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1.  Human resources for health at the district level in Indonesia: the smoke and mirrors of decentralization 
Background
In 2001 Indonesia embarked on a rapid decentralization of government finances and functions to district governments. One of the results is that government has less information about its most valuable resource, the people who provide the services. The objective of the work reported here is to determine the stock of human resources for health in 15 districts, their service status and primary place of work. It also assesses the effect of decentralization on management of human resources and the implications for the future.
Methods
We enumerated all health care providers (doctors, nurses and midwives), including information on their employment status and primary place of work, in each of 15 districts in Java. Data were collected by three teams, one for each province.
Results
Provider density (number of doctors, nurses and midwives/1000 population) was low by international standards – 11 out of 15 districts had provider densities less than 1.0. Approximately half of all three professional groups were permanent public servants. Contractual employment was also important for both nurses and midwives. The private sector as the primary source of employment is most important for doctors (37% overall) and increasingly so for midwives (10%). For those employed in the public sector, two-thirds of doctors and nurses work in health centres, while most midwives are located at village-level health facilities.
Conclusion
In the health system established after Independence, the facilities established were staffed through a period of obligatory service for all new graduates in medicine, nursing and midwifery. The last elements of that staffing system ended in 2007 and the government has not been able to replace it. The private sector is expanding and, despite the fact that it will be of increasing importance in the coming decades, government information about providers in private practice is decreasing. Despite the promise of decentralization to increase sectoral "decision space" at the district level, the central government now has control over essentially all public sector health staff at the district level, marking a return to the situation of 20 years ago. At the same time, Indonesia has changed dramatically. The challenge now is to envision a new health system that takes account of these changes. Envisioning the new system is a crucial first step for development of a human resources policy which, in turn, will require more information about health care providers, public and private, and increased capacity for human resource planning.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-7-6
PMCID: PMC2662783  PMID: 19192269
2.  Recent changes in human resources for health and health facilities at the district level in Indonesia: evidence from 3 districts in Java 
Background
There is continuing discussion in Indonesia about the need for improved information on human resources for health at the district level where programs are actually delivered. This is particularly the case after a central government decision to offer doctors, nurses and midwives on contract the chance to convert to permanent civil service status. Our objective here is to report changes between 2006 and 2008 in numbers and employment status of health staff in three districts following the central government decision.
Methods
Information was derived from records at the district health office and, where necessary for clarification, discussions with district officials.
Results
Across the three districts and all public sector provider categories there was an increase of almost 680 providers between 2006 and 2008 - more than 300 nurses, more than 300 midwives and 25 doctors. The increases for permanent public servants were proportionately much greater (43%) than the total (16%). The increase in those who are permanent civil servants was greatest for nurses (51%) and midwives (35%) with corresponding decreases in the proportion of staff on contract. There was considerable variation between the three districts.
Conclusions
There has been a significant increase in the number of healthcare providers in the 3 districts surveyed and the proportion now permanent public servants has increased even more than the increase in total numbers. The changes have the effect of increasing the proportion of total public expenditure allocated to salaries and reducing the flexibility of the districts in managing their own budgets. Because public servants are allowed private practice outside office hours there has also been an increase in the number of private practice facilities offering health care. These changes illustrate the need for a much improved human resources information system and a coherent policy to guide actions on human resources for health at the national, provincial and district levels.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-9-5
PMCID: PMC3049179  PMID: 21314986
3.  Public stewardship of private for-profit healthcare providers in low- and middle-income countries 
Background
Governments use different approaches to ensure that private for-profit healthcare services meet certain quality standards. Such government guidance, referred to as public stewardship, encompasses government policies, regulatory mechanisms, and implementation strategies for ensuring accountability in the delivery of services. However, the effectiveness of these strategies in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have not been the subject of a systematic review.
Objectives
To assess the effects of public sector regulation, training, or co-ordination of the private for-profit health sector in low- and middle-income countries.
Search methods
For related systematic reviews, we searched the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) 2015, Issue 4; Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE) 2015, Issue 1; Health Technology Assessment Database (HTA) 2015, Issue 1; all part of The Cochrane Library, and searched 28 April 2015. For primary studies, we searched MEDLINE, Epub Ahead of Print, In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, MEDLINE Daily and MEDLINE 1946 to Present, OvidSP (searched 16 June 2016); Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index 1987 to present, and Emerging Sources Citation Index 2015 to present, ISI Web of Science (searched 3 May 2016 for papers citing included studies); Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), 2015, Issue 3, part of The Cochrane Library (including the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) Group Specialised Register) (searched 28 April 2015); Embase 1980 to 2015 Week 17, OvidSP (searched 28 April 2015); Global Health 1973 to 2015 Week 16, OvidSP (searched 30 April 2015); WHOLIS, WHO (searched 30 April 2015); Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index 1975 to present, ISI Web of Science (searched 30 April 2015); Health Management, ProQuest (searched 22 November 2013). In addition, in April 2016, we searched the reference lists of relevant articles, WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, Clinicaltrials.gov, and various electronic databases of grey literature.
Selection criteria
Randomised trials, non-randomised trials, interrupted time series studies, or controlled before-after studies.
Data collection and analysis
Two authors independently assessed study eligibility and extracted data, comparing their results and resolving discrepancies by consensus. We expressed study results as risk ratios (RR) or mean differences (MD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI), where appropriate, and assessed the certainty of the evidence using Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE). We did not conduct meta-analysis because of heterogeneity of interventions and study designs.
Main results
We identified 20,177 records, 50 of them potentially eligible. We excluded 39 potentially eligible studies because they did not involve a rigorous evaluation of training, regulation, or co-ordination of private for-profit healthcare providers in LMICs; five studies identified after the review was submitted are awaiting assessment; and six studies met our inclusion criteria. Two included studies assessed training alone; one assessed regulation alone; three assessed a multifaceted intervention involving training and regulation; and none assessed co-ordination. All six included studies targeted private for-profit pharmacy workers in Africa and Asia.
Three studies found that training probably increases sale of oral rehydration solution (one trial in Kenya, 106 pharmacies: RR 3.04, 95% CI 1.37 to 6.75; and one trial in Indonesia, 87 pharmacies: RR 1.41, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.93) and dispensing of anti-malarial drugs (one trial in Kenya, 293 pharmacies: RR 8.76, 95% CI 0.94 to 81.81); moderate-certainty evidence.
One study conducted in the Lao People's Democratic Republic shows that regulation of the distribution and sale of registered pharmaceutical products may improve composite pharmacy indicators (one trial, 115 pharmacies: improvements in four of six pharmacy indicators; low-certainty evidence).
The outcome in three multifaceted intervention studies was the quality of pharmacy practice; including the ability to ask questions, give advice, and provide appropriate treatment. The trials applied regulation, training, and peer influence in sequence; and the study design does not permit separation of the effects of the different interventions. Two trials conducted among 136 pharmacies in Vietnam found that the multifaceted intervention may improve the quality of pharmacy practice; but the third study, involving 146 pharmacies in Vietnam and Thailand, found that the intervention may have little or no effects on the quality of pharmacy practice (low-certainty evidence).
Only two studies (both conducted in Vietnam) reported cost data, with no rigorous assessment of the economic implications of implementing the interventions in resource-constrained settings. No study reported data on equity, mortality, morbidity, adverse effects, satisfaction, or attitudes.
Authors' conclusions
Training probably improves quality of care (i.e. adherence to recommended practice), regulation may improve quality of care, and we are uncertain about the effects of co-ordination on quality of private for-profit healthcare services in LMICs. The likelihood that further research will find the effect of training to be substantially different from the results of this review is moderate; implying that monitoring of the impact is likely to be needed if training is implemented. The low certainty of the evidence for regulation implies that the likelihood of further research finding the effect of regulation to be substantially different from the results of this review is high. Therefore, an impact evaluation is warranted if government regulation of private for-profit providers is implemented in LMICs. Rigorous evaluations of these interventions should also assess other outcomes such as impacts on equity, cost implications, mortality, morbidity, and adverse effects.
Government regulation, training, or co-ordination of private for-profit health care in low- and middle-income countries
What is the aim of this review?
The aim of this Cochrane review was to evaluate the effect of government regulation, training, or co-ordination of private for-profit health care in low- and middle-income countries.
We collected and analysed all relevant studies to answer this question and included six studies in the review.
Why do governments regulate, train or co-ordinate private healthcare providers?
In many low- and middle-income countries, the public sector is not able to provide high quality healthcare services to all citizens, and private healthcare providers therefore play a major role. However, there is concern that health care provided by the private sector is not always of high quality and that recommended practices and guidelines are not always followed. Governments therefore use different approaches to ensure that private for-profit healthcare services meet certain quality standards. This type of government guidance is referred to as 'public stewardship' and can for instance involve training and education for private for-profit healthcare providers; introduction of regulations where quality standards are set and enforced; and co-ordination between private for-profit and public sector healthcare providers, for instance, creating referral systems between the private for-profit and public sectors.
What happens when governments regulate, train or co-ordinate private, for-profit health care providers?
Training In two studies in Kenya and Indonesia, the Ministry of Health offered private drug sellers short training sessions on prescribing and dispensing drugs. These sellers were compared to drug sellers who were not offered training. The studies suggested that training probably improves the quality of healthcare services.
Regulation In one study in the Lao People's Democratic Republic, the Ministry of Health supervised private pharmacy services in certain districts over a three-month period, applied sanctions when rules were broken, and offered information about areas needing improvement. These districts were compared to districts without this enhanced supervision. The study suggested that this enhanced regulation may make little or no difference to quality of care.
Training and regulation In three studies in Vietnam and Thailand, private pharmacies in some districts received educational visits as well as visits from pharmacy inspectors to enforce regulations. These districts were compared to districts that did not receive any visits. The studies suggested that these types of visits may improve quality of care.
Co-ordination The review did not find any eligible study that assessed the effects of co-ordination on quality of care.
How up-to-date is this review?
The review authors searched for studies that had been published up to June 2016.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009855.pub2
PMCID: PMC5014877  PMID: 27510030
4.  Public-sector Maternal Health Programmes and Services for Rural Bangladesh 
Achieving Millennium Development Goal 5 in Bangladesh calls for an appreciation of the evolution of maternal healthcare within the national health system to date plus a projection of future needs. This paper assesses the development of maternal health services and policies by reviewing policy and strategy documents since the independence in 1971, with primary focus on rural areas where three-fourths of the total population of Bangladesh reside. Projections of need for facilities and human resources are based on the recommended standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1996 and 2005. Although maternal healthcare services are delivered from for-profit and not-for-profit (NGO) subsectors, this paper is focused on maternal healthcare delivery by public subsector. Maternal healthcare services in the public sector of Bangladesh have been guided by global policies (e.g. Health for All by the Year 2000), national policies (e.g. population and health policy), and plans (e.g. five- or three-yearly). The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), through its two wings—Health Services and Family Planning—sets policies, develops implementation plans, and provides rural public-health services. Since 1971, the health infrastructure has developed though not in a uniform pattern and despite policy shifts over time. Under the Family Planning wing of the MoHFW, the number of Maternal and Child Welfare Centres has not increased but new services, such as caesarean-section surgery, have been integrated. The Health Services wing of the MoHFW has ensured that all district-level public-health facilities, e.g. district hospitals and medical colleges, can provide comprehensive essential obstetric care (EOC) and have targeted to upgrade 132 of 407 rural Upazila Health Complexes to also provide such services. In 2001, they initiated a programme to train the Government's community workers (Family Welfare Assistants and Female Health Assistants) to provide skilled birthing care in the home. However, these plans have been too meagre, and their implementation is too weak to fulfill expectations in terms of the MDG 5 indicator—increased use of skilled birth attendants, especially for poor rural women. The use of skilled birth attendants, institutional deliveries, and use of caesarean section remain low and are increasing only slowly. All these indicators are substantially lower for those in the lower three socioeconomic quintiles. A wide variation exists in the availability of comprehensive EOC facilities in the public sector among the six divisions of the country. Rajshahi division has more facilities than the WHO 1996 standard (1 comprehensive EOC for 500,000 people) whereas Chittagong and Sylhet divisions have only 64% of their need for comprehensive EOC facilities. The WHO 2005 recommendation (1 comprehensive EOC for 3,500 births) suggests that there is a need for nearly five times the existing national number of comprehensive EOC facilities. Based on the WHO standard 2005, it is estimated that 9% of existing doctors and 40% of nurses/midwives were needed just for maternal healthcare in both comprehensive EOC and basic EOC facilities in 2007. While the inability to train and retain skilled professionals in rural areas is the major problem in implementation, the bifurcation of the MoHFW (Health Services and Family Planning wings) has led to duplication in management and staff for service-delivery, inefficiencies as a result of these duplications, and difficulties of coordination at all levels. The Government of Bangladesh needs to functionally integrate the Health Services and Family Planning wings, move towards a facility-based approach to delivery, ensure access to key maternal health services for women in the lower socioeconomic quintiles, consider infrastructure development based on the estimation of facilities using the WHO 1996 recommendation, and undertake a human resource-development plan based on the WHO 2005 recommendation.
PMCID: PMC2761780  PMID: 19489411
Maternal health; Maternal health services; Rural health services; Bangladesh
5.  Task sharing in Zambia: HIV service scale-up compounds the human resource crisis 
Background
Considerable attention has been given by policy makers and researchers to the human resources for health crisis in Africa. However, little attention has been paid to quantifying health facility-level trends in health worker numbers, distribution and workload, despite growing demands on health workers due to the availability of new funds for HIV/AIDS control scale-up. This study analyses and reports trends in HIV and non-HIV ambulatory service workloads on clinical staff in urban and rural district level facilities.
Methods
Structured surveys of health facility managers, and health services covering 2005-07 were conducted in three districts of Zambia in 2008 (two urban and one rural), to fill this evidence gap. Intra-facility analyses were conducted, comparing trends in HIV and non-HIV service utilisation with staff trends.
Results
Clinical staff (doctors, nurses and nurse-midwives, and clinical officers) numbers and staff population densities fell slightly, with lower ratios of staff to population in the rural district. The ratios of antenatal care and family planning registrants to nurses/nurse-midwives were highest at baseline and increased further at the rural facilities over the three years, while daily outpatient department (OPD) workload in urban facilities fell below that in rural facilities. HIV workload, as measured by numbers of clients receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) and prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) per facility staff member, was highest in the capital city, but increased rapidly in all three districts. The analysis suggests evidence of task sharing, in that staff designated by managers as ART and PMTCT workers made up a higher proportion of frontline service providers by 2007.
Conclusions
This analysis of workforce patterns across 30 facilities in three districts of Zambia illustrates that the remarkable achievements in scaling-up HIV/AIDS service delivery has been on the back of sustained non-HIV workload levels, increasing HIV workload and stagnant health worker numbers. The findings are based on an analysis of routine data that are available to district and national managers. Mixed methods research is needed, combining quantitative analyses of routine health information with follow-up qualitative interviews, to explore and explain workload changes, and to identify and measure where problems are most acute, so that decision makers can respond appropriately. This study provides quantitative evidence of a human resource crisis in health facilities in Zambia, which may be more acute in rural areas.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-272
PMCID: PMC2955013  PMID: 20849626
6.  Making the transition to workload-based staffing: using the Workload Indicators of Staffing Need method in Uganda 
Background
Uganda’s health workforce is characterized by shortages and inequitable distribution of qualified health workers. To ascertain staffing levels, Uganda uses fixed government-approved norms determined by facility type. This approach cannot distinguish between facilities of the same type that have different staffing needs. The Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) method uses workload to determine number and type of staff required in a given facility. The national WISN assessment sought to demonstrate the limitations of the existing norms and generate evidence to influence health unit staffing and staff deployment for efficient utilization of available scarce human resources.
Methods
A national WISN assessment (September 2012) used purposive sampling to select 136 public health facilities in 33/112 districts. The study examined staffing requirements for five cadres (nursing assistants, nurses, midwives, clinical officers, doctors) at health centres II (n = 59), III (n = 53) and IV (n = 13) and hospitals (n = 11). Using health management information system workload data (1 July 2010–30 June 2011), the study compared current and required staff, assessed workload pressure and evaluated the adequacy of the existing staffing norms.
Results
By the WISN method, all three types of health centres had fewer nurses (42–70%) and midwives (53–67%) than required and consequently exhibited high workload pressure (30–58%) for those cadres. Health centres IV and hospitals lacked doctors (39–42%) but were adequately staffed with clinical officers. All facilities displayed overstaffing of nursing assistants. For all cadres at health centres III and IV other than nursing assistants, the fixed norms or existing staffing or both fell short of the WISN staffing requirements, with, for example, only half as many nurses and midwives as required.
Conclusions
The WISN results demonstrate the inadequacies of existing staffing norms, particularly for health centres III and IV. The results provide an evidence base to reshape policy, adopt workload-based norms, review scopes of practice and target human resource investments. In the near term, the government could redistribute existing health workers to improve staffing equity in line with the WISN results. Longer term revision of staffing norms and investments to effectively reflect actual workloads and ensure provision of quality services at all levels is needed.
doi:10.1186/s12960-015-0066-7
PMCID: PMC4665896  PMID: 26621251
Workload; Workforce; Personnel staffing; Norms; WISN; Task sharing; Scope of practice
7.  A Comparative Evaluation of Public Health Centers with Private Health Training Centers on Primary Healthcare Parameters in India: a Study by Data Envelopment Analysis Technique 
Background:
The evaluation of primary healthcare services provided by health training centers of a private medical college has not been studied in comparison with government health facilities in Indian context. Data envelopment analysis (DEA) is one such technique of operations research, which can be used on health facilities for identifying efficient operating practices and strategies for relatively efficient or inefficient health centers by calculating their efficiency scores.
Materials and Methods:
This study was carried out by DEA technique by using basic radial models (constant ratio to scale (CRS)) in linear programming via DEAOS free online Software among four decision making units (DMUs; by comparing efficiency of two private health centers of a private medical college of India with two public health centers) in district Muzaffarnagar of state Uttar Pradesh. The input and output records of all these health facilities (two from private and two from Government); for 6 months duration from 1st Jan 2014 to 1st July 2014 was taken for deciding their efficiency scores.
Results:
The efficiency scores of primary healthcare services in presence of doctors (100 vs 30%) and presence of health staff (100 vs 92%) were significantly better from government health facilities as compared to private health facilities (P < 0.0001).
Conclusions:
The evaluation of primary healthcare services delivery by DEA technique reveals that the government health facilities group were more efficient in delivery of primary healthcare services as compared to private training health facilities group, which can be further clarified in by more in-depth studies in future.
doi:10.4103/0970-0218.164394
PMCID: PMC4581145  PMID: 26435598
Data envelopment analysis; primary healthcare; private medical college; rural health training center; subcenter; urban health post; urban health training center
8.  Health workforce responses to global health initiatives funding: a comparison of Malawi and Zambia 
Background
Shortages of health workers are obstacles to utilising global health initiative (GHI) funds effectively in Africa. This paper reports and analyses two countries' health workforce responses during a period of large increases in GHI funds.
Methods
Health facility record reviews were conducted in 52 facilities in Malawi and 39 facilities in Zambia in 2006/07 and 2008; quarterly totals from the last quarter of 2005 to the first quarter of 2008 inclusive in Malawi; and annual totals for 2004 to 2007 inclusive in Zambia. Topic-guided interviews were conducted with facility and district managers in both countries, and with health workers in Malawi.
Results
Facility data confirm significant scale-up in HIV/AIDS service delivery in both countries. In Malawi, this was supported by a large increase in lower trained cadres and only a modest increase in clinical staff numbers. Routine outpatient workload fell in urban facilities, in rural health centres and in facilities not providing antiretroviral treatment (ART), while it increased at district hospitals and in facilities providing ART. In Zambia, total staff and clinical staff numbers stagnated between 2004 and 2007. In rural areas, outpatient workload, which was higher than at urban facilities, increased further. Key informants described the effects of increased workloads in both countries and attributed staff migration from public health facilities to non-government facilities in Zambia to PEPFAR.
Conclusions
Malawi, which received large levels of GHI funding from only the Global Fund, managed to increase facility staff across all levels of the health system: urban, district and rural health facilities, supported by task-shifting to lower trained staff. The more complex GHI arena in Zambia, where both Global Fund and PEPFAR provided large levels of support, may have undermined a coordinated national workforce response to addressing health worker shortages, leading to a less effective response in rural areas.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-8-19
PMCID: PMC2925328  PMID: 20701749
9.  Developing an efficient scheduling template of a chemotherapy treatment unit 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2011;4(10):575-588.
This study was undertaken to improve the performance of a Chemotherapy Treatment Unit by increasing the throughput and reducing the average patient’s waiting time. In order to achieve this objective, a scheduling template has been built. The scheduling template is a simple tool that can be used to schedule patients' arrival to the clinic. A simulation model of this system was built and several scenarios, that target match the arrival pattern of the patients and resources availability, were designed and evaluated. After performing detailed analysis, one scenario provide the best system’s performance. A scheduling template has been developed based on this scenario. After implementing the new scheduling template, 22.5% more patients can be served.
Introduction
CancerCare Manitoba is a provincially mandated cancer care agency. It is dedicated to provide quality care to those who have been diagnosed and are living with cancer. MacCharles Chemotherapy unit is specially built to provide chemotherapy treatment to the cancer patients of Winnipeg. In order to maintain an excellent service, it tries to ensure that patients get their treatment in a timely manner. It is challenging to maintain that goal because of the lack of a proper roster, the workload distribution and inefficient resource allotment. In order to maintain the satisfaction of the patients and the healthcare providers, by serving the maximum number of patients in a timely manner, it is necessary to develop an efficient scheduling template that matches the required demand with the availability of resources. This goal can be reached using simulation modelling. Simulation has proven to be an excellent modelling tool. It can be defined as building computer models that represent real world or hypothetical systems, and hence experimenting with these models to study system behaviour under different scenarios.1, 2
A study was undertaken at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario to identify the issues behind the long waiting time of a emergency room.3 A 20-­‐day field observation revealed that the availability of the staff physician and interaction affects the patient wait time. Jyväskylä et al.4 used simulation to test different process scenarios, allocate resources and perform activity-­‐based cost analysis in the Emergency Department (ED) at the Central Hospital. The simulation also supported the study of a new operational method, named "triage-team" method without interrupting the main system. The proposed triage team method categorises the entire patient according to the urgency to see the doctor and allows the patient to complete the necessary test before being seen by the doctor for the first time. The simulation study showed that it will decrease the throughput time of the patient and reduce the utilisation of the specialist and enable the ordering all the tests the patient needs right after arrival, thus quickening the referral to treatment.
Santibáñez et al.5 developed a discrete event simulation model of British Columbia Cancer Agency"s ambulatory care unit which was used to study the impact of scenarios considering different operational factors (delay in starting clinic), appointment schedule (appointment order, appointment adjustment, add-­‐ons to the schedule) and resource allocation. It was found that the best outcomes were obtained when not one but multiple changes were implemented simultaneously. Sepúlveda et al.6 studied the M. D. Anderson Cancer Centre Orlando, which is a cancer treatment facility and built a simulation model to analyse and improve flow process and increase capacity in the main facility. Different scenarios were considered like, transferring laboratory and pharmacy areas, adding an extra blood draw room and applying different scheduling techniques of patients. The study shows that by increasing the number of short-­‐term (four hours or less) patients in the morning could increase chair utilisation.
Discrete event simulation also helps improve a service where staff are ignorant about the behaviour of the system as a whole; which can also be described as a real professional system. Niranjon et al.7 used simulation successfully where they had to face such constraints and lack of accessible data. Carlos et al. 8 used Total quality management and simulation – animation to improve the quality of the emergency room. Simulation was used to cover the key point of the emergency room and animation was used to indicate the areas of opportunity required. This study revealed that a long waiting time, overload personnel and increasing withdrawal rate of patients are caused by the lack of capacity in the emergency room.
Baesler et al.9 developed a methodology for a cancer treatment facility to find stochastically a global optimum point for the control variables. A simulation model generated the output using a goal programming framework for all the objectives involved in the analysis. Later a genetic algorithm was responsible for performing the search for an improved solution. The control variables that were considered in this research are number of treatment chairs, number of drawing blood nurses, laboratory personnel, and pharmacy personnel. Guo et al. 10 presented a simulation framework considering demand for appointment, patient flow logic, distribution of resources, scheduling rules followed by the scheduler. The objective of the study was to develop a scheduling rule which will ensure that 95% of all the appointment requests should be seen within one week after the request is made to increase the level of patient satisfaction and balance the schedule of each doctor to maintain a fine harmony between "busy clinic" and "quiet clinic".
Huschka et al.11 studied a healthcare system which was about to change their facility layout. In this case a simulation model study helped them to design a new healthcare practice by evaluating the change in layout before implementation. Historical data like the arrival rate of the patients, number of patients visited each day, patient flow logic, was used to build the current system model. Later, different scenarios were designed which measured the changes in the current layout and performance.
Wijewickrama et al.12 developed a simulation model to evaluate appointment schedule (AS) for second time consultations and patient appointment sequence (PSEQ) in a multi-­‐facility system. Five different appointment rule (ARULE) were considered: i) Baily; ii) 3Baily; iii) Individual (Ind); iv) two patients at a time (2AtaTime); v) Variable Interval and (V-­‐I) rule. PSEQ is based on type of patients: Appointment patients (APs) and new patients (NPs). The different PSEQ that were studied in this study were: i) first-­‐ come first-­‐serve; ii) appointment patient at the beginning of the clinic (APBEG); iii) new patient at the beginning of the clinic (NPBEG); iv) assigning appointed and new patients in an alternating manner (ALTER); v) assigning a new patient after every five-­‐appointment patients. Also patient no show (0% and 5%) and patient punctuality (PUNCT) (on-­‐time and 10 minutes early) were also considered. The study found that ALTER-­‐Ind. and ALTER5-­‐Ind. performed best on 0% NOSHOW, on-­‐time PUNCT and 5% NOSHOW, on-­‐time PUNCT situation to reduce WT and IT per patient. As NOSHOW created slack time for waiting patients, their WT tends to reduce while IT increases due to unexpected cancellation. Earliness increases congestion whichin turn increases waiting time.
Ramis et al.13 conducted a study of a Medical Imaging Center (MIC) to build a simulation model which was used to improve the patient journey through an imaging centre by reducing the wait time and making better use of the resources. The simulation model also used a Graphic User Interface (GUI) to provide the parameters of the centre, such as arrival rates, distances, processing times, resources and schedule. The simulation was used to measure the waiting time of the patients in different case scenarios. The study found that assigning a common function to the resource personnel could improve the waiting time of the patients.
The objective of this study is to develop an efficient scheduling template that maximises the number of served patients and minimises the average patient's waiting time at the given resources availability. To accomplish this objective, we will build a simulation model which mimics the working conditions of the clinic. Then we will suggest different scenarios of matching the arrival pattern of the patients with the availability of the resources. Full experiments will be performed to evaluate these scenarios. Hence, a simple and practical scheduling template will be built based on the indentified best scenario. The developed simulation model is described in section 2, which consists of a description of the treatment room, and a description of the types of patients and treatment durations. In section 3, different improvement scenarios are described and their analysis is presented in section 4. Section 5 illustrates a scheduling template based on one of the improvement scenarios. Finally, the conclusion and future direction of our work is exhibited in section 6.
Simulation Model
A simulation model represents the actual system and assists in visualising and evaluating the performance of the system under different scenarios without interrupting the actual system. Building a proper simulation model of a system consists of the following steps.
Observing the system to understand the flow of the entities, key players, availability of resources and overall generic framework.
Collecting the data on the number and type of entities, time consumed by the entities at each step of their journey, and availability of resources.
After building the simulation model it is necessary to confirm that the model is valid. This can be done by confirming that each entity flows as it is supposed to and the statistical data generated by the simulation model is similar to the collected data.
Figure 1 shows the patient flow process in the treatment room. On the patient's first appointment, the oncologist comes up with the treatment plan. The treatment time varies according to the patient’s condition, which may be 1 hour to 10 hours. Based on the type of the treatment, the physician or the clinical clerk books an available treatment chair for that time period.
On the day of the appointment, the patient will wait until the booked chair is free. When the chair is free a nurse from that station comes to the patient, verifies the name and date of birth and takes the patient to a treatment chair. Afterwards, the nurse flushes the chemotherapy drug line to the patient's body which takes about five minutes and sets up the treatment. Then the nurse leaves to serve another patient. Chemotherapy treatment lengths vary from less than an hour to 10 hour infusions. At the end of the treatment, the nurse returns, removes the line and notifies the patient about the next appointment date and time which also takes about five minutes. Most of the patients visit the clinic to take care of their PICC line (a peripherally inserted central catheter). A PICC is a line that is used to inject the patient with the chemical. This PICC line should be regularly cleaned, flushed to maintain patency and the insertion site checked for signs of infection. It takes approximately 10–15 minutes to take care of a PICC line by a nurse.
Cancer Care Manitoba provided access to the electronic scheduling system, also known as "ARIA" which is comprehensive information and image management system that aggregates patient data into a fully-­‐electronic medical chart, provided by VARIAN Medical System. This system was used to find out how many patients are booked in every clinic day. It also reveals which chair is used for how many hours. It was necessary to search a patient's history to find out how long the patient spends on which chair. Collecting the snapshot of each patient gives the complete picture of a one day clinic schedule.
The treatment room consists of the following two main limited resources:
Treatment Chairs: Chairs that are used to seat the patients during the treatment.
Nurses: Nurses are required to inject the treatment line into the patient and remove it at the end of the treatment. They also take care of the patients when they feel uncomfortable.
Mc Charles Chemotherapy unit consists of 11 nurses, and 5 stations with the following description:
Station 1: Station 1 has six chairs (numbered 1 to 6) and two nurses. The two nurses work from 8:00 to 16:00.
Station 2: Station 2 has six chairs (7 to 12) and three nurses. Two nurses work from 8:00 to 16:00 and one nurse works from 12:00 to 20:00.
Station 3: Station 4 has six chairs (13 to 18) and two nurses. The two nurses work from 8:00 to 16:00.
Station 4: Station 4 has six chairs (19 to 24) and three nurses. One nurse works from 8:00 to 16:00. Another nurse works from 10:00 to 18:00.
Solarium Station: Solarium Station has six chairs (Solarium Stretcher 1, Solarium Stretcher 2, Isolation, Isolation emergency, Fire Place 1, Fire Place 2). There is only one nurse assigned to this station that works from 12:00 to 20:00. The nurses from other stations can help when need arises.
There is one more nurse known as the "float nurse" who works from 11:00 to 19:00. This nurse can work at any station. Table 1 summarises the working hours of chairs and nurses. All treatment stations start at 8:00 and continue until the assigned nurse for that station completes her shift.
Currently, the clinic uses a scheduling template to assign the patients' appointments. But due to high demand of patient appointment it is not followed any more. We believe that this template can be improved based on the availability of nurses and chairs. Clinic workload was collected from 21 days of field observation. The current scheduling template has 10 types of appointment time slot: 15-­‐minute, 1-­‐hour, 1.5-­‐hour, 2-­‐hour, 3-­‐hour, 4-­‐hour, 5-­‐hour, 6-­‐hour, 8-­‐hour and 10-­‐hour and it is designed to serve 95 patients. But when the scheduling template was compared with the 21 days observations, it was found that the clinic is serving more patients than it is designed for. Therefore, the providers do not usually follow the scheduling template. Indeed they very often break the time slots to accommodate slots that do not exist in the template. Hence, we find that some of the stations are very busy (mostly station 2) and others are underused. If the scheduling template can be improved, it will be possible to bring more patients to the clinic and reduce their waiting time without adding more resources.
In order to build or develop a simulation model of the existing system, it is necessary to collect the following data:
Types of treatment durations.
Numbers of patients in each treatment type.
Arrival pattern of the patients.
Steps that the patients have to go through in their treatment journey and required time of each step.
Using the observations of 2,155 patients over 21 days of historical data, the types of treatment durations and the number of patients in each type were estimated. This data also assisted in determining the arrival rate and the frequency distribution of the patients. The patients were categorised into six types. The percentage of these types and their associated service times distributions are determined too.
ARENA Rockwell Simulation Software (v13) was used to build the simulation model. Entities of the model were tracked to verify that the patients move as intended. The model was run for 30 replications and statistical data was collected to validate the model. The total number of patients that go though the model was compared with the actual number of served patients during the 21 days of observations.
Improvement Scenarios
After verifying and validating the simulation model, different scenarios were designed and analysed to identify the best scenario that can handle more patients and reduces the average patient's waiting time. Based on the clinic observation and discussion with the healthcare providers, the following constraints have been stated:
The stations are filled up with treatment chairs. Therefore, it is literally impossible to fit any more chairs in the clinic. Moreover, the stakeholders are not interested in adding extra chairs.
The stakeholders and the caregivers are not interested in changing the layout of the treatment room.
Given these constraints the options that can be considered to design alternative scenarios are:
Changing the arrival pattern of the patients: that will fit over the nurses' availability.
Changing the nurses' schedule.
Adding one full time nurse at different starting times of the day.
Figure 2 compares the available number of nurses and the number of patients' arrival during different hours of a day. It can be noticed that there is a rapid growth in the arrival of patients (from 13 to 17) between 8:00 to 10:00 even though the clinic has the equal number of nurses during this time period. At 12:00 there is a sudden drop of patient arrival even though there are more available nurses. It is clear that there is an imbalance in the number of available nurses and the number of patient arrivals over different hours of the day. Consequently, balancing the demand (arrival rate of patients) and resources (available number of nurses) will reduce the patients' waiting time and increases the number of served patients. The alternative scenarios that satisfy the above three constraints are listed in Table 2. These scenarios respect the following rules:
Long treatments (between 4hr to 11hr) have to be scheduled early in the morning to avoid working overtime.
Patients of type 1 (15 minutes to 1hr treatment) are the most common. They can be fitted in at any time of the day because they take short treatment time. Hence, it is recommended to bring these patients in at the middle of the day when there are more nurses.
Nurses get tired at the end of the clinic day. Therefore, fewer patients should be scheduled at the late hours of the day.
In Scenario 1, the arrival pattern of the patient was changed so that it can fit with the nurse schedule. This arrival pattern is shown Table 3. Figure 3 shows the new patients' arrival pattern compared with the current arrival pattern. Similar patterns can be developed for the remaining scenarios too.
Analysis of Results
ARENA Rockwell Simulation software (v13) was used to develop the simulation model. There is no warm-­‐up period because the model simulates day-­‐to-­‐day scenarios. The patients of any day are supposed to be served in the same day. The model was run for 30 days (replications) and statistical data was collected to evaluate each scenario. Tables 4 and 5 show the detailed comparison of the system performance between the current scenario and Scenario 1. The results are quite interesting. The average throughput rate of the system has increased from 103 to 125 patients per day. The maximum throughput rate can reach 135 patients. Although the average waiting time has increased, the utilisation of the treatment station has increased by 15.6%. Similar analysis has been performed for the rest of the other scenarios. Due to the space limitation the detailed results are not given. However, Table 6 exhibits a summary of the results and comparison between the different scenarios. Scenario 1 was able to significantly increase the throughput of the system (by 21%) while it still results in an acceptable low average waiting time (13.4 minutes). In addition, it is worth noting that adding a nurse (Scenarios 3, 4, and 5) does not significantly reduce the average wait time or increase the system's throughput. The reason behind this is that when all the chairs are busy, the nurses have to wait until some patients finish the treatment. As a consequence, the other patients have to wait for the commencement of their treatment too. Therefore, hiring a nurse, without adding more chairs, will not reduce the waiting time or increase the throughput of the system. In this case, the only way to increase the throughput of the system is by adjusting the arrival pattern of patients over the nurses' schedule.
Developing a Scheduling Template based on Scenario 1
Scenario 1 provides the best performance. However a scheduling template is necessary for the care provider to book the patients. Therefore, a brief description is provided below on how scheduling the template is developed based on this scenario.
Table 3 gives the number of patients that arrive hourly, following Scenario 1. The distribution of each type of patient is shown in Table 7. This distribution is based on the percentage of each type of patient from the collected data. For example, in between 8:00-­‐9:00, 12 patients will come where 54.85% are of Type 1, 34.55% are of Type 2, 15.163% are of Type 3, 4.32% are of Type 4, 2.58% are of Type 5 and the rest are of Type 6. It is worth noting that, we assume that the patients of each type arrive as a group at the beginning of the hourly time slot. For example, all of the six patients of Type 1 from 8:00 to 9:00 time slot arrive at 8:00.
The numbers of patients from each type is distributed in such a way that it respects all the constraints described in Section 1.3. Most of the patients of the clinic are from type 1, 2 and 3 and they take less amount of treatment time compared with the patients of other types. Therefore, they are distributed all over the day. Patients of type 4, 5 and 6 take a longer treatment time. Hence, they are scheduled at the beginning of the day to avoid overtime. Because patients of type 4, 5 and 6 come at the beginning of the day, most of type 1 and 2 patients come at mid-­‐day (12:00 to 16:00). Another reason to make the treatment room more crowded in between 12:00 to 16:00 is because the clinic has the maximum number of nurses during this time period. Nurses become tired at the end of the clinic which is a reason not to schedule any patient after 19:00.
Based on the patient arrival schedule and nurse availability a scheduling template is built and shown in Figure 4. In order to build the template, if a nurse is available and there are patients waiting for service, a priority list of these patients will be developed. They are prioritised in a descending order based on their estimated slack time and secondarily based on the shortest service time. The secondary rule is used to break the tie if two patients have the same slack. The slack time is calculated using the following equation:
Slack time = Due time - (Arrival time + Treatment time)
Due time is the clinic closing time. To explain how the process works, assume at hour 8:00 (in between 8:00 to 8:15) two patients in station 1 (one 8-­‐hour and one 15-­‐ minute patient), two patients in station 2 (two 12-­‐hour patients), two patients in station 3 (one 2-­‐hour and one 15-­‐ minute patient) and one patient in station 4 (one 3-­‐hour patient) in total seven patients are scheduled. According to Figure 2, there are seven nurses who are available at 8:00 and it takes 15 minutes to set-­‐up a patient. Therefore, it is not possible to schedule more than seven patients in between 8:00 to 8:15 and the current scheduling is also serving seven patients by this time. The rest of the template can be justified similarly.
doi:10.4066/AMJ.2011.837
PMCID: PMC3562880  PMID: 23386870
10.  Current situation of midwives in indonesia: Evidence from 3 districts in West Java Province 
BMC Research Notes  2010;3:287.
Background
The village midwife is a central element of Indonesia's strategy to improve maternal and child health and family planning services. Recently there has been concern that the midwives were not present in the villages to which they had been assigned. To determine the extent to which this was the case we conducted a field-based census and survey of village midwives in three districts in West Java Province, Indonesia.
Findings
In June 2009 we interviewed a random sample of village midwives from three districts - Ciamis, Garut and Sukabumi - in West Java Province. Trained interviewers visited all villages represented in the sample to interview the midwives. We also obtained information about the midwives and their professional activities in the last year.
Thirty percent of village midwives had moved to another location in the 12 months between the end of 2008, when the sampling frame was constructed, and December 2009 when the survey was conducted; most had moved to a government health center or another village. Of those who were present, there was considerable variation between districts in age distribution and qualifications. The total number of services provided was modest, also with considerable variation between districts. The median number of deliveries assisted in the last year was 64; the amount and mix of family planning services provided varied between districts and were dominated by temporary methods.
Conclusions
Compared to an earlier survey in an adjacent province, the village midwives in these three districts were younger, had spent less time in the village and a higher proportion were permanent civil servants. A high proportion had moved in the previous year with most moving to a health center or another village. The decision to move, as well as the mix of services offered, seems to be largely driven by opportunities to increase their private practice income. These opportunities are greater in urban areas. As urbanization procedes the forces drawing village midwives away from the village are certain to strengthen. This will require a reassessment of the original service model embodied in the village midwife concept and a new approach to reducing maternal mortality.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-287
PMCID: PMC2992543
11.  Assessment of facility readiness and provider preparedness for dealing with postpartum haemorrhage and pre-eclampsia/eclampsia in public and private health facilities of northern Karnataka, India: a cross-sectional study 
Background
The maternal mortality ratio in India has been declining over the past decade, but remains unacceptably high at 212 per 100,000 live births. Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) and pre- eclampsia/eclampsia contribute to 40% of all maternal deaths. We assessed facility readiness and provider preparedness to deal with these two maternal complications in public and private health facilities of northern Karnataka state, south India.
Methods
We undertook a cross-sectional study of 131 primary health centres (PHCs) and 148 higher referral facilities (74 public and 74 private) in eight districts of the region. Facility infrastructure and providers’ knowledge related to screening and management of complications were assessed using facility checklists and test cases, respectively. We also attempted an audit of case sheets to assess provider practice in the management of complications. Chi square tests were used for comparing proportions.
Results
84.5% and 62.9% of all facilities had atleast one doctor and three nurses, respectively; only 13% of higher facilities had specialists. Magnesium sulphate, the drug of choice to control convulsions in eclampsia was available in 18% of PHCs, 48% of higher public facilities and 70% of private facilities. In response to the test case on eclampsia, 54.1% and 65.1% of providers would administer anti-hypertensives and magnesium sulphate, respectively; 24% would administer oxygen and only 18% would monitor for magnesium sulphate toxicity. For the test case on PPH, only 37.7% of the providers would assess for uterine tone, and 40% correctly defined early PPH. Specialists were better informed than the other cadres, and the differences were statistically significant. We experienced generally poor response rates for audits due to non-availability and non-maintenance of case sheets.
Conclusions
Addressing gaps in facility readiness and provider competencies for emergency obstetric care, alongside improving coverage of institutional deliveries, is critical to improve maternal outcomes. It is necessary to strengthen providers’ clinical and problem solving skills through capacity building initiatives beyond pre-service training, such as through onsite mentoring and supportive supervision programs. This should be backed by a health systems response to streamline staffing and supply chains in order to improve the quality of emergency obstetric care.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-304) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-304
PMCID: PMC4161844  PMID: 25189169
Postpartum haemorrhage; Pre-eclampsia; Eclampsia; Facility readiness; Provider preparedness; Quality; Maternal care; Public sector; Private sector
12.  Emergency referral transport for maternal complication: lessons from the community based maternal death audits in Unnao district, Uttar Pradesh, India 
Background: An effective emergency referral transport system is the link between the home of the pregnant woman and a health facility providing basic or comprehensive emergency obstetric care. This study attempts to explore the role of emergency transport associated with maternal deaths in Unnao district, Uttar Pradesh (UP).
Methods: A descriptive study was carried out to assess the causes of and factors leading to maternal deaths in Unnao district, UP, through community based Maternal Death Review (MDR) using verbal autopsy, in a sample of 57 maternal deaths conducted between June 1, 2009, and May 31, 2010. A facility review was also conducted in 15 of the 16 block level and district health facilities to collect information on preparedness of the facilities for treating obstetric complications including referral transportation. A descriptive analysis was carried out using ratios and percentages to analyze the availability of basic facilities which may lead to maternal deaths.
Results: It was found that there were only 10 ambulances available at 15 facilities against 19 required as per Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS). About 47% of the deaths took place in a facility, 30% enroute to a health facility and 23% at home. Twenty five percent of women were taken to one facility, 32% were taken to two facilities, and 25% were taken to three facilities while 19% were not taken to any facility before their death. Sixteen percent of the pregnant women could not arrange transportation to reach any facility. The mean time to make arrangements for travel from home to facility-1 and facility-2 to facility-3 was 3.1 hours; whereas from facility-1 to facility-2 was 9.9 hours. The mean travel time from home to facility-1 was 1 hour, from facility-1 to facility-2 was 1.4 hours and facility-2 to facility-3 was 1.6 hours.
Conclusion: The public health facility review and MDR, clearly indicates that the inter-facility transfers appropriateness and timeliness of referral are major contributing factor for maternal deaths in Unnao district, UP. The UP Government, besides strengthening Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC) and Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (BEmONC) services in the district and state as a whole, also needs to focus on developing a functional and effective referral system on a priority basis to reduce the maternal deaths in Unnao district.
doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2015.14
PMCID: PMC4322633  PMID: 25674573
Referral Transport; Maternal Deaths; Facility Review; Maternal Death Review (MDR)
13.  An overview of Ghana’s mental health system: results from an assessment using the World Health Organization’s Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS) 
Background
This survey provides data on the Mental Health System in Ghana for the year 2011. It supplies essential planning information for the implementation of Ghana’s new Mental Health Act 846 of 2012, a renewal of the Ghana 5 year plan for mental health and it contributes to international knowledge base on mental health. It provides a baseline from which to measure future progress in Ghana and comparison data for use in other countries. In addition to reporting our findings we describe and analyse deficiencies and strengths of the Ghana mental health system.
Methods
We used the World Health Organization’s Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS) to collect, analyse, and report data on the mental health system and services for all districts of the ten regions of Ghana. Data was collected in 2012, based on the year 2011.
Results
In 2011, Ghana was a lower middle income country with a population of approximately 25 million. A mental health policy, plan and legislation were in place. Mental health legislation was outdated and no longer in line with best practice standards. Services were significantly underfunded with only 1.4% of the health expenditure going to mental health, and spending very much skewed towards urban areas. There were 123 mental health outpatient facilities, 3 psychiatric hospitals, 7 community based psychiatric inpatient units, 4 community residential facilities and 1 day treatment centre, which is well below what would be expected for Ghana’s economic status. The majority of patients were treated in outpatient facilities and psychiatric hospitals and most of the inpatient beds were provided by the latter. There were an estimated 2.4 million people with mental health problems of which 67,780 (ie 2.8%) received treatment in 2011. The were 18 psychiatrists, 1,068 Registered Mental Nurses, 19 psychologists, 72 Community Mental Health Officers and 21 social workers working in mental health which is unbalanced with an unbalanced emphasis on nurses compared to what would be expected.
Conclusions
The main strength of the mental health system was the presence of a long established service with staff working across the country in outpatients departments and hospitals. The main weakness was that government spending on mental health was very low and the bulk of services, albeit very sparse, were centred around the capital city leaving much of the rest of the country with almost no provision. Service provision was dominated by nurses with few other professions groups present.
doi:10.1186/1752-4458-8-16
PMCID: PMC4016652  PMID: 24817908
Mental health; Ghana; WHO-AIMS
14.  Availability and distribution of human resources for provision of comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care in Afghanistan: a cross-sectional study 
Background
For over a decade, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health and its international development partners have invested in strengthening the national health workforce and establishing a system of primary health care facilities and hospitals to reduce the high levels of maternal and child mortality that were documented shortly after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Significant progress has been made, but many challenges remain. The objective of this study is to assess the availability and distribution of human resources for round-the-clock comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care service provision in secure areas of Afghanistan in order to inform policy and program planning.
Methods
A cross-sectional assessment was conducted from December 2009 to February 2010 at the 78 accessible facilities designated to provide emergency obstetric and newborn care in Afghanistan. The availability of staff on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week; involvement of staff in essential clinical functions; turnover rates; and vacancies were documented at each facility. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize results.
Results
All facilities assessed had at least one midwife on staff, but most did not meet the minimum staffing requirements set in national guidelines. Given that all facilities assessed are considered referral centers for lower-level clinics, the lack of doctors at 5% of facilities, lack of anesthetists at 10% of facilities and lack of obstetrician/gynecologists at 51% of facilities raises serious concerns about the capacity of the health system to respond with lifesaving care for women with obstetric complications.
Conclusions
While the government continues its efforts to increase the number of qualified female health professionals in Afghanistan after decades with little female education, innovative strategies are needed to facilitate deployment, skill-development and retention of female healthcare providers in underserved areas.
doi:10.1186/s13031-015-0037-6
PMCID: PMC4378548  PMID: 25825592
Human resources; Emergency obstetric care; Maternal health; Neonatal health; Health services; Afghanistan
15.  Infection control in delivery care units, Gujarat state, India: A needs assessment 
Background
Increasingly, women in India attend health facilities for childbirth, partly due to incentives paid under government programs. Increased use of health facilities can alleviate the risks of infections contracted in unhygienic home deliveries, but poor infection control practices in labour and delivery units also cause puerperal sepsis and other infections of childbirth. A needs assessment was conducted to provide information on procedures and practices related to infection control in labour and delivery units in Gujarat state, India.
Methods
Twenty health care facilities, including private and public primary health centres and referral hospitals, were sampled from two districts in Gujarat state, India. Three pre-tested tools for interviewing and for observation were used. Data collection was based on existing infection control guidelines for clean practices, clean equipment, clean environment and availability of diagnostics and treatment. The study was carried out from April to May 2009.
Results
Seventy percent of respondents said that standard infection control procedures were followed, but a written procedure was only available in 5% of facilities. Alcohol rubs were not used for hand cleaning and surgical gloves were reused in over 70% of facilities, especially for vaginal examinations in the labour room. Most types of equipment and supplies were available but a third of facilities did not have wash basins with "hands-free" taps. Only 15% of facilities reported that wiping of surfaces was done immediately after each delivery in labour rooms. Blood culture services were available in 25% of facilities and antibiotics are widely given to women after normal delivery. A few facilities had data on infections and reported rates of 3% to 5%.
Conclusions
This study of current infection control procedures and practices during labour and delivery in health facilities in Gujarat revealed a need for improved information systems, protocols and procedures, and for training and research. Simply incentivizing the behaviour of women to use health facilities for childbirth via government schemes may not guarantee safe delivery.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-11-37
PMCID: PMC3115920  PMID: 21599924
16.  Associations between Mode of HIV Testing and Consent, Confidentiality, and Referral: A Comparative Analysis in Four African Countries 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(10):e1001329.
A study carried out by Carla Obermeyer and colleagues examines whether practices regarding consent, confidentiality, and referral vary depending on whether HIV testing is provided through voluntary counseling and testing or provider-initiated testing.
Background
Recommendations about scaling up HIV testing and counseling highlight the need to provide key services and to protect clients' rights, but it is unclear to what extent different modes of testing differ in this respect. This paper examines whether practices regarding consent, confidentiality, and referral vary depending on whether testing is provided through voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) or provider-initiated testing.
Methods and Findings
The MATCH (Multi-Country African Testing and Counseling for HIV) study was carried out in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda. Surveys were conducted at selected facilities. We defined eight outcome measures related to pre- and post-test counseling, consent, confidentiality, satisfactory interactions with providers, and (for HIV-positive respondents) referral for care. These were compared across three types of facilities: integrated facilities, where testing is provided along with medical care; stand-alone VCT facilities; and prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) facilities, where testing is part of PMTCT services. Tests of bivariate associations and modified Poisson regression were used to assess significance and estimate the unadjusted and adjusted associations between modes of testing and outcome measures. In total, 2,116 respondents tested in 2007 or later reported on their testing experience. High percentages of clients across countries and modes of testing reported receiving recommended services and being satisfied. In the unadjusted analyses, integrated testers were less likely to meet with a counselor before testing (83% compared with 95% of VCT testers; p<0.001), but those who had a pre-test meeting were more likely to have completed consent procedures (89% compared with 83% among VCT testers; p<0.001) and pre-test counseling (78% compared with 73% among VCT testers; p = 0.015). Both integrated and PMTCT testers were more likely to receive complete post-test counseling than were VCT testers (59% among both PMTCT and integrated testers compared with 36% among VCT testers; p<0.001). Adjusted analyses by country show few significant differences by mode of testing: only lower satisfaction among integrated testers in Burkina Faso and Uganda, and lower frequency of referral among PMTCT testers in Malawi. Adjusted analyses of pooled data across countries show a higher likelihood of pre-test meeting for those testing at VCT facilities (adjusted prevalence ratio: 1.22, 95% CI: 1.07–1.38) and higher satisfaction for stand-alone VCT facilities (adjusted prevalence ratio: 1.15; 95% CI: 1.06–1.25), compared to integrated testing, but no other associations were statistically significant.
Conclusions
Overall, in this study most respondents reported favorable outcomes for consent, confidentiality, and referral. Provider-initiated ways of delivering testing and counseling do not appear to be associated with less favorable outcomes for clients than traditional, client-initiated VCT, suggesting that testing can be scaled up through multiple modes without detriment to clients' rights.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In 2007, World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) issued a joint guidance document on “provider-initiated” HIV testing and counseling. They noted that previous testing strategies that relied on “client-initiated” testing (also referred to as VCT, for voluntary counseling and testing) had failed to reach enough people, both in high-income and resource-constrained countries—in Africa, for example, at that time, just 12% of men and 10% of women had ever been tested. They argued that many opportunities to diagnose and counsel people that visit health facilities for other reasons are being missed, and that provider-initiated HIV testing and counseling can help expand access to HIV treatment, care, and support. They made it clear, however, that mandatory testing is not acceptable. All provider-initiated testing must therefore give individuals the option to not be tested. In addition, the guidelines stressed that all testing must continue to observe “the three Cs” (informed consent, counseling, and confidentiality) and be accompanied by an “enabling environment” including the availability of antiretroviral therapy, prevention and support services, and a supportive social, policy, and legal framework. A number of advocates have subsequently criticized the guidelines for failing to recognize that health-care services and staff in some countries do not always observe the three Cs. Critics have also questioned the appropriateness of the strategy for settings where antiretroviral therapy is not always available or where stigma and discrimination remain widespread.
Why Was This Study Done?
To inform the debate surrounding scale-up of HIV testing in general and provider-initiated testing in particular with data on “real-life” testing, researchers have since carried out a number of studies. One of them, called MATCH (for Multi-Country African Testing and Counseling for HIV), was designed to allow systematic comparisons across African countries of different ways of HIV testing. Its goal was to investigate the uptake of testing, to analyze differences in the experience of testing across countries and modes of testing, and to use the results to devise better strategies to increase knowledge of HIV status and referral to care. MATCH used different means to collect information, including surveys and interviews. People from Burkina Faso, Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda participated. Some had undergone HIV testing, others had not. This study used a subset of the survey data collected for the MATCH study and asked whether there were systematic differences depending on the type of testing people had experienced.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The data the researchers used were from 2,116 people who had undergone testing in the two previous years at different facilities in the four countries. The different facilities were grouped into three “modes” of testing: VCT-only testing, integrated testing (which included hospitals and other medical facilities where provider-initiated and client-initiated testing were both available, along with other medical services), and prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) testing at medical facilities offering services to pregnant women. Analyzing the survey responses, the researchers categorized them as related to eight different “outcomes”: pre-test meeting, pre-test counseling, consent, confidentiality, satisfaction with the person-to-person interactions, post-test meeting to receive results, post-test counseling, and referral to care.
They found that across countries and different facilities, the majority of participants reported having received most of the testing-related services. More than 90% reported having a pre-test meeting, and around 80% were satisfied with the personal interactions, with the consent process, and with confidentiality. About 50% of participants reported receiving all post-test services, and 71% of those who had tested positive for HIV reported appropriate referral to care.
When they looked for differences between different modes of testing, the researchers found that while they existed, they did not consistently favor one mode over another. Some outcomes scored higher in VCT facilities, some in PMTCT facilities, and some in integrated facilities.
What Do These Findings Mean?
While there is room for improvement in HIV testing services (especially post-test services) across the countries and facilities included, the study did not reveal major problems with consent or confidentiality. The results also suggest that services at PMTCT and integrated facilities are not any worse than those at VCT-only sites. It seems therefore reasonable to continue expanding access to HIV testing and to include all facilities in the scale-up. That said, this is only one of a number of studies examining issues surrounding HIV testing, and decisions should be based on all available evidence. The results here are consistent with some of the other studies, but there are also reports that counseling might become neglected as testing is scaled up, and that offering testing routinely at every doctor's visit makes it seem mandatory even if there is the possibility to “opt out.” Other analyses of the MATCH study use in-depth interviews to understand in more detail the feelings, experiences, and attitudes of participants who have been tested as well as those who have not been tested. It will be important to see whether their results are consistent with the ones here, which are based on a survey of people who have been tested.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001329.
WHO has published a toolkit for scaling up HIV testing and counseling services in resource-limited settings, as well as the report Service Delivery Approaches to HIV Testing and Counselling (HSC): A Strategic HTC Programme Framework
In response to reactions to the 2007 joint WHO/UNAIDS guidelines Guidance on Provider-Initiated HIV Testing and Counselling in Health Facilities, the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights issued a Statement and Recommendations on Scaling up HIV Testing and Counselling
The NAM/aidsmap website has a section on HIV testing policies and guidelines.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001329
PMCID: PMC3479110  PMID: 23109914
17.  Supply-related drivers of staff motivation for providing intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy in Tanzania: evidence from two rural districts 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:48.
Background
Since its introduction in the national antenatal care (ANC) system in Tanzania in 2001, little evidence is documented regarding the motivation and performance of health workers (HWs) in the provision of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy (IPTp) services in the national ANC clinics and the implications such motivation and performance might have had on HWs and services' compliance with the recommended IPTp delivery guidelines. This paper describes the supply-related drivers of motivation and performance of HWs in administering IPTp doses among other ANC services delivered in public and private health facilities (HFs) in Tanzania, using a case study of Mkuranga and Mufindi districts.
Methods
Interviews were conducted with 78 HWs participating in the delivery of ANC services in private and public HFs and were supplemented by personal communications with the members of the district council health management team. The research instrument used in the data collection process contained a mixture of closed and open-ended questions. Some of the open-ended questions had to be coded in the form that allowed their analysis quantitatively.
Results
In both districts, respondents acknowledged IPTp as an essential intervention, but expressed dissatisfaction with their working environments constraining their performance, including health facility (HF) unit understaffing; unsystematic and unfriendly supervision by CHMT members; limited opportunities for HW career development; and poor (HF) infrastructure and staff houses. Data also suggest that poor working conditions negatively affect health workers' motivation to perform for ANC (including IPTp) services. Similarities and differences were noted in terms of motivational factors for ANC service delivery between the HWs employed in private HFs and those in public HFs: those in private facilities were more comfortable with staff residential houses, HF buildings, equipment, availability of water, electricity and cups for clients to use while taking doses under direct observed therapy than their public facility counterparts. Employees in public HFs more acknowledged availability of clinical officers, nurses and midwives than their private facility counterparts. More results are presented and discussed.
Conclusion
The study shows conditions related to staffing levels, health infrastructure and essential supplies being among the key determinants or drivers of frontline HWs' motivation to deliver ANC services in both private and public HFs. Efforts of the government to meet the maternal health related Millennium Development Goals and targets for specific interventions need to address challenges related to HWs' motivation to perform their duties at their work-places.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-48
PMCID: PMC3298537  PMID: 22340941
Human resources; Health worker motivation; Malaria; Health-care services; Malaria in pregnancy; Tanzania
18.  Does contracting of health care in Afghanistan work? Public and service-users' perceptions and experience 
BMC Health Services Research  2011;11(Suppl 2):S11.
Background
In rebuilding devastated health services, the government of Afghanistan has provided access to basic services mainly by contracting with non-government organisations (NGOs), and more recently the Strengthening Mechanism (SM) of contracting with Provincial Health Offices. Community-based information about the public's views and experience of health services is scarce.
Methods
Field teams visited households in a stratified random sample of 30 communities in two districts in Kabul province, with health services mainly provided either by an NGO or through the SM and administered a questionnaire about household views, use, and experience of health services, including payments for services and corruption. They later discussed the findings with separate community focus groups of men and women. We calculated weighted frequencies of views and experience of services and multivariate analysis examined the related factors.
Results
The survey covered 3283 households including 2845 recent health service users. Some 42% of households in the SM district and 57% in the NGO district rated available health services as good. Some 63% of households in the SM district (adjacent to Kabul) and 93% in the NGO district ordinarily used government health facilities. Service users rated private facilities more positively than government facilities. Government service users were more satisfied in urban facilities, if the household head was not educated, if they had enough food in the last week, and if they waited less than 30 minutes. Many households were unwilling to comment on corruption in health services; 15% in the SM district and 26% in the NGO district reported having been asked for an unofficial payment. Despite a policy of free services, one in seven users paid for treatment in government facilities, and three in four paid for medicine outside the facilities. Focus groups confirmed people knew payments were unofficial; they were afraid to talk about corruption.
Conclusions
Households used government health services but preferred private services. The experience of service users was similar in the SM and NGO districts. People made unofficial payments in government facilities, whether SM or NGO run. Tackling corruption in health services is an important part of anti-corruption measures in Afghanistan.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-S2-S11
PMCID: PMC3332555  PMID: 22376191
19.  Applying the workload indicators of staffing need (WISN) method in Namibia: challenges and implications for human resources for health policy 
Introduction
As part of ongoing efforts to restructure the health sector and improve health care quality, the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) in Namibia sought to update staffing norms for health facilities. To establish an evidence base for the new norms, the MoHSS supported the first-ever national application of the Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) method, a human resource management tool developed by the World Health Organization.
Application
The WISN method calculates the number of health workers per cadre, based on health facility workload. It provides two indicators to assess staffing: (1) the gap/excess between current and required number of staff, and (2) the WISN ratio, a measure of workload pressure. Namibian WISN calculations focused on four cadres (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy assistants) and all four levels of public facilities (clinics, health centers, district hospitals, intermediate hospitals). WISN steps included establishing a task force; conducting a regional pilot; holding a national validation workshop; field verifying data; collecting, uploading, processing, and analyzing data; and providing feedback to policy-makers.
Challenges
The task force faced two challenges requiring time and effort to solve: WISN software-related challenges and unavailability of some data at the national level.
Findings
WISN findings highlighted health worker shortages and inequities in their distribution. Overall, staff shortages are most profound for doctors and pharmacists. Although the country has an appropriate number of nurses, the nurse workforce is skewed towards hospitals, which are adequately or slightly overstaffed relative to nurses’ workloads. Health centers and, in particular, clinics both have gaps between current and required number of nurses. Inequities in nursing staff also exist between and within regions. Finally, the requirement for nurses varies greatly between less and more busy clinics (range = 1 to 7) and health centers (range = 2 to 57).
Policy implications
The utility of the WISN health workforce findings has prompted the MoHSS to seek approval for use of WISN in human resources for health policy decisions and practices. The MoHSS will focus on revising staffing norms; improving staffing equity across regions and facility types; ensuring an appropriate skill mix at each level; and estimating workforce requirements for new cadres.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-11-64
PMCID: PMC4028865  PMID: 24325763
Workload Indicators of Staffing Need; WISN; Human resources; Health workforce; Workload; Namibia
20.  Availability of emergency obstetric care (EmOC) among public and private health facilities in rural northwest Bangladesh 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:36.
Background
Although safe motherhood strategies recommend that women seek timely care from health facilities for obstetric complications, few studies have described facility availability of emergency obstetric care (EmOC). We sought to describe and compare availability and readiness to provide EmOC among public and private health facilities commonly visited for pregnancy-related complications in two districts of northwest Bangladesh. We also described aspects of financial and geographic access to healthcare and key constraints to EmOC provision.
Methods
Using data from a large population-based community trial, we identified and surveyed the 14 health facilities (7 public, 7 private) most frequently visited for obstetric complications and near misses as reported by women. Availability of EmOC was based on provision of medical services, assessed through clinician interviews and record review. Levels of EmOC availability were defined as basic or comprehensive. Readiness for EmOC provision was based on scores in four categories: staffing, equipment, laboratory capacity, and medicines. Readiness scores were calculated using unweighted averages. Costs of C-section procedures and geographic locations of facilities were described. Textual analysis was used to identify key constraints.
Results
The seven surveyed private facilities offered comprehensive EmOC compared to four of the seven public facilities. With 100% representing full readiness, mean EmOC readiness was 81% (range: 63%-91%) among surveyed private facilities compared to 67% (range: 48%-91%) in public facilities (p = 0.040). Surveyed public clinics had low scores on staffing and laboratory capacity (69%; 50%). The mean cost of the C-section procedure in private clinics was $77 (standard deviation: $16) and free in public facilities. The public sub-district facilities were the only facilities located in rural areas, with none providing comprehensive EmOC. Shortages in specialized staff were listed as the main barrier to EmOC provision in public facilities.
Conclusions
Although EmOC availability and readiness was higher among the surveyed seven most commonly visited private clinics, public facilities appeared to be more affordable for C-section and more geographically accessible. Strategies to retain anesthesiologists and surgeons, such as non-financial incentives, are needed to improve EmOC provision in the public sector. Centralized blood banks are recommended to streamline safe blood acquisition for obstetric surgeries.
doi:10.1186/s12889-015-1405-2
PMCID: PMC4316389  PMID: 25637319
Maternal health; Rural Bangladesh; Emergency obstetric care; Quality of care; Global health; Human resources for health
21.  Public funding of health at the district level in Indonesia after decentralization – sources, flows and contradictions 
Background
During the Suharto era public funding of health in Indonesia was low and the health services were tightly controlled by the central government; district health staff had practically no discretion over expenditure. Following the downfall of President Suharto there was a radical political, administrative and fiscal decentralization with delivery of services becoming the responsibility of district governments. In addition, public funding for health services more than doubled between 2001 and 2006. It was widely expected that services would improve as district governments now had both more adequate funds and the responsibility for services. To date there has been little improvement in services. Understanding why services have not improved requires careful study of what is happening at the district level.
Methods
We collected information on public expenditure on health services for the fiscal year 2006 in 15 districts in Java, Indonesia from the district health offices and district hospitals. Data obtained in the districts were collected by three teams, one for each province. Information on district government revenues were obtained from district public expenditure databases maintained by the World Bank using data from the Ministry of Finance.
Results
The public expenditure information collected in 15 districts as part of this study indicates district governments are reliant on the central government for as much as 90% of their revenue; that approximately half public expenditure on health is at the district level; that at least 40% of district level public expenditure on health is for personnel, almost all of them permanent civil servants; and that districts may have discretion over less than one-third of district public expenditure on health; the extent of discretion over spending is much higher in district hospitals than in the district health office and health centers. There is considerable variation between districts.
Conclusion
In contrast to the promise of decentralization there has been little increase in the potential for discretion at the district level in managing public funds for health – this is likely to be an important reason for the lack of improvement in publicly funded health services. Key decisions about money are still made by the central government, and no one is held accountable for the performance of the sector – the district blames the center and the central ministries (and their ministers) are not accountable to district populations.
doi:10.1186/1478-4505-7-5
PMCID: PMC2678112  PMID: 19371410
22.  Health service providers in Somalia: their readiness to provide malaria case-management 
Malaria Journal  2009;8:100.
Background
Studies have highlighted the inadequacies of the public health sector in sub-Saharan African countries in providing appropriate malaria case management. The readiness of the public health sector to provide malaria case-management in Somalia, a country where there has been no functioning central government for almost two decades, was investigated.
Methods
Three districts were purposively sampled in each of the two self-declared states of Puntland and Somaliland and the south-central region of Somalia, in April-November 2007. A survey and mapping of all public and private health service providers was undertaken. Information was recorded on services provided, types of anti-malarial drugs used and stock, numbers and qualifications of staff, sources of financial support and presence of malaria diagnostic services, new treatment guidelines and job aides for malaria case-management. All settlements were mapped and a semi-quantitative approach was used to estimate their population size. Distances from settlements to public health services were computed.
Results
There were 45 public health facilities, 227 public health professionals, and 194 private pharmacies for approximately 0.6 million people in the three districts. The median distance to public health facilities was 6 km. 62.3% of public health facilities prescribed the nationally recommended anti-malarial drug and 37.7% prescribed chloroquine as first-line therapy. 66.7% of public facilities did not have in stock the recommended first-line malaria therapy. Diagnosis of malaria using rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) or microscopy was performed routinely in over 90% of the recommended public facilities but only 50% of these had RDT in stock at the time of survey. National treatment guidelines were available in 31.3% of public health facilities recommended by the national strategy. Only 8.8% of the private pharmacies prescribed artesunate plus sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine, while 53.1% prescribed chloroquine as first-line therapy. 31.4% of private pharmacies also provided malaria diagnosis using RDT or microscopy.
Conclusion
Geographic access to public health sector is relatively low and there were major shortages of appropriate guidelines, anti-malarials and diagnostic tests required for appropriate malaria case management. Efforts to strengthen the readiness of the health sector in Somalia to provide malaria case management should improve availability of drugs and diagnostic kits; provide appropriate information and training; and engage and regulate the private sector to scale up malaria control.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-8-100
PMCID: PMC2688519  PMID: 19439097
23.  Comparative Performance of Private and Public Healthcare Systems in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(6):e1001244.
A systematic review conducted by Sanjay Basu and colleagues reevaluates the evidence relating to comparative performance of public versus private sector healthcare delivery in low- and middle-income countries.
Introduction
Private sector healthcare delivery in low- and middle-income countries is sometimes argued to be more efficient, accountable, and sustainable than public sector delivery. Conversely, the public sector is often regarded as providing more equitable and evidence-based care. We performed a systematic review of research studies investigating the performance of private and public sector delivery in low- and middle-income countries.
Methods and Findings
Peer-reviewed studies including case studies, meta-analyses, reviews, and case-control analyses, as well as reports published by non-governmental organizations and international agencies, were systematically collected through large database searches, filtered through methodological inclusion criteria, and organized into six World Health Organization health system themes: accessibility and responsiveness; quality; outcomes; accountability, transparency, and regulation; fairness and equity; and efficiency. Of 1,178 potentially relevant unique citations, data were obtained from 102 articles describing studies conducted in low- and middle-income countries. Comparative cohort and cross-sectional studies suggested that providers in the private sector more frequently violated medical standards of practice and had poorer patient outcomes, but had greater reported timeliness and hospitality to patients. Reported efficiency tended to be lower in the private than in the public sector, resulting in part from perverse incentives for unnecessary testing and treatment. Public sector services experienced more limited availability of equipment, medications, and trained healthcare workers. When the definition of “private sector” included unlicensed and uncertified providers such as drug shop owners, most patients appeared to access care in the private sector; however, when unlicensed healthcare providers were excluded from the analysis, the majority of people accessed public sector care. “Competitive dynamics” for funding appeared between the two sectors, such that public funds and personnel were redirected to private sector development, followed by reductions in public sector service budgets and staff.
Conclusions
Studies evaluated in this systematic review do not support the claim that the private sector is usually more efficient, accountable, or medically effective than the public sector; however, the public sector appears frequently to lack timeliness and hospitality towards patients.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Health care can be provided through public and private providers. Public health care is usually provided by the government through national healthcare systems. Private health care can be provided through “for profit” hospitals and self-employed practitioners, and “not for profit” non-government providers, including faith-based organizations.
There is considerable ideological debate around whether low- and middle-income countries should strengthen public versus private healthcare services, but in reality, most low- and middle-income countries use both types of healthcare provision. Recently, as the global economic recession has put major constraints on government budgets—the major funding source for healthcare expenditures in most countries—disputes between the proponents of private and public systems have escalated, further fuelled by the recommendation of International Monetary Fund (an international finance institution) that countries increase the scope of private sector provision in health care as part of loan conditions to reduce government debt. However, critics of the private health sector believe that public healthcare provision is of most benefit to poor people and is the only way to achieve universal and equitable access to health care.
Why Was This Study Done?
Both sides of the public versus private healthcare debate draw on selected case reports to defend their viewpoints, but there is a widely held view that the private health system is more efficient than the public health system. Therefore, in order to inform policy, there is an urgent need for robust evidence to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of the health care provided through both systems. In this study, the authors reviewed all of the evidence in a systematic way to evaluate available data on public and private sector performance.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used eight databases and a comprehensive key word search to identify and review appropriate published data and studies of private and public sector performance in low- and middle-income countries. They assessed selected studies against the World Health Organization's six essential themes of health systems—accessibility and responsiveness; quality; outcomes; accountability, transparency, and regulation; fairness and equity; and efficiency—and conducted a narrative review of each theme.
Out of the 102 relevant studies included in their comparative analysis, 59 studies were research studies and 13 involved meta-analysis, with the rest involving case reports or reviews. The researchers found that study findings varied considerably across countries studied (one-third of studies were conducted in Africa and a third in Southeast Asia) and by the methods used.
Financial barriers to care (such as user fees) were reported for both public and private systems. Although studies report that patients in the private sector experience better timeliness and hospitality, studies suggest that providers in the private sector more frequently violate accepted medical standards and have lower reported efficiency.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This systematic review did not support previous views that private sector delivery of health care in low- and middle-income settings is more efficient, accountable, or effective than public sector delivery. Each system has its strengths and weaknesses, but importantly, in both sectors, there were financial barriers to care, and each had poor accountability and transparency. This systematic review highlights a limited and poor-quality evidence base regarding the comparative performance of the two systems.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001244.
A previous PLoS Medicine study examined the outpatient care provided by the public and private sector in low-income countries
The WHO website provides more information on healthcare systems
The World Bank website provides information on health system financing
Oxfam provides an argument against increased private health care in poor countries
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001244
PMCID: PMC3378609  PMID: 22723748
24.  Implementing the 2009 Institute of Medicine recommendations on resident physician work hours, supervision, and safety 
Long working hours and sleep deprivation have been a facet of physician training in the US since the advent of the modern residency system. However, the scientific evidence linking fatigue with deficits in human performance, accidents and errors in industries from aeronautics to medicine, nuclear power, and transportation has mounted over the last 40 years. This evidence has also spawned regulations to help ensure public safety across safety-sensitive industries, with the notable exception of medicine.
In late 2007, at the behest of the US Congress, the Institute of Medicine embarked on a year-long examination of the scientific evidence linking resident physician sleep deprivation with clinical performance deficits and medical errors. The Institute of Medicine’s report, entitled “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety”, published in January 2009, recommended new limits on resident physician work hours and workload, increased supervision, a heightened focus on resident physician safety, training in structured handovers and quality improvement, more rigorous external oversight of work hours and other aspects of residency training, and the identification of expanded funding sources necessary to implement the recommended reforms successfully and protect the public and resident physicians themselves from preventable harm.
Given that resident physicians comprise almost a quarter of all physicians who work in hospitals, and that taxpayers, through Medicare and Medicaid, fund graduate medical education, the public has a deep investment in physician training. Patients expect to receive safe, high-quality care in the nation’s teaching hospitals. Because it is their safety that is at issue, their voices should be central in policy decisions affecting patient safety. It is likewise important to integrate the perspectives of resident physicians, policy makers, and other constituencies in designing new policies. However, since its release, discussion of the Institute of Medicine report has been largely confined to the medical education community, led by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
To begin gathering these perspectives and developing a plan to implement safer work hours for resident physicians, a conference entitled “Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety: What will it take to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations?” was held at Harvard Medical School on June 17–18, 2010. This White Paper is a product of a diverse group of 26 representative stakeholders bringing relevant new information and innovative practices to bear on a critical patient safety problem. Given that our conference included experts from across disciplines with diverse perspectives and interests, not every recommendation was endorsed by each invited conference participant. However, every recommendation made here was endorsed by the majority of the group, and many were endorsed unanimously. Conference members participated in the process, reviewed the final product, and provided input before publication. Participants provided their individual perspectives, which do not necessarily represent the formal views of any organization.
In September 2010 the ACGME issued new rules to go into effect on July 1, 2011. Unfortunately, they stop considerably short of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations and those endorsed by this conference. In particular, the ACGME only applied the limitation of 16 hours to first-year resident physicans. Thus, it is clear that policymakers, hospital administrators, and residency program directors who wish to implement safer health care systems must go far beyond what the ACGME will require. We hope this White Paper will serve as a guide and provide encouragement for that effort.
Resident physician workload and supervision
By the end of training, a resident physician should be able to practice independently. Yet much of resident physicians’ time is dominated by tasks with little educational value. The caseload can be so great that inadequate reflective time is left for learning based on clinical experiences. In addition, supervision is often vaguely defined and discontinuous. Medical malpractice data indicate that resident physicians are frequently named in lawsuits, most often for lack of supervision. The recommendations are: The ACGME should adjust resident physicians workload requirements to optimize educational value. Resident physicians as well as faculty should be involved in work redesign that eliminates nonessential and noneducational activity from resident physician dutiesMechanisms should be developed for identifying in real time when a resident physician’s workload is excessive, and processes developed to activate additional providersTeamwork should be actively encouraged in delivery of patient care. Historically, much of medical training has focused on individual knowledge, skills, and responsibility. As health care delivery has become more complex, it will be essential to train resident and attending physicians in effective teamwork that emphasizes collective responsibility for patient care and recognizes the signs, both individual and systemic, of a schedule and working conditions that are too demanding to be safeHospitals should embrace the opportunities that resident physician training redesign offers. Hospitals should recognize and act on the potential benefits of work redesign, eg, increased efficiency, reduced costs, improved quality of care, and resident physician and attending job satisfactionAttending physicians should supervise all hospital admissions. Resident physicians should directly discuss all admissions with attending physicians. Attending physicians should be both cognizant of and have input into the care patients are to receive upon admission to the hospitalInhouse supervision should be required for all critical care services, including emergency rooms, intensive care units, and trauma services. Resident physicians should not be left unsupervised to care for critically ill patients. In settings in which the acuity is high, physicians who have completed residency should provide direct supervision for resident physicians. Supervising physicians should always be physically in the hospital for supervision of resident physicians who care for critically ill patientsThe ACGME should explicitly define “good” supervision by specialty and by year of training. Explicit requirements for intensity and level of training for supervision of specific clinical scenarios should be providedCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should use graduate medical education funding to provide incentives to programs with proven, effective levels of supervision. Although this action would require federal legislation, reimbursement rules would help to ensure that hospitals pay attention to the importance of good supervision and require it from their training programs
Resident physician work hours
Although the IOM “Sleep, supervision and safety” report provides a comprehensive review and discussion of all aspects of graduate medical education training, the report’s focal point is its recommendations regarding the hours that resident physicians are currently required to work. A considerable body of scientific evidence, much of it cited by the Institute of Medicine report, describes deteriorating performance in fatigued humans, as well as specific studies on resident physician fatigue and preventable medical errors.
The question before this conference was what work redesign and cultural changes are needed to reform work hours as recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s evidence-based report? Extensive scientific data demonstrate that shifts exceeding 12–16 hours without sleep are unsafe. Several principles should be followed in efforts to reduce consecutive hours below this level and achieve safer work schedules. The recommendations are: Limit resident physician work hours to 12–16 hour maximum shiftsA minimum of 10 hours off duty should be scheduled between shiftsResident physician input into work redesign should be actively solicitedSchedules should be designed that adhere to principles of sleep and circadian science; this includes careful consideration of the effects of multiple consecutive night shifts, and provision of adequate time off after night work, as specified in the IOM reportResident physicians should not be scheduled up to the maximum permissible limits; emergencies frequently occur that require resident physicians to stay longer than their scheduled shifts, and this should be anticipated in scheduling resident physicians’ work shiftsHospitals should anticipate the need for iterative improvement as new schedules are initiated; be prepared to learn from the initial phase-in, and change the plan as neededAs resident physician work hours are redesigned, attending physicians should also be considered; a potential consequence of resident physician work hour reduction and increased supervisory requirements may be an increase in work for attending physicians; this should be carefully monitored, and adjustments to attending physician work schedules made as needed to prevent unsafe work hours or working conditions for this group“Home call” should be brought under the overall limits of working hours; work load and hours should be monitored in each residency program to ensure that resident physicians and fellows on home call are getting sufficient sleepMedicare funding for graduate medical education in each hospital should be linked with adherence to the Institute of Medicine limits on resident physician work hours
Moonlighting by resident physicians
The Institute of Medicine report recommended including external as well as internal moonlighting in working hour limits. The recommendation is: All moonlighting work hours should be included in the ACGME working hour limits and actively monitored. Hospitals should formalize a moonlighting policy and establish systems for actively monitoring resident physician moonlighting
Safety of resident physicians
The “Sleep, supervision and safety” report also addresses fatigue-related harm done to resident physicians themselves. The report focuses on two main sources of physical injury to resident physicians impaired by fatigue, ie, needle-stick exposure to blood-borne pathogens and motor vehicle crashes. Providing safe transportation home for resident physicians is a logistical and financial challenge for hospitals. Educating physicians at all levels on the dangers of fatigue is clearly required to change driving behavior so that safe hospital-funded transport home is used effectively. Fatigue-related injury prevention (including not driving while drowsy) should be taught in medical school and during residency, and reinforced with attending physicians; hospitals and residency programs must be informed that resident physicians’ ability to judge their own level of impairment is impaired when they are sleep deprived; hence, leaving decisions about the capacity to drive to impaired resident physicians is not recommendedHospitals should provide transportation to all resident physicians who report feeling too tired to drive safely; in addition, although consecutive work should not exceed 16 hours, hospitals should provide transportation for all resident physicians who, because of unforeseen reasons or emergencies, work for longer than consecutive 24 hours; transportation under these circumstances should be automatically provided to house staff, and should not rely on self-identification or request
Training in effective handovers and quality improvement
Handover practice for resident physicians, attendings, and other health care providers has long been identified as a weak link in patient safety throughout health care settings. Policies to improve handovers of care must be tailored to fit the appropriate clinical scenario, recognizing that information overload can also be a problem. At the heart of improving handovers is the organizational effort to improve quality, an effort in which resident physicians have typically been insufficiently engaged. The recommendations are: Hospitals should train attending and resident physicians in effective handovers of careHospitals should create uniform processes for handovers that are tailored to meet each clinical setting; all handovers should be done verbally and face-to-face, but should also utilize written toolsWhen possible, hospitals should integrate hand-over tools into their electronic medical records (EMR) systems; these systems should be standardized to the extent possible across residency programs in a hospital, but may be tailored to the needs of specific programs and services; federal government should help subsidize adoption of electronic medical records by hospitals to improve signoutWhen feasible, handovers should be a team effort including nurses, patients, and familiesHospitals should include residents in their quality improvement and patient safety efforts; the ACGME should specify in their core competency requirements that resident physicians work on quality improvement projects; likewise, the Joint Commission should require that resident physicians be included in quality improvement and patient safety programs at teaching hospitals; hospital administrators and residency program directors should create opportunities for resident physicians to become involved in ongoing quality improvement projects and root cause analysis teams; feedback on successful quality improvement interventions should be shared with resident physicians and broadly disseminatedQuality improvement/patient safety concepts should be integral to the medical school curriculum; medical school deans should elevate the topics of patient safety, quality improvement, and teamwork; these concepts should be integrated throughout the medical school curriculum and reinforced throughout residency; mastery of these concepts by medical students should be tested on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) stepsFederal government should support involvement of resident physicians in quality improvement efforts; initiatives to improve quality by including resident physicians in quality improvement projects should be financially supported by the Department of Health and Human Services
Monitoring and oversight of the ACGME
While the ACGME is a key stakeholder in residency training, external voices are essential to ensure that public interests are heard in the development and monitoring of standards. Consequently, the Institute of Medicine report recommended external oversight and monitoring through the Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The recommendations are: Make comprehensive fatigue management a Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal; fatigue is a safety concern not only for resident physicians, but also for nurses, attending physicians, and other health care workers; the Joint Commission should seek to ensure that all health care workers, not just resident physicians, are working as safely as possibleFederal government, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, should encourage development of comprehensive fatigue management programs which all health systems would eventually be required to implementMake ACGME compliance with working hours a “ condition of participation” for reimbursement of direct and indirect graduate medical education costs; financial incentives will greatly increase the adoption of and compliance with ACGME standards
Future financial support for implementation
The Institute of Medicine’s report estimates that $1.7 billion (in 2008 dollars) would be needed to implement its recommendations. Twenty-five percent of that amount ($376 million) will be required just to bring hospitals into compliance with the existing 2003 ACGME rules. Downstream savings to the health care system could potentially result from safer care, but these benefits typically do not accrue to hospitals and residency programs, who have been asked historically to bear the burden of residency reform costs. The recommendations are: The Institute of Medicine should convene a panel of stakeholders, including private and public funders of health care and graduate medical education, to lay down the concrete steps necessary to identify and allocate the resources needed to implement the recommendations contained in the IOM “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety” report. Conference participants suggested several approaches to engage public and private support for this initiativeEfforts to find additional funding to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations should focus more broadly on patient safety and health care delivery reform; policy efforts focused narrowly upon resident physician work hours are less likely to succeed than broad patient safety initiatives that include residency redesign as a key componentHospitals should view the Institute of Medicine recommendations as an opportunity to begin resident physician work redesign projects as the core of a business model that embraces safety and ultimately saves resourcesBoth the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should take the Institute of Medicine recommendations into consideration when promulgating rules for innovation grantsThe National Health Care Workforce Commission should consider the Institute of Medicine recommendations when analyzing the nation’s physician workforce needs
Recommendations for future research
Conference participants concurred that convening the stakeholders and agreeing on a research agenda was key. Some observed that some sectors within the medical education community have been reluctant to act on the data. Several logical funders for future research were identified. But above all agencies, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the only stakeholder that funds graduate medical education upstream and will reap savings downstream if preventable medical errors are reduced as a result of reform of resident physician work hours.
doi:10.2147/NSS.S19649
PMCID: PMC3630963  PMID: 23616719
resident; hospital; working hours; safety
25.  Availability and Distribution of Emergency Obstetric Care Services in Karnataka State, South India: Access and Equity Considerations 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64126.
Background
As part of efforts to reduce maternal deaths in Karnataka state, India, there has been a concerted effort to increase institutional deliveries. However, little is known about the quality of care in these healthcare facilities. We investigated the availability and distribution of emergency obstetric care (EmOC) services in eight northern districts of Karnataka state in south India.
Methods & Findings
We undertook a cross-sectional study of 444 government and 422 private health facilities, functional 24-hours-a-day 7-days-a-week. EmOC availability and distribution were evaluated for 8 districts and 42 taluks (sub-districts) during the year 2010, based on a combination of self-reporting, record review and direct observation. Overall, the availability of EmOC services at the sub-state level [EmOC = 5.9/500,000; comprehensive EmOC (CEmOC) = 4.5/500,000 and basic EmOC (BEmOC) = 1.4/500,000] was seen to meet the benchmark. These services however were largely located in the private sector (90% of CEmOC and 70% of BemOC facilities). Thirty six percent of private facilities and six percent of government facilities were EmOC centres. Although half of eight districts had a sufficient number of EmOC facilities and all eight districts had a sufficient number of CEmOC facilities, only two-fifths of the 42 taluks had a sufficient number of EmOC facilities. With the private facilities being largely located in select towns only, the ‘non-headquarter’ taluks and ‘backward’ taluks suffered from a marked lack of coverage of these services. Spatial mapping further helped identify the clustering of a large number of contiguous taluks without adequate government EmOC facilities in northeastern Karnataka.
Conclusions
In conclusion, disaggregating information on emergency obstetric care service availability at district and subdistrict levels is critical for health policy and planning in the Indian setting. Reducing maternal deaths will require greater attention by the government in addressing inequities in the distribution of emergency obstetric care services.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064126
PMCID: PMC3661461  PMID: 23717547

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