Springer Search: "human resources for health"
Framing access to essential medicines in the context of Universal Health Coverage: a critical analysis of health sector strategic plans from eight countries in the WHO African region
Framing affects how issues are understood and portrayed. This profoundly shapes the construction of social problems and how policy options are considered. While access to essential medicines (ATM) in the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region is often framed as a societal problem, there is dominance of medical and technically oriented approaches to analyze and remedy the situation. Hence, the systematic application of social science approaches, such as framing theory, remains under-explored. Through a framing analysis of National Strategic Plans (NSPs) from eight countries, this study explores the applicability and potential usefulness of framing theory to analyze essential medicines policies.Methods
We inductively coded the relevant NSP textual fragments using the qualitative content analysis software ATLAS.ti.22. Benford and Snow’s conceptualization of framing was used to organize the coded data into three frames: diagnostic (problems), prognostic (solutions) and motivational (values and ideological).Results
The following five diagnostic frames were dominant or in-frame: medicine unavailability, ineffective regulation, weak supply chain management, proliferation of counterfeit (substandard or falsified) medicines and use of poor quality medicines. Diagnostic frames related to financing, affordability, efficiency and corruption were given limited coverage or out of frame. Prognostic frames corresponded with how these problems were framed. Whilst Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and its guiding principles was the dominant motivational frame, we identified some frame discordance between the global discourse and national level policies.Conclusions
Social science approaches such as framing analysis are applicable and useful to systematically analyze essential medicine aspects. By applying framing theory, we revealed that ATM aspects in the eight countries we analyzed are more often characterized in relation to availability at the expense of affordability which undermines UHC. We conclude that whilst UHC is a strong motivational frame to guide ATM aspects, it is insufficient to inform a comprehensive approach to address the problems related to ATM at country level. To effectively advance ATM, concerned actors need to realize such limitation and endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of how problems are framed and agendas are set at country level, the processes through which ideas and knowledge become policies, including the political demands, incentives and trade-offs facing decision-makers in selecting policy priorities.
Analysis of factors influencing technical efficiency of public district hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa
District hospitals are crucial in supporting primary health care and serve as a gateway to more specialist care through a referral system. Majority of South Africans access health care services through the public sector district health system. Given the enormous task assigned to the public district hospital within the country, this study examined factors influencing their technical efficiency.Method
Data were collected for 38 public district hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal province from 2014/15 to 2016/17. Data envelopment analysis (DEA) was used to determine the technical efficiency of the hospitals, adopting both the constant return to scale (CRS) and variable return to scale (VRS) models. Tobit regression model was used to determine factors related to the technical efficiency of the district hospitals.Results
This study showed that a significant proportion of the district hospitals were technically inefficient. The Tobit regression model identified catchment population, the proportion of inpatients treated per medical personnel, the proportion of inpatients treated per nursing personnel and expenditure per patient day equivalent as factors influencing technical efficiency of the district hospitals.Conclusion
Findings from this study suggest that the technical efficiency of the district hospitals can be enhanced through an effective referral system and improved peoples’ health-seeking behaviour. In addition, a standard mix of clinical staff toward efficient service delivery and periodic cost analysis of health services with the view to saving cost and maintaining the quality of health care should be considered.
Pattern and perception of wellbeing, quality of work life and quality of care of health professionals in Southwest Nigeria
Personal wellbeing (PW) including quality of life and work life is a very complex concept that influences health professionals’ commitment and productivity. Improving PW may result in positive outcomes and good quality of care. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the pattern and perception of wellbeing, quality of work life (QoWL) and quality of care (QoC) of health professionals (HPs) in southwest Nigeria.Methods
The study was a convergent parallel mixed method design comprising a cross-sectional survey (1580 conveniently selected participants) and a focus group interview (40 purposively selected participants). Participants’ PW, quality of life (QoL), QoWL, and QoC were assessed using the PW Index Scale, 5-item World Health Organization Well-Being Index, QoWL questionnaire, and Clinician QoC scale, respectively. The pattern of wellbeing, QoWL and quality of care of HPs were evaluated using t-test and ANOVA tests. Binary regression analysis was used to assess factors that could classify participants as having good or poor wellbeing, QoWL, and quality of care of HPs. The qualitative findings were thematically analyzed following two independent transcriptions. An inductive approach to naming themes was used. Codes were assigned to the data and common codes were grouped into categories, leading to themes and subthemes.Results
Of 1600 administered questionnaires, 1580 were returned, giving a 98.75% response rate. Only 45.3%, 43.9%, 39.8% and 38.4% of HP reported good PW, QoL, QoC and QoWL, respectively; while 54.7%, 56.1%, 60.2% and 61.6% were poor. There were significant gender differences in PW and QoC in favor of females. With an increase in age and years of practice, there was a significant increase in PW, QoWL and QoC. As the work volume increased, there was significant decrease in QoWL. Participants with master's or Ph.D. degrees reported improved QoWL while those with diploma reported better QoC. PWI and QoC were significantly different along the type of appointment, with those who held part-time appointments having the least values. The regression models showed that participant’s characteristics such as age, gender, designation, and work volume significantly classified health professionals who had good or poor QoC, QoWL, PW and QoL. The focus group interview revealed four themes and 16 sub-themes. The four themes were the definitions of QoC, QoWL, and PW, and dimensions of QoC.Conclusion
More than half of health professionals reported poor quality of work life, quality of life and personal wellbeing which were influenced by personal and work-related factors. All these may have influenced the poor quality of care reported, despite the finding of a good knowledge of what quality of care entails.
Job strain and burnout in Spanish nurses during the COVID-19: resilience as a protective factor in a cross-sectional study
Nurses are frequently exposed to chronic stress in the workplace generating harmful effects such as job strain and burnout. On the contrary, resilience has been shown to be a beneficial variable. The objective of this study was to analyze the relationship between dimensions of the Job Demand Control-Support model, resilience and burnout in nurses, and examine the mediating role of resilience between job strain and burnout.Methods
A descriptive, cross-sectional study reported in line with the STROBE guidelines. Active nurses were invited to complete an online questionnaire in September, 2020. With snowball sampling, 1013 nurses, with a mean age of 34.71, filled out the Job Content Questionnaire, the Maslach Burnout Inventory and the Resilience Scale.Results
The results showed the existence of four groups of professionals based on job strain. The nurses in the “High Strain” group (high demands and low control) showed higher scores in emotional exhaustion and cynicism, while those in the “Active Job” group scored higher in personal realization and resilience. The findings showed that job strain affects burnout in nurses, and this effect is mediated by resilience.Conclusions
The findings of this study showed that a high level of resilience could exert a fundamental role in ensuring well-being and proper job performance by nurses. Nursing managers should see to the personable variables or competencies that provide and favor an opportunity for nurses to widen and improve their practice, in pursuance of satisfying and responding better to people’s needs and the systems they work for.
Associations between sociodemographic factors and receiving "ask and advise" services from healthcare providers in India: analysis of the national GATS-2 dataset
India is home to about 12% of the world's tobacco users, with about 1.35 million tobacco-related deaths each year. The morbidity and mortality rates are socially patterned based on gender, rural vs. urban residence, education, and other factors. Following the World Health Organization's guidance, it is critical to offer tobacco users support for cessation as a complement to policy and environmental changes. Such guidance is typically unavailable in low-resource systems, despite the potential for population-level impact. Additionally, service delivery for tobacco control tends to be patterned by sociodemographic factors. To understand current activity in this area, we assessed the percentage of daily tobacco users being asked about tobacco use and advised to quit by a healthcare provider. We also examined social patterning of receipt of services (related to by rural vs. urban residence, age, gender, education, caste, and wealth).Methods
We analyzed cross-sectional data from India's 2016-2017 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2), a nationally representative survey. Among 74,037 respondents, about 25% were daily users of smoked and/or smokeless tobacco. We examined rates of being asked and advised about tobacco use overall and based on rural vs. urban residence, age, gender, education, caste, and wealth. We also conducted multivariate logistic regression to assess the association of demographic and socioeconomic conditions with participants' receipt of “ask and advise” services.Results
Nationally, among daily tobacco users, we found low rates of individuals reporting being asked about tobacco use or advised to quit by a healthcare provider (22% and 19%, respectively). Being asked and advised about tobacco use was patterned by age, gender, education, caste, and wealth in our final regression model.Conclusions
This study offers a helpful starting point in identifying opportunities to address a critical service delivery gap in India. Given the existing burden on the public health and health systems, scale-up will require innovative, resource-appropriate solutions. The findings also point to the need to center equity in the design and scale-up of tobacco cessation supports so that marginalized and underserved groups will have equitable access to these critical services.
Geographic inequalities in health intervention coverage – mapping the composite coverage index in Peru using geospatial modelling
The composite coverage index (CCI) provides an integrated perspective towards universal health coverage in the context of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. Given the sample design of most household surveys does not provide coverage estimates below the first administrative level, approaches for achieving more granular estimates are needed. We used a model-based geostatistical approach to estimate the CCI at multiple resolutions in Peru.Methods
We generated estimates for the eight indicators on which the CCI is based for the departments, provinces, and areas of 5 × 5 km of Peru using data from two national household surveys carried out in 2018 and 2019 plus geospatial covariates. Bayesian geostatistical models were fit using the INLA-SPDE approach. We assessed model fit using cross-validation at the survey cluster level and by comparing modelled and direct survey estimates at the department-level.Results
CCI coverage in the provinces along the coast was consistently higher than in the remainder of the country. Jungle areas in the north and east presented the lowest coverage levels and the largest gaps between and within provinces. The greatest inequalities were found, unsurprisingly, in the largest provinces where populations are scattered in jungle territory and are difficult to reach.Conclusions
Our study highlighted provinces with high levels of inequality in CCI coverage indicating areas, mostly low-populated jungle areas, where more attention is needed. We also uncovered other areas, such as the border with Bolivia, where coverage is lower than the coastal provinces and should receive increased efforts. More generally, our results make the case for high-resolution estimates to unveil geographic inequities otherwise hidden by the usual levels of survey representativeness.
House officers’ specialist career choices and motivators for their choice– a sequential mixed-methods study from Malaysia
Shortage and maldistribution of medical specialists hamper healthcare quality. The specialist career choices of house officers determines the future composition of healthcare systems. We studied house officers’’ specialist career choices and motivators for their choice.Participants and methods
We conducted online in-depth interviews among seven house officers using an interview guide developed based on a literature review. The transcripts were analyzed. Major themes were identified. A 33-item questionnaire was developed, and the main and sub-themes were identified as motivators for specialist career choice. An online survey was done among 185 house officers. Content validation of motivators for specialist choice was done using exploratory factor analysis. First, second and third choices for a specialist career were identified. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were done to determine the socio-demographic factors and motivators associated with the first choice.Results
HOs perceived that specialist training opportunities provide a wide range of clinical competencies through well-structured, comprehensive training programs under existing specialist training pathways. Main challenges were limited local specialist training opportunities and hurdles for ‘on-contract’ HO to pursue specialist training. Motivators for first-choice specialty were related to ‘work schedule’, ‘patient care characteristics’, ‘specialty characteristics’, ‘personal factors’, ‘past work experience’, ‘training factors’, and ‘career prospects.’ House officers’ first choices were specialties related to medicine (40.5%), surgery (31.5%), primary care (14.6%), and acute care (13.5%). On multivariate analysis, “younger age”, “health professional in the family”, “work schedule and personal factors”, “career prospects” and “specialty characteristics” were associated with the first choice.Conclusions
Medical and surgical disciplines were the most preferred disciplines and their motivators varied by individual discipline. Overall work experiences and career prospects were the most important motivators for the first-choice specialty. The information about motivational factors is helpful to develop policies to encourage more doctors to choose specialties with a shortage of doctors and to provide career specialty guidance.
Financing care for Severe Stigmatizing Skin Diseases (SSSDs) in Liberia: challenges and opportunities
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are an important global health challenge, however, little is known about how to effectively finance NTD related services. Integrated management in particular, is put forward as an efficient and effective treatment modality. This is a background study to a broader health economic evaluation, seeking to document the costs of integrated case management of NTDs versus standard care in Liberia. In the current study, we document barriers and facilitators to NTD care from a health financing perspective.Methods
We carried out key informant interviews with 86 health professionals and 16 national health system policymakers. 46 participants were active in counties implementing integrated case management and 40 participants were active in counties implementing standard care. We also interviewed 16 patients and community members. All interviews were transcribed and analysed using the thematic framework approach.Findings
We found that decentralization for NTD financing is not yet achieved – financing and reporting for NTDs is still centralized and largely donor-driven as a vertical programme; government involvement in NTD financing is still minimal, focused mainly on staffing, but non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or international agencies are supporting supply and procurement of medications. Donor support and involvement in NTDs are largely coordinated around the integrated case management. Quantification for goods and budget estimations are specific challenges, given the high donor dependence, particularly for NTD related costs and the government’s limited financial role at present. These challenges contribute to stockouts of medications and supplies at clinic level, while delays in payments of salaries from the government compromise staff attendance and retention. For patients, the main challenges are high transportation costs, with inflated charges due to fear and stigma amongst motorbike taxi riders, and out-of-pocket payments for medication during stockouts and food/toiletries (for in-patients).Conclusion
Our findings contribute to the limited work on financing of SSSD services in West African settings and provide insight on challenges and opportunities for financing and large costs in accessing care by households, which is also being exacerbated by stigma.
Gender composition and wage gaps in the Canadian health policy research workforce in comparative perspective
Gendered challenges have been shown to persist among health practitioners in countries at all levels of development. Less is known about non-clinical professionals, that is, those who do not deliver services directly but are essential to health systems performance, such as health policy researchers. This national observational study examined gender occupational segregation and wage gaps in the Canadian health policy research workforce using a cross-domain comparative labour market analysis approach.Methods
Sourcing data from the 2016 population census, we applied linear regression and Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition techniques to assess wage differentials by sex, traditional human capital measures (e.g., age, education, place of work), and social identity variables intersecting with gender (household head, childcare, migrant status) among health policy researchers aged 25–54. We compared the gender composition and wage gap with seven non-health policy and programme domains, as mapped under the national occupational classification by similarity in the types of work performed.Results
The health policy research workforce (N = 19 955) was characterized by gender segregation: 74% women, compared with 58% women among non-health policy research occupations (N = 102 555). Women health policy researchers earned on average 4.8% (95% CI 1.5‒8.0%) less than men after adjusting for other professional and personal variables. This gap was wider than among education policy researchers with similar gender composition (75% women; adjusted wage gap of 2.6%). Wages among health policy researchers were 21.1% (95% CI 19.4‒22.8%) lower than their counterparts in the male-dominated economics policy domain, all else being equal. Overall, women’s earnings averaged 3.2% lower than men’s due to factors that remained unexplained by policy domain or other measured predictors.Conclusions
This investigation found that the gender inequalities already widely seen among clinical practitioners are replicated among health policy researchers, potentially hindering the competitiveness of the health sector for attracting and retaining talent. Our findings suggest intersectoral actions are necessary to tackle wage gaps and devaluation of female-dominated health professions. Accountability for gender equity in health must extend to the professionals tasked with conducting equity-informative health policy research.
Examining the variations in the implementation of interventions to address stillbirth from the national to subnational levels: experiences from Uganda
The current global burden of stillbirth disproportionately affects regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, where Uganda is located. To respond to this burden, policies made at the national level were diffused from the centre and translated into service delivery at the district level, which is charged with implementation under the decentralization of health services arrangement. Variations emerge whenever policy recommendations are moved from national to subnational levels, with some aspects often lost along the way. Tools are available to facilitate knowledge of determinants of policy and innovation implementation within the healthcare system. However, the extent to which these have been applied to explain variations in implementation of interventions to address stillbirth reduction in Uganda remains scant. The aim of this article was to examine the variations in the implementation of interventions to address stillbirth from the national to the subnational levels in Uganda using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR).Methods
The study adopted a qualitative case study design. Data were collected from a purposively selected sample of key informants drawn from both the national and subnational levels. All interviews were conducted in English and transcribed verbatim. ATLAS.ti was used to guide the coding process, which used a codebook developed following the CFIR domains as codes and constructs as sub-codes. Analysis followed a content analysis technique.Results
National-level factors that favoured implementation of interventions to address stillbirth included the desire to comply with global norms, incentives to improve performance for stillbirth reduction indicators for better comparison with global peers, and clear policy alternatives as process implementation advanced by champions. Variations at the subnational level revealed aspirations to address service delivery gaps which fell within maternal health routine standard of care and ongoing health systems strengthening initiatives. Coalescing existing networks around maternal and child health was a key mobilization factor for advocacy and programming, with a promise that the set targets would be operationalized at the subnational level. The key champions were defined by their official roles within the district health systems, which enhanced accountability. Feedback and reflection were distinguished from the national to subnational through joint assemblies and formal audit reviews, respectively.Conclusions
A heavy influence of the global events directed national-level adaptation of interventions to address stillbirth. Implementation context at the subnational level led to local adaptation and translation of policy provisions from the national level to suit the context, which to a greater extent explains the variations in the final content of policy provisions delivered.
Research and implementation interactions in a social accountability study: utilizing guidance for conducting process evaluations of complex interventions
In recent years, researchers and evaluators have made efforts to identify and use appropriate and innovative research designs that account for the complexity in studying social accountability. The relationship between the researchers and those implementing the activities and how this impacts the study have received little attention. In this paper, we reflect on how we managed the relationship between researchers and implementers using the United Kingdom Medical Research Council (MRC) guidance on process evaluation of a complex intervention.Main body
The MRC guidance focuses on three areas of interaction between researchers and stakeholders involved in developing and delivering the intervention: (i) working with program developers and implementers; (ii) communication of emerging findings between researchers/evaluators and implementers; and (iii) overlapping roles of the intervention and research/evaluation. We summarize how the recommendations for each of the three areas were operationalized in the Community and Provider driven Social Accountability Intervention (CaPSAI) Project and provide reflections based on experience. We co-developed various tools, including standard operating procedures, contact lists, and manuals. Activities such as training sessions, regular calls, and meetings were also conducted to enable a good working relationship between the different partners.Conclusions
Studying social accountability requires the collaboration of multiple partners that need to be planned to ensure a good working relationship while safeguarding both the research and intervention implementation. The MRC guidance is a useful tool for making interaction issues explicit and establishing procedures. Planning procedures for dealing with research and implementers’ interactions could be more comprehensive and better adapted to social accountability interventions if both researchers and implementers are involved. There is a need for social accountability research to include clear statements explaining the nature and types of relationships between researchers and implementers involved in the intervention.
Prevalence and pattern of migration intention of doctors undergoing training programmes in public tertiary hospitals in Ekiti State, Nigeria
Emigration of Nigerian doctors, including those undergoing training, to the developed countries in Europe and Americas has reached an alarming rate.Objective
This study aimed at assessing the prevalence, pattern, and determinants of migration intention among doctors undergoing residency and internship training programmes in the public tertiary hospitals in Ekiti state, Nigeria.Methods
This was a cross-sectional study using a quantitative data collected from 182 doctors undergoing residency and internship training at the two tertiary hospitals. An adapted semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect information on migration intention among the eligible respondents. Univariate, bivariate and multivariate data analyses were done. The level of significance was determined at p-value < 0.05.Results
Majority (53.9%) of doctors undergoing training were between 30–39 years, and the mean age was 33.2 ± 5.7 years, male respondents were 68.1%, and 53.8% of the respondents were married. The proportion of doctors undergoing training who had the intention to migrate abroad to practice was 74.2%. A higher proportion of the internship trainees, 79.5%, intended to migrate abroad to practice while the proportion among the resident doctors, was 70.6%. Among the respondents who intended to migrate abroad to practice, 85(63%) intend to migrate abroad within the next 2 years, while the preferred countries of destination were the United Kingdom 65(48.2%), Canada 29 (21.5%), Australia 20 (14.8%) and the United States 18(13.3%). Seventy percent of respondents who intend to migrate abroad had started working on implementation of their intention to migrate abroad. The majority of the junior resident doctors, 56(72.7%), intend to migrate abroad compared with the senior resident doctors, 21(27.3%), (χ2 = 14.039; p < 0.001). The determinants of migration intention are the stage of residency training and level of job satisfaction.Conclusion
There is a high prevalence of migration intention among the doctors undergoing training in the public tertiary hospitals in Ekiti State, Nigeria, with the majority already working on their plans to migrate abroad. Doctors undergoing training who are satisfied with their job and those who are in the senior stage of residency training programme are less inclined to migrate abroad.Recommendations
The hospital management in the tertiary hospitals should develop retention strategies for human resources for health, especially doctors undergoing training in their establishment, to avert the possible problems of dearth of specialists in the tertiary health facilities. Also, necessary support should be provided for the residency training programme in the tertiary health institutions to make transition from junior to senior residency stage less strenuous.
Disparities in Accessing Sexual and Reproductive Health Services and Rights Among Adolescents and Young People During COVID-19 Pandemic: Culture, Economic, and Gender Perspectives
As the world grapples with the health systems’ challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the needs of the already vulnerable adolescents and young people is vital. This narrative synthesis is aimed to highlight the current gender, cultural, and socioeconomic dynamics fueling inequalities to accessing sexual, reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services among adolescents and young people in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).Recent Findings
The COVID-19 pandemic has in most countries exacerbated already existing inequalities due to economic, gender, cultural, and legal aspects. Strategies implemented by most governments to mitigate the spread of the virus have also had a negative impact on the access to SRHR services, some of which are long term. Few published studies have assessed the extent to which the pandemic has fueled each of these paradigms regarding access to SRHR, especially among adolescents and young people (AYP). Additionally, there is paucity in data on the same in most countries, as the systems to track such effects were not available at the inception of the pandemic.Summary
Despite efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on this population, deficits remain and a multi-stakeholder approach is needed to achieve the intended goals, especially where cultural and gender values are deeply rooted. Further research is needed to quantify how the pandemic has fueled economic, gender, and cultural aspects to influence access to SRHR services among AYP especially in LMIC.
Human resource needs and costs for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis provision in nurse-led primary care in Eswatini and opportunities for task sharing
The global expansion of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) includes health systems that face a shortage of skilled health care workers (HCWs). We estimated the human resource needs and costs for providing PrEP in nurse-led primary care clinics in Eswatini. Furthermore, we assessed potential cost savings from task sharing between nurses and other HCW cadres.Methods
We conducted a time-and-motion and costing study in a PrEP demonstration project between August 2017 and January 2019. A form for recording time and performed activities (“motion”) was filled by HCWs of six primary care clinics. To estimate the human resource needs for specific PrEP activities, we allocated recorded times to performed PrEP activities using linear regression with and without adjusting for a workflow interruption, that is, if a client was seen by different HCWs or by the same HCW at different times. We assessed a base case in which a nurse provides all PrEP activities and five task shifting scenarios, of which four include workflow interruptions due to task sharing between different HCW cadres.Results
On average, PrEP initiation required 29 min (95% CI 25–32) of HCW time and PrEP follow-up 16 min (95% CI 14–18). The HCW time cost $4.55 (uncertainty interval [UI] 1.52–9.69) for PrEP initiation and $2.54 (UI 1.07–4.64) for PrEP follow-up when all activities were performed by a nurse. Time costs were $2.30–4.25 (UI 0.62–9.19) for PrEP initiation and $1.06–2.60 (UI 0.30–5.44) for PrEP follow-up when nurses shared tasks with HCWs from lower cadres. Interruptions of the workflow added, on average, 3.4 min (95% CI 0.69–6.0) to the time HCWs needed for a given number of PrEP activities. The cost of an interrupted workflow was estimated at $0.048–0.87 (UI 0.0098–1.63) depending on whose time need increased.Conclusions
A global shortage of skilled HCWs could slow the expansion of PrEP. Task shifting to lower-cadre HCW in nurse-led PrEP provision can free up nurse time and reduce the cost of PrEP provision even if interruptions associated with task sharing increase the overall human resource need.
Scaling severe acute malnutrition treatment with community health workers: a geospatial coverage analysis in rural Mali
In 2015, the Ministry of Health in Mali included the treatment of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) into the package of activities of the integrated Community Case Management (iCCM). This paper aims to analyze the impact of including community health workers (CHWs) as treatment providers outside the Health Facilities (HFs) on the coverage of SAM treatment when scaling up the intervention in the three largest districts of the Kayes Region in Mali.Methods
A baseline coverage assessment was conducted in August 2017 in the three districts before the CHWs started treating SAM. The end-line assessment was conducted one year later, in August 2018. Coverage was assessed by the standardized methodology called Semi-Quantitative Evaluation of Access and Coverage (SQUEAC). The primary outcome was treatment coverage and other variables evaluated were the geographical distribution of the HFs, CHW’s sites and overlapping between both health providers, the estimation of children with geographical access to health care and the estimation of children screened for acute malnutrition in their communities.Results
Treatment coverage increased in Kayes (28.7–57.1%) and Bafoulabé (20.4–61.1%) but did not in Kita (28.4–28.5%). The decentralization of treatment has not had the same impact on coverage in all districts, with significant differences. The geospatial analyses showed that Kita had a high proportion of overlap between HFs and/or CHWs 48.7% (39.2–58.2), a high proportion of children without geographical access to health care 70.4% (70.1–70.6), and a high proportion of children not screened for SAM in their communities 52.2% (51.9–52.5).Conclusions
Working with CHWs in SAM increases treatment coverage, but other critical aspects need to be considered by policymakers if this intervention model is intended to be scaled up at the country level. To improve families’ access to nutritional health care, before establishing decentralized treatment in a whole region it must be considered the geographical location of CHWs. This previous assessment will avoid overlap among health providers and ensure the coverage of all unserved areas according to their population densities need.
Trial registration: ISRCTN registry with ID 1990746. https://doi.org/10.1186/ISRCTN14990746
National IoMT platform strategy portfolio decision model under the COVID-19 environment: based on the financial and non-financial value view
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is an emerging technology in the healthcare revolution which provides real-time healthcare information communication and reasonable medical resource allocation. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on people’s lives and has affected healthcare capacities. It is important for integrated IoMT platform development to overcome the global pandemic challenges. This study proposed the national IoMT platform strategy portfolio decision-making model from the non-financial (technology, organization, environment) and financial perspectives. As a solution to the decision problem, initially, the decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL) technology were employed to capture the cause-effect relationship based on the perspectives and criteria obtained from the insight of an expert team. The analytic network process (ANP) and pairwise comparisons were then used to determine the weights for the strategy. Simultaneously, this study incorporated IoMT platform resource limitations into the zero–one goal programming (ZOGP) method to obtain an optimal portfolio selection for IoMT platform strategy planning. The results showed that the integrated MCDM method produced reasonable results for selecting the most appropriate IoMT platform strategy portfolio when considering resource constraints such as system installation costs, consultant fees, infrastructure costs, reduction of medical staff demand, and improvement rates for diagnosis efficiency. The decision-making model of the IoMT platform in this study was conclusive and significantly compelling to aid government decision makers in concentrating their efforts on planning IoMT strategies in response to various pandemic and medical resource allocations.
Health services supervision in a protracted crisis: a qualitative study into supportive supervision practices in South Sudan
The health system in South Sudan faces extreme domestic resource constraints, low capacity, and protracted humanitarian crises. Supportive supervision is believed to improve the quality of health care and service delivery by compensating for flaws in health workforce management. This study aimed to explore the current supervision practices in South Sudan and identify areas for quality improvement.Methods
The study employed qualitative approaches to collect and analyse data from six purposefully selected counties. Data were collected from 194 participants using semi-structured interviews (43 health managers) and focus group discussions (151 health workers). Thematic content analysis was used to yield an in-depth understanding of the supervision practices in the health sector.Results
The study found that integrated supportive supervision and monitoring visits were the main approaches used for health services supervision in South Sudan. Supportive supervision focused more on health system administration and less on clinical matters. Although fragmented, supportive supervision was carried out quarterly, while monitoring visits were either conducted monthly or ad hoc. Prioritization for supportive supervision was mainly data driven. Paper-based checklists were the most commonly used supervision tools. Many supervisors had no formal training on supportive supervision and only learned on the job. The health workers received on-site verbal feedback and, most times, on-the-job training sessions through coaching and mentorship. Action plans developed during supervision were inadequately followed up due to insufficient funding. Insecurity, poor road networks, lack of competent health managers, poor coordination, and lack of adequate means of transport were some of the challenges experienced during supervision. The presumed outcomes of supportive supervision were improvements in human resource management, drug management, health data reporting, teamwork, and staff respect for one another.Conclusion
Supportive supervision remains a daunting task in the South Sudan health sector due to a combination of external and health system factors. Our study findings suggest that strengthening the processes and providing inputs for supervision should be prioritized if quality improvement is to be attained. This necessitates stronger stewardship from the Ministry of Health, integration of different supervision practices, investment in the capacity of the health workforce, and health infrastructure development.
Health and care workers (HCWs) are at the forefront of COVID-19 response, at high risk of infection, and as a result they are a priority group for COVID-19 vaccination. This paper presents the global patterns in COVID-19 vaccination coverage among HCWs in 2021, how HCWs were prioritized, and identifies factors associated with the early vaccination coverage.Methods
Using monthly data reported to the World Health Organization, the percentages of partially and fully vaccinated HCWs were computed. The rates of vaccination of HCWs for the first and second half of 2021 were compared in a stratified analysis using several factors. A multivariate analysis was used to investigate the independent associations of these factors with the percentage of HCWs fully vaccinated.Results
Based on data from 139 Member States, as of end of 2021, 82% HCWs were reported as fully vaccinated with important variations by income groups: 33% for low income countries, 83% for lower-middle income countries, 79% for upper-middle income countries and 88% for high income countries. Overall 76% of countries did not achieve 70% vaccination coverage of their HCWs in the first half of 2021, and 38% of countries by end of 2021. Compared with the general population, the rate of HCWs full vaccination was 3.5 times higher, in particular for low income countries (RR = 5.9). Stratified analysis showed that beyond income group, the availability of vaccine doses was a critical factor of HCWs vaccination coverage with medians of 59.1% and 88.6% coverage in the first and second half of 2021, respectively for countries with enough doses to cover 70% of their population, compared with 0.8% and 47.5% coverage, respectively for countries with doses to cover 40% of their population. The multivariate analysis confirmed this observation with a 35.9% overall difference (95%CI 15.1%; 56.9%) between these two groups.Conclusion
Despite being considered a priority group, more than a third of countries did not achieve 70% vaccination coverage of their HCWs at the end of 2021. Large inequities were observed with low income countries lagging behind. Additional efforts should be dedicated to ensure full protection of HCWs through vaccination.
As the 2016 Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 (GSHRH) outlines, health systems can only function with health workforce (HWF). Bangladesh is committed to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) hence a comprehensive understanding of the existing HWF was deemed necessary informing policy and funding decisions to the health system.Methods
The health labour market analysis (HLMA) framework for UHC cited in the GSHRH was adopted to analyse the supply, need and demand of all health workers in Bangladesh. Government’s information systems provided data to document the public sector HWF. A national-level assessment (2019) based on a country representative sample of 133 geographical units, served to estimate the composition and distribution of the private sector HWF. Descriptive statistics served to characterize the formal and informal HWF.Results
The density of doctors, nurses and midwives in Bangladesh was only 9.9 per 10 000 population, well below the indicative sustainable development goals index threshold of 44.5 outlined in the GSHRH. Considering all HWFs in Bangladesh, the estimated total density was 49 per 10 000 population. However, one-third of all HWFs did not hold recognized roles and their competencies were unknown, taking only qualified and recognized HWFs into account results in an estimated density 33.2. With an estimate 75 nurses per 100 doctors in Bangladesh, the second area, where policy attention appears to be warranted is on the competencies and skill-mix. Thirdly, an estimated 82% of all HWFs work in the private sector necessitates adequate oversight for patient safety. Finally, a high proportion of unfilled positions in the public sector, especially in rural areas where 67% of the population lives, account only 11% of doctors and nurses.Conclusion
Bangladesh is making progress on many of the milestones of the GSHRH, notably, the establishment of the HWF unit and reporting through the national health workforce accounts. However, particular investment on strengthening the intersectoral HWF coordination across sectors; regulation for assurance of patient safety and adequate oversight of the private sector; establishing accreditation mechanisms for training institutions; and halving inequalities in access to a qualified HWF are important towards advancing UHC in Bangladesh.