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The Mentor-Mothers program in the Nigeria Department of Defense: policies, processes, and implementation
Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world and is one of the countries with the highest rates of new pediatric infections in sub-Saharan Africa. The country faces several challenges in the provision of healthcare services and coverage of Prevention of Mother to child transmission of HIV. In the Nigeria’s Department of Defense, prevention of vertically transmitted HIV infections has been given a boost by utilizing Mentor Mothers to facilitate antiretroviral compliance and retention in care. The aim of this study was to explore those processes and policies that guide the implementation of the Mentor Mothers program for PMTCT of HIV in the Department of Defense in Nigeria as no studies have examined this so far.Methods
The descriptive, qualitative research approach was utilized. We conducted 7 key informants interviews with 7 purposively selected participants made up of 2 program Directors, 1 Doctor, 1 PMTCT focal Nurse, 1 PMTCT site coordinator, 1 Mentor Mother, and 1 patient from one each of the health facilities of the Army, Navy, Airforce and the Defence Headquarters Medical Centre. Open coding for major themes and sub-themes was done. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis.Results
Findings revealed that the program in the Department of Defense had been modelled after the WHO and implementing partners’ guidelines. Foundational Factors; Leadership; Skill acquisition; and Service Characteristics emerged as processes guiding the implementation of the Mentor-Mothers program in the DoD. These findings supported the Mentor Mother Model, which empowers mothers living with HIV – through education and employment – to promote access to essential PMTCT services and medical care to HIV positive pregnant women.Conclusion
We concluded that no definitive policy establishes the Mentor Mothers program in the DoD. Working with Doctors, Nurses, local & collaborating partners, and communities in which these hospitals are located, the Mentor Mothers play a pivotal role in the formation, facilitation, and implementation of the MM model to effectively decrease HIV infections in children and reduce child and maternal mortality in women and families they interact with.
Assessing the scalability of a health management-strengthening intervention at the district level: a qualitative study in Ghana, Malawi and Uganda
The scale-up of successfully tested public health interventions is critical to achieving universal health coverage. To ensure optimal use of resources, assessment of the scalability of an intervention is recognized as a crucial step in the scale-up process. This study assessed the scalability of a tested health management-strengthening intervention (MSI) at the district level in Ghana, Malawi and Uganda.Methods
Qualitative interviews were conducted with intervention users (district health management teams, DHMTs) and implementers of the scale-up of the intervention (national-level actors) in Ghana, Malawi and Uganda, before and 1 year after the scale-up had started. To assess the scalability of the intervention, the CORRECT criteria from WHO/ExpandNet were used during analysis.Results
The MSI was seen as credible, as regional- and national-level Ministry of Health officials were championing the intervention. While documented evidence on intervention effectiveness was limited, district- and national-level stakeholders seemed to be convinced of the value of the intervention. This was based on its observed positive results regarding management competencies, teamwork and specific aspects of health workforce performance and service delivery. The perceived need for strengthening of management capacity and service delivery showed the relevance of the intervention, and relative advantages of the intervention were its participatory and sustainable nature. Turnover within the DHMTs and limited (initial) management capacity were factors complicating implementation. The intervention was not contested and was seen as compatible with (policy) priorities at the national level.Conclusion
We conclude that the MSI is scalable. However, to enhance its scalability, certain aspects should be adapted to better fit the context in which the intervention is being scaled up. Greater involvement of regional and national actors alongside improved documentation of results of the intervention can facilitate scale-up. Continuous assessment of the scalability of the intervention with all stakeholders involved is necessary, as context, stakeholders and priorities may change. Therefore, adaptations of the intervention might be required. The assessment of scalability, preferably as part of the monitoring of a scale-up strategy, enables critical reflections on next steps to make the intervention more scalable and the scale-up more successful.
The global critical shortage of health workers prevents expansion of healthcare services and universal health coverage. Like most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya’s healthcare workforce density of 13.8 health workers per 10,000 population falls below the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of at least 44.5 doctors, nurses, and midwives per 10,000 population. In response to the health worker shortage, the WHO recommends task sharing, a strategy that can increase access to quality health services. To improve the utilization of human and financial health resources in Kenya for HIV and other essential health services, the Kenya Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with various institutions developed national task sharing policy and guidelines (TSP). To advance task sharing, this article describes the process of developing, adopting, and implementing the Kenya TSP.Case presentation
The development and approval of Kenya’s TSP occurred from February 2015 to May 2017. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allocated funding to Emory University through the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Advancing Children’s Treatment initiative. After obtaining support from leadership in Kenya’s MOH and health professional institutions, the TSP team conducted a desk review of policies, guidelines, scopes of practice, task analyses, grey literature, and peer-reviewed research. Subsequently, a Policy Advisory Committee was established to guide the process and worked collaboratively to form technical working groups that arrived at consensus and drafted the policy. The collaborative, multidisciplinary process led to the identification of gaps in service delivery resulting from health workforce shortages. This facilitated the development of the Kenya TSP, which provides a general orientation of task sharing in Kenya. The guidelines list priority tasks for sharing by various cadres as informed by evidence, such as HIV testing and counseling tasks. The TSP documents were disseminated to all county healthcare facilities in Kenya, yet implementation was stopped by order of the judiciary in 2019 after a legal challenge from an association of medical laboratorians.Conclusions
Task sharing may increase access to healthcare services in resource-limited settings. To advance task sharing, TSP and clinical practice could be harmonized, and necessary adjustments made to other policies that regulate practice (e.g., scopes of practice). Revisions to pre-service training curricula could be conducted to ensure health professionals have the requisite competencies to perform shared tasks. Monitoring and evaluation can help ensure that task sharing is implemented appropriately to ensure quality outcomes.
Experience of a telehealth and education program with maternal and perinatal outcomes in a low-resource region in Colombia
Maternal morbidity and mortality rates associated with perinatal care remain a significant public health concern. Rural populations from low and middle-income countries have multiple barriers to access that contribute to a lack of adherence to prenatal care, and high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity. An intervention model based on telehealth and education was implemented between a tertiary high complex care hospital and a second-level hospital from a limited source region.Objectives
We sought to identify an association in maternal and perinatal care quality indicators after implementing a model based on telehealth and education for patients with obstetric emergencies between two hospitals in a southwestern region of Colombia.Methods
We conducted an ecological study between 2017 and 2019 to compare before and after obstetric emergency care through telemedicine from a secondary care center (Hospital Francisco de Paula Santander-HFPS) to the referral center (Fundación Valle del Lili-FVL). The intervention included verification visits to determine the installed capacity of care, a concerted improvement plan, and on-site educational training modules in obstetric and perinatal care.Results
There were 102 and 148 patients treated before and after telemedicine implementation respectively. Clinical indicators after model implementation showed a reduction in perinatal mortality of 29%. In addition, a reduction in the need for transfusion of blood products due to postpartum hemorrhage was observed as well as the rate of eclampsia.Conclusions
Implementing a model based on telehealth and education between secondary and tertiary care centers allowed the strengthening of the security of care in obstetric emergencies and had a positive effect on perinatal mortality.
Does inter-border conflict influence the views of task sharing among community health volunteers in Nigeria? A qualitative study.
Longitudinal impact of preregistration interprofessional education on the attitudes and skills of health professionals during their early careers: a non-randomised trial with 4-year outcomes.
Legados históricos que influenciaram a formulação do Mais Médicos e que decorrem de sua implementação
Does inter-border conflict influence the views of task sharing among community health volunteers in Nigeria? A qualitative study
Volunteer community health workers are increasingly being engaged in Nigeria, through the World Health Organization’s task sharing strategy. This strategy aims to address gaps in human resources for health, including inequitable distribution of health workers. Recent conflicts in rural and fragile border communities in northcentral Nigeria create challenges for volunteer community health workers to meet their community's increasing health needs. This study aimed to explore the perception of volunteers involved in task sharing to understand factors affecting performance and delivery in such contexts.Methods
This was a qualitative study conducted in fragile border communities in north central Nigeria. Eighteen audio recorded, semi-structured interviews with volunteers and supervisors were performed. Their perceptions on how task sharing and allocation of tasks affect performance and delivery were elucidated. The transactional social framework was applied during the thematic analysis process to generate an explanatory account of the research data, which was analysed using NVivo software.Results
Promotive and preventive tasks were shared among the predominantly agrarian respondents. There was a structured task allocation process that linked the community with the health system and mainly cordial relationships were in place. However, there were barriers related to ethnoreligious crises and current conflict, timing of task allocations, gender inequities in volunteerism, shortage of commodities, inadequate incentives, dwindling community support and negative attitudes of some volunteers.Conclusion
The perception of task sharing was mainly positive, despite the challenges, especially the current conflict. In this fragile context, reconsideration of non-seasonal task allocations within improved community-driven selection and security systems should be encouraged. Supportive supervision and providing adequate and timely renumeration will also be beneficial in this fragile setting.
With migration occurring over a series of centuries, dating back to the 1600’s, the circumstance regarding Black people in Canada is a complex account. A plethora of social issues and the failure to adequately acknowledge and reconcile historical issues, has resulted in health inequity, disparities and knowledge gaps, related to the Black population in Canada. In nursing, historical records indicate a legacy of discrimination that continues to impact Black nurses. The profession has begun reckoning with anti-Black racism and the residual effects. This scoping review sought to chart the existing evidence on Black nurses in the nursing profession in Canada.Methods
JBI methodology was used to search peer-reviewed evidence and unpublished gray literature. Sources were considered for inclusion based on criteria outlined in an a priori protocol focusing on: 1) Canada 2) Black nurses and 3) nursing practice. No restrictions were placed on date of publication and language was limited to English and French. All screening and extractions were completed by two independent reviewers.Results
The database search yielded 688 records. After removing duplicates, 600 titles and abstracts were screened for eligibility and 127 advanced to full-text screening. Eighty-two full-text articles were excluded, for a total of 44 sources meeting the inclusion criteria. Seven sources were identified through gray literature search. Subsequently, 31 sources underwent data extraction. Of the 31 sources, 18 are research (n = 18), six are commentaries (n = 6); one report (n = 1) and six are classified as announcements, memoranda or policy statements (n = 6). The review findings are categorized into five conceptual categories: racism (n = 12); historical situatedness (n = 2); leadership and career progression (n = 7); immigration (n = 4); and diversity in the workforce (n = 4).Conclusions
This review reveals the interconnectedness of the five conceptual categories. Racism was a prominent issue woven throughout the majority of the sources. Additionally, this review captures how racism is exacerbated by intersectional factors such as gender, class and nationality. The findings herein offer insight regarding anti-Black racism and discrimination in nursing as well as suggestions for future research including the use of diverse methodologies in different jurisdictions across the country. Lastly, the implications extend to the nursing workforce in relation to enhancing diversity and addressing the ongoing nursing shortage.
Safeguarding equitable HIV service delivery at the health facility-level in a resource-limited setting during the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic had a severe impact on delivering essential health services, including HIV service delivery. Among the challenges encountered and addressed by the HIV and AIDS Department of the San Lazaro Hospital were ensuring continued access to antiretroviral therapy and ensuring continuity of client education and empowerment. Two years into the pandemic, challenges still ensue, such as protecting health care providers from COVID-19 and regular clinical monitoring of clients. This highlights the importance of urgent action to strengthen the resilience of health systems at all its levels, not only to respond to sudden disturbances, but also to transform and evolve to be able to better face future pandemics.
Perceptions and Experiences of Health Care Workers on Accountability Mechanisms for Enhancing Quality Improvement in the Delivery of Maternal Newborns and Child Health Services in Mkuranga, Tanzania.
Improving allocative efficiency from network consolidation: a solution for the health workforce shortage
Public hospitals are facing a critical shortage of health workers. The area-based network consolidations could be the solution to increase the system capacity for human resources by improving local allocative efficiency.Methods
This study develops counterfactual simulations for area-based network allocations for the health workforce in 10500 public hospitals in Thailand and examines improvements in allocative efficiency from the health workforce redistribution at different administrative levels such as sub-districts, districts, provinces, and health service areas. The workload per worker is calculated from the output measured by numbers of outpatient and inpatient cases and the input measured by numbers of health workers. Both output and input are weighted with their economic values and controlled for heterogeneity through regression analysis. Finally, this study compares the workload per worker and economic valuation of the area-based networks or ex-ante scenarios with the hospital-level or status quo scenario.Results
Network consolidations of the sub-district primary-level hospitals within the same district could reduce workload per worker by seven percentage points. Another practical policy option is to consolidate similar hospital levels such as primary, first-level secondary, and mid-level secondary hospitals altogether within the same province which could result in the reduction of the workload per worker by 6–7 percentage points. The total economic value gained from consolidating similar hospital levels within the same province is about 15–18 percentage points of total labor cost in the primary hospitals.Conclusion
This study illustrates the improvement in allocative efficiency of the health workforce in public hospitals from the area-based network consolidations. The results provide an insightful example of economic gains from efficiently reallocating the medical workforce within the same local areas. Major reforms are required such that the health care delivery units can automate their resources in corresponding to the population's health needs through a strengthening gatekeeping system.
Stock-outs of essential medicines among community health workers (CHWs) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs): a systematic literature review of the extent, reasons, and consequences
This paper explores the extent of community-level stock-out of essential medicines among community health workers (CHWs) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and identifies the reasons for and consequences of essential medicine stock-outs.Methods
A systematic review was conducted and reported in line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Five electronic databases were searched with a prespecified strategy and the grey literature examined, January 2006–March 2021. Papers containing information on (1) the percentage of CHWs stocked out or (2) reasons for stock-outs along the supply chain and consequences of stock-out were included and appraised for risk of bias. Outcomes were quantitative data on the extent of stock-out, summarized using descriptive statistics, and qualitative data regarding reasons for and consequences of stock-outs, analyzed using thematic content analysis and narrative synthesis.Results
Two reviewers screened 1083 records; 78 evaluations were included. Over the last 15 years, CHWs experienced stock-outs of essential medicines nearly one third of the time and at a significantly (p < 0.01) higher rate than the health centers to which they are affiliated (28.93% [CI 95%: 28.79–29.07] vs 9.17% [CI 95%: 8.64–9.70], respectively). A comparison of the period 2006–2015 and 2016–2021 showed a significant (p < 0.01) increase in CHW stock-out level from 26.36% [CI 95%: 26.22–26.50] to 48.65% [CI 95%: 48.02–49.28] while that of health centers increased from 7.79% [95% CI 7.16–8.42] to 14.28% [95% CI 11.22–17.34]. Distribution barriers were the most cited reasons for stock-outs. Ultimately, patients were the most affected: stock-outs resulted in out-of-pocket expenses to buy unavailable medicines, poor adherence to medicine regimes, dissatisfaction, and low service utilization.Conclusions
Community-level stock-out of essential medicines constitutes a serious threat to achieving universal health coverage and equitable improvement of health outcomes. This paper suggests stock-outs are getting worse, and that there are particular barriers at the last mile. There is an urgent need to address the health and non-health system constraints that prevent the essential medicines procured for LMICs by international and national stakeholders from reaching the people who need them the most.
“The emotions were like a roller-coaster”: a qualitative analysis of e-diary data on healthcare worker resilience and adaptation during the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore
Uncertainties related to COVID-19 have strained the mental health of healthcare workers (HCWs) worldwide. Gaining the ability to adapt and thrive under pressure will be key to addressing this. We explore what characterises risk, vulnerability and resilient responses of HCWs during the early stages of the outbreak in Singapore.Methods
We undertook qualitative theory-guided thematic analysis of e-diary entries from HCWs who navigated the outbreak from June–August 2020. Data were extracted from a subset of an online survey of n = 3616 participants collected across 9 institutions, including restructured hospitals, hospices and affiliated primary care partners.Results
N = 663 or 18% submitted qualitative journal entries included for analyses. All professional cadres, local as well as foreign HCWs participated. Themes are reported according to the Loads–Levers–Lifts model of resilience and highlighted in italics. The model assumes that resilience is a dynamic process. Key factors threatening mental health (loading) risk included a notable rise in anxiety, the effects of being separated from loved ones, and experiencing heightened emotions and emotional overload. Bad situations were made worse, prompting vulnerable outcomes when HCWs experienced stigma in the community and effects of “public paranoia”; or under conditions where HCWs ended up feeling like a prisoner with little control or choice when either confined to staff accommodation or placed on quarantine/Stay Home Notices. Those with strife in their place of residence also described already difficult situations at work being aggravated by home life. Protection (lifts) came from being able to muster a sense of optimism about the future or feeling grateful for the pace of life slowing down and having the space to reprioritise. In contrast, when risk factors were present, balancing these in the direction of resilient outcomes was achieved by choosing to re-direct stress into positive narratives, drawing on inner agency, uptake of therapeutic activities, social support as well as faith and prayer and drawing comfort from religious community among other factors.Conclusion
The Loads–Levers–Lifts model is used to guide analysis to inform intervention designs. Levers promoting resilience through targeting therapies, workplace policies and awareness campaigns accounting for identified loads are proposed.