of task sharing within four hub-and-spoke networks may facilitate wider dissemination of scarce expertise and improve child healthcare in Malawi close to the child's home.

Testing The Hypothesis: Funding has been secured to train sufficient personnel to staff all central and district hospitals in Malawi with teams of paediatric specialists in the central hospitals and specialist non-physician clinicians in each government district hospital. The hypothesis will be tested using a natural experiment model. Data routinely collected by the Ministry of Health will be corroborated at the district. This will include case fatality rates for common childhood illness, perinatal mortality and process indicators. Data from different districts will be compared at baseline and annually until 2020 as the specialists of both cadres take up posts.

Implications Of The Hypothesis: If a managed clinical network improves child healthcare in Malawi, it may be a potential model for the other countries in sub-Saharan Africa with similar cadres in their healthcare system and face similar challenges in terms of scarcity of specialists.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12960-015-0053-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4509723PMC
July 2015

New technologies for essential newborn care in under-resourced areas: what is needed and how to deliver it.

Paediatr Int Child Health 2015 Aug 8;35(3):192-205. Epub 2015 Jun 8.

Globally, the largest contributors to neonatal mortality are preterm birth, intrapartum complications and infection. Many of these deaths could be prevented by providing temperature stability, respiratory support, hydration and nutrition; preventing and treating infections; and diagnosing and treating neonatal jaundice and hypoglycaemia. Most neonatal health-care technologies which help to accomplish these tasks are designed for high-income countries and are either unavailable or unsuitable in low-resource settings, preventing many neonates from receiving the gold standard of care. There is an urgent need for neonatal health-care technologies which are low-cost, robust, simple to use and maintain, affordable and able to operate from various power supplies. Several technologies have been designed to meet these requirements or are currently under development; however, unmet technology needs remain. The distribution of an integrated set of technologies, rather than separate components, is essential for effective implementation and a substantial impact on neonatal health. Close collaboration between stakeholders at all stages of the development process and an increased focus on implementation research are necessary for effective and sustainable implementation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/2046905515Y.0000000034DOI Listing
August 2015

Development and validation of a simple algorithm for initiation of CPAP in neonates with respiratory distress in Malawi.

Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2015 Jul 15;100(4):F332-6. Epub 2015 Apr 15.

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

Background: Low-cost bubble continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) systems have been shown to improve survival in neonates with respiratory distress, in developing countries including Malawi. District hospitals in Malawi implementing CPAP requested simple and reliable guidelines to enable healthcare workers with basic skills and minimal training to determine when treatment with CPAP is necessary. We developed and validated TRY (T: Tone is good, R: Respiratory Distress and Y=Yes) CPAP, a simple algorithm to identify neonates with respiratory distress who would benefit from CPAP.

Objective: To validate the TRY CPAP algorithm for neonates with respiratory distress in a low-resource setting.

Methods: We constructed an algorithm using a combination of vital signs, tone and birth weight to determine the need for CPAP in neonates with respiratory distress. Neonates admitted to the neonatal ward of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, in Blantyre, Malawi, were assessed in a prospective, cross-sectional study. Nurses and paediatricians-in-training assessed neonates to determine whether they required CPAP using the TRY CPAP algorithm. To establish the accuracy of the TRY CPAP algorithm in evaluating the need for CPAP, their assessment was compared with the decision of a neonatologist blinded to the TRY CPAP algorithm findings.

Results: 325 neonates were evaluated over a 2-month period; 13% were deemed to require CPAP by the neonatologist. The inter-rater reliability with the algorithm was 0.90 for nurses and 0.97 for paediatricians-in-training using the neonatologist's assessment as the reference standard.

Conclusions: The TRY CPAP algorithm has the potential to be a simple and reliable tool to assist nurses and clinicians in identifying neonates who require treatment with CPAP in low-resource settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2014-308082DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4484369PMC
July 2015

Cost-effectiveness analysis of a low-cost bubble CPAP device in providing ventilatory support for neonates in Malawi - a preliminary report.

BMC Pediatr 2014 Nov 25;14:288. Epub 2014 Nov 25.

Background: A low-cost bubble continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) device has been shown to be an excellent clinical alternative to nasal oxygen for the care of neonates with respiratory difficulty. However, the delivery of bCPAP requires more resources than the current routine care using nasal oxygen. We performed an economic evaluation to determine the cost-effectiveness of a low-cost bCPAP device in providing ventilatory support for neonates in Malawi.

Methods: We used patient-level clinical data from a previously published non-randomized controlled study. Economic data were based on the purchase price of supplies and equipment, adjusted for shelf life, as well as hospital cost data from the World Health Organization. Costs and benefits were discounted at 3%. The outcomes were measured in terms of cost, discounted life expectancy, cost/life year gained and net benefits of using bCPAP or nasal oxygen. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio and incremental net benefits determined the value of one intervention compared to the other. Subgroup analysis on several parameters (birth weight categories, diagnosis of respiratory distress syndrome, and comorbidity of sepsis) was conducted to evaluate the effect of these parameters on the cost-effectiveness.

Results: Nasal oxygen therapy was less costly (US$29.29) than the low-cost bCPAP device ($57.78). Incremental effectiveness associated with bCPAP was 6.78 life years (LYs). In the base case analysis, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for bCPAP relative to nasal oxygen therapy was determined to be $4.20 (95% confidence interval, US$2.29-US$16.67) per LY gained. The results were highly sensitive for all tested subgroups, particularly for neonates with birth weight 1- < 1.5 kg, respiratory distress syndrome, or comorbidity of sepsis; these subgroups had a higher probability that bCPAP would be cost effective.

Conclusion: The bCPAP is a highly cost-effective strategy in providing ventilatory support for neonates in Malawi.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12887-014-0288-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4247223PMC
November 2014

Efficacy of a low-cost bubble CPAP system in treatment of respiratory distress in a neonatal ward in Malawi.

PLoS One 2014 29;9(1):e86327. Epub 2014 Jan 29.

Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi.

Background: Respiratory failure is a leading cause of neonatal mortality in the developing world. Bubble continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) is a safe, effective intervention for infants with respiratory distress and is widely used in developed countries. Because of its high cost, bCPAP is not widely utilized in low-resource settings. We evaluated the performance of a new bCPAP system to treat severe respiratory distress in a low resource setting, comparing it to nasal oxygen therapy, the current standard of care.

Methods: We conducted a non-randomized convenience sample study to test the efficacy of a low-cost bCPAP system treating newborns with severe respiratory distress in the neonatal ward of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, in Blantyre, Malawi. Neonates weighing >1,000 g and presenting with severe respiratory distress who fulfilled inclusion criteria received nasal bCPAP if a device was available; if not, they received standard care. Clinical assessments were made during treatment and outcomes compared for the two groups.

Findings: 87 neonates (62 bCPAP, 25 controls) were recruited. Survival rate for neonates receiving bCPAP was 71.0% (44/62) compared with 44.0% (11/25) for controls. 65.5% (19/29) of very low birth weight neonates receiving bCPAP survived to discharge compared to 15.4% (1/13) of controls. 64.6% (31/48) of neonates with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) receiving bCPAP survived to discharge, compared to 23.5% (4/17) of controls. 61.5% (16/26) of neonates with sepsis receiving bCPAP survived to discharge, while none of the seven neonates with sepsis in the control group survived.

Interpretation: Use of a low-cost bCPAP system to treat neonatal respiratory distress resulted in 27% absolute improvement in survival. The beneficial effect was greater for neonates with very low birth weight, RDS, or sepsis. Implementing appropriate bCPAP devices could reduce neonatal mortality in developing countries.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0086327PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3906032PMC
September 2014

Glycerol and acetaminophen as adjuvant therapy did not affect the outcome of bacterial meningitis in Malawian children.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2014 Feb;33(2):214-6

From the *Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, College of Medicine, Malawi; †Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; ‡National Institute for Health and Welfare; and §Children's Hospital, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.

We investigated the benefit of 2 candidate adjunctive therapies in bacterial meningitis: glycerol, which has shown promise in earlier studies, and acetaminophen, which is reportedly beneficial in adult septicemia. In a hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, we enrolled 360 children aged ≥ 2 months with proven bacterial meningitis (36% HIV infected) in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of glycerol and acetaminophen in a 2 × 2 factorial design. Of 4 groups, first group received oral glycerol, second received rectal acetaminophen, third received both therapies and the fourth received placebos only. Adjuvant therapies were given for the first 48 hours of antibiotic therapy. Endpoints were mortality and neurological sequelae. Baseline findings were similar across all groups, except that many children had prior antibiotics in the acetaminophen group and many were anemic in the acetaminophen and glycerol group. Outcomes were similar for all groups. We found no benefit from oral glycerol or rectal acetaminophen in, mostly pneumococcal, meningitis in Malawian children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/INF.0000000000000122DOI Listing
February 2014

A high-value, low-cost bubble continuous positive airway pressure system for low-resource settings: technical assessment and initial case reports.

PLoS One 2013 23;8(1):e53622. Epub 2013 Jan 23.

Department of Bioengineering, Rice University, Houston, Texas, United States of America.

Acute respiratory infections are the leading cause of global child mortality. In the developing world, nasal oxygen therapy is often the only treatment option for babies who are suffering from respiratory distress. Without the added pressure of bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (bCPAP) which helps maintain alveoli open, babies struggle to breathe and can suffer serious complications, and frequently death. A stand-alone bCPAP device can cost $6,000, too expensive for most developing world hospitals. Here, we describe the design and technical evaluation of a new, rugged bCPAP system that can be made in small volume for a cost-of-goods of approximately $350. Moreover, because of its simple design--consumer-grade pumps, medical tubing, and regulators--it requires only the simple replacement of a <$1 diaphragm approximately every 2 years for maintenance. The low-cost bCPAP device delivers pressure and flow equivalent to those of a reference bCPAP system used in the developed world. We describe the initial clinical cases of a child with bronchiolitis and a neonate with respiratory distress who were treated successfully with the new bCPAP device.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0053622PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3553107PMC
July 2013

Neurologic outcomes in retinopathy-negative cerebral malaria survivors.

Neurology 2012 Sep 22;79(12):1268-72. Epub 2012 Aug 22.

International Neurologic and Psychiatric Epidemiology Program, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA.

Objectives: Patients surviving retinopathy-positive cerebral malaria (CM) are at high risk for the development of epilepsy, developmental disabilities, and behavioral abnormalities. We aimed to establish whether retinopathy-negative CM is also a risk factor for these outcomes.

Methods: Between 2005 and 2007, survivors of CM and concurrently hospitalized controls in Blantyre, Malawi, were followed to assess the development of neurologic abnormalities. At discharge and every 3 months thereafter, incident cases of epilepsy and developmental disabilities were ascertained using screening questionnaires and confirmatory neurologic examinations. Incident cases of epilepsy and developmental disabilities were compared in retinopathy-negative CM survivors to controls and retinopathy-positive CM survivors.

Results: Thirty-five retinopathy-negative CM survivors were enrolled. Their neurologic outcomes were compared to 132 retinopathy-positive CM survivors and 272 controls. Compared to survivors of retinopathy-positive CM, children without malaria retinopathy have an equal odds of adverse neurologic outcome (odds ratio [OR] = 1.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.4-2.2). Eleven of 35 survivors of retinopathy-negative CM had at least 1 adverse neurologic outcome compared to 2 of 272 controls (OR 61.9, 95% CI 13.0-295.5). In retinopathy-negative CM survivors, a Blantyre Coma Scale score ≤ 1 on admission was associated with an adverse outcome.

Conclusions: Compared with controls, children surviving either retinopathy-negative or -positive CM are at similar high risk for adverse neurologic outcomes. Studies to evaluate preventive and therapeutic strategies in children with both retinopathy-negative and -positive CM are needed to improve mortality, morbidity, or both.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0b013e31826aacd4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3440452PMC
September 2012
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