Publications by authors named "O H Ekwunife"

46 Publications

Description of global innovative methods in developing the WHO Community Engagement Package.

BMJ Open 2022 06 7;12(6):e063144. Epub 2022 Jun 7.

Department of Clinical Epidemiology, University of the Philippines Manila, Manila, Philippines.

Objectives: Development of a Community Engagement Package composed of (1) database of community engagement (CE) experiences from different contexts, (2) CE learning package of lessons and tools presented as online modules, and (3) CE workshop package for identifying CE experiences to enrich the CE database and ensure regular update of learning resources. The package aims to guide practitioners to promote local action and enhance skills for CE.

Setting And Participants: The packages were co-created with diverse teams from WHO, Social Innovation in Health Initiative, UNICEF, community practitioners, and other partners providing synergistic contributions and bridging existing silos.

Methods: The design process of the package was anchored on CE principles. Literature search was performed using standardised search terms through global and regional databases. Interviews with CE practitioners were also conducted.

Results: A total of 356 cases were found to fit the inclusion criteria and proceeded to data extraction and thematic analysis. Themes were organised according to rationale, key points and insights, facilitators of CE and barriers to CE. Principles and standards of CE in various contexts served as a foundation for the CE learning package. The package comprises four modules organised by major themes such as mobilising communities, strengthening health systems, CE in health emergencies and CE as a driver for health equity.

Conclusion: After pilot implementation, tools and resources were made available for training and continuous collection of novel CE lessons and experiences from diverse socio-geographical contexts.
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June 2022

Interventions to increase mammography screening uptake among women living in low-income and middle-income countries: a protocol for a systematic review.

BMJ Open 2022 03 30;12(3):e056901. Epub 2022 Mar 30.

Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Management, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra, Nigeria.

Introduction: Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), including sub-Saharan Africa. Mammography screening is the most effective screening method for the early detection of breast cancers in asymptomatic individuals and the only screening test that decreases the risk of breast cancer mortality. Despite the perceived benefits, it has a low utilisation rate in comparison with breast self-examination and clinical breast examination. Several interventions to increase the uptake of mammography have been assessed as well as systematic reviews on mammography uptake. Nonetheless, none of the published systematic reviews focused on women living in LMICs. The review aims to identify interventions that increase mammography screening uptake among women living in LMICs.

Methods And Analysis: Relevant electronic databases will be systematically searched from 1 January 1990 to 30 June 2021 for published and grey literature, including citation and reference list tracking, on studies focusing on interventions to increase mammography screening uptake carried out in LMICs and written in the English language. The search will incorporate the key terms: mammography, interventions, low- and middle-income countries and their associated synonyms. Randomised controlled trials, observational studies and qualitative and mixed methods studies of interventions (carried out with and without comparison groups) reporting interventions to increase mammography screening uptake in LMICs will be identified, data extracted and assessed for methodological quality by two independent reviewers with disagreements to be resolved by consensus or by a third author. We will use narrative synthesis and/or meta-analysis depending on the characteristics of the data.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethical approval is not required as it is a protocol for a systematic review. Findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.

Prospero Registration Number: CRD42021269556.
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March 2022

Introducing rotavirus vaccine in eight sub-Saharan African countries: a cost-benefit analysis.

Lancet Glob Health 2021 08;9(8):e1088-e1100

Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Management, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria.

Background: Stimulated by the economic challenges faced by many sub-Saharan African countries and the changes in the rotavirus burden across these countries, this study aimed to inform the decision of health policy makers of eight sub-Saharan countries, who are yet to introduce the rotavirus vaccine as of Dec 31, 2020, on the health economic consequences of the introduction of the vaccine in terms of the costs and benefits.

Methods: We did a cost-benefit analysis using a simulation-based decision-analytic model for children aged younger than 1 year, who were followed up to 259 weeks, in the Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Somalia, and South Sudan. Data were collected and analysed between Jan 13, 2020, and Dec 11, 2020. Cost-effectiveness analysis and budget impact analysis were done as secondary analyses. Four rotavirus vaccinations (Rotarix, Rotateq, Rotavac, and Rotasiil) were compared with no vaccination. The primary outcome was disability-adjusted life-years averted, converted to monetary terms. The secondary outcomes include rotavirus gastroenteritis averted, and rotavirus vaccine-associated intussusception. The primary economic evaluation measure was the benefit-cost ratio (BCR).

Findings: For the modelling period, Jan 1, 2021, to Dec 31, 2030, we found that the benefits of introducing the rotavirus vaccine outweighed the costs in all eight countries, with Chad and the Central African Republic having the highest BCR of 19·42 and 11·36, respectively. Guinea had the lowest BCR of 3·26 amongst the Gavi-eligible countries. Equatorial Guinea and Gabon had a narrow BCR of 1·86 and 2·06, respectively. Rotarix was the optimal choice for all the Gavi-eligible countries; Rotasiil and Rotavac were the optimal choices for Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, respectively.

Interpretation: Introducing the rotavirus vaccine in all eight countries, but with caution in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, would be worthwhile. With the narrow BCR for Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, cautious, pragmatic, and stringent measures need to be employed to ensure optimal health benefits and cost minimisation of the vaccine introduction. The final decision to introduce the rotavirus vaccine should be preceded by comparing its BCR to the BCRs of other health-care projects.

Funding: Copenhagen Consensus Center and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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August 2021

Cost-effectiveness and feasibility of conditional economic incentives and motivational interviewing to improve HIV health outcomes of adolescents living with HIV in Anambra State, Nigeria.

BMC Health Serv Res 2021 Jul 11;21(1):685. Epub 2021 Jul 11.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Nigeria.

Background: In sub-Saharan Africa, there is increasing mortality and morbidity of adolescents due to poor linkage, retention in HIV care and adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART). This is a result of limited adolescent-centred service delivery interventions. This cost-effectiveness and feasibility study were piggybacked on a cluster-randomized trial that assessed the impact of an adolescent-centred service delivery intervention. The service delivery intervention examined the impact of an incentive scheme consisting of conditional economic incentives and motivational interviewing on the health outcomes of adolescents living with HIV in Nigeria.

Method: A cost-effectiveness analysis from the healthcare provider's perspective was performed to assess the cost per additional patient achieving undetected viral load through the proposed intervention. The cost-effectiveness of the incentive scheme over routine care was estimated using the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER), expressed as cost/patient who achieved an undetectable viral load. We performed a univariate sensitivity analysis to examine the effect of key parameters on the ICER. An in-depth interview was conducted on the healthcare personnel in the intervention arm to explore the feasibility of implementing the service delivery intervention in HIV treatment hospitals in Nigeria.

Result: The ICER of the Incentive Scheme intervention compared to routine care was US$1419 per additional patient with undetectable viral load. Going by the cost-effectiveness threshold of US$1137 per quality-adjusted life-years suggested by Woods et al., 2016, the intervention was not cost-effective. The sensitivity test showed that the intervention will be cost-effective if the frequency of CD4 count and viral load tests are reduced from quarterly to triannually. Healthcare professionals reported that patients' acceptance of the intervention was very high.

Conclusion: The conditional economic incentives and motivational interviewing was not cost-effective, but can become cost-effective if the frequency of HIV quality of life indicator tests are performed 1-3 times per annum. Patients' acceptance of the intervention was very high. However, healthcare professionals believed that sustaining the intervention may be difficult unless factors such as government commitment and healthcare provider diligence are duly addressed.

Trial Registration: This trial is registered in the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry through the WHO International Registry Network ( PACTR201806003040425 ).
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July 2021

A systematic review of qualitative research on barriers and facilitators to exclusive breastfeeding practice in sub-Saharan African countries.

Int Breastfeed J 2021 06 5;16(1):44. Epub 2021 Jun 5.

Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Management, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria.

Background: Studies reporting factors associated with exclusive breastfeeding are mostly quantitative. No study has performed a systematic qualitative summary to document the recurring constraints and facilitators to exclusive breastfeeding in sub-Saharan African countries from breastfeeding mothers' perspective. This study systematically reviews the literature reporting barriers and facilitators to exclusive breastfeeding from the breastfeeding mothers' perspective in sub-Saharan Africa to develop an educational intervention to optimize exclusive breastfeeding.

Methods: A systematic literature review of qualitative studies such as phenomenological studies, followed by a risk of bias and methodological assessment of the included studies' quality using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) tool was conducted. MEDLINE and Google Scholar were searched from January 1990 to October 2019 to retrieve studies of breastfeeding mothers who had infants aged between 0 and 12 months. Two authors independently carried out the review process and resolved disagreements through consensus. We analyzed the data thematically.

Results: After reviewing 92 studies, 20 studies involving 836 participants from 11 countries were eligible. Of the 72 studies excluded, 39 were not conducted in sub-Saharan Africa, and 33 included other participants such as fathers. Three themes emerged as barriers to exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) and five additional themes were identified with facilitators of maternal-infant factors being the most significant in both cases. Maternal employment and knowledge of the benefits of EBF were the most common maternal-infant factors that served as a barrier and a facilitator, respectively. The study's limitations were that the review involved only primary research among breastfeeding mothers living in sub-Saharan Africa and excluded studies not available in the English language. The information synthesized from this review could be used to develop communication strategies employed during individual and group patient education in the hospitals to improve breastfeeding mothers' understanding, acceptance, and practice of exclusive breastfeeding. This review was prospectively registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO), registration number CRD42020133761.

Conclusions: This review found that maternal-infant factors have the most significant influence over the practice of exclusive breastfeeding. Therefore, interventions targeted towards maternal-infant factors will improve and optimize exclusive breastfeeding significantly and, ultimately, improve maternal-child health outcomes.
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June 2021