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1.  Economic evaluation of the practical approach to lung health and informal provider interventions for improving the detection of tuberculosis and chronic airways disease at primary care level in Malawi: study protocol for cost-effectiveness analysis 
Background
Chronic airway diseases pose a big challenge to health systems in most developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. A diagnosis for people with chronic or persistent cough is usually delayed because of individual and health system barriers. However, delayed diagnosis and treatment facilitates further transmission, severity of disease with complications and mortality. The objective of this study is to assess the cost-effectiveness of the practical approach to lung health strategy, a patient-centred approach for diagnosis and treatment of common respiratory illnesses in primary healthcare settings, as a means of strengthening health systems to improve the quality of management of respiratory diseases.
Methods/design
Economic evaluation nested in a cluster randomised controlled trial with three arms will be performed. Measures of effectiveness and costs for all arms of the study will be obtained from the cluster randomised controlled clinical trial. The main outcome measures are a combined rate of major respiratory diseases milestones and process indicators extracted from the practical approach to lung health strategy. For analysis, descriptive as well as regression techniques will be used. A cost-effectiveness analysis will be performed according to intention-to-treat principle and from a societal perspective. Cost-effectiveness ratios will be calculated using bootstrapping techniques.
Discussion
We hope to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of the practical approach to lung health and informal healthcare providers, see an improvement in patients’ quality of life, achieve a reduction in the duration and occurrence of episodes and the chronicity of respiratory diseases, and are able to report a decrease in the social cost. If the practical approach to lung health and informal healthcare provider’s interventions are cost-effective, they could be scaled up to all primary healthcare centres.
Trial registration
PACTR: PACTR201411000910192
doi:10.1186/s13012-014-0195-8
PMCID: PMC4302070  PMID: 25567289
2.  From PALSA PLUS to PALM PLUS: adapting and developing a South African guideline and training intervention to better integrate HIV/AIDS care with primary care in rural health centers in Malawi 
Background
Only about one-third of eligible HIV/AIDS patients receive anti-retroviral treatment (ART). Decentralizing treatment is crucial to wider and more equitable access, but key obstacles are a shortage of trained healthcare workers (HCW) and challenges integrating HIV/AIDS care with other primary care. This report describes the development of a guideline and training program (PALM PLUS) designed to integrate HIV/AIDS care with other primary care in Malawi. PALM PLUS was adapted from PALSA PLUS, developed in South Africa, and targets middle-cadre HCWs (clinical officers, nurses, and medical assistants). We adapted it to align with Malawi's national treatment protocols, more varied healthcare workforce, and weaker health system infrastructure.
Methods/Design
The international research team included the developers of the PALSA PLUS program, key Malawi-based team members and personnel from national and district level Ministry of Health (MoH), professional associations, and an international non-governmental organization. The PALSA PLUS guideline was extensively revised based on Malawi national disease-specific guidelines. Advice and input was sought from local clinical experts, including middle-cadre personnel, as well as Malawi MoH personnel and representatives of Malawian professional associations.
Results
An integrated guideline adapted to Malawian protocols for adults with respiratory conditions, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other primary care conditions was developed. The training program was adapted to Malawi's health system and district-level supervision structure. PALM PLUS is currently being piloted in a cluster-randomized trial in health centers in Malawi (ISRCTN47805230).
Discussion
The PALM PLUS guideline and training intervention targets primary care middle-cadre HCWs with the objective of improving HCW satisfaction and retention, and the quality of patient care. Successful adaptations are feasible, even across health systems as different as those of South Africa and Malawi.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-82
PMCID: PMC3162564  PMID: 21791048

Results 1-2 (2)