Springer Search: "human resources for health"
Primary health care facility readiness to implement primary eye care in Nigeria: equipment, infrastructure, service delivery and health management information systems
Over two-thirds of Africans have no access to eye care services. To increase access, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends integrating eye care into primary health care, and the WHO Africa region recently developed a package for primary eye care. However, there are limited data on the capacities needed for delivery, to guide policymakers and implementers on the feasibility of integration. The overall purpose of this study was to assess the technical capacity of the health system at primary level to deliver the WHO primary eye care package. Findings with respect to service delivery, equipment and health management information systems (HMIS) are presented in this paper.Methods
This was a mixed-methods, cross sectional feasibility study in Anambra State, Nigeria. Methods included a desk review of relevant Nigerian policies; a survey of 48 primary health facilities in six districts randomly selected using two stage sampling, and semi-structured interviews with six supervisors and nine purposively selected facility heads. Quantitative study tools included observational checklists and questionnaires. Survey data were analysed descriptively using STATA V.15.1 (Statcorp, Texas). Differences between health centres and health posts were analysed using the z-test statistic. Interview data were analysed using thematic analysis assisted by Open Code Software V.4.02.Results
There are enabling national health policies for eye care, but no policy specifically for primary eye care. 85% of facilities had no medication for eye conditions and one in eight had no vitamin A in stock. Eyecare was available in < 10% of the facilities. The services delivered focussed on maternal and child health, with low attendance by adults aged over 50 years with over 50% of facilities reporting ≤10 attendances per year per 1000 catchment population. No facility reported data on patients with eye conditions in their patient registers.Conclusion
A policy for primary eye care is needed which aligns with existing eye health policies. There are currently substantial capacity gaps in service delivery, equipment and data management which will need to be addressed if eye care is to be successfully integrated into primary care in Nigeria.
Health workforce strategies in response to major health events: a rapid scoping review with lessons learned for the response to the COVID-19 pandemic
The early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic brought multiple concurrent threats—high patient volume and acuity and, simultaneously, increased risk to health workers. Healthcare managers and decision-makers needed to identify strategies to mitigate these adverse conditions. This paper reports on the health workforce strategies implemented in relation to past large-scale emergencies (including natural disasters, extreme weather events, and infectious disease outbreaks).Methods
We conducted a rapid scoping review of health workforce responses to natural disasters, extreme weather events, and infectious disease outbreaks reported in the literature between January 2000 and April 2020. The 3582 individual results were screened to include articles which described surge responses to past emergencies for which an evaluative component was included in the report. A total of 37 articles were included in our analysis.Results
The reviewed literature describes challenges related to increased demand for health services and a simultaneous decrease in the availability of the workforce. Many articles also described impacts on infrastructure that hindered emergency response. These challenges aligned well with those faced during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the published literature, the workforce strategies that were described aimed either to increase the numbers of health workers in a given area, to increase the flexibility of the health workforce to meet needs in new ways, or to support and sustain health workers in practice. Workforce responses addressed all types and cadres of health workers and were executed in a wide range of settings. We additionally report on the barriers and facilitators of workforce strategies reported in the literature reviewed. The strategies that were reported in the literature aligned closely with our COVID-specific conceptual framework of workforce capacity levers, suggesting that our framework may have heuristic value across many types of health disasters.Conclusions
This research highlights a key deficiency with the existing literature on workforce responses to emergencies: most papers lack substantive evaluation of the strategies implemented. Future research on health workforce capacity interventions should include robust evaluation of impact and effectiveness.
Effectiveness of a large-scale, sustained and comprehensive community health worker program in improving population health: the experience of an urban health district in South Africa
South Africa is an upper middle-income country with wide wealth inequality. It faces a quadruple burden of disease and poor health outcomes, with access to appropriate and adequate health care a challenge for millions of South Africans. The introduction of large-scale, comprehensive community health worker (CHW) programs in the country, within the context of implementing universal health coverage, was anticipated to improve population health outcomes. However, there is inadequate local (or global) evidence on whether such programs are effective, especially in urban settings.Methods
This study is part of a multi-method, quasi-experimental intervention study measuring effectiveness of a large-scale CHW program in a health district in an urban province of South Africa, where CHWs now support approximately one million people in 280,000 households. Using interviewer administered questionnaires, a 2019 cross-sectional survey of 417 vulnerable households with long-term CHW support (intervention households) are compared to 417 households with no CHW support (control households). Households were selected from similar vulnerable areas from all sub-levels of the Ekurhuleni health district.Results
The 417 intervention and control households each had good health knowledge. Compared to controls, intervention households with long-term comprehensive CHW support were more likely to access early care, get diagnosed for a chronic condition, be put on treatment and be well controlled on chronic treatment. They were also more likely to receive a social grant, and have a birth certificate or identity document. The differences were statistically significant for social support, health seeking behavior, and health outcomes for maternal, child health and chronic care.Conclusion
A large-scale and sustained comprehensive CHW program in an urban setting improved access to social support, chronic and minor acute health services at household and population level through better health-seeking behavior and adherence to treatment. Direct evidence from households illustrated that such community health worker programs are therefore effective and should be part of health systems in low- and middle-income countries.
Improving healthcare quality has become an essential objective for all health institutions worldwide to address the need to improve services, manage costs and satisfy patient expectations about the quality of care. As health is one of the leading service sectors of the North Cyprus economy, analysing patients’ perceived value of healthcare service quality is crucial. In this research, a comparative analysis of existing models revealed affordability, acceptability and accessibility as the leading modern service quality indicators affecting patients’ perceived value of healthcare service quality. The quality of services is a leading factor impacting business competition and retention dictated by the current market. This study aimed to investigate the factors that influence patient perceptions of healthcare service quality in North Cyprus.Methods
A self-administered questionnaire was carried out among 388 patients of public and private hospitals in North Cyprus, and the data were analysed using partial least squares-structural equation modelling.Results
Empirical results highlight that the acceptability of healthcare services is a prerequisite for perceiving a high value of service quality. The affordability and accessibility of services, respectively, were less effective. Results concerning mediating effects confirm that acceptability could fully mediate the relationship between affordability and perceived value and could partially mediate the impact of accessibility on the perceived quality of healthcare services.Conclusion
This study contributes to healthcare theory and practice by developing a conceptual framework to provide policymakers and managers with a practical understanding of factors that affect healthcare service quality.
Assessing the performance of health systems through quantitative and qualitative methods is recognized as an effective approach to strengthening national health systems. However, while many high-income countries have institutionalized health system performance assessment (HSPA) as an integral component of their respective health systems, few studies on HSPA have been documented in low- and middle-income countries, including Ghana. This study aims at providing a comprehensive framework for periodic assessment of the performance of the entire health system in Ghana.Methods
The study will have four work packages. First, a structured review will be conducted to identify both international and national HSPA frameworks that could be applied to the Ghanaian context. Second, based on the structured review, an assessment framework tailored to the Ghanaian health system context will be developed. Third, the draft framework will be presented and discussed with experts and stakeholders for its appropriateness, feasibility and acceptability. Finally, the framework will be piloted to assess its effectiveness and suitability for full-scale implementation.Discussion
Currently, Ghana does not have a full-fledged HSPA tool that provides a holistic health sector-wide approach to assessing health system performance. Thus, developing this HSPA framework for the country will provide a tool for periodic and comprehensive assessment of the performance of the health system, which can be compared with that of other countries. Such a comparison will offer the opportunity for mutual learning and for exploring new options for formulating more effective national health policies. As this is expected to be the first attempt to develop a comprehensive HSPA framework in Ghana, this study will provide a basis for future discussions on how to further develop and implement HSPA programmes in the country.
Risk perception and psychological state of healthcare workers in referral hospitals during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, Uganda
Safeguarding the psychological well-being of healthcare workers (HCWs) is crucial to ensuring sustainability and quality of healthcare services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, HCWs may be subject to excessive mental stress. We assessed the risk perception and immediate psychological state of HCWs early in the pandemic in referral hospitals involved in the management of COVID-19 patients in Uganda.Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional survey in five referral hospitals from April 20–May 22, 2020. During this time, we distributed paper-based, self-administered questionnaires to all consenting HCWs on day shifts. The questionnaire included questions on socio-demographics, occupational behaviors, potential perceived risks, and psychological distress. We assessed risk perception towards COVID-19 using 27 concern statements with a four-point Likert scale. We defined psychological distress as a total score > 12 from the 12-item Goldberg’s General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). We used modified Poisson regression to identify factors associated with psychological distress.Results
Among 335 HCWs who received questionnaires, 328 (98%) responded. Respondents’ mean age was 36 (range 18–59) years; 172 (52%) were male. The median duration of professional experience was eight (range 1–35) years; 208 (63%) worked more than 40 h per week; 116 (35%) were nurses, 52 (14%) doctors, 30 (9%) clinical officers, and 86 (26%) support staff. One hundred and forty-four (44%) had a GHQ-12 score > 12. The most common concerns reported included fear of infection at the workplace (81%), stigma from colleagues (79%), lack of workplace support (63%), and inadequate availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) (56%). In multivariable analysis, moderate (adjusted prevalence ratio, [aPR] = 2.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2–4.0) and high (aPR = 3.8, 95% CI 2.0–7.0) risk perception towards COVID-19 (compared with low-risk perception) were associated with psychological distress.Conclusions
Forty-four percent of HCWs surveyed in hospitals treating COVID-19 patients during the early COVID-19 epidemic in Uganda reported psychological distress related to fear of infection, stigma, and inadequate PPE. Higher perceived personal risk towards COVID-19 was associated with increased psychological distress. To optimize patient care during the pandemic and future outbreaks, workplace management may consider identifying and addressing HCW concerns, ensuring sufficient PPE and training, and reducing infection-associated stigma.
Implementing a digital human resources management tool in the government health sector in Bangladesh: a policy content analysis
In Bangladesh, to address the challenges of ensuring adequate human resources for health (HRH), the government began implementing a digital tool for HRH management in 2017. However, evidence suggests institutionalizing such tools in low-and-middle-income countries is impeded by policy aspects like implementation strategy and poor regulatory framework. Therefore, we aimed to explore factors in the current policy landscape that might facilitate and challenge the implementation of the tool in Bangladesh.Methods
We conducted a review of policies related to ICT implementation and human resources management in the health sector in Bangladesh using qualitative content analysis method. Ten policies have been identified, and extensive reading was done to ascertain common themes and patterns. A document analysis matrix was developed to synthesize and help interpret the findings.Results
Regarding facilitators, strong upstream level commitments were reflected in the content of policies in terms of setting out specific objectives, targets, timelines, and budget allocation. However, the lack of explicit monitoring strategy and extent of stakeholders’ engagement was not well-defined, ultimately creating chances for impeding downstream implementation. In addition, effective coordination among stakeholders and different HRH and ICT policies could be strengthened.Discussion
Findings support the current discourse that national commitment plays a vital role in the integration of ICTs in health services. However, well-defined monitoring strategy and inter-ministry and intra-ministry policy coordination are crucial.
Training programs to improve identification of sick newborns and care-seeking from a health facility in low- and middle-income countries: a scoping review
Most neonatal deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Limited recommendations are available on the optimal personnel and training required to improve identification of sick newborns and care-seeking from a health facility. We conducted a scoping review to map the key components required to design an effective newborn care training program for community-based health workers (CBHWs) to improve identification of sick newborns and care-seeking from a health facility in LMICs.Methods
We searched multiple databases from 1990 to March 2020. Employing iterative scoping review methodology, we narrowed our inclusion criteria as we became more familiar with the evidence base. We initially included any manuscripts that captured the concepts of “postnatal care providers,” “neonates” and “LMICs.” We subsequently included articles that investigated the effectiveness of newborn care provision by CBHWs, defined as non-professional paid or volunteer health workers based in communities, and their training programs in improving identification of newborns with serious illness and care-seeking from a health facility in LMICs.Results
Of 11,647 articles identified, 635 met initial inclusion criteria. Among these initial results, 35 studies met the revised inclusion criteria. Studies represented 11 different types of newborn care providers in 11 countries. The most commonly studied providers were community health workers. Key outcomes to be measured when designing a training program and intervention to increase appropriate assessment of sick newborns at a health facility include high newborn care provider and caregiver knowledge of newborn danger signs, accurate provider and caregiver identification of sick newborns and appropriate care-seeking from a health facility either through caregiver referral compliance or caregivers seeking care themselves. Key components to consider to achieve these outcomes include facilitators: sufficient duration of training, refresher training, supervision and community engagement; barriers: context-specific perceptions of newborn illness and gender roles that may deter care-seeking; and components with unclear benefit: qualifications prior to training and incentives and remuneration.Conclusion
Evidence regarding key components and outcomes of newborn care training programs to improve CBHW identification of sick newborns and care-seeking can inform future newborn care training design in LMICs. These training components must be adapted to country-specific contexts.
Human resource and governance challenges in the delivery of primary eye care: a mixed methods feasibility study in Nigeria
To increase access to eye care, the World Health Organization’s Africa Region recently launched a primary eye care (PEC) package for sub-Saharan Africa. To determine the technical feasibility of implementing this package, the capacity of health systems at primary level needs to be assessed, to identify capacity gaps that would need to be addressed to deliver effective and sustainable PEC. This study reports on the human resource and governance challenges for delivering PEC in Anambra State, Nigeria.Methods
Design: This was a mixed methods feasibility study. A desk review of relevant Nigerian national health policy documents on both eye health and primary health care was conducted, and 48 primary health care facilities in Anambra state were surveyed. Data on human resource and governance in primary health facilities were collected using structured questionnaires and through observation with checklists. In-depth interviews were conducted with district supervisors and selected heads of facilities to explore the opportunities and challenges for the delivery of PEC in their facilities/districts. Data were analysed using the World Health Organization’s health system framework.Results
A clear policy for PEC is lacking. Supervision was conducted at least quarterly in 54% of facilities and 56% of facilities did not use the standard clinical management guidelines. There were critical shortages of health workers with 82% of facilities working with less than 20% of the number recommended. Many facilities used volunteers and/or ad hoc workers to mitigate staff shortages.Conclusion
Our study highlights the policy, governance and health workforce gaps that will need to be addressed to deliver PEC in Nigeria. Developing and implementing a specific policy for PEC is recommended. Implementation of existing national health policies may help address health workforce shortages at the primary health care level.
Retention of knowledge and clinical competence among Ugandan mid-level health providers 1 year after intensive clinical mentorship in TB and HIV management
Clinical mentorship is effective in improving knowledge and competence of health providers and may be a useful task sharing approach for improving antiretroviral therapy. However, the endurance of the effect of clinical mentorship is uncertain.Methods
The midlevel health providers who participated in a cluster-randomized trial of one-on-one, on-site, clinical mentorship in tuberculosis and HIV for 8 h a week, every 6 weeks over 9 months were followed to determine if the gains in knowledge and competence that occurred after the intervention were sustained 6- and 12-months post-intervention. In December 2014 and June 2015, their knowledge and clinical competence were respectively assessed using vignettes and a clinical observation tool of patient care. Multilevel mixed effects regression analysis was used to compare the differences in mean scores for knowledge and clinical competence between times 0, 1, 2, and 3 by arm.Results
At the end of the intervention phase of the trial, the mean gain in knowledge scores and clinical competence scores in the intervention arm was 13.4% (95% confidence interval ([CI]: 7.2, 19.6), and 27.8% (95% CI: 21.1, 34.5) respectively, with no changes seen in the control arm. Following the end of the intervention; knowledge mean scores in the intervention arm did not significantly decrease at 6 months (0.6% [95% CI − 1.4, 2.6]) or 12 months (− 2.8% [95% CI: − 5.9, 0.3]) while scores in the control arm significantly increased at 6 months (6.6% [95% CI: 4.4, 8.9]) and 12 months (7.9% [95% CI: 5.4, 10.5]). Also, no significant decrease in clinical competence mean scores for intervention arm was seen at 6 month (2.8% [95% CI: − 1.8, 7.5] and 12 months (3.7% [95% CI: − 2.4, 9.8]) while in the control arm, a significant increase was seen at 6 months (5.8% [95% CI: 1.2, 10.3] and 12 months (11.5% [95% CI: 7.6, 15.5]).Conclusions
Mentees sustained the competence and knowledge gained after the intervention for a period of one year. Although, there was an increase in knowledge in the control group over the follow-up period, MLP in the intervention arm experienced earlier and sustained gains. One-on-one clinical mentorship should be scaled-up as a task-sharing approach to improve clinical care.
Trial Registration The study received ethics approvals from 3 institutions—the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Institutional Review Board (USA), the Institutional Review Board “JCRC’s HIV/AIDS Research Committee” IRB#1-IRB00001515 with Federal Wide Assurance number (FWA00009772) based in Kampala and the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (Uganda) which approves all scientific protocols to be implemented in Uganda.
Provider perspectives on the acceptability and tolerability of dolutegravir-based anti-retroviral therapy after national roll-out in Uganda: a qualitative study
The World Health Organization recommends dolutegravir (DTG) as the for first-line and second-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) worldwide. However, little is known about the acceptability and tolerability of DTG-based ART at routine points-of-care in Uganda. We set out to explore the perceptions of clinicians in ART clinics regarding the acceptability and tolerability of DTG-based ART since national roll-out in March 2018 in Uganda.Methods
We adopted a qualitative exploratory design involving 49 participants. Between September 2020 and February 2021, we conducted 22 in-depth interviews with clinicians in the ART clinics of 12 purposively selected health facilities across Uganda. The selection of study sites ensured diversity in facility ownership-type (public/private), level of service delivery (tertiary/secondary/primary) and the four major geographic sub-regions of Uganda. We conducted three focus group discussions with 27 clinicians in the participating facilities. Data were analyzed by thematic approach.Results
Clinicians in ART clinics acknowledged that DTG-based ART is well tolerated by the majority of their patients who appreciate the reduced pill burden, perceived less side effects and superior viral load suppression. However, they reported that a number of their patients experience adverse drug reactions (ADRs) after being transitioned to DTG. Hyperglycemia is, by far, the most commonly reported suspected ADR associated with DTG-based regimens and was cited in all but two participating facilities. Insomnia, weight gain and reduced libido are among the other frequently cited suspected ADRs. In addition, clinicians in ART clinics perceived some of the suspected ADRs as resulting from drug interactions between dolutegravir and isoniazid. Weak diagnostic capacities and shortage of associated commodities (e.g. glucometers and test kits) were reported as impediments to understanding the full extent of ADRs associated DTG-based ART.Conclusion
While DTG-based regimens were perceived by clinicians in ART clinics to be well tolerated by the majority of their patients, they also reported that a number of patients experience suspected ADRs key among which were hyperglycemia, insomnia and reduced libido. Based on the perspectives of clinicians, we recommend that future studies examine the prevalence of dolutegravir-induced hyperglycemia in patients in Uganda.
The prevalence of turnover intention and influencing factors among emergency physicians: a national observation
Adverse consequences of physician turnover include financial losses, reduced patient satisfaction, and organizational instability. However, no study has reported the prevalence among emergency physicians. This study explore the rate and influencing factors of this community, which could provide a reference for preventing the loss of emergency physicians.Methods
A nationally representative cross-sectional survey of 15,243 emergency physicians was conducted in 31 provinces across China between July and September 2019. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of turnover intention.Results
There were 49.75% of emergency physicians having turnover intention. Logistic regression analysis model showed that emergency physicians who were male (OR = 0.87) and older [> 37 and ≤ 43 (OR = 0.78) or > 43 (OR = 0.64)], worked in eastern China (OR = 0.88) and higher level of hospital [two-grade level (OR = 0.71) or three-grade level (OR = 0.56)], and had high (OR = 0.75) or middle (OR = 0.81) level income were not more likely to have less turnover intention, while those who had higher education level [bachelor degree (OR = 1.55) or master degree or higher (OR = 1.63)], long work tenure [> 3 and ≤ 6 (OR = 1.29) or > 6 and ≤ 11 (OR = 1.41) or > 11 (OR = 1.25)], poorer health status [fair (OR = 1.55) or poor (OR = 2.12)] and sleep quality [fair (OR = 1.16) or poor (OR = 1.43)], history of coronary heart disease (OR = 1.29), depression (OR = 2.77) and experienced the shift work (OR = 1.37) and workplace violence (OR = 1.78) were more likely to intend to leave.Conclusion
Nearly half of emergency physicians in China have turnover intention. Targeted intervening measures should be taken to reduce the turnover intention, so as to avoid the shortage of physicians and thus hinder the supply of emergency medical services.
Evaluating the association of state regulation of community health workers on adoption of standard roles, skills, and qualities by employers in select states: a mixed methods study
The occupation of community health worker (CHW) has evolved to support community member navigation of complex health and social systems. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics formally recognized the occupation of community health worker (CHW) in 2009. Since then, various national and state efforts to professionalize the occupation have been undertaken. The Community Health Workers Core Consensus (C3) project released a set of CHW roles and competency recommendations meant to provide evidence-based standards for CHW roles across work settings. Some states have adopted the recommendations; however, there are a variety of approaches regarding the regulation of the occupation. As of 2020, 19 U.S. states have implemented voluntary statewide CHW certification programs. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between state regulation of CHWs and adoption of standard roles, skills, and qualities by employers in select states.Methods
This mixed methods study used purposive sampling of job ads for CHWs posted by employers from 2017 to 2020 in select states. Natural language processing was used to extract content from job ads and preprocess the data for statistical analysis. ANOVA, chi-square analysis, and MANOVA was used to test hypotheses related to the relationship between state regulation of CHWs and differences in skills, roles, and qualities employers seek based on seniority of state regulatory processes and employer types.Results
The mean job ads with nationally identified roles, skills, and qualities varies significantly by state policy type (F(2, 4801) = 26.21) and by employer type (F(4, 4799) = 69.08, p = 0.000).Conclusions
Employment of CHWs is increasing to provide culturally competent care, address the social determinants of health, and improve access to health and social services for members of traditionally underserved communities. Employers in states with CHW certification programs were associated with greater adoption of occupational standards set by state and professional organizations. Wide adoption of such standards may improve recognition of the CHW workforce as a valuable resource in addressing the needs of high-need and marginalized groups.
Japan’s development cooperation for health in Vietnam: a first holistic assessment on Japan’s ODA and non-ODA public resources cooperation
Japan strives to strengthen its development cooperation by mobilizing various resources to assist partner countries advance on Universal Health Coverage by 2030. However, the involvement and roles of various actors for health are not clear. This study is the first to map Japan’s publicly funded projects by both Official Development Assistance (ODA) and other non-ODA public funds, and to describe the intervention areas. Further, the policy implications for country-specific cooperation strategies are discussed. The development cooperation for health in Vietnam is used as a case in this study.Methods
A cross-sectional analysis of the Japanese publicly funded health projects that were being implemented in Vietnam during December 2016 was conducted. A framework of analysis based on the World Health Organization six health systems building blocks was adopted. The projects’ qualitative information was also assessed.Results
Overall, 68 projects implemented through Japanese public funding were analyzed. These 68 projects under 15 types of schemes were managed by seven different scheme-operating organizations and funded by five ministries. Of these 44 (64.7%) were ODA and 24 (35.3%) were non-ODA projects. Among the recategorized six building blocks of the health system, the largest proportion of projects was health service delivery (44%), followed by health workforces (25%), and health information systems (15%). Almost half the projects were implemented together with the central hospitals as Vietnamese counterparts, which suggests that this is one area in which the specificities of Japanese cooperation are demonstrated. No synergetic effects of potential collaboration or harmonization among Japanese funded projects were captured.Conclusions
Several Japanese-funded projects addressed a wide range of health issues across all six building blocks of the health system in Vietnam. However, there is room for improvement in developing coordination and harmonization among the diversified Japanese projects. Establishing a country-specific mechanism for strategic coordination across Japanese ministries’ schemes can yield efficient and effective development cooperation for health. While Vietnam’s dependence on external funding is low, the importance of coordination across domestic actors of the donor countries can serve as an important lesson, especially in beneficiary countries with high external funding dependency.
The third global State of the World’s Midwifery report (SoWMy 2021) provides an updated evidence base on the sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn and adolescent health (SRMNAH) workforce. For the first time, SoWMy includes high-income countries (HICs) as well as low- and middle-income countries. This paper describes the similarities and differences between regions and income groups, and discusses the policy implications of these variations. SoWMy 2021 estimates a global shortage of 900,000 midwives, which is particularly acute in low-income countries (LICs) and in Africa. The shortage is projected to improve only slightly by 2030 unless additional investments are made. The evidence suggests that these investments would yield important returns, including: more positive birth experiences, improved health outcomes, and inclusive and equitable economic growth. Most HICs have sufficient SRMNAH workers to meet the need for essential interventions, and their education and regulatory environments tend to be strong. Upper-middle-income countries also tend to have strong policy environments. LICs and lower-middle-income countries tend to have a broader scope of practice for midwives, and many also have midwives in leadership positions within national government. Key regional variations include: major midwife shortages in Africa and South-East Asia but more promising signs of growth in South-East Asia than in Africa; a strong focus in Africa on professional midwives (rather than associate professionals: the norm in many South-East Asian countries); heavy reliance on medical doctors rather than midwives in the Americas and Eastern Mediterranean regions and parts of the Western Pacific; and a strong educational and regulatory environment in Europe but a lack of midwife leaders at national level. SoWMy 2021 provides stakeholders with the latest data and information to inform their efforts to build back better and fairer after COVID-19. This paper provides a number of policy responses to SoWMy 2021 that are tailored to different contexts, and suggests a variety of issues to consider in these contexts. These suggestions are supported by the inclusion of all countries in the report, because it is clear which countries have strong SRMNAH workforces and enabling environments and can be viewed as exemplars within regions and income groups.
Healthcare providers’ perspectives on integrating NCDs into primary healthcare in Thailand: a mixed method study
In response to an increased health burden from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), primary health care (PHC) is effective platform to support NCDs prevention and control. This study aims to assess Thailand’s PHC capacity in providing NCDs services, identify enabling factors and challenges and provide policy recommendations for improvement.Methods
This cross-sectional mixed-method study was conducted between October 2019 and May 2020. Two provinces, one rich and one poor, were randomly selected and then a city and rural district from each province were randomly selected. From these 4 sites in the 2 provinces, all 56 PHC centres responded to a self-administrative questionnaire survey on their capacities and practices related to NCDs. A total of 79 participants from Provincial and District Health Offices, provincial and district hospitals, and PHC centres who are involved with NCDs participated in focus group discussions or in-depth interviews.Results
Strong health infrastructure, competent staff (however not with increased workload), essential medicines and secured budget boost PHC capacity to address NCDs prevention, control, case management, referral and rehabilitation. Community engagement through village health volunteers improves NCDs awareness, supports enrolment in screening and raises adherence to interventions. Village health volunteers, the crucial link between the health system and the community, are key in supporting health promotion and NCDs prevention and control. Collaboration between provincial and district hospitals in providing resources and technical support enhance the capacity of PHC centres to provide NCDs services. However, inconsistent national policy directions and uncertainty related to key performance indicators hamper progress in NCDs management at the operational level. The dynamic of urbanization and socialization, especially living in obesogenic environments, is one of the greatest challenges for dealing with NCDs.Conclusion
PHC centres play a vital role in NCDs prevention and control. Adequate human and financial resources and policy guidance are required to improve PHC performance in managing NCDs. Implementing best buy measures at national level provides synergies for NCDS control at PHC level.
Factors influencing the performance of community health volunteers working within urban informal settlements in low- and middle-income countries: a qualitative meta-synthesis review
There is limited information on community health volunteer (CHV) programmes in urban informal settlements in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This is despite such settings accounting for a high burden of disease. Many factors intersect to influence the performance of CHVs working in urban informal settlements in LMICs. This review was conducted to identify both the programme level and contextual factors influencing performance of CHVs working in urban informal settlements in LMICs.Methods
Four databases were searched for qualitative and mixed method studies focusing on CHVs working in urban and peri-urban informal settlements in LMICs. We focused on CHV programme outcome measures at CHV individual level. A total of 13 studies met the inclusion criteria and were double read to extract relevant data. Thematic coding was conducted, and data synthesized across ten categories of both programme and contextual factors influencing CHV performance. Quality was assessed using both the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) and the Mixed Methods Assessment Tool (MMAST); and certainty of evidence evaluated using the Confidence in the Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative research (CERQual) approach.Results
Key programme-level factors reported to enhance CHV performance in urban informal settlements in LMICs included both financial and non-financial incentives, training, the availability of supplies and resources, health system linkage, family support, and supportive supervision. At the broad contextual level, factors found to negatively influence the performance of CHVs included insecurity in terms of personal safety and the demand for financial and material support by households within the community. These factors interacted to shape CHV performance and impacted on implementation of CHV programmes in urban informal settlements.Conclusion
This review identified the influence of both programme-level and contextual factors on CHVs working in both urban and peri-urban informal settlements in LMICs. The findings suggest that programmes working in such settings should consider adequate remuneration for CHVs, integrated and holistic training, adequate supplies and resources, adequate health system linkages, family support and supportive supervision. In addition, programmes should also consider CHV personal safety issues and the community expectations.
Association between supportive supervision and performance of community health workers in India: a longitudinal multi-level analysis
Community health workers (CHWs) deliver services at-scale to reduce maternal and child undernutrition, but often face inadequate support from the health system to perform their job well. Supportive supervision is a promising intervention that strengthens the health system and can enable CHWs to offer quality services.Objectives
We examined if greater intensity of supportive supervision as defined by monitoring visits to Anganwadi Centre, CHW-supervisor meetings, and training provided by supervisors to CHWs in the context of Integrated Child Services Development (ICDS), a national nutrition program in India, is associated with higher performance of CHWs. Per program guidelines, we develop the performance of CHWs measure by using an additive score of nutrition services delivered by CHWs. We also tested to see if supportive supervision is indirectly associated with CHW performance through CHW knowledge.Methods
We used longitudinal survey data of CHWs from an impact evaluation of an at-scale technology intervention in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Since the inception of ICDS, CHWs have received supportive supervision from their supervisors to provide services in the communities they serve. Mixed-effects logistic regression models were used to test if higher intensity supportive supervision was associated with improved CHW performance. The model included district fixed effects and random intercepts for the sectors to which supervisors belong.Results
Among 809 CHWs, the baseline proportion of better performers was 45%. Compared to CHWs who received lower intensity of supportive supervision, CHWs who received greater intensity of supportive supervision had 70% higher odds (AOR 1.70, 95% CI 1.16, 2.49) of better performance after controlling for their baseline performance, CHW characteristics such as age, education, experience, caste, timely payment of salaries, Anganwadi Centre facility index, motivation, and population served in their catchment area. A test of mediation indicated that supportive supervision is associated indirectly with CHW performance through improvement in CHW knowledge.Conclusion
Higher intensity of supportive supervision is associated with improved CHW performance directly and through knowledge of CHWs. Leveraging institutional mechanisms such as supportive supervision could be important in improving service delivery to reach beneficiaries and potentially better infant and young child feeding practices and nutritional outcomes.
Trial registration : Trial registration number: https://doi.org/10.1186/ISRCTN83902145
Despite a significant shortage of psychiatrists in China, an ever-increasing number of psychiatrists in China are experiencing burnout and job dissatisfaction and considering leaving their jobs. Yet, to our knowledge, there have been no nationwide studies to date that examined both burnout and job dissatisfaction of psychiatrists in China. Therefore, this study evaluated burnout and job dissatisfaction of psychiatrists in China, and identified relevant characteristics.Methods
We conducted a nationwide, cross-sectional survey in March 2019. Psychiatrists from all tertiary psychiatric hospitals in China were invited to participate. The Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Service Survey and the short version of the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire were used to measure burnout and job satisfaction. Data on socio-demographic and occupational characteristics were collected. Multivariate logistic regression was conducted to identify socio-demographic and occupational characteristics associated with burnout and job satisfaction.Results
In total, 4520 psychiatrists from tertiary psychiatric hospitals in China completed the questionnaire. Overall, 38.4% of respondents met the criteria for burnout and 35.6% were dissatisfied with their jobs. Being male, more years of practice, having no leadership role, and longer working hours per week were significantly associated with burnout and job dissatisfaction. Lower monthly pay was significantly associated with job dissatisfaction but not burnout. Moreover, burnout was significantly associated with job dissatisfaction.Conclusions
Our data suggest a high rate of burnout and job dissatisfaction among psychiatrists in China. In order to preserve and strengthen the mental health workforce, proactive measures are urgently needed to mitigate burnout and job dissatisfaction among psychiatrists in China.
Data revolution, health status transformation and the role of artificial intelligence for health and pandemic preparedness in the African context
Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms, increasingly deployed in public health, utilize robust data systems as a critical component for health emergency preparedness. Yet, Africa faces numerous challenges in the availability, analyses, and use of data to inform health decision-making. Countries have limited access to their population data. Those with access, struggle to utilize these data for program improvements. Owing to the rapid growth of mobile phone ownership and use in the region, Africa is poised to leverage AI technologies to increase the adoption, access and use of data for health. To discuss and propose solutions for responsible development and adoption of innovations like AI in Africa, a virtual workshop was organized from the 21st to 24th June, 2021. This report highlights critical policy dimensions of strengthening digital health ecosystems by high-level policymakers, technical experts, academia, public and private sector partners.Method
The four days’ workshop focused on nine sessions, with each session focusing on three themes. Discussions during the sessions concentrated on public and private sectors, the academia and multilateral organizations’ deployment of AI. These discussions expanded participants’ understanding of AI, the opportunities and challenges that exist during adoption, including the future of AI for health in the African region. Approximately 250 participants attended the workshop, including countries representatives from ministries of Health, Information and Technology, Developmental Organizations, Private Sector, Academia and Research Institutions among others.Results
The workshop resolved that governments and relevant stakeholders should collaborate to ensure that AI and digital health receive critical attention. Government ownership and leadership were identified as critical for sustainable financing and effective scale-up of AI-enabled applications in Africa. Thus, government is to ensure that key recommendations from the workshop are implemented to improve health sector development in Africa.Conclusions
The AI workshop was a good forum to deliberate important issues regarding AI for health in the African context. It was concluded that there is a need to focus on vital priorities in deploying AI in Africa: Data protection, privacy and sharing protocols; training and creating platforms for researchers; funding and business models; developing frameworks for assessing and implementing AI; organizing forums and conferences on AI; and instituting regulations, governance and ethical guidelines for AI. There is a need to adopt a health systems approach in planning for AI to reduce inefficiencies, redundancies while increasing effectiveness in the use of AI. Thus, robust collaborations and partnerships among governments and various stakeholders were identified as key.