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1.  A Cohort Study of Morbidity, Mortality and Health Seeking Behavior following Rural Health Center Visits by Children under 12 in Southwestern Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0118055.
Children discharged from hospitals in developing countries are at high risk of morbidity and mortality. However, few data describe these outcomes among children seen and discharged from rural outpatient centers.
The objective of this exploratory study was to identify predictors of immediate and follow-up morbidity and mortality among children visiting a rural health center in Uganda.
Subjects 0–12 years of age seeking care with a caregiver were consecutively enrolled from a single rural health center in Southwestern Uganda. Baseline variables were collected by research nurses and outcomes of referral, admission or death were recorded (immediate events). Death, hospital admission and health seeking occurring during the 30 days following the clinic visit were also determined (follow-up events). Univariate logistic regression was performed to identify baseline variables associated with immediate outcome and follow-up outcomes.
Over the four-month recruitment period 717 subjects were enrolled. There were 85 (11.9%) immediate events (10.1% were admitted, 2.2% were referred, none died). Forty-seven (7.8%) events occurred within 30 days after the visit (7.3% sought care from a health provider, 1.5% were admitted and 0.5% died). Variables associated with immediate events included living more than 30 minutes from the health center, age older than 5 years, having received an antimalarial prior to the visit, having seen a community health worker prior to the visit, elevated respiratory rate or temperature, and depressed weight-for-age z score or decreased oxygen saturation. These variables were not associated with follow-up events.
Sick-child visits at a rural health center in South Western Uganda were associated with rates of mortality and subsequent admission of less than 2% in the period following the sick child visits. Other types of health seeking behavior occurred in approximately 7% of subjects during this same period. Several variables were associated with immediate events but there were no reliable predictors of follow-up events, possibly due to low statistical power.
PMCID: PMC4311987  PMID: 25635947
2.  Stakeholders' Perceptions of Integrated Community Case Management by Community Health Workers: A Post-Intervention Qualitative Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98610.
Integrated community case management (iCCM) involves delivery of simple medicines to children with pneumonia, diarrhea and/or malaria by community health workers (CHWs). Between 2010 and 2012, an iCCM intervention trial was implemented by Healthy Child Uganda. This study used qualitative tools to assess whether project stakeholders perceived that iCCM improved access to care for children under five years of age.
The intervention involved training and equipping 196 CHWs in 98 study villages in one sub-county in Uganda in iCCM. During the eight-month intervention, CHWs assessed sick children, provided antimalarials (coartem) for fever, antibiotics (amoxicillin) for cough and fast breathing, oral rehydration salts/zinc for diarrhea, and referred very sick children to health facilities. In order to examine community perceptions and acceptability of iCCM, post-intervention focus groups and key respondent interviews involving caregivers, health workers, CHWs and local leaders were carried out by experienced facilitators using semi-structured interview guides. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis techniques.
Respondents reported increased access to health care for children as a result of iCCM. Access was reportedly closer to home, available more hours in a day, and the availability of CHWs was perceived as more reliable. CHW care was reported to be trustworthy and caring. Families reported saving money especially due to reduced transportation costs, and less time away from home. Respondents also perceived better health outcomes. Linkages between health facilities and communities were reportedly improved by the iCCM intervention due to the presence of trained CHWs in the community.
iCCM delivered by CHWs may improve access to health care and is acceptable to families. Policymakers should continue to seek opportunities to implement and support iCCM, particularly in remote communities where there are health worker shortages.
PMCID: PMC4057118  PMID: 24927074
3.  Inadequate Knowledge of Neonatal Danger Signs among Recently Delivered Women in Southwestern Rural Uganda: A Community Survey 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97253.
Early detection of neonatal illness is an important step towards improving newborn survival. Every year an estimated 3.07 million children die during their first month of life and about one-third of these deaths occur during the first 24 hours. Ninety-eight percent of all neonatal deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries like Uganda. Inadequate progress has been made globally to reduce the amount of neonatal deaths that would be required to meet Millennium Development Goal 4. Poor knowledge of newborn danger signs delays care seeking. The aim of this study was to explore the knowledge of key newborn danger signs among mothers in southwestern Uganda.
Results from a community survey of 765 recently delivered women were analyzed using univariate and multivariate logistic regressions. Six key danger signs were identified, and spontaneous responses were categorized, tabulated, and analyzed.
Knowledge of at least one key danger sign was significantly associated with being birth prepared (adjusted OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.2–2.3). Birth preparedness consisted of saving money, identifying transportation, identifying a skilled birth attendant and buying a delivery kit or materials. Overall, respondents had a poor knowledge of key newborn danger signs: 58.2% could identify one and 14.8% could identify two. We found no association between women attending the recommended number of antenatal care visits and their knowledge of danger signs (adjusted OR 1.0, 95% CI 0.8–1.4), or between women using a skilled birth attendant at delivery and their knowledge of danger signs (adjusted OR 1.2, 95% CI 0.9–1.7).
Our findings indicate the need to enhance education of mothers in antenatal care as well as those discharged from health facilities after delivery. Further promotion of birth preparedness is encouraged as part of the continuum of maternal care.
PMCID: PMC4019554  PMID: 24824364
4.  Drugs for some but not all: inequity within community health worker teams during introduction of integrated community case management 
BMC Health Services Research  2014;14(Suppl 1):S1.
The Ugandan health system now supports integrated community case management (iCCM) by community health workers (CHWs) to treat young children ill with fever, presumed pneumonia, and diarrhea. During an iCCM pilot intervention study in southwest Uganda, two CHWs were selected from existing village teams of two to seven CHWs, to be trained in iCCM. Therefore, some villages had both ‘basic CHWs’ who were trained in standard health promotion and ‘iCCM CHWs’ who were trained in the iCCM intervention. A qualitative study was conducted to investigate how providing training, materials, and support for iCCM to some CHWs and not others in a CHW team impacts team functioning and CHW motivation.
In 2012, iCCM was implemented in Kyabugimbi sub-county of Bushenyi District in Uganda. Following seven months of iCCM intervention, focus group discussions and key informant interviews were conducted alongside other end line tools as part of a post-iCCM intervention study. Study participants were community leaders, caregivers of young children, and the CHWs themselves (‘basic’ and ‘iCCM’). Qualitative content analysis was used to identify prominent themes from the transcribed data.
The five main themes observed were: motivation and self-esteem; selection, training, and tools; community perceptions and rumours; social status and equity; and cooperation and team dynamics. ‘Basic CHWs’ reported feeling hurt and overshadowed by ‘iCCM CHWs’ and reported reduced self-esteem and motivation. iCCM training and tools were perceived to be a significant advantage, which fueled feelings of segregation. CHW cooperation and team dynamics varied from area to area, although there was an overall discord amongst CHWs regarding inequity in iCCM participation. Despite this discord, reasonable personal and working relationships within teams were retained.
Training and supporting only some CHWs within village teams unexpectedly and negatively impacted CHW motivation for ‘basic CHWs’, but not necessarily team functioning. A potential consequence might be reduced CHW productivity and increased attrition. CHW programmers should consider minimizing segregation when introducing new program opportunities through providing equal opportunities to participate and receive incentives, while seeking means to improve communication, CHW solidarity, and motivation.
PMCID: PMC4108853  PMID: 25078968
community health worker; equity; health promotion; integrated community case management; motivation; Uganda; travailleurs en santé communautaire; équité; promotion de la santé; gestion des cas intégrée en milieu communautaire; motivation; Ouganda
5.  Introduction of mobile phones for use by volunteer community health workers in support of integrated community case management in Bushenyi District, Uganda: development and implementation process 
BMC Health Services Research  2014;14(Suppl 1):S2.
A substantial literature suggests that mobile phones have great potential to improve management and survival of acutely ill children in rural Africa. The national strategy of the Ugandan Ministry of Health calls for employment of volunteer community health workers (CHWs) in implementation of Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) of common illnesses (diarrhea, acute respiratory infection, pneumonia, fever/malaria) affecting children under five years of age. A mobile phone enabled system was developed within iCCM aiming to improve access by CHWs to medical advice and to strengthen reporting of data on danger signs and symptoms for acutely ill children under five years of age. Herein critical steps in development, implementation, and integration of mobile phone technology within iCCM are described.
Mechanisms to improve diagnosis, treatment and referral of sick children under five were defined. Treatment algorithms were developed by the project technical team and mounted and piloted on the mobile phones, using an iterative process involving technical support personnel, health care providers, and academic support. Using a purposefully developed mobile phone training manual, CHWs were trained over an intensive five-day course to make timely diagnoses, recognize clinical danger signs, communicate about referrals and initiate treatment with appropriate essential drugs. Performance by CHWs and the accuracy and completeness of their submitted data was closely monitored post training test period and during the subsequent nine month community trial. In the full trial, the number of referrals and correctly treated children, based on the agreed treatment algorithms, was recorded. Births, deaths, and medication stocks were also tracked.
Results and Discussion
Seven distinct phases were required to develop a robust mobile phone enabled system in support of the iCCM program. Over a nine month period, 96 CHWs were trained to use mobile phones and their competence to initiate a community trial was established through performance monitoring.
Local information/communication consultants, working in concert with a university based department of pediatrics, can design and implement a robust mobile phone based system that may be anticipated to contribute to efficient delivery of iCCM by trained volunteer CHWs in rural settings in Uganda.
PMCID: PMC4108866  PMID: 25079241
mobile phone; child health; pediatric therapeutics; integrated community case management; community health worker; Uganda; téléphone mobile; santé des enfants; thérapeutique pédiatrique; gestion communautaire intégrée des cas; travailleur en santé communautaire; Ouganda
6.  Associations between mass media exposure and birth preparedness among women in southwestern Uganda: a community-based survey 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.22904.
Exposure to mass media provides increased awareness and knowledge, as well as changes in attitudes, social norms and behaviors that may lead to positive public health outcomes. Birth preparedness (i.e. the preparations for childbirth made by pregnant women, their families, and communities) increases the use of skilled birth attendants (SBAs) and hence reduces maternal morbidity and mortality.
The aim of this study was to explore the association between media exposure and birth preparedness in rural Uganda.
A total of 765 recently delivered women from 120 villages in the Mbarara District of southwest Uganda were selected for a community-based survey using two-stage cluster sampling. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression was performed with generalized linear mixed models using SPSS 21.
We found that 88.6% of the women surveyed listened to the radio and 33.9% read newspapers. Birth preparedness actions included were money saved (87.8%), identified SBA (64.3%), identified transport (60.1%), and purchased childbirth materials (20.7%). Women who had taken three or more actions were coded as well birth prepared (53.9%). Women who read newspapers were more likely to be birth prepared (adjusted OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.5–3.2). High media exposure, i.e. regular exposure to radio, newspaper, or television, showed no significant association with birth preparedness (adjusted OR 1.3, 95% CI 0.9–2.0).
Our results indicate that increased reading of newspapers can enhance birth preparedness and skilled birth attendance. Apart from general literacy skills, this requires newspapers to be accessible in terms of language, dissemination, and cost.
PMCID: PMC3888909  PMID: 24433945
birth preparedness; skilled birth attendant; mass media exposure; newspaper; radio; Uganda; low-income country
7.  Uterine rupture in a teaching hospital in Mbarara, western Uganda, unmatched case- control study 
Reproductive Health  2013;10:29.
Uterine rupture is one of the most devastating complications of labour that exposes the mother and foetus to grave danger hence contributing to the high maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity in Uganda. Every year, 6000 women die due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth, uterine rupture accounts for about 8% of all maternal deaths.
The objective of this study was to establish the incidence of uterine rupture, predisposing factors, maternal and fetal outcomes and modes of management at a regional referral university hospital in South-western Uganda.
Case–control design of women with uterine rupture during 2005–2006. Controls were women who had spontaneous vaginal delivery or were delivered by caesarean section without uterine rupture as a complication. For every case, three consecutive in-patient chart numbers were picked and retrieved as controls. All available case files, labour ward and theater records were reviewed.
A total of 83 cases of uterine rupture out of 10940 deliveries were recorded giving an incidence of uterine rupture of 1 in 131 deliveries. Predisposing factors for uterine rupture were previous cesarean section delivery(OR 5.3 95% CI 2.7-10.2), attending < 4 antenatal visits (OR 3.3 95% CI 1.6-6.9), parity ≥ 5(OR 3.67 95% CI 2.0-6.72), no formal education (OR 2.0 95% CI 1.0-3.9), use of herbs (OR15.2 95% CI 6.2-37.0), self referral (OR 6.1 95% CI 3.3-11.2) and living in a distance >5 km from the facility (OR 10.86 95% CI 1.46-81.03). There were 106 maternal deaths during the study period giving a facility maternal mortality ratio of 1034 /100,000 live births, there were 10 maternal deaths due to uterine rupture giving a case fatality rate of 12%.
Uterine rupture still remains one of the major causes of maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality in Mbarara Regional referral Hospital in Western Uganda. Promotion of skilled attendance at birth, use of family planning among those at high risk, avoiding use of herbs during pregnancy and labour, correct use of partograph and preventing un necesarry c-sections are essential in reducing the occurences of uterine repture.
PMCID: PMC3668214  PMID: 23718798
Uterine rupture; Maternal morbidity; Obstructed labour; Fetal outcome; Obstetric fistula; (previous) Caesarean section; Prolonged labour
8.  Incidence and Predictors of Pregnancy among a Cohort of HIV-Positive Women Initiating Antiretroviral Therapy in Mbarara, Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63411.
Many people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa desire biological children. Implementation of HIV prevention strategies that support the reproductive goals of people living with HIV while minimizing HIV transmission risk to sexual partners and future children requires a comprehensive understanding of pregnancy in this population. We analyzed prospective cohort data to determine pregnancy incidence and predictors among HIV-positive women initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) in a setting with high HIV prevalence and fertility.
Participants were enrolled in the Uganda AIDS Rural Treatment Outcomes (UARTO) cohort of HIV-positive individuals initiating ART in Mbarara. Bloodwork (including CD4 cells/mm3, HIV viral load) and questionnaires (including socio-demographics, health status, sexual behavior, partner dynamics, HIV history, and self-reported pregnancy) were completed at baseline and quarterly. Our analysis includes 351 HIV-positive women (18–49 years) who enrolled between 2005–2011. We measured pregnancy incidence by proximal and distal time relative to ART initiation and used multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression analysis (with repeated events) to identify baseline and time-dependent predictors of pregnancy post-ART initiation.
At baseline (pre-ART initiation), median age was 33 years [IQR: 27–37] and median prior livebirths was four [IQR: 2–6]. 38% were married with 61% reporting HIV-positive spouses. 73% of women had disclosed HIV status to a primary sexual partner. Median baseline CD4 was 137 cells/mm3 [IQR: 81–207]. At enrolment, 9.1% (31/342) reported current pregnancy. After ART initiation, 84 women experienced 105 pregnancies over 3.8 median years of follow-up, yielding a pregnancy incidence of 9.40 per 100 WYs. Three years post-ART initiation, cumulative probability of at least one pregnancy was 28% and independently associated with younger age (Adjusted Hazard Ratio (AHR): 0.89/year increase; 95%CI: 0.86–0.92) and HIV serostatus disclosure to primary sexual partner (AHR: 2.45; 95%CI: 1.29–4.63).
Nearly one-third of women became pregnant within three years of initiating ART, highlighting the need for integrated services to prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce periconception-related risks for HIV-infected women choosing to conceive. Association with younger age and disclosure suggests a role for early and couples-based safer conception counselling.
PMCID: PMC3660357  PMID: 23704906
9.  Poor retention does not have to be the rule: retention of volunteer community health workers in Uganda 
Health Policy and Planning  2013;29(3):388-395.
Globally, health worker shortages continue to plague developing countries. Community health workers are increasingly being promoted to extend primary health care to underserved populations. Since 2004, Healthy Child Uganda (HCU) has trained volunteer community health workers in child health promotion in rural southwest Uganda. This study analyses the retention and motivation of volunteer community health workers trained by HCU. It presents retention rates over a 5-year period and provides insight into volunteer motivation. The findings are based on a 2010 retrospective review of the community health worker registry and the results of a survey on selection and motivation. The survey was comprised of qualitative and quantitative questions and verbally administered to a convenience sample of project participants. Between February 2004 and July 2009, HCU trained 404 community health workers (69% female) in 175 villages. Volunteers had an average age of 36.7 years, 4.9 children and some primary school education. Ninety-six per cent of volunteer community health workers were retained after 1 year (389/404), 91% after 2 years (386/404) and 86% after 5 years (101/117). Of the 54 ‘dropouts’, main reasons cited for discontinuation included ‘too busy’ (12), moved (11), business/employment (8), death (6) and separation/divorce (6). Of 58 questionnaire respondents, most (87%) reported having been selected at an inclusive community meeting. Pair-wise ranking was used to assess the importance of seven ‘motivational factors’ among respondents. Those highest ranked were ‘improved child health’, ‘education/training’ and ‘being asked for advice/assistance by peers’, while the modest ‘transport allowance’ ranked lowest. Our findings suggest that in our rural, African setting, volunteer community health workers can be retained over the medium term. Community health worker programmes should invest in community involvement in selection, quality training, supportive supervision and incentives, which may promote improved retention.
PMCID: PMC4011172  PMID: 23650334
Community health worker; retention; motivation; volunteer
10.  The WHOMEN’s Scale (Women’s HAART Optimism Monitoring and EvaluatioN Scale v.1) and the Association with Fertility Intentions and Sexual Behaviours Among HIV-Positive Women in Uganda 
AIDS and behavior  2009;13(Suppl 1):72-81.
The objective of this study was to develop a reliable HAART optimism scale among HIV-positive women in Uganda and to test the scale’s validity against measures of fertility intentions, sexual activity, and unprotected sexual intercourse. We used cross-sectional survey data of 540 women (18–50 years) attending Mbarara University’s HIV clinic in Uganda. Women were asked how much they agreed or disagreed with 23 statements about HAART. Data were subjected to a principal components and factor analyses. Subsequently, we tested the association between the scale and fertility intentions and sexual behaviour using Wilcoxon rank sum test. Factor analysis yielded three factors, one of which was an eight-item HAART optimism scale with moderately high internal consistency (α = 0.70). Women who reported that they intended to have (more) children had significantly higher HAART optimism scores (median = 13.5 [IQR: 12–16]) than women who did not intend to have (more) children (median = 10.5 [IQR: 8–12]; P <0.0001). Similarly, women who were sexually active and who reported practicing unprotected sexual intercourse had significantly higher HAART optimism scores than women who were sexually abstinent or who practiced protected sexual intercourse. Our reliable and valid scale, termed the Women’s HAART Optimism Monitoring and EvaluatioN scale (WHOMEN’s scale), may be valuable to broader studies investigating the role of HAART optimism on reproductive intentions and sexual behaviours of HIV-positive women in high HIV prevalence settings.
PMCID: PMC3606958  PMID: 19387819
HIV; HAART; Uganda; Scale; HAART optimism; Women; Fertility intentions; Sexual behaviour; HAART optimism scale
11.  Influence of Birth Preparedness, Decision-Making on Location of Birth and Assistance by Skilled Birth Attendants among Women in South-Western Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35747.
Assistance by skilled birth attendants (SBAs) during childbirth is one of the strategies aimed at reducing maternal morbidity and mortality in low-income countries. However, the relationship between birth preparedness and decision-making on location of birth and assistance by skilled birth attendants in this context is not well studied. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of birth preparedness practices and decision-making and assistance by SBAs among women in south-western Uganda.
Community survey methods were used to identify 759 recently delivered women from 120 villages in rural Mbarara district. Interviewer-administered questionnaires were used to collect data. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess the relationship between birth preparedness, decision-making on location of birth and assistance by SBAs.
35% of the women had been prepared for childbirth and the prevalence of assistance by SBAs in the sample was 68%. The final decision regarding location of birth was made by the woman herself (36%), the woman with spouse (56%) and the woman with relative/friend (8%). The relationships between birth preparedness and women decision-making on location of birth in consultation with spouse/friends/relatives and choosing assistance by SBAs showed statistical significance which persisted after adjusting for possible confounders (OR 1.5, 95% CI: 1.0–2.4) and (OR 4.4, 95% CI: 3.0–6.7) respectively. Education, household assets and birth preparedness showed clear synergistic effect on the relationship between decision-maker on location of birth and assistance by SBAs. Other factors which showed statistical significant relationships with assistance by SBAs were ANC attendance, parity and residence.
Women’s decision-making on location of birth in consultation with spouse/friends/relatives and birth preparedness showed significant effect on choosing assistance by SBAs at birth. Education and household assets ownership showed a synergistic effect on the relationship between the decision-maker and assistance by SBAs.
PMCID: PMC3338788  PMID: 22558214
12.  The pathway of obstructed labour as perceived by communities in south-western Uganda: a grounded theory study 
Global Health Action  2011;4:10.3402/gha.v4i0.8529.
Obstructed labour is still a major cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality in Uganda, where many women give birth at home alone or assisted by non-skilled birth attendants. Little is known of how the community view obstructed labour, and what actions they take in cases where this complication occurs.
The objective of the study was to explore community members’ understanding of and actions taken in cases of obstructed labour in south-western Uganda.
Grounded theory (GT) was used to analyse data from 20 focus group discussions (FGDs), 10 with women and 10 with men, which were conducted in eight rural and two urban communities.
A conceptual model based on the community members’ understanding of obstructed labour and actions taken in response is presented as a pathway initiated by women's desire to ‘protecting own integrity’ (core category). The pathway consisted of six other categories closely linked to the core category, namely: (1) ‘taking control of own birth process’; (2) ‘reaching the limit – failing to give birth’ (individual level); (3) ‘exhausting traditional options’; (4) ‘partner taking charge’; (5) ‘facing challenging referral conditions’ (community level); and finally (6) ‘enduring a non-responsive healthcare system’ (healthcare system level).
There is a need to understand and acknowledge women's reluctance to involve others during childbirth. However, the healthcare system should provide acceptable care and a functional referral system closer to the community, thus supporting the community's ability to seek timely care as a response to obstructed labour. Easy access to mobile phones may improve referral systems. Upgrading of infrastructure in the region requires a multi-sectoral approach. Testing of the conceptual model through a quantitative questionnaire is recommended.
PMCID: PMC3248029  PMID: 22216018
obstructed labour; community members; understanding; actions; protecting own integrity; Uganda; Africa; maternal mortality; childbirth; delivery care; mobile phones; transport
13.  Can Volunteer Community Health Workers Decrease Child Morbidity and Mortality in Southwestern Uganda? An Impact Evaluation 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e27997.
The potential for community health workers to improve child health in sub-Saharan Africa is not well understood. Healthy Child Uganda implemented a volunteer community health worker child health promotion model in rural Uganda. An impact evaluation was conducted to assess volunteer community health workers' effect on child morbidity, mortality and to calculate volunteer retention.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Two volunteer community health workers were selected, trained and promoted child health in each of 116 villages (population ∼61,000) during 2006–2009. Evaluation included a household survey of mothers at baseline and post-intervention in intervention/control areas, retrospective reviews of community health worker birth/child death reports and post-intervention focus group discussions. Retention was calculated from administrative records. Main outcomes were prevalence of recent child illness/underweight status, community health worker reports of child deaths, focus group perception of effect, and community health worker retention. After 18–36 months, 86% of trained volunteers remained active. Post-intervention surveys in intervention households revealed absolute reductions of 10.2% [95%CI (−17.7%, −2.6%)] in diarrhea prevalence and 5.8% [95%CI (−11.5%, −0.003%)] in fever/malaria; comparative decreases in control households were not statistically significant. Underweight prevalence was reduced by 5.1% [95%CI (−10.7%, 0.4%)] in intervention households. Community health worker monthly reports revealed a relative decline of 53% in child deaths (<5 years old), during the first 18 months of intervention. Focus groups credited community health workers with decreasing child deaths, improved care-seeking practices, and new income-generating opportunities.
A low-cost child health promotion model using volunteer community health workers demonstrated decreased child morbidity, dramatic mortality trend declines and high volunteer retention. This sustainable model could be scaled-up to sub-Saharan African communities with limited resources and high child health needs.
PMCID: PMC3237430  PMID: 22194801
14.  Predictors and outcome of surgical repair of obstetric fistula at a regional referral hospital, Mbarara, western Uganda 
BMC Urology  2011;11:23.
Obstetric fistula although virtually eliminated in high income countries, still remains a prevalent and debilitating condition in many parts of the developing world. It occurs in areas where access to care at childbirth is limited, or of poor quality and where few hospitals offer the necessary corrective surgery.
This was a prospective observational study where all women who attended Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital in western Uganda with obstetric fistula during the study period were assessed pre-operatively for social demographics, fistula characteristics, classification and outcomes after surgery. Assessment for fistula closure and stress incontinence after surgery was done using a dye test before discharge
Of the 77 women who were recruited in this study, 60 (77.9%) had successful closure of their fistulae. Unsuccessful fistula closure was significantly associated with large fistula size (Odds Ratio 6 95% Confidential interval 1.46-24.63), circumferential fistulae (Odds ratio 9.33 95% Confidential interval 2.23-39.12) and moderate to severe vaginal scarring (Odds ratio 12.24 95% Confidential interval 1.52-98.30). Vaginal scarring was the only factor independently associated with unsuccessful fistula repair (Odds ratio 10 95% confidential interval 1.12-100.57). Residual stress incontinence after successful fistula closure was associated with type IIb fistulae (Odds ratio 5.56 95% Confidential interval 1.34-23.02), circumferential fistulae (Odds ratio 10.5 95% Confidential interval 1.39-79.13) and previous unsuccessful fistula repair (Odds ratio 4.8 95% Confidential interval 1.27-18.11). Independent predictors for residual stress incontinence after successful fistula closure were urethral involvement (Odds Ratio 4.024 95% Confidential interval 2.77-5.83) and previous unsuccessful fistula repair (Odds ratio 38.69 95% Confidential interval 2.13-703.88).
This study demonstrated that large fistula size, circumferential fistulae and marked vaginal scarring are predictors for unsuccessful fistula repair while predictors for residual stress incontinence after successful fistula closure were urethral involvement, circumferential fistulae and previous unsuccessful fistula repair.
PMCID: PMC3252285  PMID: 22151960
15.  Knowledge of obstetric danger signs and birth preparedness practices among women in rural Uganda 
Reproductive Health  2011;8:33.
Improving knowledge of obstetric danger signs and promoting birth preparedness practices are strategies aimed at enhancing utilization of skilled care in low-income countries. The aim of the study was to explore the association between knowledge of obstetric danger signs and birth preparedness among recently delivered women in south-western Uganda.
The study included 764 recently delivered women from 112 villages in Mbarara district. Community survey methods were used and 764 recently delivered women from 112 villages in Mbarara district were included in study. Interviewer administered questionnaire were used to collect data. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to explore the relationship between knowledge of key danger signs and birth preparedness.
Fifty two percent of women knew at least one key danger sign during pregnancy, 72% during delivery and 72% during postpartum. Only 19% had knowledge of 3 or more key danger signs during the three periods. Of the four birth preparedness practices; 91% had saved money, 71% had bought birth materials, 61% identified a health professional and 61% identified means of transport. Overall 35% of the respondents were birth prepared. The relationship between knowledge of at least one key danger sign during pregnancy or during postpartum and birth preparedness showed statistical significance which persisted after adjusting for probable confounders (OR 1.8, 95% CI: 1.2-2.6) and (OR 1.9, 95% CI: 1.2-3.0) respectively. Young age and high levels of education had synergistic effect on the relationship between knowledge and birth preparedness. The associations between knowledge of at least one key danger sign during childbirth or knowledge that prolonged labour was a key danger sign and birth preparedness were not statistically significant.
The prevalence of recently delivered women who had knowledge of key danger signs or those who were birth prepared was very low. Since the majority of women attend antenatal care sessions, the quality and methods of delivery of antenatal care education require review so as to improve its effectiveness. Universal primary and secondary education programmes ought to be promoted so as to enhance the impact of knowledge of key danger signs on birth preparedness practices.
PMCID: PMC3231972  PMID: 22087791
16.  Individual and health facility factors and the risk for obstructed labour and its adverse outcomes in south-western Uganda 
Obstructed labour is still a major cause of maternal morbidity and mortality and of adverse outcome for newborns in low-income countries. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of individual and health facility factors and the risk for obstructed labour and its adverse outcomes in south-western Uganda.
A review was performed on 12,463 obstetric records for the year 2006 from six hospitals located in south-western Uganda and 11,180 women records were analysed. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were applied to control for probable confounders.
Prevalence of obstructed labour for the six hospitals was 10.5% and the main causes were cephalopelvic disproportion (63.3%), malpresentation or malposition (36.4%) and hydrocephalus (0.3%). The risk of obstructed labour was statistically significantly associated with being resident of a particular district [Isingiro] (AOR 1.39, 95% CI: 1.04-1.86), with nulliparous status (AOR 1.47, 95% CI: 1.22-1.78), having delivered once before (AOR 1.57, 95% CI: 1.30-1.91) and age group 15-19 years (AOR 1.21, 95% CI: 1.02-1.45). The risk for perinatal death as an adverse outcome was statistically significantly associated with districts other than five comprising the study area (AOR 2.85, 95% CI: 1.60-5.08) and grand multiparous status (AOR 1.89, 95% CI: 1.11-3.22). Women who lacked paid employment were at increased risk of obstructed labour. Perinatal mortality rate was 142/1000 total births in women with obstructed labour compared to 65/1000 total births in women without the condition. The odds of having maternal complications in women with obstructed labour were 8 times those without the condition. The case fatality rate for obstructed labour was 1.2%.
Individual socio-demographic and health system factors are strongly associated with obstructed labour and its adverse outcome in south-western Uganda. Our study provides baseline information which may be used by policy makers and implementers to improve implementation of safe motherhood programmes.
PMCID: PMC3204267  PMID: 21995340
17.  Diminishing Availability of Publicly Funded Slots for Antiretroviral Initiation among HIV-Infected ART-Eligible Patients in Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e14098.
The impact of flat-line funding in the global scale up of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV-infected patients in Africa has not yet been well described.
We evaluated ART-eligible patients and patients starting ART at a prototypical scale up ART clinic in Mbarara, Uganda between April 1, 2009 and May 14, 2010 where four stakeholders sponsor treatment – two PEPFAR implementing organizations, the Ugandan Ministry of Health – Global Fund (MOH-GF) and a private foundation named the Family Treatment Fund (FTF). We assessed temporal trends in the number of eligible patients, the number starting ART and tabulated the distribution of the stakeholders supporting ART initiation by month and quartile of time during this interval. We used survival analyses to assess changes in the rate of ART initiation over calendar time.
A total of 1309 patients who were eligible for ART made visits over the 14 month period of the study and of these 819 started ART. The median number of ART eligible patients each month was 88 (IQR: 74 to 115). By quartile of calendar time, PEPFAR and MOH sponsored 290, 192, 180, and 49 ART initiations whereas the FTF started 1, 2, 1 and 104 patients respectively. By May of 2010 (the last calendar month of observation) FTF sponsored 88% of all ART initiations. Becoming eligible for ART in the 3rd (HR = 0.58, 95% 0.45–0.74) and 4th quartiles (HR = 0.49, 95% CI: 0.36–0.65) was associated with delay in ART initiation compared to the first quartile in multivariable analyses.
During a period of flat line funding from multinational donors for ART programs, reductions in the number of ART initiations by public programs (i.e., PEPFAR and MOH-GF) and delays in ART initiation became apparent at the a large prototypical scale-up ART clinic in Uganda.
PMCID: PMC2991339  PMID: 21124842
20.  Depression During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Among HIV-Infected Women on Antiretroviral Therapy in Uganda 
Supplemental Digital Content is Available in the Text.
Among HIV-infected women, perinatal depression compromises clinical, maternal, and child health outcomes. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is associated with lower depression symptom severity but the uniformity of effect through pregnancy and postpartum periods is unknown.
We analyzed prospective data from 447 HIV-infected women (18–49 years) initiating ART in rural Uganda (2005–2012). Participants completed blood work and comprehensive questionnaires quarterly. Pregnancy status was assessed by self-report. Analysis time periods were defined as currently pregnant, postpartum (0–12 months post-pregnancy outcome), or non–pregnancy-related. Depression symptom severity was measured using a modified Hopkins Symptom Checklist 15, with scores ranging from 1 to 4. Probable depression was defined as >1.75. Linear regression with generalized estimating equations was used to compare mean depression scores over the 3 periods.
At enrollment, median age was 32 years (interquartile range: 27–37), median CD4 count was 160 cells per cubic millimeter (interquartile range: 95–245), and mean depression score was 1.75 (s = 0.58) (39% with probable depression). Over 4.1 median years of follow-up, 104 women experienced 151 pregnancies. Mean depression scores did not differ across the time periods (P = 0.75). Multivariable models yielded similar findings. Increasing time on ART, viral suppression, better physical health, and “never married” were independently associated with lower mean depression scores. Findings were consistent when assessing probable depression.
Although the lack of association between depression and perinatal periods is reassuring, high depression prevalence at treatment initiation and continued incidence across pregnancy and non–pregnancy-related periods of follow-up highlight the critical need for mental health services for HIV-infected women to optimize both maternal and perinatal health.
PMCID: PMC4251908  PMID: 25436816
depression; pregnancy; postpartum; perinatal; HIV infection; antiretroviral therapy; mental health; maternal health; Uganda

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