Publications by authors named "Lara Lorenzetti"

4 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Using financial diaries to understand the economic lives of HIV-positive pregnant women and new mothers in PMTCT in Zomba, Malawi.

PLoS One 2021 30;16(7):e0252083. Epub 2021 Jul 30.

Global Health and Population Research, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America.

Background: Economic strengthening (ES) interventions can address economic barriers to retention and adherence (R&A) to antiretroviral therapy in prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services. To inform tailoring of ES activities for PMTCT, we used financial diaries to understand the economic lives of women in PMTCT and examine associations between participants' finances and their R&A.

Methods: We collected financial data from a stratified sample (n = 241) of HIV-positive pregnant women and new mothers enrolled in PMTCT from three clinics in Zomba, Malawi. For 30 weeks, participants met with staff to record cash and in-kind inflows and outflows. We used clinical records to calculate a measure of R&A for each participant. We summarized diary data using R and used cox proportional hazard models to examine the relationship between R&A and participant characteristics and behavior.

Results: There were 68,097 cash transactions over 30 weeks, with 10% characterized as inflows. The median value of cash inflows was US$3.54 compared with US$0.42 for cash outflows. Fewer than 7% of total transactions were considered related to PMTCT, with the majority classified as food or drink. Participants in the rural site had the lowest hazard of non-adherence. Decreased hazard of non-adherence was also linked to having dependents and years on ART. There were significant differences in cash inflows and outflows between those who were always adherent and those who were not.

Conclusions: Financial inflows were large and erratic, whereas outflows were small but consistent. PMTCT expenses comprised a small proportion of overall expenses and focused on proper nutrition. The influence of inflows and outflows on adherence was significant but small; however, always adherent participants demonstrated smoother inflows and outflows, indicating an association between greater adherence and economic stability. Participants would benefit from interventions that bolster and stabilize their economic lives, including income generating activities in the agricultural industry and inclusion in village banks.
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July 2021

The financial lives of female sex workers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Implications for economic strengthening interventions for HIV prevention.

AIDS Care 2021 Jun 28:1-9. Epub 2021 Jun 28.

Independent Consultant, FHI 360 Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Understanding the financial context of the lives of female sex workers (FSWs) is essential to address structural drivers of HIV risk. We used a financial diary methodology to record daily financial transactions over six weeks from a stratified purposive sample ( = 34) of FSWs in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. FSWs also provided information on their experience with gender-based violence and condom use. FSWs generated 90.1% of total cash from sex work, with a median weekly income of USD 60.53. They engaged mostly in protected vaginal sex, earning approximately USD 4.57 per act. Food, housing, and clothing represented the largest areas of expenditure. Around 17% of expenses were recorded as costs of sex work (e.g., alcohol). Median weekly expenditures accounted for 62% of median weekly income. Nearly all participants reported depositing money into savings at least once over six weeks, while 71% reported a loan transaction during the six-week period, most as borrowers. Findings suggest that financial literacy and formalized savings activities, with life skills and empowerment training, have potential to build FSW's economic resilience, mitigating a structural driver of sex work and HIV risk.
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June 2021

Adapting a health video library for use in Afghanistan: provider-level acceptability and lessons for strengthening operational feasibility.

Hum Resour Health 2020 05 19;18(1):35. Epub 2020 May 19.

Global Health, Population and Nutrition, FHI 360, Durham, NC, USA.

Background: Community health workers (CHWs) in Afghanistan are a critical care extender for primary health services, including reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health (RMNCH) care. However, volunteer CHWs face challenges including an ever-expanding number of tasks and insufficient time to conduct them. We piloted a health video library (HVL) intervention, a tablet-based tool to improve health promotion and counseling by CHWs. We qualitatively assessed provider-level acceptability and operational feasibility.

Methods: CHWs implemented the HVL pilot in three rural districts of Balkh, Herat, and Kandahar provinces. We employed qualitative methods, conducting 47 in-depth interviews (IDIs) with male and female CHWs and six IDIs with community health supervisors. We used semi-structured interview guides to explore provider perceptions of program implementation processes and solicit feedback on how to improve the HVL intervention to inform scale-up. We conducted a thematic analysis.

Results: CHWs reported that the HVL increased time efficiencies, reduced work burden, and enhanced professional credibility within their communities. CHWs felt video content and format were accessible for low literacy clients, but also identified challenges to operational feasibility. Although tablets were considered easy-to-use, certain technical issues required continued support from supervisors and family. Charging tablets was difficult due to inconsistent electricity access. Although some CHWs reported reaching most households in their catchment area for visits with the HVL, others were unable to visit all households due to sizeable populations and gender-related barriers, including women's limited mobility.

Conclusions: The HVL was acceptable and feasible for integration into existing CHW duties, indicating it may improve RMNCH counseling, contributing to increased care-seeking behaviors in Afghanistan. Short-term challenges with technology and hardware can be addressed through continued training and provision of solar chargers. Longer-term challenges, including tablet costs, community coverage, and gender issues, require further consideration with an emphasis on equitable distribution.
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May 2020

Evaluating the effect of integrated microfinance and health interventions: an updated review of the evidence.

Health Policy Plan 2017 Jun;32(5):732-756

Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, RTI International, NC, USA.

Background: Solutions delivered within firm sectoral boundaries are inadequate in achieving income security and better health for poor populations. Integrated microfinance and health interventions leverage networks of women to promote financial inclusion, build livelihoods, and safeguard against high cost illnesses. Our understanding of the effect of integrated interventions has been limited by variability in intervention, outcome, design, and methodological rigour. This systematic review synthesises the literature through 2015 to understand the effect of integrated microfinance and health programs.

Methods: We searched PubMed, Scopus, Embase, EconLit, and Global Health databases and sourced bibliographies, identifying 964 articles exclusive of duplicates. Title, abstract, and full text review yielded 35 articles. Articles evaluated the effect of intentionally integrated microfinance and health programs on client outcomes. We rated the quality of evidence for each article.

Results: Most interventions combined microfinance with health education, which demonstrated positive effects on health knowledge and behaviours, though not health status. Among programs that integrated microfinance with other health components ( i.e. health micro-insurance, linkages to health providers, and access to health products), results were generally positive but mixed due to the smaller number and quality of studies. Interventions combining multiple health components in a given study demonstrated positive effects, though it was unclear which component was driving the effect. Most articles (57%) were moderate in quality.

Discussion: Integrated microfinance and health education programs were effective, though longer intervention periods are necessary to measure more complex pathways to health status. The effect of microfinance combined with other health components was less clear. Stronger randomized research designs with multiple study arms are required to improve evidence and disentangle the effects of multiple component microfinance and health interventions. Few studies attempted to understand changes in economic outcomes, limiting our understanding of the relationship between health and income effects.
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June 2017