Springer Search: "human resources for health"
Effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal and neonatal health services in three referral hospitals in Guinea: an interrupted time-series analysis
In sub-Saharan Africa, there is limited evidence on the COVID-19 health-related effect from front-line health provision settings. Therefore, this study aimed to analyse the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on routine maternal and neonatal health services in three referral hospitals.Materials and methods
We conducted an observational study using aggregate monthly maternal and neonatal health services routine data for two years (March 2019–February 2021) in three referral hospitals including two maternities: Hôpital National Ignace Deen (HNID) in Conakry and Hôpital Regional de Mamou (HRM) in Mamou and one neonatology ward: Institut de Nutrition et de Santé de l’Enfant (INSE) in Conakry. We compared indicators of health service utilisation, provision and health outcomes before and during the COVID-19 pandemic periods. An interrupted time-series analysis (ITSA) was performed to assess the relationship between changes in maternal and neonatal health indicators and COVID-19 through cross-correlation.Results
During COVID-19, the mean monthly number (MMN) of deliveries decreased significantly in HNID (p = 0.039) and slightly increased in HRM. In the two maternities, the change in the MMN of deliveries were significantly associated with COVID-19. The ITSA confirmed the association between the increase in the MMN of deliveries and COVID-19 in HRM (bootstrapped F-value = 1.46, 95%CI [0.036–8.047], p < 0.01). We observed an increasing trend in obstetric complications in HNID, while the trend declined in HRM. The MMN of maternal deaths increased significantly (p = 0.011) in HNID, while it slightly increased in HRM. In INSE, the MMN of neonatal admissions significantly declined (p < 0.001) and this decline was associated with COVID-19. The MMN of neonatal deaths significantly decreased (p = 0.009) in INSE and this decrease was related to COVID-19.Conclusion
The pandemic negatively affected the maternal and neonatal care provision, health service utilisation and health outcomes in two referral hospitals located in Conakry, the COVID-19 most-affected region.
Evolution and lessons from an integrated service delivery network in North West Syria
Northwest Syria (NWS) is a complex and extremely fragile operating environment, with more than 2.8 million people needing humanitarian assistance. To support a common standard of care delivery and enable coordination among the multiple providers in NWS, WHO developed an Essential Health Services package (EHSP) in 2016-17 and subsequently supported a facility network model to deliver the EHSP. This article provides an evaluation of the network to date, aiming to inform further development of the network and draw wider lessons for application of similar approaches in complex emergency settings.Methods
This mixed method study included document review, participatory, qualitative and quantitative data, gathered in the first half of 2021. Participatory data came from two group model building workshops with 21 funders and implementers. Semi-structured interviews with 81 funders, health professionals and community members were also conducted. Analyses of the workshops and interviews was inductive, however a deductive approach was used for synthesising insights across this and the document review. The final component was a survey of health providers (59 health care professionals) and service users (233 pregnant women and 214 persons living with NCDs) across network and other comparable facilities, analysed using routine descriptive and inferential statistics. Findings across all methods were triangulated.Results
The study finds that the network and its accompanying essential service package were relevant to the dynamic and challenging context, with high but shifting population needs and multiple uncoordinated providers. Judged in relation to its original goals of comprehensive, coordinated services, equitable access and efficient service delivery, the data indicate that gains have been made in all three areas through the network, although attribution is challenging, given the complex environment. The context remains challenging, with shifting boundaries and populations displaced by conflict, difficulties in retaining staff, the need to import medicines and supplies across borders, and governance gaps.Conclusion
This study adds to a very limited literature on coordinated network approaches used to raise care quality and improve referrals and efficiency in a complex emergency setting. Although areas of ongoing challenge, including for sustainability, are noted, the network demonstrated some resilience strategies and can provide lessons for other similar contexts.
Strengthening primary care for diabetes and hypertension in Eswatini: study protocol for a nationwide cluster-randomized controlled trial
Diabetes and hypertension are increasingly important population health challenges in Eswatini. Prior to this project, healthcare for these conditions was primarily provided through physician-led teams at tertiary care facilities and accessed by only a small fraction of people living with diabetes or hypertension. This trial tests and evaluates two community-based healthcare service models implemented at the national level, which involve health care personnel at primary care facilities and utilize the country’s public sector community health worker cadre (the rural health motivators [RHMs]) to help generate demand for care.Methods
This study is a cluster-randomized controlled trial with two treatment arms and one control arm. The unit of randomization is a primary healthcare facility along with all RHMs (and their corresponding service areas) assigned to the facility. A total of 84 primary healthcare facilities were randomized in a 1:1:1 ratio to the three study arms. The first treatment arm implements differentiated service delivery (DSD) models at the clinic and community levels with the objective of improving treatment uptake and adherence among clients with diabetes or hypertension. In the second treatment arm, community distribution points (CDPs), which previously targeted clients living with human immunodeficiency virus, extend their services to clients with diabetes or hypertension by allowing them to pick up medications and obtain routine nurse-led follow-up visits in their community rather than at the healthcare facility. In both treatment arms, RHMs visit households regularly, screen clients at risk, provide personalized counseling, and refer clients to either primary care clinics or the nearest CDP. In the control arm, primary care clinics provide diabetes and hypertension care services but without the involvement of RHMs and the implementation of DSD models or CDPs. The primary endpoints are mean glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and systolic blood pressure among adults aged 40 years and older living with diabetes or hypertension, respectively. These endpoints will be assessed through a household survey in the RHM service areas. In addition to the health impact evaluation, we will conduct studies on cost-effectiveness, syndemics, and the intervention’s implementation processes.Discussion
This study has the ambition to assist the Eswatini government in selecting the most effective delivery model for diabetes and hypertension care. The evidence generated with this national-level cluster-randomized controlled trial may also prove useful to policy makers in the wider Sub-Saharan African region.Trial registration
NCT04183413. Trial registration date: December 3, 2019
Inequality in time to first antenatal care visits and its predictors among pregnant women in India: an evidence from national family health survey
For countries with high maternal mortality and morbidity, on-time initiation of antenatal care (ANC) is indispensable. Therefore this paper aims for studying the median survival time (MST) of first ANC among pregnant women as well as understanding the contextual factors that influence a mother’s decision to access ANC services in India. The study used cross-sectional survey data obtained from the NFHS-4 conducted in 2015–2016. The MST of the timing of the first ANC visit was estimated using the Kaplan-Meir estimate. A multivariate Cox-proportional hazard regression model was used to identify the factors related to the timing of the first ANC visit with a 95% confidence interval (CI). Overall at least one ANC checkup was assessed by 60.15% of women and the median survival time for the first ANC checkup was found to be 4 months. Early initiation of ANC in pregnant women increased by 37% (AHR: 1.37, CI:1.34–1.39) for primary education, and 88% (AHR:1.88, CI:1.86–1.90) for secondary education compared to women having no formal education. Results of the current study revealed that the median survival time of the first ANC visit was 4 months in India which is delayed compared to recommendations of WHO. Therefore boosting the access and utilization of antenatal care coverage among pregnant women can ensure the best health outcomes for their pregnancy.
Migration of nurses and doctors: pull factors to work in Saudi Arabia
Although Saudi Arabia is a common destination to which nurses and doctors migrate, few studies have explored the pull factors attracting them to work in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia. This qualitative study explores the pull factors drawing nurses and doctors to work in Saudi Arabian hospitals.Methods
The study utilized a qualitative approach with focus groups. The participants included 83 doctors and nurses at two government hospitals.Results
Five themes (rewards, job entry requirements, religion, influence of family and friends, and changing work environments) were identified based on the 10 focus group sessions.Conclusion
Moving forward, health managers should proactively plan the state of healthcare as the need for migrant healthcare workers changes.
Effects of the ECHO tele-mentoring program on HIV/TB service delivery in health facilities in Zambia: a mixed-methods, retrospective program evaluation
In the quest to ensure that quality healthcare is provided to all citizens through building healthcare worker capacity and extending reach for expert services, Zambia’s Ministry of Health (MoH) in collaboration with its partners PEPFAR through the CDC and HRSA, began to implement the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) tele-mentoring program across the country through the Health Workers for the 21st Century (HW21) Project and University Teaching Hospital HIV/AIDS Project (UTH-HAP). This ECHO tele-mentoring approach was deemed pivotal in helping to improve the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) service delivery capacity of health care workers.Method
The study used a mixed method, retrospective program evaluation to examine ECHO participants’ performance in the management of HIV/AIDS patients in all the 10 provinces of Zambia.Case presentation
A phenomenological design was applied in order to elicit common experiences of ECHO users through focus group discussions using semi-structured facilitation guides in four provinces (Eastern, Lusaka, Southern and Western) implementing ECHO tele-mentoring approach. These provinces were purposively selected for this study. From which, only participants that had a monthly frequency of ECHO attendance of ten (10) and above were selected. The participants were purposively selected based on the type of cadre as well as facility type so that the final sample consisted of Doctors, Nurses, Midwives, Clinical Officers, Medical Licentiates, Pharmacy and Laboratory Personnel. All sessions were audio recorded and transcribed by the data collectors. A thematic content analysis approach was adopted for analyzing content of the interview's transcripts.Results
Enhanced knowledge and skills of participants on HIV/TB improved by 46/70 (65.7%) in all provinces, while 47/70 (67.1%) of the participants reported that ECHO improved their clinical practice. Further, 12/70 (17.1%) of participants in all provinces reported that presenter/presentation characteristics facilitated ECHO implementation and participation. While, 15/70(21.4%) of the participants reported that ownership of the program had contributed to ECHO implementation and participation. Coordination, another enabler accounted for 14/70 (20%). Inclusiveness was reported as a barrier by 16/70 (22.8%) of the participants while 6/70 (8.6%) of them reported attitudes as a barrier (8.6%) to ECHO participation. In addition, 34/70 (48.6%) reported poor connectivity as a barrier to ECHO implementation and participation while 8/70 (11.5%) of the participants reported that the lack of ownership of the ECHO program was a barrier. 22/70 (31.4%) reported that increased workload was also a barrier to the program’s implementation.Conclusion
Consistent with its logical pathway model, healthcare providers’ participation in ECHO sessions and onsite mentorship contributed to improved knowledge on HIV/TB among health care providers and patient health outcomes. In addition, barriers to ECHO implementation were intrinsic to the program its self, such as coordination, presenter and presentation characteristics other barriers were extrinsic to the program such as poor connectivity, poor infrastructure in health facilities and negative attitudes towards ECHO. Improving on intrinsic factors and mitigating extrinsic factors may help improve ECHO outcomes and scale-up plans.
Evidence for continuing professional development standards for regulated health practitioners in Australia: a systematic review
Health practitioner regulators throughout the world use continuing professional development (CPD) standards to ensure that registrants maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge, expertise and competence. As the CPD standard for most regulated health professions in Australia are currently under review, it is timely that an appraisal of the evidence be undertaken.Methods
A systematic review was conducted using major databases (including MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycInfo, and CINAHL), search engines and grey literature for evidence published between 2015 and April 2022. Publications included in the review were assessed against the relevant CASP checklist for quantitative studies and the McMaster University checklist for qualitative studies.Results
The search yielded 87 abstracts of which 37 full-text articles met the inclusion criteria. The evidence showed that mandatory CPD requirements are a strong motivational factor for their completion and improves practitioners’ knowledge and behaviour. CPD that is more interactive is most effective and e-learning is as effective as face-to-face CPD. There is no direct evidence to suggest the optimal quantity of CPD, although there was some evidence that complex or infrequently used skills deteriorate between 4 months to a year after training, depending on the task.Conclusions
CPD is most effective when it is interactive, uses a variety of methods and is delivered in a sequence involving multiple exposures over a period of time that is focused on outcomes considered important by practitioners. Although there is no optimal quantity of CPD, there is evidence that complex skills may require more frequent CPD.
Women as a driver to address gaps in the global surgical workforce
Five billion people around the world lack access to safe and affordable surgical, anaesthetic, and obstetric care. There is a link between countries in which women are underrepresented in the surgical workforce and those struggling to meet their surgical need. In this commentary article, the underrepresentation of women in low- and middle-income country’s (LMIC) surgical workforce is discussed. It is argued that the issue is self-reinforcing. On one hand, active change requires a sufficient number of female surgeons to initiate it. On the other, women can only start to penetrate the surgical workforce once they are safe, healthy, and motivated enough to do so, in turn depending on the presence of female surgeons to advocate for their female patients and empower future generations of young girls and women.
Specialty preferences of studying-abroad medical students from low- and middle-income countries
This study explored the specialty preferences of China-educated international medical students (IMSs), who are mainly from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and constitute a potential medical workforce both for their home countries and foreign countries, and the influence of migration intentions on their specialty preferences.Methods
A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey was conducted at 5 universities in China. The questionnaire link was distributed electronically among the IMSs at the 5 universities via emails. The questionnaire enquired IMSs’ demographic information, migration intentions and their specialty preferences. The Chi-square test was applied to determine the influence of the respondent’s gender, intention to practise in the home country and intention to practise in a high-income country on their specialty choices. The Chi-square test was also applied to determine the influence of the respondent’s gender, year of study and country of origin on their preferences for generalist-orientated or non-generalist orientated specialties.Results
Altogether, 452 IMSs returned their responses, yielding a response rate of 64.1%. Approximately half of the IMSs planned to not return to their home country. The most selected specialty was general surgery and the least selected specialty was physical medicine and rehabilitation. No significant differences were evident in most specialty preferences between those who intended to return home and those who intended to stay abroad. Among the IMSs having intentions of returning to their home country, male students tended to choose a generalist-orientated specialty, while female students tended to choose a non-generalist-orientated specialty.Conclusion
China-educated IMSs could play important roles in the primary care services as well as other shortage specialties both for their home countries or foreign countries. Therefore, it is recommended that governments in these countries plan migration and recruitment policies that cater for these studying-abroad medical students from LMICs, especially in this challenging time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Implementation of evidence-based multiple focus integrated intensified TB screening to end TB (EXIT-TB) package in East Africa: a qualitative study
Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. We qualitatively evaluated the implementation of an Evidence-Based Multiple Focus Integrated Intensified TB Screening package (EXIT-TB) in the East African region, aimed at increasing TB case detection and number of patients receiving care.Objective
We present the accounts of participants from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia regarding the implementation of EXIT-TB, and suggestions for scaling up.Methods
A qualitative descriptive design was used to gather insights from purposefully selected healthcare workers, community health workers, and other stakeholders. A total of 27, 13, 14, and 19 in-depth interviews were conducted in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia respectively. Data were transcribed and translated simultaneously and then thematically analysed.Results
The EXIT-TB project was described to contribute to increased TB case detection, improved detection of Multidrug-resistant TB patients, reduced delays and waiting time for diagnosis, raised the index of TB suspicion, and improved decision-making among HCWs. The attributes of TB case detection were: (i) free X-ray screening services; (ii) integrating TB case-finding activities in other clinics such as Reproductive and Child Health clinics (RCH), and diabetic clinics; (iii), engagement of CHWs, policymakers, and ministry level program managers; (iv) enhanced community awareness and linkage of clients; (v) cooperation between HCWs and CHWs, (vi) improved screening infrastructure, (vii) the adoption of the new simplified screening criteria and (viii) training of implementers. The supply-side challenges encountered ranged from disorganized care, limited space, the COVID-19 pandemic, inadequate human resources, inadequate knowledge and expertise, stock out of supplies, delayed maintenance of equipment, to absence of X-ray and GeneXpert machines in some facilities. The demand side challenges ranged from delayed care seeking, inadequate awareness, negative beliefs, fears towards screening, to financial challenges. Suggestions for scaling up ranged from improving service delivery, access to diagnostic equipment and supplies, and infrastructure, to addressing client fears and stigma.Conclusion
The EXIT-TB package appears to have contributed towards increasing TB case detection and reducing delays in TB treatment in the study settings. Addressing the challenges identified is needed to maximize the impact of the EXIT-TB intervention.
COVID-19 and human resources for health: analysis of planning, policy responses and actions in Latin American and Caribbean countries
The COVID-19 pandemic led to worldwide health service disruptions, due mainly to insufficient staff availability. To gain insight into policy responses and engage with policy-makers, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed a global approach to assess and measure the impact of COVID-19 on the health workforce. As part of this, WHO, together with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), supported an impact analysis of COVID-19 on health workers and policy responses, through country case studies in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).Methods
We sought to identify lessons learned from policies on human resources for health (HRH) during health emergencies, to improve HRH readiness. First, we performed a rapid literature review for information-gathering. Second, we used the WHO interim guidance and impact measurement framework for COVID-19 and HRH to systematically organize that information. Finally, we used the Health Labour Market Framework to guide the content analysis on COVID-19 response in eight LAC countries and identify lessons learned to improve HRH readiness.Results
Planning and implementing the COVID-19 response required strengthening HRH governance and HRH data and information systems. The results suggest two main aspects for HRH governance crucial to enabling an agile response: (1) aligning objectives among ministries to define and produce regulation and policy actions; and (2) agreeing on the strategy for HRH management between the public and private sectors, and between central and local governments. We identified three areas for improvement: (a) HRH information systems; (b) methodologies to estimate HRH needs; and (c) teams to analyse information for decision-making. Three key actions were identified during countries monitored, reviewed, and updated their response stages: (i) strengthening response through primary health care; (ii); planning HRH needs to implement the vaccination plan; and (iii) securing long-term HRH availability.Conclusion
Countries coordinated and articulated with different stakeholders to align objectives, allocate resources, and agree on policy actions to implement the COVID-19 response. Data and information for HRH preparedness and implementation were key in enabling an agile COVID-19 response and are key areas to explore for improved pandemic preparedness.
Increasing the availability of health workers in rural sub-Saharan Africa: a scoping review of rural pipeline programmes
Rural pipeline approach has recently gain prominent recognition in improving the availability of health workers in hard-to-reach areas such as rural and poor regions. Understanding implications for its successful implementation is important to guide health policy and decision-makers in Sub-Saharan Africa. This review aims to synthesize the evidence on rural pipeline implementation and impacts in sub-Saharan Africa.Methods
We conducted a scoping review using Joanna Briggs Institute guidebook. We searched in PubMed and Google scholar databases and the grey literature. We conducted a thematic analysis to assess the studies. Data were reported following the PRISMA extension for Scoping reviews guidelines.Results
Of the 443 references identified through database searching, 22 met the inclusion criteria. Rural pipeline pillars that generated impacts included ensuring that more rural students are selected into programmes; developing a curriculum oriented towards rural health and rural exposure during training; curriculum oriented to rural health delivery; and ensuring retention of health workers in rural areas through educational and professional support. These impacts varied from one pillar to another and included: increased in number of rural health practitioners; reduction in communication barriers between healthcare providers and community members; changes in household economic and social circumstances especially for students from poor family; improvement of health services quality; improved health education and promotion within rural communities; and motivation of community members to enrol their children in school. However, implementation of rural pipeline resulted in some unintended impacts such as perceived workload increased by trainee’s supervisors; increased job absenteeism among senior health providers; patients’ discomfort of being attended by students; perceived poor quality care provided by students which influenced health facilities attendance. Facilitating factors of rural pipeline implementation included: availability of learning infrastructures in rural areas; ensuring students’ accommodation and safety; setting no age restriction for students applying for rural medical schools; and appropriate academic capacity-building programmes for medical students. Implementation challenges included poor preparation of rural health training schools’ candidates; tuition fees payment; limited access to rural health facilities for students training; inadequate living and working conditions; and perceived discrimination of rural health workers.Conclusion
This review advocates for combined implementation of rural pipeline pillars, taking into account the specificity of country context. Policy and decision-makers in sub-Saharan Africa should extend rural training programmes to involve nurses, midwives and other allied health professionals. Decision-makers in sub-Saharan Africa should also commit more for improving rural living and working environments to facilitate the implementation of rural health workforce development programmes.
Missed nursing care in acute care hospital settings in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review
Missed nursing care undermines nursing standards of care and minimising this phenomenon is crucial to maintaining adequate patient safety and the quality of patient care. The concept is a neglected aspect of human resource for health thinking, and it remains understudied in low-income and middle-income country (LMIC) settings which have 90% of the global nursing workforce shortages. Our objective in this review was to document the prevalence of missed nursing care in LMIC, identify the categories of nursing care that are most missed and summarise the reasons for this.Methods
We conducted a systematic review searching Medline, Embase, Global Health, WHO Global index medicus and CINAHL from their inception up until August 2021. Publications were included if they were conducted in an LMIC and reported on any combination of categories, reasons and factors associated with missed nursing care within in-patient settings. We assessed the quality of studies using the Newcastle Ottawa Scale.Results
Thirty-one studies met our inclusion criteria. These studies were mainly cross-sectional, from upper middle-income settings and mostly relied on nurses’ self-report of missed nursing care. The measurement tools used, and their reporting were inconsistent across the literature. Nursing care most frequently missed were non-clinical nursing activities including those of comfort and communication. Inadequate personnel numbers were the most important reasons given for missed care.Conclusions
Missed nursing care is reported for all key nursing task areas threatening care quality and safety. Data suggest nurses prioritise technical activities with more non-clinical activities missed, this undermines holistic nursing care. Improving staffing levels seems a key intervention potentially including sharing of less skilled activities. More research on missed nursing care and interventions to tackle it to improve quality and safety is needed in LMIC.
PROSPERO registration number: CRD42021286897.
Rural job preferences of graduate class medical students in Ethiopia—a discrete choice experiment (DCE)
Human resource is one of the health system’s building blocks, which ultimately leads to improved health status, equity, and efficiency. However, human resources in the health sector are characterized by high attrition, distributional imbalance, and geographic inequalities in urban and rural settings.Methods
An discrete choice experiment (DCE) with 16 choice tasks with two blocks containing five attributes (salary, housing, drug and medical equipment, year of experience before study leave, management support, and workload) were conducted. A latent class and mixed logit model were fitted to estimate the rural job preferences and heterogeneity. Furthermore, the relative importance, willingness to accept and marginal choice probabilities were calculated. Finally, the interaction of preference with age and sex was tested.Results
A total of 352 (5632 observations) final-year medical students completed the choice tasks. On average, respondents prefer to work with a higher salary with a superior housing allowance In addition, respondents prefer a health facility with a stock of drug and medical equipment which provide education opportunities after one year of service with supportive management with a normal workload. Young medical students prefer lower service years more than older students. Besides age and service year, we do not find an interaction between age/sex and rural job preference attributes.
A three-class latent class model best fits the data. The salary was the most important attribute in classes 1 and 3. Contrary to the other classes, respondents in class 2 do not have a significant preference for salary. Respondents were willing to accept an additional 4271 ETB (104.2 USD), 1998 ETB (48.7 USD), 1896 ETB (46.2 USD), 1869 (45.6 USD), and 1175 ETB (28.7 USD) per month for the inadequate drug and medical supply, mandatory two years of service, heavy workload, unsupportive management, and basic housing, respectively.Conclusion
Rural job uptake by medical students was influenced by all the attributes, and there was individual and group-level heterogeneity in preference. Policymakers should account for the job preferences and heterogeneity to incentivize medical graduates to work in rural settings and minimize attrition.
Reliability and validity of an innovative high performing healthcare system assessment tool
Universal Health coverage (UHC) is the mantra of the twenty-first century yet knowing when it has been achieved or how to best influence its progression remains elusive. An innovative framework for High Performing Healthcare (HPHC) attempts to address these issues. It focuses on measuring four constructs of Accountable, Affordable, Accessible, and Reliable (AAAR) healthcare that contribute to better health outcomes and impact. The HPHC tool collects information on the perceived functionality of health system processes and provides real-time data analysis on the AAAR constructs, and on processes for health system resilience, responsiveness, and quality, that include roles of community, private sector, as well as both demand, and supply factors affecting health system performance. The tool attempts to capture the multidimensionality of UHC measurement and evidence that links health system strengthening activities to outcomes. This paper provides evidence on the reliability and validity of the tool.Methods
Internet survey with non-probability sampling was used for testing reliability and validity of the HPHC tool. The volunteers were recruited using international networks and listservs. Two hundred and thirteen people from public, private, civil society and international organizations volunteered from 35 low-and-middle-income countries. Analyses involved testing reliability and validity and validation from other international sources of information as well as applicability in different setting and contexts.Results
The HPHC tool’s AAAR constructs, and their sub-domains showed high internal consistency (Cronbach alpha >.80) and construct validity. The tool scores normal distribution displayed variations among respondents. In addition, the tool demonstrated its precision and relevance in different contexts/countries. The triangulation of HPHC findings with other international data sources further confirmed the tool’s validity.Conclusions
Besides being reliable and valid, the HPHC tool adds value to the state of health system measurement by focusing on linkages between AAAR processes and health outcomes. It ensures that health system stakeholders take responsibility and are accountable for better system performance, and the community is empowered to participate in decision-making process. The HPHC tool collects and analyzes data in real time with minimum costs, supports monitoring, and promotes adaptive management, policy, and program development for better health outcomes.
An assessment of the performance of the national health research system in Mauritius
The goal of universal health coverage (UHC) is that every individual has access to high-quality health services without running the consequences of financial hardship. The World health report 2013 "Research for universal health coverage" states a performant National Health Research Systems (NHRS) can contribute by providing solutions to challenges encountered in advancing towards UHC by 2030. Pang et al. define a NHRS as the people, institutions, and activities whose primary aim is to generate and promote utilization of high-quality knowledge that can be used to promote, restore, and/or maintain the health status of populations. The WHO Regional Committee for Africa (RC) adopted a resolution in 2015 urging member states to strengthen their NHRS to facilitate production and utilization of evidence in policy development, planning, product development, innovation, and decision-making. This study aimed to calculate NHRS barometer scores for Mauritius in 2020, identify the gaps in NHRS performance, and recommend interventions for boosting the Mauritius NHRS in the pursuit of UHC.Methods
The study used a cross-sectional survey design. A semi-structured NHRS questionnaire was administered and complemented with a review of documents archived in pertinent Mauritius Government Ministries, universities, research-oriented departments, and non-governmental organizations websites. The African NHRS barometer developed in 2016 for countries to monitor the RC resolution implementation was applied. The barometer consists of four NHRS functions (leadership and governance, developing and sustaining resources, producing and utilizing research, financing research for health [R4H]), and 17 sub-functions, e.g., existence of a national policy on research for health (R4H), presence of a Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC), existence of knowledge translation platform.Results
In 2020, Mauritius had an overall average NHRS barometer score of 60.84%. The four NHRS functions average indices were 50.0% for leadership and governance, 77.0% for developing and sustaining resources, 52.0% for producing and utilizing R4H, and 58.2% for financing R4H.Conclusion
The performance of NHRS could be improved through the development of a national R4H policy, strategic plan, prioritized agenda, and national multi-stakeholder health research management forum. Furthermore, increased funding for the NHRS may nurture the human resources for health research capacities, hence the number of pertinent publications and health innovations.
Evaluation of a continuing professional development strategy on COVID-19 for 10 000 health workers in Ghana: a two-pronged approach
COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for health systems worldwide. Since the confirmation of the first COVID-19 case in Ghana in March 2020 Ghanian health workers have reported fear, stress, and low perceived preparedness to respond to COVID-19, with those who had not received adequate training at highest risk. Accordingly, the Paediatric Nursing Education Partnership COVID-19 Response project designed, implemented, and evaluated four open-access continuing professional development courses related to the pandemic, delivered through a two-pronged approach: e-learning and in-person.Methods
This manuscript presents an evaluation of the project's implementation and outcomes using data for a subset of Ghanaian health workers (n = 9966) who have taken the courses. Two questions were answered: first, the extent to which the design and implementation of this two-pronged strategy was successful and, second, outcomes associated with strengthening the capacity of health workers to respond to COVID-19. The methodology involved quantitative and qualitative survey data analysis and ongoing stakeholder consultation to interpret the results.Results
Judged against the success criteria (reach, relevance, and efficiency) the implementation of the strategy was successful. The e-learning component reached 9250 health workers in 6 months. The in-person component took considerably more resources than e-learning but provided hands-on learning to 716 health workers who were more likely to experience barriers to accessing e-learning due to challenges around internet connectivity, or institutional capacity to offer training. After taking the courses, health workers' capacities (addressing misinformation, supporting individuals experiencing effects of the virus, recommending the vaccine, course-specific knowledge, and comfort with e-learning) improved. The effect size, however, varied depending on the course and the variable measured. Overall, participants were satisfied with the courses and found them relevant to their well-being and profession. An area for improvement was refining the content-to-delivery time ratio of the in-person course. Unstable internet connectivity and the high upfront cost of data to access and complete the course online were identified as barriers to e-learning.Conclusions
A two-pronged delivery approach leveraged distinct strengths of respective e-learning and in-person strategies to contribute to a successful continuing professional development initiative in the context of COVID-19.
Increased investment in Universal Health Coverage in Sub–Saharan Africa is crucial to attain the Sustainable Development Goal 3 targets on maternal and child health
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is considered a strategic component of the Sustainable Development Goals specifically for goal 3 which seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, where all individuals and communities have equal access to key promotive, preventive, curative, and rehabilitative health interventions without financial constraints. Despite Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) accelerated gains on the UHC effective coverage of 2.6% between 2010 to 2019, many countries in the sub-region show lagging performance. The major challenges faced in attaining the UHC in many countries include inadequate capital investment for health and their equitable distribution, fiscal space to finance UHC policies and programs. This paper discusses how increased investment in Universal Health Coverage in SSA is crucial to attain the Sustainable Development Goal 3 targets on maternal and child health. The Universal Health Monitoring Framework (UHMF) is adopted in this paper as the underpinning framework. The delivery of essential maternal and child health services to achieve UHC in SSA requires strategic actions such as policies, plans and programs with focus on maternal and child health. We report findings from recently published papers that clearly highlighted the strong connection between health insurance coverage and maternal health care utilization. Strategic actions such as implementing national health insurance scheme (NHIS) that directly incorporates free maternal and child health care could strengthen maternal health services and transform health systems in order to achieve UHC in SSA. We argue that achieving the SDG 3 on maternal and child health will only be possible if significant progress in made in increasing UHC. This is key to ensure optimal maternal health care utilization, and consequently reducing maternal and child deaths.
Achieving universal health coverage and sustainable development goals by 2030: investment estimates to increase production of health professionals in India
COVID-19 has reinforced the importance of having a sufficient, well-distributed and competent health workforce. In addition to improving health outcomes, increased investment in health has the potential to generate employment, increase labour productivity and foster economic growth. We estimate the required investment for increasing the production of the health workforce in India for achieving the UHC/SDGs.Methods
We used data from National Health Workforce Account 2018, Periodic Labour Force Survey 2018–19, population projection of Census of India, and government documents and reports. We distinguish between total stock of health professionals and active health workforce. We estimated current shortages in the health workforce using WHO and ILO recommended health worker:population ratio thresholds and extrapolated the supply of health workforce till 2030, using a range of scenarios of production of doctors and nurses/midwives. Using unit costs of opening a new medical college/nursing institute, we estimated the required levels of investment to bridge the potential gap in the health workforce.Results
To meet the threshold of 34.5 skilled health workers per 10 000 population, there will be a shortfall of 0.16 million doctors and 0.65 million nurses/midwives in the total stock and 0.57 million doctors and 1.98 million nurses/midwives in active health workforce by the year 2030. The shortages are higher when compared with a higher threshold of 44.5 health workers per 10 000 population. The estimated investment for the required increase in the production of health workforce ranges from INR 523 billion to 2 580 billion for doctors and INR 1 096 billion for nurses/midwives. Such investment during 2021–2025 has the potential of an additional employment generation within the health sector to the tune of 5.4 million and to contribute to national income to the extent of INR 3 429 billion annually.Conclusion
India needs to significantly increase the production of doctors and nurses/midwives through investing in opening up new medical colleges. Nursing sector should be prioritized to encourage talents to join nursing profession and provide quality education. India needs to set up a benchmark for skill-mix ratio and provide attractive employment opportunities in the health sector to increase the demand and absorb the new graduates.
Lower extremity amputations (LEAs) in a tertiary hospital in Togo: a retrospective analysis of clinical, biological, radiological, and therapeutic aspects
We analysed the clinical, biological, radiological profiles, and therapeutic patterns of the patients who underwent a surgical lower extremity amputation (LEA) in Togo from 2010 to 2020.Methods
Retrospective analysis of clinical files of adult patients who underwent an LEA at a single centre (Sylvanus Olympio Teaching Hospital) from 1st January 2010 to 31st December 2020. Data were analysed by CDC Epi Info Version 7 and Microsoft Office Excel 2013 software.Results
We included 245 cases. The mean age was 59.62 years (15.22 SD) (range: 15–90 years). The sex ratio was 1.99. The medical history of diabetes mellitus (DM) was found in 143/222 (64.41%) files. The amputation level found in 241/245 (98.37%) files was the leg in 133/241 (55.19%) patients, the knee in 14/241 (5.81%), the thigh in 83/241 (34.44%), and the foot in 11/241 (4.56%). The 143 patients with DM who underwent LEA had infectious and vascular diseases. Patients with previous LEAs were more likely to have the same limb affected than the contralateral one. The odds of trauma as an indication for LEA were twice as high in patients younger than 65 years compared to the older (OR = 2.095, 95% CI = 1.050–4.183). The mortality rate after LEA was 17/238 (7.14%). There was no significant difference between age, sex, presence or absence of DM, and early postoperative complications (P = 0.77; 0.96; 0.97). The mean duration of hospitalization marked in 241/245 (98.37%) files was 36.30 (1–278) days (36.20 SD). Patients with LEAs due to trauma had a significantly longer hospital admission than those with non-traumatic indications, F (3,237) = 5.505, P = 0.001.Conclusions
Compared to previous decades, from 2010 to 2020, the average incidence of LEAs for all causes at Sylvanus Olympio Teaching Hospital (Lomé, Togo) decreased while the percentage of patients with DM who underwent LEAs increased. This setting imposes a multidisciplinary approach and information campaigns to prevent DM, cardiovascular diseases, and relative complications.