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author:("begin, Joel")
1.  Post-crisis Zimbabwe’s innovative financing mechanisms in the social sectors: a practical approach to implementing the new deal for engagement in fragile states 
Donor engagement in transitional settings, complex emergencies and fragile states is increasing. Neither short-term humanitarian aid nor traditional development financing are well adapted for such environments. Multi-donor trust funds, in their current form, can be unwieldy and subject to long delays in initiation and work best when national governments are already strong. We reviewed the aid modalities used in Zimbabwe through the period of crisis, 2008–2012 and their results and implications. Literature review and case experience was utilised.
By focusing on working with line ministries in non-contested sectors to determine local priorities rather than following global prescriptions, pooling funds to achieve scale rather than delivering through fragmented projects, and building on national systems and capacities rather than setting up parallel mechanisms, the Transition Fund Model employed in Zimbabwe by UNICEF and partners in partnership with the Inclusive Government was able to achieve important results in health, education, social support and water services in a challenging setting. In addition, forums for collaboration were developed that provided a platform for further action. The initial emphasis on service delivery diffused much of the political delicateness that impeded progress in other sectors. The Zimbabwean experience may provide a model of innovative financing for countries facing similar circumstances.
Such models may represent a new practical application of the Paris Principles, consistent with the major tenets of the 2011 New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States agreed in Busan. As we approach the Millennium Development Goal deadline, an over-arching, mutli-sectoral and independent evaluation of this approach is recommended in order to validate findings and assess broader replicability of this approach.
PMCID: PMC4269987  PMID: 25494877
2.  A comparative study of an NGO-sponsored CHW programme versus a ministry of health sponsored CHW programme in rural Kenya: a process evaluation 
Human Resources for Health  2014;12(1):64.
The varied performance of Community Health Worker (CHW) programmes in different contexts has highlighted the need for implementation of research that focuses on programme delivery issues. This paper presents the results of process evaluations conducted on two different models of CHW programme delivery in adjacent rural communities in in Gem District of Western Kenya. One model was implemented by the Millennium Villages Project (MVP), and the other model was implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH) as part of Kenya’s National CHW programme.
PMCID: PMC4230347  PMID: 25371240
3.  Universal health coverage in emerging economies: findings on health care utilization by older adults in China, Ghana, India, Mexico, the Russian Federation, and South Africa 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.25314.
Background and objective
The achievement of universal health coverage (UHC) in emerging economies is a high priority within the global community. This timely study uses standardized national population data collected from adults aged 50 and older in China, Ghana, India, Mexico, the Russian Federation, and South Africa. The objective is to describe health care utilization and measure association between inpatient and outpatient service use and patient characteristics in these six low- and middle-income countries.
Secondary analysis of data from the World Health Organization’s Study on global AGEing and adult health Wave 1 was undertaken. Country samples are compared by socio-demographic characteristics, type of health care, and reasons for use. Logistic regressions describe association between socio-demographic and health factors and inpatient and outpatient service use.
In the pooled multi-country sample of over 26,000 adults aged 50-plus, who reported getting health care the last time it was needed, almost 80% of men and women received inpatient or outpatient care, or both. Roughly 30% of men and women in the Russian Federation used inpatient services in the previous 3 years and 90% of men and women in India used outpatient services in the past year. In China, public hospitals were the most frequently used service type for 52% of men and 51% of women. Multivariable regression showed that, compared with men, women were less likely to use inpatient services and more likely to use outpatient services. Respondents with two or more chronic conditions were almost three times as likely to use inpatient services and twice as likely to use outpatient services compared with respondents with no reported chronic conditions.
This study provides a basis for further investigation of country-specific responses to UHC.
PMCID: PMC4216816  PMID: 25363363
health care use utilization; low- and middle-income; universal coverage
4.  Towards people-centred health systems: a multi-level framework for analysing primary health care governance in low- and middle-income countries 
Health Policy and Planning  2014;29(Suppl 2):ii29-ii39.
Although there is evidence that non-government health system actors can individually or collectively develop practical strategies to address primary health care (PHC) challenges in the community, existing frameworks for analysing health system governance largely focus on the role of governments, and do not sufficiently account for the broad range of contribution to PHC governance. This is important because of the tendency for weak governments in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We present a multi-level governance framework for use as a thinking guide in analysing PHC governance in LMICs. This framework has previously been used to analyse the governance of common-pool resources such as community fisheries and irrigation systems. We apply the framework to PHC because, like common-pool resources, PHC facilities in LMICs tend to be commonly owned by the community such that individual and collective action is often required to avoid the ‘tragedy of the commons’—destruction and degradation of the resource resulting from lack of concern for its continuous supply. In the multi-level framework, PHC governance is conceptualized at three levels, depending on who influences the supply and demand of PHC services in a community and how: operational governance (individuals and providers within the local health market), collective governance (community coalitions) and constitutional governance (governments at different levels and other distant but influential actors). Using the example of PHC governance in Nigeria, we illustrate how the multi-level governance framework offers a people-centred lens on the governance of PHC in LMICs, with a focus on relations among health system actors within and between levels of governance. We demonstrate the potential impact of health system actors functioning at different levels of governance on PHC delivery, and how governance failure at one level can be assuaged by governance at another level.
PMCID: PMC4202919  PMID: 25274638
Collective governance; constitutional governance; health system actors; health system governance; low- and middle-income countries; Nigeria; operational governance; people-centred health systems; primary health care
5.  Hospital Visits Due to Domestic Violence from 1994 to 2011 in the Solomon Islands: A Descriptive Case Series 
The Solomon Islands has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world. This paper is a descriptive case series of all cases of domestic violence presenting to the Solomon Islands National Referral Hospital (NRH) over 18 years. Data were routinely collected from a database of all patients who were treated by NRH general surgery and orthopedic clinicians between 1994 and 2011, inclusive. The total number of cases in the injury database as a result of domestic violence was 387. The average number of cases in the database per year from 1994 to 2011 was 20. There were 6% more female patients (205 of 387; 53%) than male (182 of 387; 47%). Of the cases in which the perpetrator of the violence against a female patient was specified (111 of 205 female cases), 74% (82 of 111) were the patient's husband. Only 5% (5 of 111) of cases in females were inflicted by another female. This analysis provides the best available information on domestic violence cases requiring a visit to a tertiary hospital in a Pacific Island in the specified time period and is undoubtedly an under-estimate of the total cases of domestic violence. Preventing and treating domestic violence in the Solomon Islands and in the Pacific is an important challenge and there is a significant role for secondary and tertiary health services in screening for and preventing domestic violence.
PMCID: PMC4174691  PMID: 25285254
domestic violence; Pacific; Solomon Islands; hospital; screening
6.  HIV behavioural interventions targeted towards older adults: a systematic review 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:507.
The increasing number of people living with HIV aged 50 years and older has been recognised around the world yet non-pharmacologic HIV behavioural and cognitive interventions specifically targeted to older adults are limited. Evidence is needed to guide the response to this affected group.
We conducted a systematic review of the available published literature in MEDLINE, Embase and the Education Resources Information Center. A search strategy was defined with high sensitivity but low specificity to identify behavioural interventions with outcomes in the areas of treatment adherence, HIV testing uptake, increased HIV knowledge and uptake of prevention measures. Data from relevant articles were extracted into excel.
Twelve articles were identified all of which originated from the Americas. Eight of the interventions were conducted among older adults living with HIV and four for HIV-negative older adults. Five studies included control groups. Of the included studies, four focused on general knowledge of HIV, three emphasised mental health and coping, two focused on reduced sexual risk behaviour, two on physical status and one on referral for care. Only four of the studies were randomised controlled trials and seven – including all of the studies among HIV-negative older adults – did not include controls at all. A few of the studies conducted statistical testing on small samples of 16 or 11 older adults making inference based on the results difficult. The most relevant study demonstrated that using telephone-based interventions can reduce risky sexual behaviour among older adults with control reporting 3.24 times (95% CI 1.79-5.85) as many occasions of unprotected sex at follow-up as participants. Overall however, few of the articles are sufficiently rigorous to suggest broad replication or to be considered representative and applicable in other settings.
More evidence is needed on what interventions work among older adults to support prevention, adherence and testing. More methodological rigourised needed in the studies targeting older adults. Specifically, including control groups in all studies is needed as well as sufficient sample size to allow for statistical testing. Addition of specific bio-marker or validated behavioural or cognitive outcomes would also strengthen the studies.
PMCID: PMC4049807  PMID: 24884947
Older adults; HIV; Interventions; Systematic review; Effectiveness
7.  Aging with HIV in Africa: the challenges of living longer 
AIDS (London, England)  2012;26(0 1):S1-S5.
PMCID: PMC4017661  PMID: 22713477
8.  Task-shifting and prioritization: a situational analysis examining the role and experiences of community health workers in Malawi 
As low- and middle-income countries face continued shortages of human resources for health and the double burden of infectious and chronic diseases, there is renewed international interest in the potential for community health workers to assume a growing role in strengthening health systems. A growing list of tasks, some of them complex, is being shifted to community health workers’ job descriptions. Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) - as the community health worker cadre in Malawi is known - play a vital role in providing essential health services and connecting the community with the formal health care sector. The objective of this study was to understand the performed versus documented roles of the HSAs, to examine how tasks were prioritized, and to understand HSAs’ perspectives on their roles and responsibilities.
A situational analysis of the HSA cadre and its contribution to the delivery of health services in Zomba district, Malawi was conducted. Focus groups and interviews were conducted with 70 HSAs. Observations of three HSAs performing duties and work diaries from five HSAs were collected. Lastly, six policy-maker and seven HSA supervisor interviews and a document review were used to further understand the cadre’s role and to triangulate collected data.
HSAs performed a variety of tasks in addition to those outlined in the job description resulting in issues of overloading, specialization and competing demands existing in the context of task-shifting and prioritization. Not all HSAs were resistant to the expansion of their role despite role confusion and HSAs feeling they lacked adequate training, remuneration and supervision. HSAs also said that increasing workload was making completing their primary duties challenging. Considerations for policy-makers include the division of roles of HSAs in prevention versus curative care; community versus centre-based activities; and the potential specialization of HSAs.
This study provides insights into HSAs’ perceptions of their work, their expanding role and their willingness to change the scope of their practice. There are clear decision points for policy-makers regarding future direction in policy and planning in order to maximize the cadre’s effectiveness in addressing the country’s health priorities.
PMCID: PMC4014628  PMID: 24885454
Community health workers; Lay health workers; Task-shifting; Health promotion; Task- prioritization
9.  Foreign-born health workers in Australia: an analysis of census data 
Provide an up-to-date national picture of the medical, midwifery and nursing workforce distribution in Australia with a focus on overseas immigration and on production sustainability challenges.
Using 2006 and 2011 Australian census data, analysis was conducted on medical practitioners (doctors) and on midwifery and nursing professionals.
Of the 70,231 medical practitioners in Australia in 2011, 32,919 (47.3%) were Australian-born, with the next largest groups bring born in South Asia and Southeast Asia. In 2006, 51.9% of medical practitioners were born in Australia. Of the 239,924 midwifery and nursing professionals in Australia, 127,911 (66.8%) were born in Australia, with the next largest groups being born in the United Kingdom and Ireland and in Southeast Asia. In 2006, 69.8% of midwifery and nursing professionals were born in Australia. Western Australia has the highest percentage of foreign-born health workers. There is a higher percentage of Australia-born health workers in rural areas than in urban areas (82% of midwifery and nursing professional in rural areas are Australian-born versus 59% in urban areas). Of the 15,168 additional medical practitioners in Australia between the 2006 and 2011 censuses, 10,452 (68.9%) were foreign-born, including large increases from such countries as India, Nepal, Philippines, and Zimbabwe. We estimate that Australia has saved US$1.7 billion in medical education costs through the arrival of foreign-born medical practitioners over the past five years.
The Australian health system is increasingly reliant on foreign-born health workers. This raises questions of medical education sustainability in Australia and on Australia’s recruitment from countries facing critical shortages of health workers.
PMCID: PMC3882294  PMID: 24377370
Australia; Doctors; Health workforce; Migration; Nurses
10.  Building health systems capacity in global health graduate programs: reflections from Australian educators 
There has been increasing focus on the role of health systems in low and middle-income countries. Despite this, very little evidence exists on how best to build health systems program and research capacity in educational programs. The current experiences in building capacity in health systems in five of the most prominent global health programs at Australian universities are outlined. The strengths and weaknesses of various approaches and techniques are provided along with examples of global practice in order to provide a foundation for future discussion and thus improvements in global health systems education.
PMCID: PMC3489888  PMID: 22920502
11.  Brain Gains: a literature review of medical missions to low and middle-income countries 
Healthcare professionals’ participation in short-term medical missions to low and middle income countries (LMIC) to provide healthcare has become common over the past 50 years yet little is known about the quantity and quality of these missions. The aim of this study was to review medical mission publications over 25 years to better understand missions and their potential impact on health systems in LMICs.
A literature review was conducted by searching Medline for articles published from 1985–2009 about medical missions to LMICs, revealing 2512 publications. Exclusion criteria such as receiving country and mission length were applied, leaving 230 relevant articles. A data extraction sheet was used to collect information, including sending/receiving countries and funding source.
The majority of articles were descriptive and lacked contextual or theoretical analysis. Most missions were short-term (1 day – 1 month). The most common sending countries were the U.S. and Canada. The top destination country was Honduras, while regionally Africa received the highest number of missions. Health care professionals typically responded to presenting health needs, ranging from primary care to surgical relief. Cleft lip/palate surgeries were the next most common type of care provided.
Based on the articles reviewed, there is significant scope for improvement in mission planning, monitoring and evaluation as well as global and/or national policies regarding foreign medical missions. To promote optimum performance by mission staff, training in such areas as cross-cultural communication and contextual realities of mission sites should be provided. With the large number of missions conducted worldwide, efforts to ensure efficacy, harmonisation with existing government programming and transparency are needed.
PMCID: PMC3474169  PMID: 22643123
medical missions; low- and middle-income countries; volunteer; human resources
12.  Analysis of policy implications and challenges of the Cuban health assistance program related to human resources for health in the Pacific 
Cuba has extended its medical cooperation to Pacific Island Countries (PICs) by supplying doctors to boost service delivery and offering scholarships for Pacific Islanders to study medicine in Cuba. Given the small populations of PICs, the Cuban engagement could prove particularly significant for health systems development in the region. This paper reviews the magnitude and form of Cuban medical cooperation in the Pacific and analyses its implications for health policy, human resource capacity and overall development assistance for health in the region.
We reviewed both published and grey literature on health workforce in the Pacific including health workforce plans and human resource policy documents. Further information was gathered through discussions with key stakeholders involved in health workforce development in the region.
Cuba formalised its relationship with PICs in September 2008 following the first Cuba-Pacific Islands ministerial meeting. Some 33 Cuban health personnel work in Pacific Island Countries and 177 Pacific island students are studying medicine in Cuba in 2010 with the most extensive engagement in Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The cost of the Cuban medical cooperation to PICs comes in the form of countries providing benefits and paying allowances to in-country Cuban health workers and return airfares for their students in Cuba. This has been seen by some PICs as a cheaper alternative to training doctors in other countries.
The Cuban engagement with PICs, while smaller than engagement with other countries, presents several opportunities and challenges for health system strengthening in the region. In particular, it allows PICs to increase their health workforce numbers at relatively low cost and extends delivery of health services to remote areas. A key challenge is that with the potential increase in the number of medical doctors, once the local students return from Cuba, some PICs may face substantial rises in salary expenditure which could significantly strain already stretched government budgets. Finally, the Cuban engagement in the Pacific has implications for the wider geo-political and health sector support environment as the relatively few major bilateral donors, notably Australia (through AusAID) and New Zealand (through NZAID), and multilaterals such as the World Bank will need to accommodate an additional player with whom existing links are limited.
PMCID: PMC3447691  PMID: 22558940
13.  Anti-Retroviral Treatment Outcomes among Older Adults in Zomba District, Malawi 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26546.
There are approximately 3 million people aged 50 and older in sub-Saharan Africa who are HIV-positive. Despite this, little is known about the characteristics of older adults who are on treatment and their treatment outcomes.
A retrospective cohort analysis was performed using routinely collected data with Malawi Ministry of Health monitoring tools from facilities providing antiretroviral therapy services in Zomba district. Patients aged 25 years and older initiated on treatment from July 2005 to June 2010 were included. Differences in survival, by age group, were determined using Kaplan–Meier survival plots and Cox proportional hazards regression models.
There were 10,888 patients aged 25 and older. Patients aged 50 and older (N = 1419) were more likely to be male (P<0.0001) and located in rural areas (P = 0.003) than those aged 25–49. Crude survival estimates among those aged 50–59 were not statistically different from those aged 25–49 (P = 0.925). However, survival among those aged 60 and older (N = 345) was worse (P = 0.019) than among those 25–59. In the proportional hazards model, after controlling for sex and stage at initiation, survival in those aged 50–59 did not differ significantly from those aged 25–49 (hazard ratio 1.00 (95% CI: 0.79 to 1.27; P = 0.998) but the hazard ratio was 1.46 (95% CI: 1.03 to 2.06; P = 0.032) for those aged 60 and older compared to those aged 25–49.
Treatment outcomes of those aged 50–59 are similar to those aged 25–49. A better understanding of how older adults present for and respond to treatment is critical to improving HIV services.
PMCID: PMC3198738  PMID: 22031839

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