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1.  Factors influencing performance of health workers in the management of seriously sick children at a Kenyan tertiary hospital - participatory action research 
Background
Implementation of World Health Organization case management guidelines for serious childhood illnesses remains a challenge in hospitals in low-income countries. Facilitators of and barriers to implementation of locally adapted clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) have not been explored.
Methods
This ethnographic study based on the theory of participatory action research (PAR) was conducted in Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya’s largest teaching hospital. The primary intervention consisted of dissemination of locally adapted CPGs. The PRECEDE-PROCEED health education model was used as the conceptual framework to guide and examine further reinforcement activities to improve the uptake of the CPGs. Activities focussed on introduction of routine clinical audits and tailored educational sessions. Data were collected by a participant observer who also facilitated the PAR over an eighteen-month period. Naturalistic inquiry was utilized to obtain information from all hospital staff encountered while theoretical sampling allowed in-depth exploration of emerging issues. Data were analysed using interpretive description.
Results
Relevance of the CPGs to routine work and emergence of a champion of change facilitated uptake of best-practices. Mobilization of basic resources was relatively easily undertaken while activities that required real intellectual and professional engagement of the senior staff were a challenge. Accomplishments of the PAR were largely with the passive rather than active involvement of the hospital management. Barriers to implementation of best-practices included i) mismatch between the hospital’s vision and reality, ii) poor communication, iii) lack of objective mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating quality of clinical care, iv) limited capacity for planning strategic change, v) limited management skills to introduce and manage change, vi) hierarchical relationships, and vii) inadequate adaptation of the interventions to the local context.
Conclusions
Educational interventions, often regarded as ‘quick-fixes’ to improve care in low-income countries, may be necessary but are unlikely to be sufficient to deliver improved services. We propose that an understanding of organizational issues that influence the behaviour of individual health professionals should guide and inform the implementation of best-practices.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-59
PMCID: PMC3942276  PMID: 24507629
Clinical audits; Clinical practice guidelines; Continuous medical educational sessions; ETAT+; Ethnographic study; Implementation of best-practices; Interpretive description; Participatory action research; Participant observer; Performance of health workers
2.  Documenting the experiences of health workers expected to implement guidelines during an intervention study in Kenyan hospitals 
Background
Although considerable efforts are directed at developing international guidelines to improve clinical management in low-income settings they appear to influence practice rarely. This study aimed to explore barriers to guideline implementation in the early phase of an intervention study in four district hospitals in Kenya.
Methods
We developed a simple interview guide based on a simple characterisation of the intervention informed by review of major theories on barriers to uptake of guidelines. In-depth interviews, non-participatory observation, and informal discussions were then used to explore perceived barriers to guideline introduction and general improvements in paediatric and newborn care. Data were collected four to five months after in-service training in the hospitals. Data were transcribed, themes explored, and revised in two rounds of coding and analysis using NVivo 7 software, subjected to a layered analysis, reviewed, and revised after discussion with four hospital staff who acted as within-hospital facilitators.
Results
A total of 29 health workers were interviewed. Ten major themes preventing guideline uptake were identified: incomplete training coverage; inadequacies in local standard setting and leadership; lack of recognition and appreciation of good work; poor communication and teamwork; organizational constraints and limited resources; counterproductive health worker norms; absence of perceived benefits linked to adoption of new practices; difficulties accepting change; lack of motivation; and conflicting attitudes and beliefs.
Conclusion
While the barriers identified are broadly similar in theme to those reported from high-income settings, their specific nature often differs. For example, at an institutional level there is an almost complete lack of systems to introduce or reinforce guidelines, poor teamwork across different cadres of health worker, and failure to confront poor practice. At an individual level, lack of interest in the evidence supporting guidelines, feelings that they erode professionalism, and expectations that people should be paid to change practice threaten successful implementation.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-44
PMCID: PMC2726115  PMID: 19627591
3.  Performance of Health Workers in the Management of Seriously Sick Children at a Kenyan Tertiary Hospital: Before and after a Training Intervention 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e39964.
Background
Implementation of WHO case management guidelines for serious common childhood illnesses remains a challenge in hospitals in low-income countries. The impact of locally adapted clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) on the quality-of-care of patients in tertiary hospitals has rarely been evaluated.
Methods and Findings
We conducted, in Kenyatta National Hospital, an uncontrolled before and after study with an attempt to explore intervention dose-effect relationships, as CPGs were disseminated and training was progressively implemented. The emergency triage, assessment and treatment plus admission care (ETAT+) training and locally adapted CPGs targeted common, serious childhood illnesses. We compared performance in the pre-intervention (2005) and post-intervention periods (2009) using quality indicators for three diseases: pneumonia, dehydration and severe malnutrition. The indicators spanned four domains in the continuum of care namely assessment, classification, treatment, and follow-up care in the initial 48 hours of admission. In the pre-intervention period patients' care was largely inconsistent with the guidelines, with nine of the 15 key indicators having performance of below 10%. The intervention produced a marked improvement in guideline adherence with an absolute effect size of over 20% observed in seven of the 15 key indicators; three of which had an effect size of over 50%. However, for all the five indicators that required sustained team effort performance continued to be poor, at less than 10%, in the post-intervention period. Data from the five-year period (2005–09) suggest some dose dependency though the adoption rate of the best-practices varied across diseases and over time.
Conclusion
Active dissemination of locally adapted clinical guidelines for common serious childhood illnesses can achieve a significant impact on documented clinical practices, particularly for tasks that rely on competence of individual clinicians. However, more attention must be given to broader implementation strategies that also target institutional and organisational aspects of service delivery to further enhance quality-of-care.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039964
PMCID: PMC3409218  PMID: 22859945
4.  Explaining the uptake of paediatric guidelines in a Kenyan tertiary hospital – mixed methods research 
Background
Evidence-based standards for management of the seriously sick child have existed for decades, yet their translation in clinical practice is a challenge. The context and organization of institutions are known determinants of successful translation, however, research using adequate methodologies to explain the dynamic nature of these determinants in the quality-of-care improvement process is rarely performed.
Methods
We conducted mixed methods research in a tertiary hospital in a low-income country to explore the uptake of locally adapted paediatric guidelines. The quantitative component was an uncontrolled before and after intervention study that included an exploration of the intervention dose-effect relationship. The qualitative component was an ethnographic research based on the theoretical perspective of participatory action research. Interpretive integration was employed to derive meta-inferences that provided a more complete picture of the overall study results that reflect the complexity and the multifaceted ontology of the phenomenon studied.
Results
The improvement in health workers’ performance in relation to the intensity of the intervention was not linear and was characterized by improved and occasionally declining performance. Possible root causes of this performance variability included challenges in keeping knowledge and clinical skills updated, inadequate commitment of the staff to continued improvement, limited exposure to positive professional role models, poor teamwork, failure to maintain professional integrity and mal-adaptation to institutional pressures.
Conclusion
Implementation of best-practices is a complex process that is largely unpredictable, attributed to the complexity of contextual factors operating predominantly at professional and organizational levels. There is no simple solution to implementation of best-practices. Tackling root causes of inadequate knowledge translation in this tertiary care setting will require long-term planning, with emphasis on promotion of professional ethics and values and establishing an organizational framework that enhances positive aspects of professionalism. This study has significant implications for the quality of training in medical institutions and the development of hospital leadership.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-119
PMCID: PMC3975593  PMID: 24613001
ETAT+; Ethnographic; Guidelines; Implementation; Performance; Mixed methods research; Hospital leadership; Complex adaptive system
5.  A Multifaceted Intervention to Implement Guidelines and Improve Admission Paediatric Care in Kenyan District Hospitals: A Cluster Randomised Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(4):e1001018.
Philip Ayieko and colleagues report the outcomes of a cluster-randomized trial carried out in eight Kenyan district hospitals evaluating the effects of a complex intervention involving improved training and supervision for clinicians. They found a higher performance of hospitals assigned to the complex intervention on a variety of process of care measures, as compared to those receiving the control intervention.
Background
In developing countries referral of severely ill children from primary care to district hospitals is common, but hospital care is often of poor quality. However, strategies to change multiple paediatric care practices in rural hospitals have rarely been evaluated.
Methods and Findings
This cluster randomized trial was conducted in eight rural Kenyan district hospitals, four of which were randomly assigned to a full intervention aimed at improving quality of clinical care (evidence-based guidelines, training, job aides, local facilitation, supervision, and face-to-face feedback; n = 4) and the remaining four to control intervention (guidelines, didactic training, job aides, and written feedback; n = 4). Prespecified structure, process, and outcome indicators were measured at baseline and during three and five 6-monthly surveys in control and intervention hospitals, respectively. Primary outcomes were process of care measures, assessed at 18 months postbaseline.
In both groups performance improved from baseline. Completion of admission assessment tasks was higher in intervention sites at 18 months (mean = 0.94 versus 0.65, adjusted difference 0.54 [95% confidence interval 0.05–0.29]). Uptake of guideline recommended therapeutic practices was also higher within intervention hospitals: adoption of once daily gentamicin (89.2% versus 74.4%; 17.1% [8.04%–26.1%]); loading dose quinine (91.9% versus 66.7%, 26.3% [−3.66% to 56.3%]); and adequate prescriptions of intravenous fluids for severe dehydration (67.2% versus 40.6%; 29.9% [10.9%–48.9%]). The proportion of children receiving inappropriate doses of drugs in intervention hospitals was lower (quinine dose >40 mg/kg/day; 1.0% versus 7.5%; −6.5% [−12.9% to 0.20%]), and inadequate gentamicin dose (2.2% versus 9.0%; −6.8% [−11.9% to −1.6%]).
Conclusions
Specific efforts are needed to improve hospital care in developing countries. A full, multifaceted intervention was associated with greater changes in practice spanning multiple, high mortality conditions in rural Kenyan hospitals than a partial intervention, providing one model for bridging the evidence to practice gap and improving admission care in similar settings.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN42996612
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In 2008, nearly 10 million children died in early childhood. Nearly all these deaths were in low- and middle-income countries—half were in Africa. In Kenya, for example, 74 out every 1,000 children born died before they reached their fifth birthday. About half of all childhood (pediatric) deaths in developing countries are caused by pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. Deaths from these common diseases could be prevented if all sick children had access to quality health care in the community (“primary” health care provided by health centers, pharmacists, family doctors, and traditional healers) and in district hospitals (“secondary” health care). Unfortunately, primary health care facilities in developing countries often lack essential diagnostic capabilities and drugs, and pediatric hospital care is frequently inadequate with many deaths occurring soon after admission. Consequently, in 1996, as part of global efforts to reduce childhood illnesses and deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) introduced the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) strategy. This approach to child health focuses on the well-being of the whole child and aims to improve the case management skills of health care staff at all levels, health systems, and family and community health practices.
Why Was This Study Done?
The implementation of IMCI has been evaluated at the primary health care level, but its implementation in district hospitals has not been evaluated. So, for example, interventions designed to encourage the routine use of WHO disease-specific guidelines in rural pediatric hospitals have not been tested. In this cluster randomized trial, the researchers develop and test a multifaceted intervention designed to improve the implementation of treatment guidelines and admission pediatric care in district hospitals in Kenya. In a cluster randomized trial, groups of patients rather than individual patients are randomly assigned to receive alternative interventions and the outcomes in different “clusters” of patients are compared. In this trial, each cluster is a district hospital.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomly assigned eight Kenyan district hospitals to the “full” or “control” intervention, interventions that differed in intensity but that both included more strategies to promote implementation of best practice than are usually applied in Kenyan rural hospitals. The full intervention included provision of clinical practice guidelines and training in their use, six-monthly survey-based hospital assessments followed by face-to-face feedback of survey findings, 5.5 days training for health care workers, provision of job aids such as structured pediatric admission records, external supervision, and the identification of a local facilitator to promote guideline use and to provide on-site problem solving. The control intervention included the provision of clinical practice guidelines (without training in their use) and job aids, six-monthly surveys with written feedback, and a 1.5-day lecture-based seminar to explain the guidelines. The researchers compared the implementation of various processes of care (activities of patients and doctors undertaken to ensure delivery of care) in the intervention and control hospitals at baseline and 18 months later. The performance of both groups of hospitals improved during the trial but more markedly in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals. At 18 months, the completion of admission assessment tasks and the uptake of guideline-recommended clinical practices were both higher in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals. Moreover, a lower proportion of children received inappropriate doses of drugs such as quinine for malaria in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that specific efforts are needed to improve pediatric care in rural Kenya and suggest that interventions that include more approaches to changing clinical practice may be more effective than interventions that include fewer approaches. These findings are limited by certain aspects of the trial design, such as the small number of participating hospitals, and may not be generalizable to other hospitals in Kenya or to hospitals in other developing countries. Thus, although these findings seem to suggest that efforts to implement and scale up improved secondary pediatric health care will need to include more than the production and dissemination of printed materials, further research including trials or evaluation of test programs are necessary before widespread adoption of any multifaceted approach (which will need to be tailored to local conditions and available resources) can be contemplated.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001018.
WHO provides information on efforts to reduce global child mortality and on Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI); the WHO pocket book “Hospital care for children contains guidelines for the management of common illnesses with limited resources (available in several languages)
UNICEF also provides information on efforts to reduce child mortality and detailed statistics on child mortality
The iDOC Africa Web site, which is dedicated to improving the delivery of hospital care for children and newborns in Africa, provides links to the clinical guidelines and other resources used in this study
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001018
PMCID: PMC3071366  PMID: 21483712
6.  Quality of hospital care for sick newborns and severely malnourished children in Kenya: A two-year descriptive study in 8 hospitals 
Background
Given the high mortality associated with neonatal illnesses and severe malnutrition and the development of packages of interventions that provide similar challenges for service delivery mechanisms we set out to explore how well such services are provided in Kenya.
Methods
As a sub-component of a larger study we evaluated care during surveys conducted in 8 rural district hospitals using convenience samples of case records. After baseline hospitals received either a full multifaceted intervention (intervention hospitals) or a partial intervention (control hospitals) aimed largely at improving inpatient paediatric care for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea/dehydration. Additional data were collected to: i) examine the availability of routine information at baseline and their value for morbidity, mortality and quality of care reporting, and ii) compare the care received against national guidelines disseminated to all hospitals.
Results
Clinical documentation for neonatal and malnutrition admissions was often very poor at baseline with case records often entirely missing. Introducing a standard newborn admission record (NAR) form was associated with an increase in median assessment (IQR) score to 25/28 (22-27) from 2/28 (1-4) at baseline. Inadequate and incorrect prescribing of penicillin and gentamicin were common at baseline. For newborns considerable improvements in prescribing in the post baseline period were seen for penicillin but potentially serious errors persisted when prescribing gentamicin, particularly to low-birth weight newborns in the first week of life. Prescribing essential feeds appeared almost universally inadequate at baseline and showed limited improvement after guideline dissemination.
Conclusion
Routine records are inadequate to assess newborn care and thus for monitoring newborn survival interventions. Quality of documented inpatient care for neonates and severely malnourished children is poor with limited improvement after the dissemination of clinical practice guidelines. Further research evaluating approaches to improving care for these vulnerable groups is urgently needed. We also suggest pre-service training curricula should be better aligned to help improve newborn survival particularly.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-307
PMCID: PMC3236590  PMID: 22078071
newborns; child malnutrition; quality of health care
7.  Vendor-to-vendor education to improve malaria treatment by private drug outlets in Bungoma District, Kenya 
Malaria Journal  2003;2:10.
Background
Private outlets are the main suppliers of uncomplicated malaria treatment in Africa. However, they are so numerous that they are difficult for governments to influence and regulate. This study's objective was to evaluate a low-cost outreach education (vendor-to-vendor) programme to improve the private sector's compliance with malaria guidelines in Bungoma district, Kenya. The cornerstone of the programme was the district's training of 73 wholesalers who were equipped with customized job aids for distribution to small retailers.
Methods
Six months after training the wholesalers, the programme was evaluated using mystery shoppers. The shoppers posed as caretakers of sick children needing medication at 252 drug outlets. Afterwards, supervisors assessed the outlets' knowledge, drug stocks, and prices.
Results
The intervention seems to have had a significant impact on stocking patterns, malaria knowledge and prescribing practices of shops/kiosks, but not consistently on other types of outlets. About 32% of shops receiving job aids prescribed to mystery shoppers the approved first-line drug, sulfadoxine-pyremethamine, as compared to only 3% of the control shops. In the first six months, it is estimated that 500 outlets were reached, at a cost of about $8000.
Conclusions
Changing private sector knowledge and practices is widely acknowledged to be slow and difficult. The vendor-to-vendor programme seems a feasible district-level strategy for achieving significant improvements in knowledge and practices of shops/kiosks. However, alternate strategies will be needed to influence pharmacies and clinics. Overall, the impact will be only moderate unless national policies and programmes are also introduced.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-2-10
PMCID: PMC161786  PMID: 12812525
8.  Effect of a formal education programme on safety of transfusions 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2001;323(7321):1118-1120.
Problem
Failure of correct identification and insufficient monitoring of patients receiving transfusions continue to be appreciable and avoidable causes of morbidity and mortality.
Design
A study by a regional transfusion service and a transfusion nurse specialist of the effects of an education programme based on the current national guidelines on identification and monitoring of patients receiving transfusions.
Setting
A large United Kingdom teaching hospital which houses the headquarters of the regional transfusion service.
Key measures for improvement
Improvement in compliance with published national guidelines on the prescription and administration of blood transfusions.
Strategy for change
An audit of current compliance followed by dissemination by a transfusion nurse specialist of a clinical skills package (based on the best practice for transfusion) to all staff involved in giving transfusions. This was supported by trained instructors and the display of standard operating procedures for transfusion in all clinical areas.
Effect of change
An improvement in compliance with the national guidelines to over 95% in six out of seven of the recommendations on best practice was seen 18 months after the initial intervention.
Lessons learnt
The study shows that education of those who prescribe and administer transfusions, as recommended by bodies concerned with the hazards of transfusion, can improve the safety of transfusions.
PMCID: PMC1121603  PMID: 11701582
9.  Kangaroo care for the preterm infant and family 
Paediatrics & Child Health  2012;17(3):141-143.
Kangaroo care (KC) is the practice of skin-to-skin contact between infant and parent. In developing countries, KC for low-birthweight infants has been shown to reduce mortality, severe illness, infection and length of hospital stay. KC is also beneficial for preterm infants in high-income countries. Cardiorespiratory and temperature stability, sleep organization and duration of quiet sleep, neurodevelopmental outcomes, breastfeeding and modulation of pain responses appear to be improved for preterm infants who have received KC during their hospital stay. No detrimental effects on physiological stability have been demonstrated for infants as young as 26 weeks’ gestational age, including those on assisted ventilation. Mothers show enhanced attachment behaviours and describe an increased sense of their role as a mother. The practice of KC should be encouraged in nurseries that care for preterm infants. Information is available to assist in developing guidelines and protocols.
PMCID: PMC3287094  PMID: 23449885
Family-centred care; Kangaroo care; Preterm infant; Skin-to-skin care
10.  Effect of Newborn Resuscitation Training on Health Worker Practices in Pumwani Hospital, Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(2):e1599.
Background
Birth asphyxia kills 0.7 to 1.6 million newborns a year globally with 99% of deaths in developing countries. Effective newborn resuscitation could reduce this burden of disease but the training of health-care providers in low income settings is often outdated. Our aim was to determine if a simple one day newborn resuscitation training (NRT) alters health worker resuscitation practices in a public hospital setting in Kenya.
Methods/Principal Findings
We conducted a randomised, controlled trial with health workers receiving early training with NRT (n = 28) or late training (the control group, n = 55). The training was adapted locally from the approach of the UK Resuscitation Council. The primary outcome was the proportion of appropriate initial resuscitation steps with the frequency of inappropriate practices as a secondary outcome. Data were collected on 97 and 115 resuscitation episodes over 7 weeks after early training in the intervention and control groups respectively. Trained providers demonstrated a higher proportion of adequate initial resuscitation steps compared to the control group (trained 66% vs control 27%; risk ratio 2.45, [95% CI 1.75–3.42], p<0.001, adjusted for clustering). In addition, there was a statistically significant reduction in the frequency of inappropriate and potentially harmful practices per resuscitation in the trained group (trained 0.53 vs control 0.92; mean difference 0.40, [95% CI 0.13–0.66], p = 0.004).
Conclusions/Significance
Implementation of a simple, one day newborn resuscitation training can be followed immediately by significant improvement in health workers' practices. However, evidence of the effects on long term performance or clinical outcomes can only be established by larger cluster randomised trials.
Trial Registration
Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN92218092
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001599
PMCID: PMC2229665  PMID: 18270586
11.  Clinical and Radiographic Factors Do Not Accurately Diagnose Smear-Negative Tuberculosis in HIV-infected Inpatients in Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9859.
Background
Although World Health Organization guidelines recommend clinical judgment and chest radiography for diagnosing tuberculosis in HIV-infected adults with unexplained cough and negative sputum smears for acid-fast bacilli, the diagnostic performance of this approach is unknown. Therefore, we sought to assess the accuracy of symptoms, physical signs, and radiographic findings for diagnosing tuberculosis in this population in a low-income country with a high incidence of tuberculosis.
Methodology
We performed a cross-sectional study enrolling consecutive HIV-infected inpatients with unexplained cough and negative sputum smears for acid-fast bacilli at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. Trained medical officers prospectively collected data on standard symptoms and signs of systemic respiratory illness, and two radiologists interpreted chest radiographs in a standardized fashion. We calculated positive- and negative-likelihood ratios of these factors for diagnosing pulmonary tuberculosis (defined when mycobacterial cultures of sputum or bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were positive). We used both conventional and novel regression techniques to develop multivariable prediction models for pulmonary tuberculosis.
Principal Findings
Among 202 enrolled HIV-infected adults with negative sputum smears for acid-fast bacilli, 72 (36%) had culture-positive pulmonary tuberculosis. No single factor, including respiratory symptoms, physical findings, CD4+ T-cell count, or chest radiographic abnormalities, substantially increased or decreased the likelihood of pulmonary tuberculosis. After exhaustive testing, we were also unable to identify any combination of factors which reliably predicted bacteriologically confirmed tuberculosis.
Conclusions and Significance
Clinical and radiographic criteria did not help diagnose smear-negative pulmonary tuberculosis among HIV-infected patients with unexplained cough in a low-income setting. Enhanced diagnostic methods for smear-negative tuberculosis are urgently needed.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009859
PMCID: PMC2845634  PMID: 20361038
12.  Prevalence of Common Mental Disorders in a Rural District of Kenya, and Socio-Demographic Risk Factors 
Association between common mental disorders (CMDs), equity, poverty and socio-economic functioning are relatively well explored in high income countries, but there have been fewer studies in low and middle income countries, despite the considerable burden posed by mental disorders, especially in Africa, and their potential impact on development. This paper reports a population-based epidemiological survey of a rural area in Kenya. A random sample of 2% of all adults living in private households in Maseno, Kisumu District of Nyanza Province, Kenya (50,000 population), were studied. The Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised (CIS-R) was used to determine the prevalence of common mental disorders (CMDs). Associations with socio-demographic and economic characteristics were explored. A CMD prevalence of 10.8% was found, with no gender difference. Higher rates of illness were found in those who were of older age and those in poor physical health. We conclude that CMDs are common in Kenya and rates are elevated among people who are older, and those in poor health.
doi:10.3390/ijerph9051810
PMCID: PMC3386589  PMID: 22754474
epidemiology; Kenya; development
13.  Experience developing national evidence-based clinical guidelines for childhood pneumonia in a low-income setting - making the GRADE? 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:1.
Background
The development of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines has gained wide acceptance in high-income countries and reputable international organizations. Whereas this approach may be a desirable standard, challenges remain in low-income settings with limited capacity and resources for evidence synthesis and guideline development. We present our experience using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach for the recent revision of the Kenyan pediatric clinical guidelines focusing on antibiotic treatment of pneumonia.
Methods
A team of health professionals, many with minimal prior experience conducting systematic reviews, carried out evidence synthesis for structured clinical questions. Summaries were compiled and distributed to a panel of clinicians, academicians and policy-makers to generate recommendations based on best available research evidence and locally-relevant contextual factors.
Results
We reviewed six eligible articles on non-severe and 13 on severe/very severe pneumonia. Moderate quality evidence suggesting similar clinical outcomes comparing amoxicillin and cotrimoxazole for non-severe pneumonia received a strong recommendation against adopting amoxicillin. The panel voted strongly against amoxicillin for severe pneumonia over benzyl penicillin despite moderate quality evidence suggesting clinical equivalence between the two and additional factors favoring amoxicillin. Very low quality evidence suggesting ceftriaxone was as effective as the standard benzyl penicillin plus gentamicin for very severe pneumonia received a strong recommendation supporting the standard treatment.
Conclusions
Although this exercise may have fallen short of the rigorous requirements recommended by the developers of GRADE, it was arguably an improvement on previous attempts at guideline development in low-income countries and offers valuable lessons for future similar exercises where resources and locally-generated evidence are scarce.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-1
PMCID: PMC3268095  PMID: 22208358
14.  In-service training for health professionals to improve care of the seriously ill newborn or child in low and middle-income countries (Review) 
Background
A variety of emergency care training courses based on developed country models are being promoted as a strategy to improve the quality of care of the seriously ill newborn or child in developing countries. Clear evidence of their effectiveness is lacking.
Objectives
To investigate the effectiveness of in-service training of health professionals on their management and care of the seriously ill newborn or child in low and middle-income settings.
Search strategy
We searched The Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), the Specialised Register of the Cochrane EPOC group (both up to May 2009), MEDLINE (1950 to May 2009), EMBASE (1980 to May 2009), CINAHL (1982 to March 2008), ERIC / LILACS / WHOLIS (all up to October 2008), and ISI Science Citation Index Expanded and ISI Social Sciences Citation Index (both from 1975 to March 2009). We checked references of retrieved articles and reviews and contacted authors to identify additional studies.
Selection criteria
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), cluster-randomised trials (CRTs), controlled clinical trials (CCTs), controlled before-after studies (CBAs) and interrupted time series studies (ITSs) that reported objectively measured professional practice, patient outcomes, health resource /services utilization, or training costs in healthcare settings (not restricted to studies in low-income settings).
Data collection and analysis
We independently selected studies for inclusion, abstracted data using a standardised form, and assessed study quality. Meta-analysis was not appropriate. Study results were summarised and appraised.
Main results
Two studies of varied designs were included. In one RCT of moderate quality, Newborn Resuscitation Training (NRT) was associated with a significant improvement in performance of adequate initial resuscitation steps (risk ratio 2.45, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.75 to 3.42, P < 0.001, adjusted for clustering) and a reduction in the frequency of inappropriate and potentially harmful practices (mean difference 0.40, 95% CI 0.13 to 0.66, P = 0.004). In the second RCT, available limited data suggested that there was improvement in assessment of breathing and newborn care practices in the delivery room following implementation of Essential Newborn Care (ENC) training.
Authors' conclusions
There is limited evidence that in-service neonatal emergency care courses improve health-workers' practices when caring for a seriously ill newborn although there is some evidence of benefit. Rigorous trials evaluating the impact of refresher emergency care training on long-term professional practices are needed. To optimise appropriate policy decisions, studies should aim to collect data on resource use and costs of training implementation.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007071.pub2
PMCID: PMC2868967  PMID: 20393956
15.  A New Era in Mental Health Care in Vanuatu 
Inequity in health-care delivery for those with mental illness is widespread throughout low- and middle-income countries. In the Pacific Island countries there are many barriers to addressing the growing mental health burden. In an effort to address this problem, the WHO is coordinating the Pacific Islands Mental Health Network involving 18 countries in the Pacific region with the financial support of New Zealand Aid (NZAid). JB and DP have developed and presented mental health training to health professionals, community leaders, and social service personnel in an environment in Vanuatu that is very different from that of their usual Australian-based general practices. They discuss evidence for their work, an outline of the programme, some difficulties working across different cultures, and the enthusiasm with which the training has been greeted. Vanuatu is now well on its way to addressing the inequity of access to mental health care with a culturally appropriate and self-sustaining mental health workforce.
doi:10.1155/2011/590492
PMCID: PMC3263840  PMID: 22295187
16.  Lipid-lowering drugs in ischaemic heart disease: A quasi-experimental uncontrolled before-and-after study of the effectiveness of clinical practice guidelines 
Background
Cardiovascular diseases(CVD), specifically ischaemic heart disease(IHD), are the main causes of death in industrialized countries. Statins are not usually prescribed in the most appropriate way. To ensure the correct prescription of these drugs, it is necessary to develop, disseminate and implement clinical practice guidelines(CPGs), and subsequently evaluate them.
The main objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of consensual Lipid-lowering drugs (LLD) prescription guidelines in hospital and primary care settings, to improve the control of Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (LDL-C) levels in patients with IHD in the Terres de l'Ebre region covered by the Catalonian Health Institute. Secondary objectives are to assess the improvement of the prescription profile of these LLDs, to assess cardiovascular morbimortality and the professional profile and participant centre characteristics that govern the control of LDL-C.
Methods/Design
Design: Quasi-experimental uncontrolled before and after study. The intervention consists of the delivery of training strategies for guideline implementation (classroom clinical sessions and on-line courses) aimed at primary care and hospital physicians. The improvement in the control of LDL-C levels in the 3,402 patients with IHD in our territory is then assessed.
Scope: Primary care physicians from 11 basic health areas(BHAs) and two hospital services (internal medicine and cardiology).
Sample: 3,402 patients registered with IHD in the database of the Catalan Institute of Health(E-cap) before December 2008 and patients newly diagnosed during 2009-2010.
Variables: Percentage of patients achieving good control of LDL-C, measured in milligrams per decilitre. The aim of the intervention is to achieve levels of LDL-C < 100 mg/dl in patients with IHD. Secondary variables measure type and time of diagnosis of IHD, type and dose of prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, level of physician participation in training activities and their professional profile.
Discussion
The development of prescription guidelines previously agreed by various medical specialists involved in treating IHD patients have usually improved drug prescription. The guideline presented in this study aims to improve the control of LDL-C by training physicians through presential and on-line courses on the dissemination of this guideline, and by providing feedback on their personal results a year after this training intervention.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-11-47
PMCID: PMC3160987  PMID: 21816068
17.  Effectiveness of community health workers delivering preventive interventions for maternal and child health in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:847.
Background
Community Health Workers are widely utilised in low- and middle-income countries and may be an important tool in reducing maternal and child mortality; however, evidence is lacking on their effectiveness for specific types of programmes, specifically programmes of a preventive nature. This review reports findings on a systematic review analysing effectiveness of preventive interventions delivered by Community Health Workers for Maternal and Child Health in low- and middle-income countries.
Methods
A search strategy was developed according to the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre’s (EPPI-Centre) guidelines and systematic searching of the following databases occurred between June 8 – 11th, 2012: CINAHL, Embase, Ovid Nursing Database, PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science and POPLINE. Google, Google Scholar and WHO search engines, as well as relevant systematic reviews and reference lists from included articles were also searched. Inclusion criteria were: i) Target beneficiaries should be pregnant or recently pregnant women and/or children under-5 and/or caregivers of children under-5; ii) Interventions were required to be preventive and delivered by Community Health Workers at the household level. No exclusion criteria were stipulated for comparisons/controls or outcomes. Study characteristics of included articles were extracted using a data sheet and a peer tested quality assessment. A narrative synthesis of included studies was compiled with articles being coded descriptively to synthesise results and draw conclusions.
Results
A total of 10,281 studies were initially identified and through the screening process a total of 17 articles detailing 19 studies were included in the review. Studies came from ten different countries and consisted of randomized controlled trials, cluster randomized controlled trials, before and after, case control and cross sectional studies. Overall quality of evidence was found to be moderate. Five main preventive intervention categories emerged: malaria prevention, health education, breastfeeding promotion, essential newborn care and psychosocial support. All categories showed some evidence for the effectiveness of Community Health Workers; however they were found to be especially effective in promoting mother-performed strategies (skin to skin care and exclusive breastfeeding).
Conclusions
Community Health Workers were shown to provide a range of preventive interventions for Maternal and Child Health in low- and middle-income countries with some evidence of effective strategies, though insufficient evidence is available to draw conclusions for most interventions and further research is needed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-847
PMCID: PMC3848754  PMID: 24034792
Community health workers; Maternal and child health; Low-and middle-income countries; Prevention; Intervention; Human resources for health
18.  Development and technical basis of simplified guidelines for emergency triage assessment and treatment in developing countries 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1999;81(6):473-477.
Simplified guidelines for the emergency care of children have been developed to improve the triage and rapid initiation of appropriate emergency treatments for children presenting to hospitals in developing countries. The guidelines are part of the effort to improve referral level paediatric care within the World Health Organisation/Unicef strategy integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI), based on evidence of significant deficiencies in triage and emergency care. Existing emergency guidelines have been modified according to resource limitations and significant differences in the epidemiology of severe paediatric illness and preventable death in developing countries with raised infant and child mortality rates. In these settings, it is important to address the emergency management of diarrhoea with severe dehydration, severe malaria, severe malnutrition, and severe bacterial pneumonia, and to focus attention on sick infants younger than 2 months of age. The triage assessment relies on a few clinical signs, which can be readily taught so that it can be used by health workers with limited clinical background. The assessment has been designed so that it can be carried out quickly if negative, making it functional for triaging children in queues.


PMCID: PMC1718149  PMID: 10569960
19.  A RCT of three training and support strategies to encourage implementation of screening and brief alcohol intervention by general practitioners. 
BACKGROUND: Providing doctors with new research findings or clinical guidelines is rarely sufficient to promote changes in clinical practice. An implementation strategy is required to provide clinicians with the skills and encouragement needed to alter established routines. AIM: To evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different training and support strategies in promoting implementation of screening and brief alcohol intervention (SBI) by general practitioners (GPs). METHOD: Subjects were 128 GPs, one per practice, from the former Northern and Yorkshire Regional Health Authority, who agreed to use the 'Drink-Less' SBI programme in an earlier dissemination trial. GPs were stratified by previous marketing conditions and randomly allocated to three intensities of training and support: controls (n = 43) received the programme with written guidelines only, trained GPs (n = 43) received the programme plus practice-based training in programme usage, trained and supported GPs (n = 42) received the programme plus practice-based training and a support telephone call every two weeks. GPs were requested to use the programme for three months. Outcome measures included proportions of GPs implementing the programme and numbers of patients screened and intervened with. RESULTS: Seventy-three (57%) GPs implemented the programme and screened 11,007 patients for risk drinking. Trained and supported GPs were significantly more likely to implement the programme (71%) than controls (44%) or trained GPs (56%); they also screened, and intervened with, significantly more patients. Costs per patient screened were: trained and supported GPs, 1.05 Pounds; trained GPs, 1.08 Pounds; and controls, 1.47 Pounds. Costs per patient intervened with were: trained and supported GPs, 5.43 Pounds; trained GPs, 6.02 Pounds; and controls, 8.19 Pounds. CONCLUSION: Practice-based training plus support telephone calls was the most effective and cost-effective strategy to encourage implementation of SBI by GPs.
PMCID: PMC1313496  PMID: 10756610
20.  Feasibility of Modified Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guidelines in a Resource-Restricted Setting Based on a Cohort Study of Severe S. Aureus Sepsis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e29858.
Background
The Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) guidelines describe best practice for the management of severe sepsis and septic shock in developed countries, but most deaths from sepsis occur where healthcare is not sufficiently resourced to implement them. Our objective was to define the feasibility and basis for modified guidelines in a resource-restricted setting.
Methods and Findings
We undertook a detailed assessment of sepsis management in a prospective cohort of patients with severe sepsis caused by a single pathogen in a 1,100-bed hospital in lower-middle income Thailand. We compared their management with the SSC guidelines to identify care bundles based on existing capabilities or additional activities that could be undertaken at zero or low cost. We identified 72 patients with severe sepsis or septic shock associated with S. aureus bacteraemia, 38 (53%) of who died within 28 days. One third of patients were treated in intensive care units (ICUs). Numerous interventions described by the SSC guidelines fell within existing capabilities, but their implementation was highly variable. Care available to patients on general wards covered the fundamental principles of sepsis management, including non-invasive patient monitoring, antimicrobial administration and intravenous fluid resuscitation. We described two additive care bundles, one for general wards and the second for ICUs, that if consistently performed would be predicted to improve outcome from severe sepsis.
Conclusion
It is feasible to implement modified sepsis guidelines that are scaled to resource availability, and that could save lives prior to the publication of international guidelines for developing countries.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029858
PMCID: PMC3283614  PMID: 22363410
21.  Maternal and perinatal guideline development in hospitals in South East Asia: the experience of the SEA-ORCHID project 
Background
Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) are commonly used to support practitioners to improve practice. However many studies have raised concerns about guideline quality. The reasons why guidelines are not developed following the established development methods are not clear.
The SEA-ORCHID project aims to increase the generation and use of locally relevant research and improve clinical practice in maternal and perinatal care in four countries in South East Asia. Baseline data highlighted that development of evidence-based CPGs according to recommended processes was very rare in the SEA-ORCHID hospitals. The project investigators suggested that there were aspects of the recommended development process that made it very difficult in the participating hospitals.
We therefore aimed to explore the experience of guideline development and particularly the enablers of and barriers to developing evidence-based guidelines in the nine hospitals in South East Asia participating in the SEA-ORCHID project, so as to better understand how evidence-based guideline development could be facilitated in these settings.
Methods
Semi-structured, face-to-face interviews were undertaken with senior and junior healthcare providers (nurses, midwives, doctors) from the maternal and neonatal services at each of the nine participating hospitals. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and a thematic analysis undertaken.
Results
Seventy-five individual, 25 pair and eleven group interviews were conducted. Participants clearly valued evidence-based guidelines. However they also identified several major barriers to guideline development including time, lack of awareness of process, difficulties searching for evidence and arranging guideline development group meetings, issues with achieving multi-disciplinarity and consumer involvement. They also highlighted the central importance of keeping guidelines up-to-date.
Conclusion
Healthcare providers in the SEA-ORCHID hospitals face a series of barriers to developing evidence-based guidelines. At present, in many hospitals, several of these barriers are insurmountable, and as a result, rigorous, evidence-based guidelines are not being developed. Given the acknowledged benefits of evidence-based guidelines, perhaps a new approach to supporting their development in these contexts is needed.
doi:10.1186/1478-4505-7-10
PMCID: PMC2683833  PMID: 19422716
22.  Do clinical guidelines introduced with practice based education improve care of asthmatic and diabetic patients? A randomised controlled trial in general practices in east London. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1995;311(7018):1473-1478.
OBJECTIVE--To determine whether locally developed guidelines on asthma and diabetes disseminated through practice based education improve quality of care in non-training, inner city general practices. DESIGN--Randomised controlled trial with each practice receiving one set of guidelines but providing data on the management of both conditions. SUBJECTS--24 inner city, non-training general practices. SETTING--East London. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Recording of key variables in patient records (asthma: peak flow rate, review of inhaler technique, review of asthma symptoms, prophylaxis, occupation, and smoking habit; diabetes: blood glucose concentration, glycaemic control, funduscopy, feet examination, weight, and smoking habit); size of practice disease registers; prescribing in asthma; and use of structured consultation "prompts." RESULTS--In practices receiving diabetes guidelines, significant improvements in recording were seen for all seven diabetes variables. Both groups of practices showed improved recording of review of inhaler technique, smoking habit, and review of asthma symptoms. In practices receiving asthma guidelines, further improvement was seen only in recording of review of inhaler technique and quality of prescribing in asthma. Sizes of disease registers were unchanged. The use of structured prompts was associated with improved recording of four of seven variables on diabetes and all six variables on asthma. CONCLUSIONS--Local guidelines disseminated via practice based education improve the management of diabetes and possibly of asthma in inner city, non-training practices. The use of simple prompts may enhance this improvement.
PMCID: PMC2543702  PMID: 8520339
23.  Study protocol: Cost effectiveness of two strategies to implement the NVOG guidelines on hypertension in pregnancy: An innovative strategy including a computerised decision support system compared to a common strategy of professional audit and feedback, a randomized controlled trial 
Background
Hypertensive disease in pregnancy remains the leading cause of maternal mortality in the Netherlands. Seventeen percent of the clinical pregnancies are complicated by hypertension and 2% by preeclampsia. The Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG) has developed evidence-based guidelines on the management of hypertension in pregnancy and chronic hypertension. Previous studies showed a low adherence rate to other NVOG guidelines and a large variation in usual care in the different hospitals. An explanation is that the NVOG has no general strategy of practical implementation and evaluation of its guidelines. The development of an effective and cost effective implementation strategy to improve adherence to the guidelines on hypertension in pregnancy is needed.
Methods/Design
The objective of this study is to assess the cost effectiveness of an innovative implementation strategy of the NVOG guidelines on hypertension including a computerised decision support system (BOS) compared to a common strategy of professional audit and feedback. A cluster randomised controlled trial with an economic evaluation alongside will be performed. Both pregnant women who develop severe hypertension or pre-eclampsia and professionals involved in the care for these women will participate. The main outcome measures are a combined rate of major maternal complications and process indicators extracted from the guidelines. A total of 472 patients will be included in both groups. For analysis, descriptive as well as regression techniques will be used. A cost effectiveness and cost utility analysis will be performed according to the intention-to-treat principle and from a societal perspective. Cost effectiveness ratios will be calculated using bootstrapping techniques.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-68
PMCID: PMC2940931  PMID: 20819222
24.  Economic Evaluation of Active Implementation versus Guideline Dissemination for Evidence-Based Care of Acute Low-Back Pain in a General Practice Setting 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75647.
Introduction
The development and publication of clinical practice guidelines for acute low-back pain has resulted in evidence-based recommendations that have the potential to improve the quality and safety of care for acute low-back pain. Development and dissemination of guidelines may not, however, be sufficient to produce improvements in clinical practice; further investment in active implementation of guideline recommendations may be required. Further research is required to quantify the trade-off between the additional upfront cost of active implementation of guideline recommendations for low-back pain and any resulting improvements in clinical practice.
Methods
Cost-effectiveness analysis alongside the IMPLEMENT trial from a health sector perspective to compare active implementation of guideline recommendations via the IMPLEMENT intervention (plus standard dissemination) against standard dissemination alone.
Results
The base-case analysis suggests that delivery of the IMPLEMENT intervention dominates standard dissemination (less costly and more effective), yielding savings of $135 per x-ray referral avoided (-$462.93/3.43). However, confidence intervals around point estimates for the primary outcome suggest that – irrespective of willingness to pay (WTP) – we cannot be at least 95% confident that the IMPLEMENT intervention differs in value from standard dissemination.
Conclusions
Our findings demonstrate that moving beyond development and dissemination to active implementation entails a significant additional upfront investment that may not be offset by health gains and/or reductions in health service utilization of sufficient magnitude to render active implementation cost-effective.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075647
PMCID: PMC3795707  PMID: 24146767
25.  Attitudes of Malaysian general hospital staff towards patients with mental illness and diabetes 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:317.
Background
The context of the study is the increased assessment and treatment of persons with mental illness in general hospital settings by general health staff, as the move away from mental hospitals gathers pace in low and middle income countries. The purpose of the study was to examine whether general attitudes of hospital staff towards persons with mental illness, and extent of mental health training and clinical experience, are associated with different attitudes and behaviours towards a patient with mental illness than towards a patients with a general health problem - diabetes.
Methods
General hospital health professionals in Malaysia were randomly allocated one of two vignettes, one describing a patient with mental illness and the other a patient with diabetes, and invited to complete a questionnaire examining attitudes and health care practices in relation to the case. The questionnaires completed by respondents included questions on demographics, training in mental health, exposure in clinical practice to people with mental illness, attitudes and expected health care behaviour towards the patient in the vignette, and a general questionnaire exploring negative attitudes towards people with mental illness. Questionnaires with complete responses were received from 654 study participants.
Results
Stigmatising attitudes towards persons with mental illness were common. Those responding to the mental illness vignette (N = 356) gave significantly lower ratings on care and support and higher ratings on avoidance and negative stereotype expectations compared with those responding the diabetes vignette (N = 298).
Conclusions
Results support the view that, in the Malaysian setting, patients with mental illness may receive differential care from general hospital staff and that general stigmatising attitudes among professionals may influence their care practices. More direct measurement of clinician behaviours than able to be implemented through survey method is required to support these conclusions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-317
PMCID: PMC3112131  PMID: 21569613

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