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author:("Goga, meena")
1.  Early cessation of breastfeeding amongst women in South Africa: an area needing urgent attention to improve child health 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:105.
Breastfeeding is a critical component of interventions to reduce child mortality. Exclusive breastfeeding practice is extremely low in South Africa and there has been no improvement in this over the past ten years largely due to fears of HIV transmission. Early cessation of breastfeeding has been found to have negative effects on child morbidity and survival in several studies in Africa. This paper reports on determinants of early breastfeeding cessation among women in South Africa.
This is a sub group analysis of a community-based cluster-randomized trial (PROMISE EBF) promoting exclusive breastfeeding in three South African sites (Paarl in the Western Cape Province, and Umlazi and Rietvlei in KwaZulu-Natal) between 2006 and 2008 ( no: NCT00397150). Infant feeding recall of 22 food and fluid items was collected at 3, 6, 12 and 24 weeks postpartum. Women’s experiences of breast health problems were also collected at the same time points. 999 women who ever breastfed were included in the analysis. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analysis adjusting for site, arm and cluster, was performed to determine predictors of stopping breastfeeding by 12 weeks postpartum.
By 12 weeks postpartum, 20% of HIV-negative women and 40% of HIV-positive women had stopped all breastfeeding. About a third of women introduced other fluids, most commonly formula milk, within the first 3 days after birth. Antenatal intention not to breastfeed and being undecided about how to feed were most strongly associated with stopping breastfeeding by 12 weeks (Adjusted odds ratio, AOR 5.6, 95% CI 3.4 – 9.5 and AOR 4.1, 95% CI 1.6 – 10.8, respectively). Also important was self-reported breast health problems associated with a 3-fold risk of stopping breastfeeding (AOR 3.1, 95%CI 1.7 – 5.7) and the mother having her own income doubled the risk of stopping breastfeeding (AOR 1.9, 95% CI 1.3 – 2.8).
Early cessation of breastfeeding is common amongst both HIV-negative and positive women in South Africa. There is an urgent need to improve antenatal breastfeeding counselling taking into account the challenges faced by working women as well as early postnatal lactation support to prevent breast health problems.
PMCID: PMC3441849  PMID: 22827969
2.  Infant feeding practices at routine PMTCT sites, South Africa: results of a prospective observational study amongst HIV exposed and unexposed infants - birth to 9 months 
We sought to investigate infant feeding practices amongst HIV-positive and -negative mothers (0-9 months postpartum) and describe the association between infant feeding practices and HIV-free survival.
Infant feeding data from a prospective observational cohort study conducted at three (of 18) purposively-selected routine South African PMTCT sites, 2002-2003, were analysed. Infant feeding data (previous 4 days) were gathered during home visits at 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32 and 36 weeks postpartum. Four feeding groups were of interest, namely exclusive breastfeeding, mixed breastfeeding, exclusive formula feeding and mixed formula feeding. Cox proportional hazards models were fitted to investigate associations between feeding practices (0-12 weeks) and infant HIV-free survival.
Six hundred and sixty five HIV-positive and 218 HIV-negative women were recruited antenatally and followed-up until 36 weeks postpartum. Amongst mothers who breastfed between 3 weeks and 6 months postpartum, significantly more HIV-positive mothers practiced exclusive breastfeeding compared with HIV-negative: at 3 weeks 130 (42%) versus 33 (17%) (p < 0.01); this dropped to 17 (11%) versus 1 (0.7%) by four months postpartum. Amongst mothers practicing mixed breastfeeding between 3 weeks and 6 months postpartum, significantly more HIV-negative mothers used commercially available breast milk substitutes (p < 0.02) and use of these peaked between 9 and 12 weeks. The probability of postnatal HIV or death was lowest amongst infants living in the best resourced site who avoided breastfeeding, and highest amongst infants living in the rural site who stopped breastfeeding early (mean and standard deviations: 10.7% ± 3% versus 46% ± 11%).
Although feeding practices were poor amongst HIV-positive and -negative mothers, HIV-positive mothers undertake safer infant feeding practices, possibly due to counseling provided through the routine PMTCT programme. The data on differences in infant outcome by feeding practice and site validate the WHO 2009 recommendations that site differences should guide feeding practices amongst HIV-positive mothers. Strong interventions are needed to promote exclusive breastfeeding (to 6 months) with continued breastfeeding thereafter amongst HIV-negative motherswho are still the majority of mothers even in high HIV prevalence setting like South Africa.
PMCID: PMC3348038  PMID: 22472507
PMTCT; HIV and Infant Feeding; Breastfeeding; HIV-free survival; Formula Feeding
3.  An effectiveness study of an integrated, community-based package for maternal, newborn, child and HIV care in South Africa: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2011;12:236.
Progress towards MDG4 in South Africa will depend largely on scaling up effective prevention against mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV and also addressing neonatal mortality. This imperative drives increasing focus on the neonatal period and particularly on the development and testing of appropriate models of sustainable, community-based care in South Africa in order to reach the poor. A number of key implementation gaps affecting progress have been identified. Implementation gaps for HIV prevention in neonates; implementation gaps for neonatal care especially home postnatal care; and implementation gaps for maternal mental health support. We have developed and are evaluating and costing an integrated and scaleable home visit package delivered by community health workers targeting pregnant and postnatal women and their newborns to provide essential maternal/newborn care as well as interventions for Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.
The trial is a cluster randomized controlled trial that is being implemented in Umlazi which is a peri-urban settlement with a total population of 1 million close to Durban in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. The trial consists of 30 randomized clusters (15 in each arm). A baseline survey established the homogeneity of clusters and neither stratification nor matching was performed. Sample size was based on increasing HIV-free survival from 74% to 84%, and calculated to be 120 pregnant women per cluster. Primary outcomes are higher levels of HIV free survival and levels of exclusive and appropriate infant feeding at 12 weeks postnatally. The intervention is home based with community health workers delivering two antenatal visits, a postnatal visit within 48 hours of birth, and a further four visits during the first two months of the infants life. We are undertaking programmatic and cost effectiveness analysis to cost the intervention.
The question is not merely to develop an efficacious package but also to identify and test delivery strategies that enable scaling up, which requires effectiveness studies in a health systems context, adapting and testing Asian community-based studies in various African contexts.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3248873  PMID: 22044553
4.  Global challenges with scale-up of the integrated management of childhood illness strategy: results of a multi-country survey 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:503.
The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness Strategy (IMCI), developed by WHO/UNICEF, aims to contribute to reducing childhood morbidity and mortality (MDG4) in resource-limited settings. Since 1996 more than 100 countries have adopted IMCI. IMCI case management training (ICMT) is one of three IMCI components and training is usually residential over 11 consecutive days. Follow-up after ICMT is an essential part of training. We describe the barriers to rapid acceleration of ICMT and review country perspectives on how to address these barriers.
A multi-country exploratory cross-sectional questionnaire survey of in-service ICMT approaches, using quantitative and qualitative methods, was conducted in 2006-7: 27 countries were purposively selected from all six WHO regions. Data for this paper are from three questionnaires (QA, QB and QC), distributed to selected national focal IMCI persons/programme officers, course directors/facilitators and IMCI trainees respectively. QC only gathered data on experiences with IMCI follow-up.
33 QA, 163 QB and 272 QC were received. The commonest challenges to ICMT scale-up relate to funding (high cost and long duration of the residential ICMT), poor literacy of health workers, differing opinions about the role of IMCI in improving child health, lack of political support, frequent changes in staff or rules at Ministries of Health and lack of skilled facilitators. Countries addressed these challenges in several ways including increased advocacy, developing strategic linkages with other priorities, intensifying pre-service training, re-distribution of funds and shortening course duration. The commonest challenges to follow-up after ICMT were lack of funding (93.1% of respondents), inadequate funds for travelling or planning (75.9% and 44.8% respectively), lack of gas for travelling (41.4%), inadequately trained or few supervisors (41.4%) and inadequate job aids for follow-up (27.6%). Countries addressed these by piggy backing IMCI follow-up with routine supervisory visits.
Financial challenges to ICMT scale-up and follow-up after training are common. As IMCI is accepted globally as one of the key strategies to meet MDG4 several steps need to be taken to facilitate rapid acceleration of ICMT, including reviewing core competencies followed by competency-driven shortened training duration or 'on the job' training, 'distance learning' or training using mobile phones. Linkages with other 'better-funded' programmes e.g. HIV or malaria need to be improved. Routine Primary Health Care (PHC) supervision needs to include follow-up after ICMT.
PMCID: PMC3155839  PMID: 21708029
5.  Results of a multi-country exploratory survey of approaches and methods for IMCI case management training 
The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness Strategy (IMCI) is effective in improving management of sick children, and thus child survival. It is currently recommended that in-service IMCI case management training (ICMT) occur over 11-days; that the participant: facilitator ratio should be ≤4:1 and that at least 30% of ICMT time be spent on clinical practice. In 2006–2007, approximately ten years after IMCI implementation, we conducted a multi-country exploratory questionnaire survey to document country experiences with ICMT, and to determine the acceptability of shortening duration of ICMT.
Questionnaires (QA) were sent to national IMCI focal persons in 27 purposively-selected countries. To probe further, questionnaires (QB and QC respectively) were also sent to course-directors or facilitators and IMCI trainees, selected using snowball sampling after applying pre-defined criteria, in these countries. Questionnaires gathered quantitative and qualitative data.
Thirty-three QA, 163 QB, 272 QC and two summaries were returned from 24 countries. All countries continued to adapt course content to local disease burden. All countries offer shorter ICMT courses, ranging from 3–10 days (commonest being 5–8 days). The shorter ICMT courses offer fewer exercises, more homework, less individual feedback and reduced clinical practice (<30% time). Whereas changes to course content were usually evidence-based, changes to training methodology and course duration evolved as pressure to expand implementation mounted. Participants varied in their self-reported skill and perception about each course. However, the varied methodology and integrated approach to management of illnesses were commonly cited as strengths of ICMT, and the chart booklet and clinical practice sessions were identified as critical components of ICMT. Four themes emerged from the qualitative work, viz. the current 11-day course is too expensive and should be shortened; advocacy around IMCI should increase; content should be regularly updated, new content areas should be introduced cautiously and more attention should be paid to skills-building rather than knowledge accumulation.
Whilst the 11-day ICMT course is still recommended, as efforts intensify to increase access to quality care and meet MDG4, standardized shorter ICMT courses, that include participatory methodologies and adequate clinical practice, could be acceptable globally.
PMCID: PMC2723104  PMID: 19615080
6.  An exploratory study of factors that affect the performance and usage of rapid diagnostic tests for malaria in the Limpopo Province, South Africa 
Malaria Journal  2007;6:74.
Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are relatively simple to perform and provide results quickly for making treatment decisions. However, the accuracy and application of RDT results depends on several factors such as quality of the RDT, storage, transport and end user performance. A cross sectional survey to explore factors that affect the performance and use of RDTs was conducted in the primary care facilities in South Africa.
This study was conducted in three malaria risk sub-districts of the Limpopo Province, in South Africa. Twenty nurses were randomly selected from 17 primary health care facilities, three nurses from hospitals serving the study area and 10 other key informants, representing the managers of the malaria control programmes, routine and research laboratories, were interviewed, using semi-structured questionnaires.
There was a high degree of efficiency in ordering and distribution of RDTs, however only 13/20 (65%) of the health facilities had appropriate air-conditioning and monitoring of room temperatures. Sixty percent (12/20) of the nurses did not receive any external training on conducting and interpreting RDT. Fifty percent of nurses (10/20) reported RDT stock-outs. Only 3/20 nurses mentioned that they periodically checked quality of RDT. Fifteen percent of nurses reported giving antimalarial drugs even if the RDT was negative.
Storage, quality assurance, end user training and use of RDT results for clinical decision making in primary care facilities in South Africa need to be improved. Further studies of the factors influencing the quality control of RDTs, their performance of RDTs and the ways to improve their use of RDTs are needed.
PMCID: PMC1891308  PMID: 17543127
7.  Severe events in the first 6 months of life in a cohort of HIV-unexposed infants from South Africa: effects of low birthweight and breastfeeding status 
To report on risk factors for severe events (hospitalisation or infant death) within the first half of infancy amongst HIV-unexposed infants in South Africa.
South African data from the multisite community-based cluster-randomised trial PROMISE EBF promoting exclusive breastfeeding in three sub-Saharan countries from 2006 to 2008 were used. The South African sites were Paarl in the Western Cape Province, and Umlazi and Rietvlei in KwaZulu-Natal. This analysis included 964 HIV-negative mother–infant pairs. Data on severe events and infant feeding practices were collected at 3, 6, 12 and 24 weeks post-partum. We used a stratified extended Cox model to examine the association between the time to the severe event and covariates including birthweight, with breastfeeding status as a time-dependent covariate.
Seventy infants (7%) experienced a severe event. The median age at first hospitalisation was 8 weeks, and the two main reasons for hospitalisation were cough and difficult breathing followed by diarrhoea. Stopping breastfeeding before 6 months (HR 2.4; 95% CI 1.2–5.1) and low birthweight (HR 2.4; 95% CI 1.3–4.3) were found to increase the risk of a severe event, whilst maternal completion of high school education was protective (HR 0.3; 95% CI 0.1–0.7).
A strengthened primary healthcare system incorporating promotion of breastfeeding and appropriate caring practices for low birthweight infants (such as kangaroo mother care) are critical. Given the leading reasons for hospitalisation, early administration of oral rehydration therapy and treatment of suspected pneumonia are key interventions needed to prevent hospitalisation in young infants.
PMCID: PMC4285159  PMID: 25053420
nutrition; low birthweight; hospitalisation; South Africa; breastfeeding

Results 1-7 (7)