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1.  Operations research to add postpartum family planning to maternal and neonatal health to improve birth spacing in Sylhet District, Bangladesh 
This quasi-experimental study integrated family planning, including the Lactational Amenorrhea Method, into community-based maternal and newborn health care and encouraged transition to other modern methods after 6 months to increase birth-to-pregnancy intervals. Community-based distribution of pills, condoms, and injectables, and referral for clinical methods, was added to meet women's demand.
This quasi-experimental study integrated family planning, including the Lactational Amenorrhea Method, into community-based maternal and newborn health care and encouraged transition to other modern methods after 6 months to increase birth-to-pregnancy intervals. Community-based distribution of pills, condoms, and injectables, and referral for clinical methods, was added to meet women's demand.
Short birth intervals are associated with increased risk of adverse maternal and neonatal health (MNH) outcomes. Improving postpartum contraceptive use is an important programmatic strategy to improve the health and well-being of women, newborns, and children. This article documents the intervention package and evaluation design of a study conducted in a rural district of Bangladesh to evaluate the effects of an integrated, community-based MNH and postpartum family planning program on contraceptive use and birth-interval lengths.
The study integrated family planning counseling within 5 community health worker (CHW)-household visits to pregnant and postpartum women, while a community mobilizer (CM) led community meetings on the importance of postpartum family planning and pregnancy spacing for maternal and child health. The CM and the CHWs emphasized 3 messages: (1) Use of the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) during the first 6 months postpartum and transition to another modern contraceptive method; (2) Exclusive, rather than fully or nearly fully, breastfeeding to support LAM effectiveness and good infant breastfeeding practices; (3) Use of a modern contraceptive method after a live birth for at least 24 months before attempting another pregnancy (a birth-to-birth interval of about 3 years) to support improved infant health and nutrition. CHWs provided only family planning counseling in the original study design, but we later added community-based distribution of methods, and referrals for clinical methods, to meet women's demand.
Using a quasi-experimental design, and relying primarily on pre/post-household surveys, we selected pregnant women from 4 unions to receive the intervention (n = 2,280) and pregnant women from 4 other unions (n = 2,290) to serve as the comparison group. Enrollment occurred between 2007 and 2009, and data collection ended in January 2013.
Preliminary Results:
Formative research showed that women and their family members generally did not perceive birth spacing as a priority, and most recently delivered women were not using contraception. At baseline, women in the intervention and comparison groups were similar in terms of age, husband's education, religion, and parity. CHWs visited over 90% of women in both intervention and comparison groups during pregnancy and the first 3 months postpartum.
This article provides helpful intervention-design details for program managers intending to add postpartum family planning services to community-based MNH programs. Outcomes of the intervention will be reported in a future paper. Preliminary findings indicate that the package of 5 CHW visits was feasible and did not compromise worker performance. Adding doorstep delivery of contraceptives to the intervention package may enhance impact.
PMCID: PMC4168577  PMID: 25276538
2.  Profile, knowledge, and work patterns of a cadre of maternal, newborn, and child health CHWs focusing on preventive and promotive services in Morogoro Region, Tanzania 
Despite impressive decreases in under-five mortality, progress in reducing maternal and neonatal mortality in Tanzania has been slow. We present an evaluation of a cadre of maternal, newborn, and child health community health worker (MNCH CHW) focused on preventive and promotive services during the antenatal and postpartum periods in Morogoro Region, Tanzania. Study findings review the effect of several critical design elements on knowledge, time allocation, service delivery, satisfaction, and motivation.
A quantitative survey on service delivery and knowledge was administered to 228 (of 238 trained) MNCH CHWs. Results are compared against surveys administered to (1) providers in nine health centers (n = 88) and (2) CHWs (n = 53) identified in the same districts prior to the program’s start. Service delivery outputs were measured by register data and through a time motion study conducted among a sub-sample of 33 randomly selected MNCH CHWs.
Ninety-seven percent of MNCH CHWs (n = 228) were interviewed: 55% male, 58% married, and 52% with secondary school education or higher. MNCH CHWs when compared to earlier CHWs were more likely to be unmarried, younger, and more educated. Mean MNCH CHW knowledge scores were <50% for 8 of 10 MNCH domains assessed and comparable to those observed for health center providers but lower than those for earlier CHWs. MNCH CHWs reported covering a mean of 186 households and were observed to provide MNCH services for 5 h weekly. Attendance of monthly facility-based supervision meetings was nearly universal and focused largely on registers, yet data quality assessments highlighted inconsistencies. Despite program plans to provide financial incentives and bicycles for transport, only 56% of CHWs had received financial incentives and none received bicycles.
Initial rollout of MNCH CHWs yields important insights into addressing program challenges. The social profile of CHWs was not significantly associated with knowledge or service delivery, suggesting a broader range of community members could be recruited as CHWs. MNCH CHW time spent on service delivery was limited but comparable to the financial incentives received. Service delivery registers need to be simplified to reduce inconsistencies and yet expanded to include indicators on the timing of antenatal and postpartum visits.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12960-015-0086-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4690304  PMID: 26703439
Community health workers; Maternal newborn child health; Tanzania
3.  Household surveillance of severe neonatal illness by community health workers in Mirzapur, Bangladesh: coverage and compliance with referral 
Health Policy and Planning  2009;25(2):112-124.
Background Effective and scalable community-based strategies are needed for identification and management of serious neonatal illness.
Methods As part of a community-based, cluster-randomized controlled trial of the impact of a package of maternal-neonatal health care, community health workers (CHWs) were trained to conduct household surveillance and to identify and refer sick newborns according to a clinical algorithm. Assessments of newborns by CHWs at home were linked to hospital-based assessments by physicians, and factors impacting referral, referral compliance and outcome were evaluated.
Results Seventy-three per cent (7310/10 006) of live-born neonates enrolled in the study were assessed by CHWs at least once; 54% were assessed within 2 days of birth, but only 15% were attended at delivery. Among assessments for which referral was recommended, compliance was verified in 54% (495/919). Referrals recommended to young neonates 0–6 days old were 30% less likely to be complied with compared to older neonates. Compliance was positively associated with having very severe disease and selected clinical signs, including respiratory rate ≥70/minute; weak, abnormal or absent cry; lethargic or less than normal movement; and feeding problem. Among 239 neonates who died, only 38% were assessed by a CHW before death.
Conclusions Despite rigorous programmatic effort, reaching neonates within the first 2 days after birth remained a challenge, and parental compliance with referral recommendation was limited, particularly among young neonates. To optimize potential impact, community postnatal surveillance must be coupled with skilled attendance at delivery, and/or a worker skilled in recognition of neonatal illness must be placed in close proximity to the community to allow for rapid case management to avert early deaths.
PMCID: PMC2912547  PMID: 19917652
Community health worker; neonatal illness; referral; surveillance; care seeking
4.  “You should go so that others can come”; the role of facilities in determining an early departure after childbirth in Morogoro Region, Tanzania 
Tanzania is among ten countries that account for a majority of the world’s newborn deaths. However, data on time-to-discharge after facility delivery, receipt of postpartum messaging by time to discharge and women’s experiences in the time preceding discharge from a facility after childbirth are limited.
Household survey of 1267 women who delivered in the preceding 2–14 months; in-depth interviews with 24 women, 12 husbands, and 5 community elders.
Two-thirds of women with vaginal, uncomplicated births departed within 12 h; 90 % within 24 h, and 95 % within 48 h. Median departure times varied significantly across facilities (hospital: 23 h, health center: 10 h, dispensary: 7 h, p < 0.001).
Quantitative and qualitative data highlight the importance of type of facility and facility amenities in determining time-to-discharge. In multiple logistic regression, level of facility (hospital, health center, dispensary) was the only significant predictor of early discharge (p = 0.001). However across all types of facilities a majority of women depart before 24 h ranging from hospitals (54 %) to health centers (64 %) to dispensaries (74 %). Most women who experienced a delivery complication (56 %), gave birth by caesarean section (90 %), or gave birth to a pre-term baby (70 %) stayed longer than 24 h. Reasons for early discharge include: facility practices including discharge routines and working hours and facility-based discomforts for women and those who accompany them to facilities. Provision of postpartum counseling was inadequate regardless of time to discharge and regardless of type of facility where delivery occurred.
Our quantitative and qualitative findings indicate that the level of facility care and comforts existing or lacking in a facility have the greatest effect on time to discharge. This suggests that individual or interpersonal characteristics play a limited role in deciding whether a woman would stay for shorter or longer periods. Implementation of a policy of longer stay must incorporate enhanced postpartum counseling and should be sensitive to women’s perceptions that it is safe and beneficial to leave hospitals soon after birth.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0763-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4675015  PMID: 26652836
Early discharge; Tanzania; Maternal health; Neonatal health; Length of stay
5.  Screening and treatment of maternal genitourinary tract infections in early pregnancy to prevent preterm birth in rural Sylhet, Bangladesh: a cluster randomized trial 
Approximately half of preterm births are attributable to maternal infections, which are commonly undetected and untreated in low-income settings. Our primary aim is to determine the impact of early pregnancy screening and treatment of maternal genitourinary tract infections on the incidence of preterm live birth in Sylhet, Bangladesh. We will also assess the effect on other adverse pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth (stillbirth and live birth), late miscarriage, maternal morbidity, and early onset neonatal sepsis.
We are conducting a cluster randomized controlled trial that will enroll 10,000 pregnant women in Sylhet district in rural northeastern Bangladesh. Twenty-four clusters, each with ~4000 population (120 pregnant women/year) and served by a community health worker (CHW), are randomized to: 1) the control arm, which provides routine antenatal and postnatal home-based care, or 2) the intervention arm, which includes routine antenatal and postnatal home-based care plus screening and treatment of pregnant women between 13 and 19 weeks of gestation for abnormal vaginal flora (AVF) and urinary tract infection (UTI). CHWs conduct monthly pregnancy surveillance, make 2 antenatal and 4 postnatal home visits for all enrolled pregnant women and newborns, and refer mothers or newborns with symptoms of serious illness to the government sub-district hospital. In the intervention clusters, CHWs perform home-based screening of AVF and UTI. Self-collected vaginal swabs are plated on slides, which are Gram stained and Nugent scored. Women with AVF (Nugent score ≥4) are treated with oral clindamycin, rescreened and retreated, if needed, after 3 weeks. Urine culture is performed and UTI treated with nitrofurantoin. Repeat urine culture is performed after 1 week for test of cure. Gestational age is determined by maternal report of last menstrual period at study enrollment using prospectively completed study calendars, and in a subset by early (<20 week) ultrasound. CHWs prospectively collect data on all pregnancy outcomes, maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.
Findings will enhance our understanding of the burden of AVF and UTI in rural Bangladesh, the impact of a maternal screening-treatment program for genitourinary tract infections on perinatal health, and help formulate public health recommendations for infection screening in pregnancy in low-resource settings.
Trial registration
The study was registered on on December 15, 2011. The study was funded by NICHD: R01HD066156.
PMCID: PMC4672554  PMID: 26643558
Urinary tract infection; Bacterial vaginosis; Abnormal vaginal flora; Preterm birth; Stillbirth; Miscarriage; Cluster randomized trial; Bangladesh
6.  Community-based Validation of Assessment of Newborn Illnesses by trained Community Health Workers in Sylhet district of Bangladesh 
To validate trained community health workers' (CHWs') recognition of signs and symptoms of newborn illnesses and classification of illnesses using a clinical algorithm during routine home visits in rural Bangladesh.
Between August 2005 and May 2006, 288 newborns were assessed independently by a CHW and a study physician. Based on a 20-sign algorithm, sick neonates were classified as having very severe disease (VSD), possible very severe disease (PVSD) or no disease. Physician's assessment was considered as the gold standard.
CHWs correctly classified VSD in newborns with a sensitivity of 91%, specificity of 95%, and kappa value of 0.85 (p<0.001) indicating almost perfect agreement with physicians' classification of VSD. CHWs' recognition showed a sensitivity of more than 60% and a specificity of 97–100% for almost all signs and symptoms.
CHWs with minimal training can use a diagnostic algorithm to identify severely ill newborns with high validity.
PMCID: PMC2929169  PMID: 19807901
newborn health; newborn illness; Community Health Workers; validation; Bangladesh; newborn assessment
7.  Vitamin D Status of Infants in Northeastern Rural Bangladesh: Preliminary Observations and a Review of Potential Determinants 
Vitamin D deficiency is a global public-health concern, even in tropical regions where the risk of deficiency was previously assumed to be low due to cutaneous vitamin D synthesis stimulated by exposure to sun. Poor vitamin D status, indicated by low serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], has been observed in South Asian populations. However, limited information is available on the vitamin D status of young infants in this region. Therefore, to gain preliminary insights into the vitamin D status of infants in rural Bangladesh, 25(OH)D was assessed in a group of community-sampled control participants in a pneumonia case-control study in rural Sylhet, Bangladesh (25°N) during the winter dry season (January-February). Among 29 infants aged 1-6 months, the mean 25(OH)D was 36.7 nmol/L [95% confidence interval (CI) 30.2-43.2]. The proportion of infants with vitamin D deficiency defined by 25(OH)D <25 nmol/L was 28% (95% CI 10-45), 59% (95% CI 40-78) had 25(OH)D<40 nmol/L, and all were below 80 nmol/L. From one to six months, there was a positive correlation between age and 25(OH)D (Spearman=0.65; p=0.0001). Within a larger group of 74 infants and toddlers aged 1-17 months (cases and controls recruited for the pneumonia study), young age was the only significant risk factor for vitamin D deficiency [25(OH)D <25 nmol/L]. Since conservative maternal clothing practices (i.e. veiling) and low frequency of intake of foods from animal source (other than fish) were common among the mothers of the participants, determinants of low maternal-infant 25(OH)D in Bangladesh deserve more detailed consideration in future studies. In conclusion, the vitamin D status in young infants in rural Sylhet, Bangladesh, was poorer than might be expected based on geographic considerations. The causes and consequences of low 25(OH)D in infancy and early childhood in this setting remain to be established.
PMCID: PMC2963768  PMID: 20941897
Risk factors; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; Vitamin D; Vitamin D deficiency; Bangladesh
8.  Population-Based Incidence and Etiology of Community-Acquired Neonatal Bacteremia in Mirzapur, Bangladesh: An Observational Study 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2009;200(6):906-915.
To devise treatment strategies for neonatal infections, the population-level incidence and antibiotic susceptibility of pathogens must be defined.
Surveillance for suspected neonatal sepsis was conducted in Mirzapur, Bangladesh, from February 2004 through November 2006. Community health workers assessed neonates on postnatal days 0, 2, 5, and 8 and referred sick neonates to a hospital, where blood was collected for culture from neonates with suspected sepsis. We estimated the incidence and pattern of community-acquired neonatal bacteremia and determined the antibiotic susceptibility profile of pathogens.
The incidence rate of community-acquired neonatal bacteremia was 3.0 per 1000 person–neonatal periods. Among the 30 pathogens identified, the most common was Staphylococcus aureus (n = 10); half of all isolates were gram positive. Nine were resistant to ampicillin and gentamicin or to ceftiaxone, and 13 were resistant to cotrimoxazole.
S. aureus was the most common pathogen to cause community-acquired neonatal bacteremia. Nearly 40% of infections were identified on days 0–3, emphasizing the need to address maternal and environmental sources of infection. The combination of parenteral procaine benzyl penicillin and an aminoglycoside is recommended for the first-line treatment of serious community-acquired neonatal infections in rural Bangladesh, which has a moderate level of neonatal mortality. Additional population-based data are needed to further guide national and global strategies.
Trial registration identifier: NCT00198627.
PMCID: PMC2841956  PMID: 19671016
9.  Effectiveness of Home-based Management of Newborn Infections by Community Health Workers in Rural Bangladesh 
Infections account for about half of neonatal deaths in low-resource settings. Limited evidence supports home-based treatment of newborn infections by community health workers (CHW).
In one study arm of a cluster randomized controlled trial, CHWs assessed neonates at home using a 20-sign clinical algorithm and classified sick neonates as having very severe disease or possible very severe disease. Over a two-year period, 10 585 live births were recorded in the study area. CHWs assessed 8474 (80%) of the neonates within the first week of life and referred neonates with signs of severe disease. If referral failed but parents consented to home treatment, CHWs treated neonates with very severe disease or possible very severe disease with multiple signs, using injectable antibiotics.
For very severe disease, referral compliance was 34% (162/478 cases), and home treatment acceptance was 43% (204/478 cases). The case fatality rate was 4.4% (9/204) for CHW treatment, 14.2% (23/162) for treatment by qualified medical providers, and 28.5% (32/112) for those who received no treatment or who were treated by other unqualified providers. After controlling for differences in background characteristics and illness signs among treatment groups, newborns treated by CHWs had a hazard ratio of 0.22 (95% confidence interval 0.07–0.71) for death during the neonatal period and those treated by qualified providers had a hazard ratio of 0.61 (95% confidence interval of 0.37–0.99), compared with newborns who received no treatment or were treated by untrained providers. Significantly increased hazards ratios of death were observed for neonates with convulsions (HR 6.54; 95% CI 3.98–10.76), chest in-drawing (HR 2.38, 95% CI 1.29–4.39), temperature < 35.3°C (HR 3.47, 95% CI 1.30–9.24), unconsciousness (HR 7.92, 95% CI 3.13–20.04).
Home treatment of very severe disease in neonates by CHWs was effective and acceptable in a low-resource setting in Bangladesh.
PMCID: PMC2929171  PMID: 19289979
neonatal; infection; sepsis; community health workers; Bangladesh
10.  “Every method seems to have its problems”- Perspectives on side effects of hormonal contraceptives in Morogoro Region, Tanzania 
BMC Women's Health  2015;15:97.
Family planning has been shown to be an effective intervention for promoting maternal, newborn and child health. Despite family planning's multiple benefits, women's experiences of - or concerns related to - side effects present a formidable barrier to the sustained use of contraceptives, particularly in the postpartum period. This paper presents perspectives of postpartum, rural, Tanzanian women, their partners, public opinion leaders and community and health facility providers related to side effects associated with contraceptive use.
Qualitative interviews were conducted with postpartum women (n = 34), their partners (n = 23), community leaders (n = 12) and health providers based in both facilities (n = 12) and communities (n = 19) across Morogoro Region, Tanzania. Following data collection, digitally recorded data were transcribed, translated and coded using thematic analysis.
Respondents described family planning positively due to the health and economic benefits associated with limiting and spacing births. However, side effects were consistently cited as a reason that women and their partners choose to forgo family planning altogether, discontinue methods, switch methods or use methods in an intermittent (and ineffective) manner. Respondents detailed side effects including excessive menstrual bleeding, missed menses, weight gain and fatigue. Women, their partners and community leaders also described concerns that contraceptives could induce sterility in women, or harm breastfeeding children via contamination of breast milk. Use of family planning during the postpartum period was viewed as particularly detrimental to a newborn’s health in the first months of life.
To meet Tanzania’s national target of increasing contraceptive use from 34 to 60 % by 2015, appropriate counseling and dialogue on contraceptive side effects that speaks to pressing concerns outlined by women, their partners, communities and service providers are needed.
PMCID: PMC4632271  PMID: 26530029
Hormonal contraception; Contraceptive side effects; Family planning; Postpartum women; Tanzania
11.  Impact of Introduction of the Haemophilus influenzae Type b Conjugate Vaccine into Childhood Immunization on Meningitis in Bangladeshi Infants 
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;163(1 0):S73-S78.
Some Asian countries have been reluctant to adopt Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate vaccination because of uncertainty over disease burden. We assessed the impact of introduction of Hib conjugate vaccine into the Expanded Program on Immunization in Bangladesh on purulent and laboratory-confirmed H influenzae meningitis.
Study design
Within a well-defined catchment area around 2 surveillance hospitals in Dhaka, Bangladesh, we compared the incidence of Hib meningitis confirmed by culture, latex agglutination, and polymerase chain reaction assay among infants 1 year before and 1 year after introduction of Hib conjugate vaccine. We adjusted the incidence rate for the proportion of children who sought care at the surveillance hospitals.
Among infants, the incidence of confirmed Hib meningitis decreased from 92-16 cases per 100 000 within 1 year of vaccine introduction (vaccine preventable incidence = 76; 95% CI 18, 135 per 100 000). The incidence of purulent meningitis decreased from 1659-1159 per 100 000 (vaccine preventable incidence = 500; 95% CI: 203, 799 per 100 000). During the same time period, there was no significant difference in the incidence of meningitis due to Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Introduction of conjugate Hib conjugate vaccine into Bangladesh Expanded Program on Immunization markedly reduced the burden of Hib and purulent meningitis.
PMCID: PMC4629472  PMID: 23773597
12.  Determinants of postnatal care use at health facilities in rural Tanzania: multilevel analysis of a household survey 
Postnatal care (PNC) for the mother and infant is a neglected area, even for women who give birth in a health facility. Currently, there is very little evidence on the determinants of use of postnatal care from health facilities in Tanzania.
This study examined the role of individual and community-level variables on the use of postnatal health services, defined as a check up from a heath facility within 42 days of delivery, using multilevel logistic regression analysis. We analyzed data of 1931 women, who had delivered in the preceding 2–14 months, from a two-stage household survey in 4 rural districts of Morogoro region, Tanzania. Individual level explanatory variables included i) Socio-demographic factors: age, birth order, education, and wealth, ii) Factors related to pregnancy: frequency of antenatal visits, history of complications, mode of delivery, place of delivery care, and counseling received. Community level variables included community levels of family planning, health service utilization, trust, poverty and education, and distance to health facility.
Less than one in four women in Morogoro reported having visited a health facility for postnatal care. Individual-level attributes positively associated with postnatal care use were women’s education of primary level or higher [Odds Ratio (OR) 1.37, 95 % Confidence Interval (CI) 1.04–1.81], having had a caesarean section or forceps delivery (2.95, 1.8–4.81), and being counseled by a community health worker to go for postnatal care at a health facility (2.3, 1.36–3.89). Other positive associations included those recommended HIV testing for baby (1.94, 1.19–3.15), and whose partners tested for HIV (1.41, 1.07–1.86). High community levels of postpartum family planning usage (2.48, 1.15–5.37) and high level of trust in health system (1.77, 1.12–2.79) were two significant community-level predictors. Lower postnatal care use was associated with having delivered at a hospital (0.5, 0.33–0.76), health center (0.57, 0.38–0.85), or dispensary (0.48, 0.33–0.69), and having had severe swelling of face and legs during pregnancy (0.65, 0.43–0.97).
In the context of low postnatal care use in a rural setting, programs should direct efforts towards reaching women who do not avail themselves of postnatal care as identified in our study.
PMCID: PMC4628262  PMID: 26518337
Postnatal care; multilevel model; Tanzania
13.  Supply-side dimensions and dynamics of integrating HIV testing and counselling into routine antenatal care: a facility assessment from Morogoro Region, Tanzania 
Integration of HIV into RMNCH (reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health) services is an important process addressing the disproportionate burden of HIV among mothers and children in sub-Saharan Africa. We assess the structural inputs and processes of care that support HIV testing and counselling in routine antenatal care to understand supply-side dynamics critical to scaling up further integration of HIV into RMNCH services prior to recent changes in HIV policy in Tanzania.
This study, as a part of a maternal and newborn health program evaluation in Morogoro Region, Tanzania, drew from an assessment of health centers with 18 facility checklists, 65 quantitative and 57 qualitative provider interviews, and 203 antenatal care observations. Descriptive analyses were performed with quantitative data using Stata 12.0, and qualitative data were analyzed thematically with data managed by Atlas.ti.
Limitations in structural inputs, such as infrastructure, supplies, and staffing, constrain the potential for integration of HIV testing and counselling into routine antenatal care services. While assessment of infrastructure, including waiting areas, appeared adequate, long queues and small rooms made private and confidential HIV testing and counselling difficult for individual women. Unreliable stocks of HIV test kits, essential medicines, and infection prevention equipment also had implications for provider-patient relationships, with reported decreases in women’s care seeking at health centers. In addition, low staffing levels were reported to increase workloads and lower motivation for health workers. Despite adequate knowledge of counselling messages, antenatal counselling sessions were brief with incomplete messages conveyed to pregnant women. In addition, coping mechanisms, such as scheduling of clinical activities on different days, limited service availability.
Antenatal care is a strategic entry point for the delivery of critical tests and counselling messages and the framing of patient-provider relations, which together underpin care seeking for the remaining continuum of care. Supply-side deficiencies in structural inputs and processes of delivering HIV testing and counselling during antenatal care indicate critical shortcomings in the quality of care provided. These must be addressed if integrating HIV testing and counselling into antenatal care is to result in improved maternal and newborn health outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4592747  PMID: 26433718
ANC; HIV testing and counselling; Infrastructure; Human resources; Drugs; Equipment; Facility assessment; Integration
14.  A Population-based Study of Hospital Admission Incidence Rate and Bacterial Aetiology of Acute Lower Respiratory Infections in Children Aged Less Than Five Years in Bangladesh 
The research was carried out to study the rate of population-based hospital admissions due to acute lower respiratory infections (ALRIs) and bacterial aetiology of ALRIs in children aged less than five years in Bangladesh. A cohort of children aged less than five years in a rural surveillance population in Matlab, Bangladesh, was studied for two years. Cases were children admitted to the Matlab Hospital of ICDDR,B with a diagnosis of severe ALRIs. Bacterial aetiology was determined by blood culture. Antimicrobial resistance patterns of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (Spn) isolates were determined using the disc-diffusion method. In total, 18,983 children aged less than five years contributed to 24,902 child-years of observation (CYO). The incidence of ALRI-related hospital admissions was 50.2 per 1,000 CYO. The incidences of ALRI were 67% higher in males than in females and were higher in children aged less than two years than in older children. About 34% of the cases received antibiotics prior to hospitalization. Of 840 blood samples cultured, 39.4% grew a bacterial isolate; 11.3% were potential respiratory pathogens, and the rest were considered contaminants. The predominant isolates were Staphylococcus aureus (4.5%). Hib (0.4%) and Spn (0.8%) were rarely isolated; however, resistance of both these pathogens to trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole was common. The rate of ALRI-related hospitalizations was high. The high rate of contamination, coupled with high background antibiotic use, might have contributed to an underestimation of the burden of Hib and Spn. Future studies should use more sensitive methods and more systematically look for resistance patterns of other pathogens in addition to Hib and Spn.
PMCID: PMC2754000  PMID: 17985819
Acute lower respiratory infections; Child; Drug resistance, Microbial; Haemophilus influenzae; Hospitalization; Infant; Morbidity; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Bangladesh
15.  Trends in Use of Referral Hospital Services for Care of Sick Newborns in a Community-based Intervention in Tangail District, Bangladesh 
The Projahnmo-II Project in Mirzapur upazila (sub-district), Tangail district, Bangladesh, is promoting care-seeking for sick newborns through health education of families, identification and referral of sick newborns in the community by community health workers (CHWs), and strengthening of neonatal care in Kumudini Hospital, Mirzapur. Data were drawn from records maintained by the CHWs, referral hospital registers, a baseline household survey of recently-delivered women conducted from March to June 2003, and two interim household surveys in January and September 2005. Increases were observed in self-referral of sick newborns for care, compliance after referral by the CHWs, and care-seeking from qualified providers and from the Kumudini Hospital, and decreases were observed in care-seeking from unqualified providers in the intervention arm. An active surveillance for illness by the CHWs in the home, education of families by them on recognition of danger signs and counselling to seek immediate care for serious illness, and improved linkages between the community and the hospital can produce substantial increases in care-seeking for sick newborns.
PMCID: PMC3001156  PMID: 17591349
Delivery of healthcare; Health services; Care-seeking; Referral and consultation; Community health workers; Neonatal health; Maternal health; Bangladesh
16.  Equally able, but unequally accepted: Gender differentials and experiences of community health volunteers promoting maternal, newborn, and child health in Morogoro Region, Tanzania 
Despite emerging qualitative evidence of gendered community health worker (CHW) experience, few quantitative studies examine CHW gender differentials. The launch of a maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) CHW cadre in Morogoro Region, Tanzania enlisting both males and females as CHWs, provides an opportunity to examine potential gender differences in CHW knowledge, health promotion activities and client acceptability.
All CHWs who received training from the Integrated MNCH Program between December 2012 and July 2013 in five districts were surveyed and information on health promotion activities undertaken drawn from their registers. CHW socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge, and health promotion activities were analyzed through bi- and multivariate analyses. Composite scores generated across ten knowledge domains were used in ordered logistic regression models to estimate relationships between knowledge scores and predictor variables. Thematic analysis was also undertaken on 60 purposively sampled semi-structured interviews with CHWs, their supervisors, community leaders, and health committee members in 12 villages from three districts.
Of all CHWs trained, 97 % were interviewed (n = 228): 55 % male and 45 % female. No significant differences were observed in knowledge by gender after controlling for age, education, date of training, marital status, and assets. Differences in number of home visits and community health education meetings were also not significant by gender. With regards to acceptability, women were more likely to disclose pregnancies earlier to female CHWs, than male CHWs. Men were more comfortable discussing sexual and reproductive concerns with male, than female CHWs. In some cases, CHW home visits were viewed as potentially being for ulterior or adulterous motives, so trust by families had to be built. Respondents reported that working as female–male pairs helped to address some of these dynamics.
Male and female CHWs in this study have largely similar knowledge and health promotion outputs, but challenges in acceptance of CHW counseling for reproductive health and home visits by unaccompanied CHWs varied by gender. Programs that pair male and female CHWs may potentially overcome gender issues in CHW acceptance, especially if they change gender norms rather than solely accommodate gender preferences.
PMCID: PMC4548695  PMID: 26303909
17.  Motivation and satisfaction among community health workers in Morogoro Region, Tanzania: nuanced needs and varied ambitions 
In 2012, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW), Tanzania, approved national guidelines and training materials for community health workers (CHWs) in integrated maternal, newborn and child health (Integrated MNCH), with CHWs trained and deployed across five districts of Morogoro Region soon after. To inform future scale up, this study assessed motivation and satisfaction among these CHWs.
A survey of all CHWs trained by the Integrated MNCH Programme was conducted in the last quarter of 2013. Motivation and satisfaction were assessed using a five-point Likert scale with 29 and 27 items based on a literature review and discussions with CHW programme stakeholders. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted to identify motivation and satisfaction determinants.
Out of 238 eligible CHWs, 96 % were included in the study. Findings showed that respondents were motivated to become CHWs due to altruism (work on MNCH, desire to serve God, work hard) and intrinsic needs (help community, improve health, pride) than due to external stimuli (monetary incentives, skill utilization, community respect or hope for employment). CHWs were satisfied by relationships with health workers and communities, job aids and the capacity to provide services. CHWs were dissatisfied with the lack of transportation, communication devices and financial incentives for carrying out their tasks. Factors influencing motivation and satisfaction did not differ across CHW socio-demographic characteristics. Nonetheless, older and less educated CHWs were more likely to be motivated by altruism, intrinsic needs and skill utilization, community respect and hope for employment. Less educated CHWs were more satisfied with service and quality factors and more wealthy CHWs satisfied with job aids.
Conclusion and recommendations
A combination of financial and non-financial incentives is required to support motivation and satisfaction among CHWs. Although CHWs joined mainly due to their altruistic nature, they became discontented with the lack of monetary compensation, transportation and communication support received. With the planned rollout of the national CHW cadre, improved understanding of CHWs as a heterogeneous group with nuanced needs and varied ambitions is vital for ensuring sustainability.
PMCID: PMC4458000  PMID: 26044146
Community health worker; Motivation; Satisfaction; Non-financial incentives; Financial incentives
18.  Initial experiences and innovations in supervising community health workers for maternal, newborn, and child health in Morogoro region, Tanzania 
Supervision is meant to improve the performance and motivation of community health workers (CHWs). However, most evidence on supervision relates to facility health workers. The Integrated Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (MNCH) Program in Morogoro region, Tanzania, implemented a CHW pilot with a cascade supervision model where facility health workers were trained in supportive supervision for volunteer CHWs, supported by regional and district staff, and with village leaders to further support CHWs. We examine the initial experiences of CHWs, their supervisors, and village leaders to understand the strengths and challenges of such a supervision model for CHWs.
Quantitative and qualitative data were collected concurrently from CHWs, supervisors, and village leaders. A survey was administered to 228 (96%) of the CHWs in the Integrated MNCH Program and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 CHWs, 8 supervisors, and 15 village leaders purposefully sampled to represent different actor perspectives from health centre catchment villages in Morogoro region. Descriptive statistics analysed the frequency and content of CHW supervision, while thematic content analysis explored CHW, supervisor, and village leader experiences with CHW supervision.
CHWs meet with their facility-based supervisors an average of 1.2 times per month. CHWs value supervision and appreciate the sense of legitimacy that arises when supervisors visit them in their village. Village leaders and district staff are engaged and committed to supporting CHWs. Despite these successes, facility-based supervisors visit CHWs in their village an average of only once every 2.8 months, CHWs and supervisors still see supervision primarily as an opportunity to check reports, and meetings with district staff are infrequent and not well scheduled.
Supervision of CHWs could be strengthened by streamlining supervision protocols to focus less on report checking and more on problem solving and skills development. Facility health workers, while important for technical oversight, may not be the best mentors for certain tasks such as community relationship-building. We suggest further exploring CHW supervision innovations, such as an enhanced role for community actors, who may be more suitable to support CHWs engaged primarily in health promotion than scarce and over-worked facility health workers.
PMCID: PMC4403773  PMID: 25880459
Community health workers; Supervision; Supportive supervision; Village leaders; Tanzania; Maternal; newborn and child health; CHW; MNCH
19.  Prevalence of early-onset neonatal infection among newborns of mothers with bacterial infection or colonization: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:118.
Although neonatal infections cause a significant proportion of deaths in the first week of life, little is known about the burden of neonatal disease originating from maternal infection or colonization globally. This paper describes the prevalence of vertical transmission – the percentage of newborns with neonatal infection among newborns exposed to maternal infection.
We searched Pubmed, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and WHO Regional Databases for studies of maternal infection, vertical transmission, and neonatal infection. Studies that measured prevalence of bacterial vertical transmission were included. Random effects meta-analyses were used to pool data to calculate prevalence estimates of vertical transmission.
122 studies met the inclusion criteria. Only seven studies (5.7%) were from very high neonatal mortality settings. Considerable heterogeneity existed between studies given the various definitions of infection (lab-confirmed, clinical signs), colonization, and risk factors of infection. The prevalence of early onset neonatal lab-confirmed infection among newborns of mothers with lab-confirmed infection was 17.2% (95%CI 6.5-27.9). The prevalence of neonatal lab-confirmed infection among newborns of colonized mothers was 0% (95% CI 0.0-0.0). The prevalence of neonatal surface colonization among newborns of colonized mothers ranged from 30.9-45.5% depending on the organism. The prevalence of neonatal lab-confirmed infection among newborns of mothers with risk factors (premature rupture of membranes, preterm premature rupture of membranes, prolonged rupture of membranes) ranged from 2.9-19.2% depending on the risk factor.
The prevalence of early-onset neonatal infection is high among newborns of mothers with infection or risk factors for infection. More high quality studies are needed particularly in high neonatal mortality settings to accurately estimate the prevalence of early-onset infection among newborns at risk.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12879-015-0813-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4364328  PMID: 25886298
Early-onset; Neonatal infection; Maternal infection; Systematic review; Meta-analysis
20.  Program synergies and social relations: implications of integrating HIV testing and counselling into maternal health care on care seeking 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:24.
Women and children in sub-Saharan Africa bear a disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS. Integration of HIV with maternal and child services aims to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS. To assess the potential gains and risks of such integration, this paper considers pregnant women’s and providers’ perceptions about the effects of integrated HIV testing and counselling on care seeking by pregnant women during antenatal care in Tanzania.
From a larger evaluation of an integrated maternal and newborn health care program in Morogoro, Tanzania, this analysis included a subset of information from 203 observations of antenatal care and interviews with 57 providers and 190 pregnant women from 18 public health centers in rural and peri-urban settings. Qualitative data were analyzed manually and with Atlas.ti using a framework approach, and quantitative data of respondents’ demographic information were analyzed with Stata 12.0.
Perceptions of integrating HIV testing with routine antenatal care from women and health providers were generally positive. Respondents felt that integration increased coverage of HIV testing, particularly among difficult-to-reach populations, and improved convenience, efficiency, and confidentiality for women while reducing stigma. Pregnant women believed that early detection of HIV protected their own health and that of their children. Despite these positive views, challenges remained. Providers and women perceived opt out HIV testing and counselling during antenatal services to be compulsory. A sense of powerlessness and anxiety pervaded some women’s responses, reflecting the unequal relations, lack of supportive communications and breaches in confidentiality between women and providers. Lastly, stigma surrounding HIV was reported to lead some women to discontinue services or seek care through other access points in the health system.
While providers and pregnant women view program synergies from integrating HIV services into antenatal care positively, lack of supportive provider-patient relationships, lack of trust resulting from harsh treatment or breaches in confidentiality, and stigma still inhibit women’s care seeking. As countries continue rollout of Option B+, social relations between patients and providers must be understood and addressed to ensure that integrated delivery of HIV counselling and services encourages women’s care seeking in order to improve maternal and child health.
PMCID: PMC4311416  PMID: 25603914
ANC; HIV testing and counselling; Integration; Care seeking; Patient-provider interaction; Stigma
21.  Animal Husbandry Practices in Rural Bangladesh: Potential Risk Factors for Antimicrobial Drug Resistance and Emerging Diseases 
Antimicrobial drug administration to household livestock may put humans and animals at risk for acquisition of antimicrobial drug–resistant pathogens. To describe animal husbandry practices, including animal healthcare-seeking and antimicrobial drug use in rural Bangladesh, we conducted semi-structured in-depth interviews with key informants, including female household members (n = 79), village doctors (n = 10), and pharmaceutical representatives, veterinarians, and government officials (n = 27), and performed observations at animal health clinics (n = 3). Prevalent animal husbandry practices that may put persons at risk for acquisition of pathogens included shared housing and water for animals and humans, antimicrobial drug use for humans and animals, and crowding. Household members reported seeking human and animal healthcare from unlicensed village doctors rather than formal-sector healthcare providers and cited cost and convenience as reasons. Five times more per household was spent on animal than on human healthcare. Strengthening animal and human disease surveillance systems should be continued. Interventions are recommended to provide vulnerable populations with a means of protecting their livelihood and health.
PMCID: PMC3820344  PMID: 24062478
22.  Treatment of Infections in Young Infants in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Frontline Health Worker Diagnosis and Antibiotic Access 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(10):e1001741.
Anne C. C. Lee and colleagues assess the factors affecting access to treatment for neonatal and infant infections in low- and middle-income countries by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of frontline health worker diagnosis and access to antibiotics.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Inadequate illness recognition and access to antibiotics contribute to high case fatality from infections in young infants (<2 months) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We aimed to address three questions regarding access to treatment for young infant infections in LMICs: (1) Can frontline health workers accurately diagnose possible bacterial infection (pBI)?; (2) How available and affordable are antibiotics?; (3) How often are antibiotics procured without a prescription?
Methods and Findings
We searched PubMed, Embase, WHO/Health Action International (HAI), databases, service provision assessments (SPAs), Demographic and Health Surveys, Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys, and grey literature with no date restriction until May 2014. Data were identified from 37 published studies, 46 HAI national surveys, and eight SPAs. For study question 1, meta-analysis showed that clinical sign-based algorithms predicted bacterial infection in young infants with high sensitivity (87%, 95% CI 82%–91%) and lower specificity (62%, 95% CI 48%–75%) (six studies, n = 14,254). Frontline health workers diagnosed pBI in young infants with an average sensitivity of 82% (95% CI 76%–88%) and specificity of 69% (95% CI 54%–83%) (eight studies, n = 11,857) compared to physicians. For question 2, first-line injectable agents (ampicillin, gentamicin, and penicillin) had low variable availability in first-level health facilities in Africa and South Asia. Oral amoxicillin and cotrimoxazole were widely available at low cost in most regions. For question 3, no studies on young infants were identified, however 25% of pediatric antibiotic purchases in LMICs were obtained without a prescription (11 studies, 95% CI 18%–34%), with lower rates among infants <1 year. Study limitations included potential selection bias and lack of neonatal-specific data.
Trained frontline health workers may screen for pBI in young infants with relatively high sensitivity and lower specificity. Availability of first-line injectable antibiotics appears low in many health facilities in Africa and Asia. Improved data and advocacy are needed to increase the availability and appropriate utilization of antibiotics for young infant infections in LMICs.
Review Registration
PROSPERO International prospective register of systematic reviews (CRD42013004586).
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Neonatal mortality—death that occurs during the first 28 days of life—accounts for nearly half of all the deaths that occur in children before they reach their fifth birthday. Worldwide, nearly 3 million neonatal deaths occur every year. Three bacterial infections—sepsis (infection of the bloodstream), pneumonia (infection of the lungs), and meningitis (infection of the brain's protective covering)—are responsible for nearly a quarter of all neonatal deaths. Babies born in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are at particularly high risk of developing neonatal bacterial infections because the risk factors for these infections, which include maternal infections and unhygienic delivery care, are more common in LMICs than in high-income countries. Babies born in LMICs are also at a high risk of dying from bacterial infections because access to appropriate medical care and antibiotics is often poor.
Why Was This Study Done?
To reduce neonatal deaths from bacterial infections in LMICs, health care experts need to identify the factors that limit access to medical care and antibiotics in these countries. Are babies dying because health care providers fail to diagnose neonatal bacterial infections, because antibiotics are not available in first-line health facilities, or for some other reason? In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers investigate access to treatment for neonatal bacterial infections in LMICs by first asking whether frontline health workers in LMICs can accurately diagnose bacterial infections in neonates and young infants (babies less than 2 months old). Next, they ask whether antibiotics for treating neonatal infections are available and affordable in LMICs. Finally, they ask how often antibiotics are procured for young children (children up to the age of 5 years) without a prescription. A systematic review uses pre-defined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic; meta-analysis uses statistical methods to combine the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 37 published studies, 46 surveys of drug availability and affordability in LMICs (Health Access International databases), and eight surveys of the capacity of health facilities in LMICs to provide quality health care services (service provision assessments) that met their inclusion criteria. Meta-analysis of six studies indicated that a combination of simple clinical signs for the diagnosis of bacterial infection in children predicted very severe disease in young infants with a sensitivity of 87% and a specificity of 62% (“sensitivity” indicates the percentage of true positives detected by a test; “specificity” indicates the percentage of healthy people that a test correctly identifies as healthy) compared to a physician's diagnosis with laboratory testing. Meta-analysis of eight studies indicated that frontline health workers (for example, community health workers) diagnosed very severe disease (including possible bacterial infection) in young infants with a sensitivity of 82% and a specificity of 69% compared to trained physicians. The national surveys analyzed indicated that first-level (primary) health facilities in Africa and South Asia had low, variable stocks of recommended first-line injectable antibiotics and that the cost of these drugs was high. By contrast, some oral antibiotics were widely available at low cost in most regions. Finally, meta-analysis of 11 studies indicated that, in LMICs, 25% of antibiotic purchases for the treatment of young children were obtained without a prescription.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that trained frontline health workers should be able to identify most young infants who have possible bacterial infections in LMICs but may also diagnose bacterial infections in many young infants who are not infected. This may lead to the inappropriate use of antibiotics and facilitate the emergence of antibiotic resistance. These findings also show that the availability and affordability of first-line injectable antibiotics is low in many health facilities in Africa and Asia. The lack of neonatal-specific data on illness recognition, antibiotic formulations and availability, and other aspects of this systematic review and meta-analysis are likely to limit the accuracy of these findings. Nevertheless, the researchers suggest that, to decrease the neonatal death toll in LMICs, governments, policymakers, and the pharmaceutical industry need to work together to improve the diagnosis of neonatal bacterial infections and to increase the availability, affordability, and appropriate use of antibiotics for the treatment of these infections.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
WHO provides information on global efforts to reduce global child mortality and on ending preventable neonatal deaths (available in several languages)
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works for children's rights, survival, development, and protection around the world; it provides information on global efforts to reduce child mortality , and its Childinfo website provides detailed statistics about neonatal survival and health; its “Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed” webpage includes links to its 2013 progress report and to videos about ending preventable child deaths
The WHO has published a report entitled UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities for Women and Children
The Healthy Newborn Network (NHH) is an online community of more than 80 partner organizations that addresses critical knowledge gaps in newborn health; its website includes information on neonatal infections in LMICs
Kidshealth, a resource provided by the not-for-profit Nemours Foundation, has information for parents on neonatal infections (in English and Spanish)
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page on neonatal sepsis (in English and Spanish)
A personal story about fatal neonatal bacterial meningitis is available on the website of Meningitis UK, a not-for-profit organization; the site also includes a survivor story
PMCID: PMC4196753  PMID: 25314011
23.  Determinants and pattern of care seeking for preterm newborns in a rural Bangladeshi cohort 
Despite the increased burden of preterm birth and its complications, the dearth of care seeking data for preterm newborns remains a significant knowledge gap. Among preterm babies in rural Bangladesh, we examined: 1) determinants and patterns of care seeking, and 2) risk analysis for care-seeking from qualified and unqualified providers.
Trained community health workers collected data prospectively from 27,460 mother-liveborn baby pairs, including 6,090 preterm babies, between June 2007 and September 2009. Statistical analyses included binomial and multinomial logistic regressions.
Only one-fifth (19.7%) of preterm newborns were taken to seek either preventive or curative health care. Among care-seeker preterm newborns, preferred providers included homeopathic practitioners (50.0%), and less than a third (30.9%) sought care from qualified providers. Care-seeking from either unqualified or qualified providers was significantly lower for female preterm babies, compared to male babies [Relative Risk Ratio (RRR) for unqualified care: 0.68; 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.58, 0.80; RRR for qualified care: 0.52; 95% CI: 0.41, 0.66]. Among preterm babies, care-seeking was significantly higher among caregivers who recognized symptoms of illness [RR: 2.14; 95% CI: 1.93, 2.38] or signs of local infection (RR: 2.53; 95% CI: 2.23, 2.87), had a history of child death [RR: 1.21; 95% CI: 1.07, 1.37], any antenatal care (ANC) visit [RR: 1.41; 95% CI: 1.25, 1.59]. Birth preparedness (RRR: 1.24; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.68) and any ANC visit (RRR: 1.73; 95% CI: 1.50, 2.49) were also associated with increased likelihood of care seeking for preterm babies from qualified providers.
To improve care seeking practices for preterm babies and referral of sick newborns to qualified providers/facilities, we recommend: 1) involving community-preferred health care providers in community-based health education and awareness raising programs; 2) integrating postnatal care seeking messages into antenatal counselling; and 3) further research on care seeking practices for preterm babies.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-417) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4261985  PMID: 25242278
24.  Factors Associated with Four or More Antenatal Care Visits and Its Decline among Pregnant Women in Tanzania between 1999 and 2010 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101893.
In Tanzania, the coverage of four or more antenatal care (ANC 4) visits among pregnant women has declined over time. We conducted an exploratory analysis to identify factors associated with utilization of ANC 4 and ANC 4 decline among pregnant women over time. We used data from 8035 women who delivered within two years preceding Tanzania Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in 1999, 2004/05 and 2010. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine the association between all potential factors and utilization of ANC 4; and decline in ANC 4 over time. Factors positively associated with ANC 4 utilization were higher quality of services, testing and counseling for HIV during ANC, receiving two or more doses of SP (Sulphadoxine Pyrimethamine)/Fansidar for preventing malaria during ANC and higher educational status of the woman. Negatively associated factors were residing in a zone other than Eastern zone, never married woman, reported long distance to health facility, first ANC visit after four months of pregnancy and woman's desire to avoid pregnancy. The factors significantly associated with decline in utilization of ANC 4 were: geographic zone and age of the woman at delivery. Strategies to increase ANC 4 utilization should focus on improvement in quality of care, geographic accessibility, early ANC initiation, and services that allow women to avoid pregnancy. The interconnected nature of the Tanzanian Health System is reflected in ANC 4 decline over time where introduction of new programs might have had unintended effects on existing programs. An in-depth assessment of the recent policy change towards Focused Antenatal Care and its implementation across different geographic zones, including its effect on the perception and understanding among women and performance and counseling by health providers can help explain the decline in ANC 4.
PMCID: PMC4103803  PMID: 25036291
25.  Incidence and risk factors of preterm birth in a rural Bangladeshi cohort 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:112.
Globally, about 15 million neonates are born preterm and about 85% of global preterm birth occurs in Asia and Africa regions. We aimed to estimate the incidence and risk factors for preterm birth in a rural Bangladeshi cohort.
Between June 2007 and September 2009, community health workers prospectively collected data from 32,126 mother-live-born baby pairs on household socio-demographic status, pregnancy history, antenatal care seeking and newborn gestational age determined by recall of date of last menstrual period.
Among all live births, 22.3% were delivered prior to 37 weeks of gestation (i.e. preterm); of which 12.3% were born at 35–36 weeks of gestation (late preterm), 7.1% were born at 32–34 weeks (moderate preterm), and 2.9% were born at 28–31 weeks of gestation (very preterm). Overall, the majority of preterm births (55.1%) were late preterm. Risk of preterm birth was lower among women with primary or higher level of education (RR: 0.92; 95% CI: 0.88, 0.97), women who sought antenatal care at least once during the index pregnancy (RR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.83, 0.90), and women who had completed all birth preparedness steps (RR: 0.32; 95% CI: 0.30, 0.34). In contrast, risk of preterm birth was higher among women with a history of child death (RR: 1.05; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.10), who had mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) ≤250 mm, indicative of under nutrition (for women having MUAC <214 mm the risk was higher; RR: 1.26; 95% CI: 1.17, 1.35), who reported an antenatal complication (RR: 1.32; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.53), and who received iron-folic acid supplementation for 2–6 months during the index pregnancy (RR: 1.33; 95% CI: 1.24, 1.44).
In resource poor settings with high burden of preterm birth, alike Bangladesh, preterm birth risk could be reduced by close monitoring and/or frequent follow-up of women with history of child death and antenatal complications, by encouraging women to seek antenatal care from qualified providers, to adopt birth preparedness planning and to maintain good nutritional status. Additional research is needed to further explore the associations of antenatal iron supplementation and maternal nutritional status on preterm birth.
PMCID: PMC4021459  PMID: 24758701
Preterm birth; Risk factors; Bangladesh; Community-based program

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