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1.  Are hospitals prepared to support newborn survival? – An evaluation of eight first-referral level hospitals in Kenya 
Newborn mortality in poor parts of the world remains unacceptably high. Basic hospital care may be an important component of attempts to save newborn lives but little is known about the capacity of such facilities to provide essential care to ill newborns.
To assess the availability of resources that support the provision of basic neonatal care in eight first-referral level (district) hospitals in Kenya.
We selected two hospitals each from four of Kenya's eight provinces with the aim of representing the diversity of this part of the health system in Kenya. We also created a checklist of 53 indicator items necessary for providing essential basic care to newborns and assessed their availability at each of the eight hospitals by direct observation. We compared our observations with the opinions of health workers providing care to newborns on recent availability for some items, using a self-administered structured questionnaire.
The hospitals surveyed were often unable to maintain a safe hygienic environment for patients and health care workers; staffing was insufficient and sometimes poorly organised to support the provision of care; some key equipment, laboratory tests, drugs and consumables were not available while patient management guidelines were missing in all sites.
Hospitals appear relatively poorly prepared to fill their proposed role in ensuring newborn survival. More effective interventions are needed to improve them to meet the special needs of this at-risk group.
PMCID: PMC2751740  PMID: 19695001
2.  An intervention to improve paediatric and newborn care in Kenyan district hospitals: Understanding the context 
It is increasingly appreciated that the interpretation of health systems research studies is greatly facilitated by detailed descriptions of study context and the process of intervention. We have undertaken an 18-month hospital-based intervention study in Kenya aiming to improve care for admitted children and newborn infants. Here we describe the baseline characteristics of the eight hospitals as environments receiving the intervention, as well as the general and local health system context and its evolution over the 18 months.
Hospital characteristics were assessed using previously developed tools assessing the broad structure, process, and outcome of health service provision for children and newborns. Major health system or policy developments over the period of the intervention at a national level were documented prospectively by monitoring government policy announcements, the media, and through informal contacts with policy makers. At the hospital level, a structured, open questionnaire was used in face-to-face meetings with senior hospital staff every six months to identify major local developments that might influence implementation. These data provide an essential background for those seeking to understand the generalisability of reports describing the intervention's effects, and whether the intervention plausibly resulted in these effects.
Hospitals had only modest capacity, in terms of infrastructure, equipment, supplies, and human resources available to provide high-quality care at baseline. For example, hospitals were lacking between 30 to 56% of items considered necessary for the provision of care to the seriously ill child or newborn. An increase in spending on hospital renovations, attempts to introduce performance contracts for health workers, and post-election violence were recorded as examples of national level factors that might influence implementation success generally. Examples of factors that might influence success locally included frequent and sometimes numerous staff changes, movements of senior departmental or administrative staff, and the presence of local 'donor' partners with alternative priorities.
The effectiveness of interventions delivered at hospital level over periods realistically required to achieve change may be influenced by a wide variety of factors at national and local levels. We have demonstrated how dynamic such contexts are, and therefore the need to consider context when interpreting an intervention's effectiveness.
PMCID: PMC2724481  PMID: 19627588
3.  Implementation experience during an eighteen month intervention to improve paediatric and newborn care in Kenyan district hospitals 
We have conducted an intervention study aiming to improve hospital care for children and newborns in Kenya. In judging whether an intervention achieves its aims, an understanding of how it is delivered is essential. Here, we describe how the implementation team delivered the intervention over 18 months and provide some insight into how health workers, the primary targets of the intervention, received it.
We used two approaches. First, a description of the intervention is based on an analysis of records of training, supervisory and feedback visits to hospitals, and brief logs of key topics discussed during telephone calls with local hospital facilitators. Record keeping was established at the start of the study for this purpose with analyses conducted at the end of the intervention period. Second, we planned a qualitative study nested within the intervention project and used in-depth interviews and small group discussions to explore health worker and facilitators' perceptions of implementation. After thematic analysis of all interview data, findings were presented, discussed, and revised with the help of hospital facilitators.
Four hospitals received the full intervention including guidelines, training and two to three monthly support supervision and six monthly performance feedback visits. Supervisor visits, as well as providing an opportunity for interaction with administrators, health workers, and facilitators, were often used for impromptu, limited refresher training or orientation of new staff. The personal links that evolved with senior staff seemed to encourage local commitment to the aims of the intervention. Feedback seemed best provided as open meetings and discussions with administrators and staff. Supervision, although sometimes perceived as fault finding, helped local facilitators become the focal point of much activity including key roles in liaison, local monitoring and feedback, problem solving, and orientation of new staff to guidelines. In four control hospitals receiving a minimal intervention, local supervision and leadership to implement new guidelines, despite their official introduction, were largely absent.
The actual content of an intervention and how it is implemented and received may be critical determinants of whether it achieves its aims. We have carefully described our intervention approach to facilitate appraisal of the quantitative results of the intervention's effect on quality of care. Our findings suggest ongoing training, external supportive supervision, open feedback, and local facilitation may be valuable additions to more typical in-service training approaches, and may be feasible.
PMCID: PMC2724482  PMID: 19627594
Acta Informatica Medica  2012;20(4):226-234.
The aim of the adoption process of the “Quality of hospital care for mothers and newborns babies, assessment tool” (WHO, 2009) was to provide the Albanian health professionals of maternity hospitals with a tool that may help them assess the quality of perinatal care and identify key areas of pregnancy, childbirth and newborn care that need to be improved.
Four maternity hospitals (one university hospital and three regional hospitals) were selected for the assessment using this standard tool covering over 600 items grouped into 13 areas ranging from supportive services to case management. Sources of information consisted of site visits, hospital statistics, medical records, observation of cases and interviews with staff and patients. A score was assigned to each item (range 0-3) and area of care. The assessments were carried out in two rounds: in 2009 and in 2011. These assessments provided semi-quantitative data on the quality of hospital care for mothers and newborns.
Data collected on the first round established a baseline assessment, whereas the second round monitored the subsequent changes. The findings of the second round revealed improvements encountered in all maternities, notwithstanding differences in the levels of improvement between maternities, not necessarily linked with extra financial inputs.
The Albanian experience indicates a successful process of the adoption of the WHO tool on the quality of hospital care for mothers and newborn babies. The adopted tool can be used country-wide as a component of a quality improvement strategy in perinatal health care in Albania.
PMCID: PMC3558291  PMID: 23378688
Albania; maternity hospital; quality; WHO assessment tool.
5.  Causes and outcome of young infant admissions to a Kenyan district hospital 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2003;88(5):438-443.
Aims: To provide a comprehensive description of young infant admissions to a first referral level health facility in Kenya. These data, currently lacking, are important given present efforts to standardise their care through the integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI) and for prioritising both health care provision and disease prevention strategies.
Methods: Prospective, 18 month observational study in a Kenyan district hospital of all admissions less than 3 months of age to the paediatric ward.
Results: A total of 1080 infants were studied. Mortality was 18% overall, though in those aged 0–7 days it was 34%. Within two months of discharge a further 5% of infants aged <60 days on admission had died. Severe infection and prematurity together accounted for 57% of inpatient deaths in those aged <60 days, while jaundice and tetanus accounted for another 27%. S pneumoniae, group B streptococcus, E coli, and Klebsiella spp. were the most common causes of invasive bacterial disease. Hypoxaemia, hypoglycaemia, and an inability to feed were each present in more than 20% of infants aged 0–7 days. Both hypoxaemia and the inability to feed were associated with inpatient death (OR 3.8 (95% CI 2.5 to 5.8) and 7.4 (95% CI 4.8 to 11.2) respectively).
Conclusions: Young infants contribute substantially to paediatric inpatient mortality at the first referral level, highlighting the need both for basic supportive care facilities and improved disease prevention strategies.
PMCID: PMC1719579  PMID: 12716721
6.  Emergency and surgery services of primary hospitals in the United Republic of Tanzania 
BMJ Open  2012;2(1):e000369.
The primary objective was to evaluate the capacity of first-referral health facilities in Tanzania to perform basic surgical procedures. The intent was to assist in planning strategies for universal access to life-saving and disability-preventing surgical services.
Cross-sectional survey.
First-referral health facilities in the United Republic of Tanzania.
48 health facilities.
The WHO Tool for Situational Analysis to Assess Emergency and Essential Surgical Care was employed to capture a health facility's capacity to perform basic surgical (including obstetrics and trauma) and anaesthesia interventions by investigating four categories of data: infrastructure, human resources, interventions available and equipment. The tool queried the availability of eight types of care providers, 35 surgical interventions and 67 items of equipment.
The 48 facilities surveyed served 18.6 million residents (46% of the population). Supplies for basic airway management were inconsistently available. Only 42% had consistent access to oxygen, and only six functioning pulse oximeters were located in all facilities surveyed. 37.5% of facilities reported both consistent running water and electricity. While very basic interventions (suturing, wound debridement, incision and drainage) were provided in nearly all facilities, more advanced life-saving procedures including chest tube thoracostomy (30/48), open fracture management (29/48) and caesarean section delivery (32/48) were not consistently available.
Based on the results in this WHO country survey, significant gaps exist in the capacity for emergency and essential surgical services in Tanzania including deficits in human resources, essential equipment and infrastructure. The information in this survey will provide a foundation for evidence-based decisions in country-level policy regarding the allocation of resources and provision of emergency and essential surgical services.
Article summary
Article focus
On-site visits to primary health centres in a developing nation.
Evaluate capacity to deliver emergency and surgical care-identify gaps in equipment, skills and personnel.
Key messages
Basic surgical procedures are being performed in nearly all health centres.
Significant deficits in human resources, essential equipment and infrastructure.
Pulse oximetry is rarely available.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Most comprehensive evaluation of a developing country's surgical capacity.
Based on established well-accepted analysis tool.
Relies on subjective measures and estimate.
PMCID: PMC3274714  PMID: 22307096
7.  Trends in Use of Referral Hospital Services for Care of Sick Newborns in a Community-based Intervention in Tangail District, Bangladesh 
The Projahnmo-II Project in Mirzapur upazila (sub-district), Tangail district, Bangladesh, is promoting care-seeking for sick newborns through health education of families, identification and referral of sick newborns in the community by community health workers (CHWs), and strengthening of neonatal care in Kumudini Hospital, Mirzapur. Data were drawn from records maintained by the CHWs, referral hospital registers, a baseline household survey of recently-delivered women conducted from March to June 2003, and two interim household surveys in January and September 2005. Increases were observed in self-referral of sick newborns for care, compliance after referral by the CHWs, and care-seeking from qualified providers and from the Kumudini Hospital, and decreases were observed in care-seeking from unqualified providers in the intervention arm. An active surveillance for illness by the CHWs in the home, education of families by them on recognition of danger signs and counselling to seek immediate care for serious illness, and improved linkages between the community and the hospital can produce substantial increases in care-seeking for sick newborns.
PMCID: PMC3001156  PMID: 17591349
Delivery of healthcare; Health services; Care-seeking; Referral and consultation; Community health workers; Neonatal health; Maternal health; Bangladesh
8.  An Observational Cohort Comparison of Facilitators of Retention in Care and Adherence to Anti-Eetroviral Therapy at an HIV Treatment Center in Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32727.
Most HIV treatment programs in resource-limited settings utilize multiple facilitators of adherence and retention in care but there is little data on the efficacy of these methods. We performed an observational cohort analysis of a treatment program in Kenya to assess which program components promote adherence and retention in HIV care in East Africa.
Patients initiating ART at A.I.C. Kijabe Hospital were prospectively enrolled in an observational study. Kijabe has an intensive program to promote adherence and retention in care during the first 6 months of ART that incorporates the following facilitators: home visits by community health workers, community based support groups, pharmacy counseling, and unannounced pill counts by clinicians. The primary endpoint was time to treatment failure, defined as a detectable HIV-1 viral load; discontinuation of ART; death; or loss to follow-up. Time to treatment failure for each facilitator was calculated using Kaplan-Meier analysis. The relative effects of the facilitators were determined by the Cox Proportional Hazards Model.
301 patients were enrolled. Time to treatment failure was longer in patients participating in support groups (448 days vs. 337 days, P<0.001), pharmacy counseling (480 days vs. 386 days, P = 0.002), pill counts (482 days vs. 189 days, P<0.001) and home visits (485 days vs. 426 days, P = 0.024). Better adherence was seen with support groups (89% vs. 82%, P = 0.05) and pill counts (89% vs. 75%, P = 0.02). Multivariate analysis using the Cox Model found significant reductions in risk of treatment failure associated with pill counts (HR = 0.19, P<0.001) and support groups (HR = 0.43, P = 0.003).
Unannounced pill counts by the clinician and community based support groups were associated with better long term treatment success and with better adherence.
PMCID: PMC3302871  PMID: 22427869
9.  Effect of Newborn Resuscitation Training on Health Worker Practices in Pumwani Hospital, Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(2):e1599.
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).
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 ISRCTN92218092
PMCID: PMC2229665  PMID: 18270586
10.  Assessment of Special Care Newborn Units in India 
The neonatal mortality rate in India is high and stagnant. Special Care Newborn Units (SCNUs) have been set up to provide quality level II newborn-care services in several district hospitals to meet this challenge. The units are located in some remotest districts where the burden of neonatal deaths is high, and access to special newborn care is poor. The study was conducted to assess the functioning of SCNUs in eight rural districts of India. The evaluation was based on an analysis of secondary data from the eight units that had been functioning for at least one year. A cross-sectional survey was also conducted to assess the availability of human resources, equipment, and quality care. Descriptive statistics were used for analyzing the inputs (resources) and outcomes (morbidity and mortality). The rate of mortality among admitted neonates was taken as the key outcome variable to assess the performance of the units. Chi-square test was used for analyzing the trend of case-fatality rate over a period of 3-5 years considering the first year of operationalization as the base. Correlation coefficients were estimated to understand the possible association of case-fatality rate with factors, such as bed:doctor ratio, bed:nurse ratio, average duration of stay, and bed occupancy rate, and the asepsis score was determined. The rates of admission increased from a median of 16.7 per 100 deliveries in 2008 to 19.5 per 100 deliveries in 2009. The case-fatality rate reduced from 4% to 40% within one year of their functioning. Proportional mortality due to sepsis and low birthweight (LBW) declined significantly over two years (LBW <2.5 kg). The major reasons for admission and the major causes of deaths were birth asphyxia, sepsis, and LBW/prematurity. The units had a varying nurse:bed ratio (1:0.5-1:1.3). The bed occupancy rate ranged from 28% to 155% (median 103%), and the average duration of stay ranged from two days to 15 days (median 4.75 days). Repair and maintenance of equipment were a major concern. It is possible to set up and manage quality SCNUs and improve the survival of newborns with LBW and sepsis in developing countries, although several challenges relating to human resources, maintenance of equipment, and maintenance of asepsis remain.
PMCID: PMC3225112  PMID: 22106756
Cross-sectional studies; Neonatal mortality; Newborn care; Performance evaluation; India
11.  Use of facility assessment data to improve reproductive health service delivery in the Democratic Republic of the Congo 
Conflict and Health  2009;3:12.
Prolonged exposure to war has severely impacted the provision of health services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Health infrastructure has been destroyed, health workers have fled and government support to health care services has been made difficult by ongoing conflict. Poor reproductive health (RH) indicators illustrate the effect that the prolonged crisis in DRC has had on the on the reproductive health (RH) of Congolese women. In 2007, with support from the RAISE Initiative, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and CARE conducted baseline assessments of public hospitals to evaluate their capacities to meet the RH needs of the local populations and to determine availability, utilization and quality of RH services including emergency obstetric care (EmOC) and family planning (FP).
Data were collected from facility assessments at nine general referral hospitals in five provinces in the DRC during March, April and November 2007. Interviews, observation and clinical record review were used to assess the general infrastructure, EmOC and FP services provided, and the infection prevention environment in each of the facilities.
None of the nine hospitals met the criteria for classification as an EmOC facility (either basic or comprehensive). Most facilities lacked any FP services. Shortage of trained staff, essential supplies and medicines and poor infection prevention practices were consistently documented. All facilities had poor systems for routine monitoring of RH services, especially with regard to EmOC.
Women's lives can be saved and their well-being improved with functioning RH services. As the DRC stabilizes, IRC and CARE in partnership with the local Ministry of Health and other service provision partners are improving RH services by: 1) providing necessary equipment and renovations to health facilities; 2) improving supply management systems; 3) providing comprehensive competency-based training for health providers in RH and infection prevention; 4) improving referral systems to the hospitals; 5) advocating for changes in national RH policies and protocols; and 6) providing technical assistance for monitoring and evaluation of key RH indicators. Together, these initiatives will improve the quality and accessibility of RH services in the DRC - services which are urgently needed and to which Congolese women are entitled by international human rights law.
PMCID: PMC2809040  PMID: 20025757
12.  An exploration of opportunities and challenges facing cervical cancer managers in Kenya 
BMC Research Notes  2013;6:136.
Kenya like other developing countries is low in resource setting and is facing a number of challenges in the management of cervical cancer. This study documents opportunities and challenges encountered in managing cervical cancer from the health care workers’ perspectives. A qualitative study was conducted among cervical cancer managers who were defined as nurses and doctors involved in operational level management of cervical cancer. The respondents were drawn from four provincial hospitals and the only two main National public referral hospitals in Kenya. Twenty one [21] nurse managers and twelve [12] medical doctors were interviewed using a standardized interview guide. The responses were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and the content analyzed in emerging themes.
Four themes were identified. Patient related challenges included a large number of patients, presenting in the late stage of disease, low levels of knowledge on cancer of the cervix, low levels of screening and a poor attitude towards screening procedure. Individual health care providers identified a lack of specialised training, difficulty in disclosure of diagnosis to patients, a poor attitude towards cervical cancer screening procedure and a poor attitude towards cervical cancer patients. Health facilities were lacking in infrastructure and medical supplies. Some managers felt ill-equipped in technological skills while the majority lacked access to the internet. Mobile phones were identified as having great potential for improving the management of cervical cancer in Kenya.
Kenya faces a myriad of challenges in the management of cervical cancer. The peculiar negative attitude towards screening procedure and the negative attitude of some managers towards cervical cancer patients need urgent attention. The potential use of mobile phones in cervical cancer management should be explored.
PMCID: PMC3626574  PMID: 23566436
Challenges; Attitudes; Opportunities; Cervical cancer; Health care managers; Kenya
13.  Listening to health workers: lessons from Eastern Uganda for strengthening the programme for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV 
The implementation and utilization of programmes for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in most low income countries has been described as sub-optimal. As planners and service providers, the views of health workers are important in generating priorities to improve the effectiveness of the PMTCT programme in Uganda. We explored the lessons learnt by health workers involved in the provision of PMTCT services in eastern Uganda to better understand what more needs to be done to strengthen the PMTCT programme.
A qualitative study was conducted at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO) Mbale and at eight neighbouring health centres in eastern Uganda, between January and May 2010. Data were collected through 24 individual interviews with the health workers involved in the PMTCT programme and four key informants (2 district officials and 2 officials from TASO). Data were analyzed using the content thematic approach. Study themes and sub-themes were identified following multiple reading of interview transcripts. Relevant quotations have been used in the presentation of study findings.
The key lessons for programme improvement were: ensuring constant availability of critical PMTCT supplies, such as HIV testing kits, antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for mothers and their babies, regular in-service training of health workers to keep them abreast with the rapidly changing knowledge and guidelines for PMTCT, ensuring that lower level health centres provide maternity services and ARVs for women in the PMTCT programme and provision of adequate facilities for effective follow-up and support for mothers.
The voices of health workers in this study revealed that it is imperative for government, civil society organizations and donors that the PMTCT programme addresses the challenges of shortage of critical PMTCT supplies, continuous health worker training and follow-up and support for mothers as urgent needs to strengthen the PMTCT programme.
PMCID: PMC3280189  PMID: 22222064
14.  Influence of Role Models and Hospital Design on the Hand Hygiene of Health-Care Workers 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2003;9(2):217-223.
We assessed the effect of medical staff role models and the number of health-care worker sinks on hand-hygiene compliance before and after construction of a new hospital designed for increased access to handwashing sinks. We observed health-care worker hand hygiene in four nursing units that provided similar patient care in both the old and new hospitals: medical and surgical intensive care, hematology/oncology, and solid organ transplant units. Of 721 hand-hygiene opportunities, 304 (42%) were observed in the old hospital and 417 (58%) in the new hospital. Hand-hygiene compliance was significantly better in the old hospital (161/304; 53%) compared to the new hospital (97/417; 23.3%) (p<0.001). Health-care workers in a room with a senior (e.g., higher ranking) medical staff person or peer who did not wash hands were significantly less likely to wash their own hands (odds ratio 0.2; confidence interval 0.1 to 0.5); p<0.001). Our results suggest that health-care worker hand-hygiene compliance is influenced significantly by the behavior of other health-care workers. An increased number of hand-washing sinks, as a sole measure, did not increase hand-hygiene compliance.
PMCID: PMC2901948  PMID: 12603993
Handwashing; hand hygiene; sink access; new construction; role model; infection control; health-care worker behavior; research
15.  Quality of newborn care: a health facility assessment in rural Ghana using survey, vignette and surveillance data 
BMJ Open  2013;3(5):e002326.
To assess the structural capacity for, and quality of, immediate and essential newborn care (ENC) in health facilities in rural Ghana, and to link this with demand for facility deliveries and admissions.
Health facility assessment survey and population-based surveillance data.
Seven districts in Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana.
Heads of maternal/neonatal wards in all 64 facilities performing deliveries.
Main outcome measures
Indicators include: the availability of essential infrastructure, newborn equipment and drugs, and personnel; vignette scores and adequacy of reasons given for delayed discharge of newborn babies; and prevalence of key immediate ENC practices that facilities should promote. These are matched to the percentage of babies delivered in and admitted to each type of facility.
70% of babies were delivered in health facilities; 56% of these and 87% of neonatal admissions were in four referral level hospitals. These had adequate infrastructure, but all lacked staff trained in ENC and some essential equipment (including incubators and bag and masks) and/or drugs. Vignette scores for care of very low-birth-weight babies were generally moderate-to-high, but only three hospitals achieved high overall scores for quality of ENC. We estimate that only 33% of babies were born in facilities capable of providing high quality, basic resuscitation as assessed by a vignette plus the presence of a bag and mask. Promotion of immediate ENC practices in facilities was also inadequate, with coverage of early initiation of breastfeeding and delayed bathing both below 50% for babies born in facilities; this represents a lost opportunity.
Unless major gaps in ENC equipment, drugs, staff, practices and skills are addressed, strategies to increase facility utilisation will not achieve their potential to save newborn lives.
Trial registration NCT00623337.
PMCID: PMC3651975  PMID: 23667161
Epidemiology; Neonatology; Public health
16.  Maternal care in rural China: a case study from Anhui province 
Studies on prenatal care in China have focused on the timing and frequency of prenatal care and relatively little information can be found on how maternal care has been organized and funded or on the actual content of the visits, especially in the less developed rural areas. This study explored maternal care in a rural county from Anhui province in terms of care organization, provision and utilization.
A total of 699 mothers of infants under one year of age were interviewed with structured questionnaires; the county health bureau officials and managers of township hospitals (n = 10) and county level hospitals (n = 2) were interviewed; the process of the maternal care services was observed by the researchers. In addition, statistics from the local government were used.
The county level hospitals were well staffed and equipped and served as a referral centre for women with a high-risk pregnancy. Township hospitals had, on average, 1.7 midwives serving an average population of 15,000 people. Only 10–20% of the current costs in county level hospitals and township hospitals were funded by the local government, and women paid for delivery care. There was no systematic organized prenatal care and referrals were not mandatory. About half of the women had their first prenatal visit before the 13th gestational week, 36% had fewer than 5 prenatal visits, and about 9% had no prenatal visits. A major reason for not having prenatal care visits was that women considered it unnecessary. Most women (87%) gave birth in public health facilities, and the rest in a private clinic or at home. A total of 8% of births were delivered by caesarean section. Very few women had any postnatal visits. About half of the women received the recommended number of prenatal blood pressure and haemoglobin measurements.
Delivery care was better provided than both prenatal and postnatal care in the study area. Reliance on user fees gave the hospitals an incentive to put more emphasis on revenue generating activities such as delivery care instead of prenatal and postnatal care.
PMCID: PMC2329627  PMID: 18331626
17.  Developing a tool to measure health worker motivation in district hospitals in Kenya 
We wanted to try to account for worker motivation as a key factor that might affect the success of an intervention to improve implementation of health worker practices in eight district hospitals in Kenya. In the absence of available tools, we therefore aimed to develop a tool that could enable a rapid measurement of motivation at baseline and at subsequent points during the 18-month intervention study.
After a literature review, a self-administered questionnaire was developed to assess the outcomes and determinants of motivation of Kenyan government hospital staff. The initial questionnaire included 23 questions (from seven underlying constructs) related to motivational outcomes that were then used to construct a simpler tool to measure motivation. Parallel qualitative work was undertaken to assess the relevance of the questions chosen and the face validity of the tool.
Six hundred eighty-four health workers completed the questionnaires at baseline. Reliability analysis and factor analysis were used to produce the simplified motivational index, which consisted of 10 equally-weighted items from three underlying factors. Scores on the 10-item index were closely correlated with scores for the 23-item index, indicating that in future rapid assessments might be based on the 10 questions alone. The 10-item motivation index was also able to identify statistically significant differences in mean health worker motivation scores between the study hospitals (p < 0.001). The parallel qualitative work in general supported these conclusions and contributed to our understanding of the three identified components of motivation.
The 10-item score developed may be useful to monitor changes in motivation over time within our study or be used for more extensive rapid assessments of health worker motivation in Kenya.
PMCID: PMC2692978  PMID: 19457237
18.  Developing a Nursing Database System in Kenya 
Health Services Research  2007;42(3 Pt 2):1389-1405.
To describe the development, initial findings, and implications of a national nursing workforce database system in Kenya.
Principal Findings
Creating a national electronic nursing workforce database provides more reliable information on nurse demographics, migration patterns, and workforce capacity. Data analyses are most useful for human resources for health (HRH) planning when workforce capacity data can be linked to worksite staffing requirements. As a result of establishing this database, the Kenya Ministry of Health has improved capability to assess its nursing workforce and document important workforce trends, such as out-migration. Current data identify the United States as the leading recipient country of Kenyan nurses. The overwhelming majority of Kenyan nurses who elect to out-migrate are among Kenya's most qualified.
The Kenya nursing database is a first step toward facilitating evidence-based decision making in HRH. This database is unique to developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Establishing an electronic workforce database requires long-term investment and sustained support by national and global stakeholders.
PMCID: PMC1955370  PMID: 17489921
Kenya; nurse; workforce; database; HRH; HIV/AIDS
19.  Risk factors for maternal mortality in a Tertiary Hospital in Kenya: a case control study 
Maternal mortality is high in Africa, especially in Kenya where there is evidence of insufficient progress towards Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Five, which is to reduce the global maternal mortality rate by three quarters and provide universal access to reproductive health by 2015. This study aims to identify risk factors associated with maternal mortality in a tertiary level hospital in Kenya.
A manual review of records for 150 maternal deaths (cases) and 300 controls was undertaken using a standard audit form. The sample included pregnant women aged 15-49 years admitted to the Obstetric and Gynaecological wards at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Kenya from January 2004 and March 2011. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess risk factors for maternal mortality.
Factors significantly associated with maternal mortality included: having no education relative to secondary education (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.1-10.4, p = 0.0284), history of underlying medical conditions (OR 3.9, 95% CI 1.7-9.2, p = 0.0016), doctor attendance at birth (OR 4.6, 95% CI 2.1-10.1, p = 0.0001), having no antenatal visits (OR 4.1, 95% CI 1.6-10.4, p = 0.0007), being admitted with eclampsia (OR 10.9, 95% CI 3.7-31.9, p < 0.0001), being admitted with comorbidities (OR 9.0, 95% CI 4.2-19.3, p < 0.0001), having an elevated pulse on admission (OR 10.7, 95% CI 2.7-43.4, p = 0.0002), and being referred to MTRH (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.0-4.3, p = 0.0459).
Antenatal care and maternal education are important risk factors for maternal mortality, even after adjusting for comorbidities and complications. Antenatal visits can provide opportunities for detecting risk factors for eclampsia, and other underlying illnesses but the visits need to be frequent and timely. Education enables access to information and helps empower women and their spouses to make appropriate decisions during pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC3904405  PMID: 24447854
Maternal mortality; Tertiary hospital; Risk factors; Kenya
To explore the impact of HIV/AIDS on maternity care providers (MCP) in labor and delivery in a high HIV prevalence setting in sub-Saharan Africa.
Qualitative one-on-one in-depth interviews with MCPs.
Four health facilities providing labor and delivery services (2 public hospitals, a public health center, and a small private maternity hospital) in Kisumu, Nyanza Province, Kenya.
Eighteen (18) MCPs, including 14 nurse/midwives, 2 physician assistants, and 2 physicians (ob/gyn specialists).
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has had numerous adverse effects and a few positive effects on MCPs in this setting. Adverse effects include reductions in the number of health care providers, increased workload, burnout, reduced availability of services in small health facilities when workers are absent due to attending HIV/AIDS training programs, difficulties with confidentiality and unwanted disclosure, and MCPs' fears of becoming HIV infected and the resulting stigma and discrimination. Positive effects include improved infection control procedures on maternity wards and enhanced MCP knowledge and skills.
A multi-faceted package including policy, infrastructure, and training interventions is needed to support MCPs in these settings and ensure that they are able to perform their critical roles in maternal healthcare and prevention of HIV/AIDS transmission.
PMCID: PMC2556865  PMID: 18811779
HIV/AIDS; maternity care providers; safe motherhood; Kenya
21.  Routine Paediatric Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Outpatient Care in a Rural Kenyan Hospital: Utilization and Costs 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61130.
More than 70% of children with sickle cell disease (SCD) are born in sub-Saharan Africa where the prevalence at birth of this disease reaches 2% or higher in some selected areas. There is a dearth of knowledge on comprehensive care received by children with SCD in sub-Saharan Africa and its associated cost. Such knowledge is important for setting prevention and treatment priorities at national and international levels. This study focuses on routine care for children with SCD in an outpatient clinic of the Kilifi District Hospital, located in a rural area on the coast of Kenya.
To estimate the per-patient costs for routine SCD outpatient care at a rural Kenyan hospital.
We collected routine administrative and primary cost data from the SCD outpatient clinic and supporting departments at Kilifi District Hospital, Kenya. Costs were estimated by evaluating inputs - equipment, medication, supplies, building use, utility, and personnel - to reflect the cost of offering this service within an existing healthcare facility. Annual economic costs were similarly calculated based on input costs, prorated lifetime of equipment and appropriate discount rate. Sensitivity analyses evaluated these costs under different pay scales and different discount rate.
We estimated that the annual economic cost per patient attending the SCD clinic was USD 138 in 2010 with a range of USD 94 to USD 229.
This study supplies the first published estimate of the cost of routine outpatient care for children born with SCD in sub-Saharan Africa. Our study provides policy makers with an indication of the potential future costs of maintaining specialist outpatient clinics for children living with SCD in similar contexts.
PMCID: PMC3621890  PMID: 23593408
22.  The Effects on Tuberculosis Treatment Adherence from Utilising Community Health Workers: A Comparison of Selected Rural and Urban Settings in Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88937.
Community Health Workers (CHWs) have been utilised for various primary health care activities in different settings especially in developing countries. Usually when utilised in well defined terms, they have a positive impact. To support Kenya's policy on engagement of CHWs for tuberculosis (TB) control, there is need to demonstrate effects of utilising them.
This study assessed TB treatment adherence among patients who utilised CHWs in management of their illness in comparison to those who did not in urban and rural settings.
A retrospective cohort study was conducted in selected health facilities using standard clinical records for each TB patient registered for treatment between 2005 to 2011. Qualitative data was collected from CHWs and health care providers.
The study assessed 2778 tuberculosis patients and among them 1499 (54%) utilized CHWs for their TB treatment. The urban setting in comparison with the rural setting contributed 70% of patients utilising the CHWs (p<0.001). Overall treatment adherence of the cohort was 79%. Categorizing by use of CHWs, adherence among patients who had utilized CHWs was 83% versus 68% among those that had not (p<0.001). In comparison between the rural and urban settings adherence was 76% and 81.5% (p<0.001) respectively and when categorized by use of CHWs it was 73% and 90% (p<0.001) for the rural and urban set ups respectively. Utilisation of CHWs remained significant in enhancing treatment adherence in the cohort with unadjusted and adjusted ORs; OR 2.25, (95% 1.86–2.73) p<0.001 and OR 1.98 (95% 1.51–2.5) p<0.001 respectively. It was most effective in the urban set-up, OR 2.65 (95% 2.02–3.48, p<0.001) in comparison to the rural set up, OR 0.74 (95% 0.56–0.97) p = 0.032.
Utilisation of CHWs enhanced TB treatment adherence and the best effects were in the urban set-up.
PMCID: PMC3928331  PMID: 24558452
23.  Evaluation of HIV/AIDS clinical care quality: the case of a referral hospital in North West Ethiopia 
To assess the quality of clinical care provided to patients with HIV in Felege Hiwot Referral Hospital.
Approach and design
Normative evaluation based on Donabedian's structure–process–outcome model of health care quality. Cross-sectional study design was employed to gather data in September 2007.
Felege Hiwot Referral Hospital is a government hospital in North West Ethiopia. The hospital is providing clinical care for patients infected with HIV free of patient charge since 2005.
The evaluation used 10 process and 5 outcome indicators of quality measured by reviewing 351 randomly selected patient records and interview with 368 patients. Resource inventory was conducted to assess the availability of trained staff, laboratory facilities and drugs required for provision of HIV care.
All resources recommended by the national antiretroviral therapy (ART) Implementation Guideline including trained staff, laboratory facilities and drugs were continuously available, except for a shortage of cotrimoxazole. Despite this, important components of care and treatment recommended by national treatment guidelines were not delivered for significant portion of patients. The study showed that only 45.9% of patients eligible for cotrimoxazole prophylactic therapy (CPT) and 76.8% of patients eligible for ART were actually taking CPT and ART, respectively. Compliance with national guidelines to monitor patients was also found to be a major problem.
Availability of resources alone does not ensure the quality of HIV care and treatment. The study results indicate a need for regular monitoring and improvement of processes and outcomes of care in the Ethiopian Health System.
PMCID: PMC2742392  PMID: 19684032
quality measurement; quality improvement; quality indicators
24.  Staffing in postnatal units: is it adequate for the provision of quality care? Staff perspectives from a state-wide review of postnatal care in Victoria, Australia 
State-wide surveys of recent mothers conducted over the past decade in Victoria, one state of Australia, have identified that women are consistently less satisfied with the care they received in hospital following birth compared with other aspects of maternity care. Little is known of caregivers' perspectives on the provision ofhospital postnatal care: how care is organised and provided in different hospitals; what constrains the provision of postnatal care (apart from funding) and what initiatives are being undertaken to improve service delivery. A state-widereview of organisational structures and processes in relation to the provision of hospital postnatal care in Victoria was undertaken. This paper focuses on the impact of staffing issues on the provision of quality postnatal care from the perspective of care providers.
A study of care providers from Victorian public hospitals that provide maternity services was undertaken. Datawere collected in two stages. Stage one: a structured questionnaire was sent to all public hospitals in Victoria that provided postnatal care (n = 73), exploring the structure and organisation of care (e.g. staffing, routine observations, policy framework and discharge planning). Stage two: 14 maternity units were selected and invited to participate in a more in-depth exploration of postnatal care. Thirty-eight key informant interviews were undertaken with midwives (including unit managers, associate unit managers and clinical midwives) and a medical practitioner from eachselected hospital.
Staffing was highlighted as a major factor impacting on the provision of quality postnatal care. There were significant issues associated with inadequate staff/patient ratios; staffing mix; patient mix; prioritisation of birth suites over postnatal units; and the use of non-permanent staff. Forty-three percent of hospitals reported having only midwives (i.e. no non-midwives) providing postnatal care. Staffing issues impact on hospitals' ability to provide continuity of care. Recruitment and retention of midwives are significant issues, particularly in rural areas.
Staffing in postnatal wards is a challenging issue, and varies with hospital locality and model of care. Staff/patient ratios and recruitment of midwives in rural areas are the two areas that appear to have the greatest negative impact on staffing adequacy and provision of quality care. Future research on postnatal care provision should include consideration of any impact on staff and staffing.
PMCID: PMC1543626  PMID: 16817974
25.  The safety and quality of childbirth in the context of health systems: mapping maternal health provision in Lebanon 
Midwifery  2010;26(5-2):549-557.
to provide basic information on the distribution (public/private and geographically) and the nature of maternity health provision in Lebanon, including relevant health outcome data at the hospital level in order to compare key features of provision with maternal/neonatal health outcomes.
a self-completion questionnaire was sent to private hospitals by the Syndicate of Private Hospitals in collaboration with the study team and to all public hospitals in Lebanon with a functioning maternity ward by the study team in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health.
childbirth in an institutional setting by a trained attendant is almost universal in Lebanon and the predominant model of care is obstetrician-led rather than midwife-led. Yet due to a 15-year-old civil war and a highly privatised health sector, Lebanon lacks systematic or publically available data on the organisation, distribution and quality of maternal health services. An accreditation system for private hospitals was recently initiated to regulate the quality of hospital care in Lebanon.
in total, 58 (out of 125 eligible) hospitals responded to the survey (46% total response rate). Only hospital-level aggregate data were collected.
the survey addressed the volume of services, mode of payment for deliveries, number of health providers, number of labour and childbirth units, availability of neonatal intensive care units, fetal monitors and infusion rate regulation pumps for oxytocin, as well as health outcome data related to childbirth care and stillbirths for the year 2008.
the study provides the first data on maternal health provision from a survey of all eligible hospitals in Lebanon. More than three-quarters of deliveries occur in private hospitals, but the Ministry of Public Health is the single most important source of payment for childbirth. The reported hospital caesarean section rate is high at 40.8%. Essential equipment for safe maternal and newborn health care is widely available in Lebanon, but over half of the hospitals that responded lack a neonatal intensive care unit. The ratio of reported numbers of midwives to deliveries is three times that of obstetricians to deliveries.
Key conclusions and implications for practice
there is a need for greater interaction between maternal/neonatal health, health system specialists and policy makers on how the health system can support both the adoption of evidence-based interventions and, ultimately, better maternal and perinatal health outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2989442  PMID: 20691519
Maternal health; Safety; Health system

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