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1.  Immediate Outcome Indicators in Perioperative Care: A Controlled Intervention Study on Quality Improvement in Hospitals in Tanzania 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65428.
Introduction
Outcome assessment is the standard for evaluating the quality of health services worldwide. In this study, outcome has been divided into immediate and final outcome. Aim was to compare an intervention hospital with a Continuous Quality Improvement approach to a control group using benchmark assessments of immediate outcome indicators in surgical care. Results were compared to final outcome indicators.
Method
Surgical care quality in six hospitals in Tanzania was assessed from 2006–2011, using the Hospital Performance Assessment Tool. Independent observers assessed structural, process and outcome quality using checklists based on evidence-based guidelines. The number of surgical key procedures over the benchmark of 80% was compared between the intervention hospital and the control group. Results were compared to Case Fatality Rates.
Results
In the intervention hospital, in 2006, two of nine key procedures reached the benchmark, one in 2009, and four in 2011. In the control group, one of nine key procedures reached the benchmark in 2006, one in 2009, and none in 2011. Case Fatality Rate for all in-patients in the intervention hospital was 5.5% (n = 12,530) in 2006, 3.5% (n = 21,114) in 2009 and 4.6% (n = 18,840) in 2011. In the control group it was 3.1% (n = 17,827) in 2006, 4.2% (n = 13,632) in 2009 and 3.8% (n = 17,059) in 2011.
Discussion
Results demonstrated that quality assurance improved performance levels in both groups. After the introduction of Continuous Quality Improvement, performance levels improved further in the intervention hospital while quality in the district hospital did not. Immediate outcome indicators appeared to be a better steering tool for quality improvement compared to final outcome indicators. Immediate outcome indicators revealed a need for improvement in pre- and postoperative care.
Conclusion
Quality assurance programs based on immediate outcome indicators can be effective if embedded in Continuous Quality Improvement. Nevertheless, final outcome indicators cannot be neglected.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065428
PMCID: PMC3680445  PMID: 23776482
2.  The unmet need for Emergency Obstetric Care in Tanga Region, Tanzania 
Background
Improving maternal health by reducing maternal mortality constitutes the fifth Millennium Development Goal and represents a key public health challenge in the United Republic of Tanzania. In response to the need to evaluate and monitor safe motherhood interventions, this study aims at assessing the coverage of obstetric care according to the Unmet Obstetric Need (UON) concept by obtaining information on indications for, and outcomes of, major obstetric interventions. Furthermore, we explore whether this concept can be operationalised at district level.
Methods
A two year study using the Unmet Obstetric Need concept was carried out in three districts in Tanga Region, Tanzania. Data was collected prospectively at all four hospitals in the region for every woman undergoing a major obstetric intervention, including indication and outcome. The concept was adapted to address differentials in access to emergency obstetric care between districts and between rural and urban areas. Based upon literature and expert consensus, a threshold of 2% of all deliveries was used to define the expected minimum requirement of major obstetric interventions performed for absolute maternal indications.
Results
Protocols covering 1,260 complicated deliveries were analysed. The percentage of major obstetric interventions carried out in response to an absolute maternal indication was only 71%; most major obstetric interventions (97%) were caesarean sections. The most frequent indication was cephalo-pelvic-disproportion (51%). The proportion of major obstetric interventions for absolute maternal indications performed amongst women living in urban areas was 1.8% of all deliveries, while in rural areas it was only 0.7%. The high proportion (8.3%) of negative maternal outcomes in terms of morbidity and mortality, as well as the high perinatal mortality of 9.1% (still birth 6.9%, dying within 24 hours 1.7%, dying after 24 hours 0.5%) raise concern about the quality of care being provided.
Conclusion
Based on the 2% threshold, Tanga Region – with an overall level of major obstetric interventions for absolute maternal indications of 1% and a caesarean section rate of 1.4% – has significant unmet obstetric need with a considerable rural-urban disparity. The UON concept was found to be a suitable tool for evaluating and monitoring the coverage of obstetric care at district level.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-16
PMCID: PMC1988833  PMID: 17683590

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