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Lamontagne D.S.,PATH | Nghi N.Q.,The World Bank | Nga L.T.,HealthBridge | Janmohamed A.,University of British Columbia | And 3 more authors.
BMC Public Health | Year: 2014

Background: Introduction of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in national programs has proceeded apace since 2006, mostly in high-income countries. Recently concluded pilots of HPV vaccination in low-income countries have provided important lessons learned for these settings; however, rigorous evaluations of the feasibility of these delivery strategies that effectively reach young adolescents have been few. This paper presents results from a qualitative evaluation of a demonstration program which implemented school-based and health center-based HPV vaccinations to all girls in grade 6, or 11 years of age, for two years in four districts of Vietnam. Methods. Using semi-structured interviews of 131 health and education staff from local, district, province, and national levels and 26 focus-group discussions with local project implementers (n = 153), we conducted a qualitative two-year evaluation to measure the impact of HPV vaccinations on the health and education systems. Results: HPV vaccine delivery at schools or health centers was made feasible by: a. close collaboration between the health and education sectors, b. detailed planning for implementation, c. clearly defined roles and responsibilities for project implementers, d. effective management and supervision of vaccinations during delivery, and e. engagement with community organizations for support. Both the health and education systems were temporarily challenged with the extra workload, but the disruptions were short-lived (a few days for each of three doses) and perceived as worth the longer-term benefit of cervical cancer prevention. Conclusion: The learning from Vietnam has identified critical elements for successful vaccine delivery that can provide a model for other countries to consider during their planning of national rollout of HPV vaccine. © 2014 LaMontagne et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

PubMed | Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences, HealthBridge, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College, University of Ottawa and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Type: | Journal: Frontiers in public health | Year: 2017

Malaria prevalence has declined in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania over the past 10years, particularly at lower altitudes. While this decline has been related to the scale-up of long-lasting insecticidal nets to achieve universal coverage targets, it has also been attributed to changes in environmental factors that are important for enabling and sustaining malaria transmission.Herein, we apply spatial analytical approaches to investigate the impact of environmental and demographic changes, including changes in temperature, precipitation, land cover, and population density, on the range of the major malaria vector species Entomological data were collected from the Hai and Lower Moshi districts of Tanzania in 2001-2004 and 2014-2015. Vector occurrence data were applied alongside satellite remote sensing indices of climate and land cover, and gridded population data, to develop species distribution models for Changes in land cover were observed in addition to increased population densities, increased warm season temperature, and decreased wetness at low altitudes. The predicted area and extent of suitable habitat for We show that environmental changes have had an important influence on the distribution of malaria vector species in a highland area of northern Tanzania. Highland areas may be at continued risk for sporadic malaria outbreaks despite the overall range contraction of principal vector species at lower altitudes, where malaria transmission remains at low intensity.

Kisia J.,Red Cross | Nelima F.,University of Nairobi | Otieno D.O.,Red Cross | Kiilu K.,Red Cross | And 5 more authors.
Malaria Journal | Year: 2012

Background: The success of community case management in improving access to effective malaria treatment for young children relies on broad utilization of community health workers (CHWs) to diagnose and treat fever cases. A better understanding of the factors associated with CHW utilization is crucial in informing national malaria control policy and strategy in Kenya. Specifically, little is known in Kenya on the extent to which CHWs are utilized, the characteristics of families who report utilizing CHWs and whether utilization is associated with improved access to prompt and effective malaria treatment. This paper examines factors associated with utilization of CHWs in improving access to malaria treatment among children under five years of age by women caregivers in two malaria endemic districts in Kenya. Methods. This study was conducted in 113 hard-to-reach and poor villages in Malindi and Lamu districts in the coastal region classified as having endemic transmission of malaria. A cross-sectional household survey was conducted using a standardized malaria indicator questionnaire at baseline (n=1,187) and one year later at endline assessment (n=1,374) using two-stage cluster sampling. Results: There was an increase in reported utilization of CHWs as source of advice/treatment for child fevers from 2% at baseline to 35% at endline, accompanied by a decline in care-seeking from government facilities (from 67% to 48%) and other sources (26% to 2%) including shops. The most poor households and poor households reported higher utilization of CHWs at 39.4% and 37.9% respectively, compared to the least poor households (17.0%). Households in villages with less than 200 households reported higher CHWs utilization as compared to households in villages having >200 households. Prompt access to timely and effective treatment was 5.7 times higher (95% CI 3.4-9.7) when CHWs were the source of care sought. Adherence was high regardless of whether source was CHWs (73.1%) or public health facility (66.7%). Conclusions: The potential for utilization of CHWs in improving access to malaria treatment at the community level is promising. This will not only enhance access to treatment by the poorest households but also provide early and appropriate treatment to vulnerable individuals, especially those living in hard to reach areas. © 2012 Kisia et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Desrochers R.E.,HealthBridge | Siekmans K.,HealthBridge | Berti P.R.,HealthBridge | Bramhill K.,Red Cross | And 5 more authors.
Malaria Journal | Year: 2014

Background: It is well established that insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs), in particular long-lasting, insecticidal nets (LLINs), can be used as one of the primary interventions for effective malaria control. A consistent gap between net ownership and use has been observed, indicating that factors exist that prevent an owned mosquito net from being used. One approach used in the context of LLIN campaigns is a post-distribution, door-to-door visit of households with educational messages and to physically assist with hang-up of nets. Methods. A cluster randomized trial was conducted in the Plateaux Region of Togo to evaluate the effectiveness of different approaches to post-LLIN campaign home visits (number of visits and timing) by volunteers to enhance LLIN hang-up and utilization. Results: It was found that, in general, households that received intervention visits, particularly the most recent intervention visit, had levels of use that were typically 5 to 10% higher than the control households, while access did not differ among control and intervention households. Eight months post-campaign, ITN use by all individuals, children under five years and women of reproductive age was 11.3 to 14.4 percentage points greater in the study arm that received all three intervention visits than in the control communities. In households that received one or two additional door-to-door visits, the majority of respondents indicated that the volunteer provided new information during the visit regarding the use and importance of ITNs despite having received previous multiple visits. Conclusions: The impact of the interventions appears to have been primarily through the delivery and reinforcement of key behaviour-change communication (BCC) messages regarding the importance of using an ITN and its care. Regardless of whether the respondents in fact received new information or had forgotten earlier information, this suggests that regular visits from community agents are useful in reinforcing key BCC messages. © 2014 Desrochers et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

PubMed | Red Cross, HealthBridge and Ministry of Health and Social Welfare
Type: Journal Article | Journal: BMC public health | Year: 2017

Trained community health workers (CHW) enhance access to essential primary health care services in contexts where the health system lacks capacity to adequately deliver them. In Liberia, the Ebola outbreak further disrupted health system function. The objective of this study is to examine the value of a community-based health system in ensuring continued treatment of child illnesses during the outbreak and the role that CHWs had in Ebola prevention activities.A descriptive observational study design used mixed methods to collect data from CHWs (structured survey, n=60; focus group discussions, n=16), government health facility workers and project staff. Monthly data on child diarrhea and pneumonia treatment were gathered from CHW case registers and local health facility records.Coverage for community-based treatment of child diarrhea and pneumonia continued throughout the outbreak in project areas. A slight decrease in cases treated during the height of the outbreak, from 50 to 28% of registers with at least one treatment per month, was attributed to directives not to touch others, lack of essential medicines and fear of contracting Ebola. In a climate of distrust, where health workers were reluctant to treat patients, sick people were afraid to self-identify and caregivers were afraid to take children to the clinic, CHWs were a trusted source of advice and Ebola prevention education. These findings reaffirm the value of recruiting and training local workers who are trusted by the community and understand the social and cultural complexities of this relationship. No touch integrated community case management (iCCM) guidelines distributed at the height of the outbreak gave CHWs renewed confidence in assessing and treating sick children.Investments in community-based health service delivery contributed to continued access to lifesaving treatment for child pneumonia and diarrhea during the Ebola outbreak, making communities more resilient when facility-based health services were impacted by the crisis. To maximize the effectiveness of these interventions during a crisis, proactive training of CHWs in infection prevention and no touch iCCM guidelines, strengthening drug supply chain management and finding alternative ways to provide supportive supervision when movements are restricted are recommended.

Sherwood S.,Wageningen University | Arce A.,Wageningen University | Berti P.,HealthBridge | Borja R.,EkoRural | And 2 more authors.
Food Policy | Year: 2013

Faced with rising non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the Ecuadorian Government has proposed a model health program targeting individual and environmental level determinants. Drawing on cosmopolitan social theory, the experiences of counter-movements and concerns over food policy, the authors explore how mass pesticide poisoning and obesity can be viewed as the product of the 'success' of the modernization policy as well as a specific range of global phenomena configuring civic activity and policy situations. Through the study of NCDs as an emergent social field, the authors examine historical developments and heterogeneity in peoples' practices for insights on more practical and effective public policy responses. The rise of the consumer-citizen in counter-movements represents a paradoxical, but promising dynamic capable of reconstituting economies, culture, and society. In Ecuador, social action appears to be a largely neglected and under-utilized resource for tackling NCDs and perhaps other highly pressing and seemingly intractable food policy concer. ns. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Siekmans K.,HealthBridge | Receveur O.,University of Montréal | Haddad S.,University of Montréal
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Addressing the complex, multi-factorial causes of childhood anaemia is best done through integrated packages of interventions. We hypothesized that due to reduced child vulnerability, a "buffering" of risk associated with known causes of anaemia would be observed among children living in areas benefiting from a community-based health and nutrition program intervention. Cross-sectional data on the nutrition and health status of children 24-59 mo (N = 2405) were obtained in 2000 and 2004 from program evaluation surveys in Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania. Linear regression models estimated the association between haemoglobin and immediate, underlying and basic causes of child anaemia and variation in this association between years. Lower haemoglobin levels were observed in children assessed in 2000 compared to 2004 (difference -3.30 g/L), children from Tanzania (-9.15 g/L) and Malawi (-2.96 g/L) compared to Ghana, and the youngest (24-35 mo) compared to oldest age group (48-59 mo; -5.43 g/L). Children who were stunted, malaria positive and recently ill also had lower haemoglobin, independent of age, sex and other underlying and basic causes of anaemia. Despite ongoing morbidity, risk of lower haemoglobin decreased for children with malaria and recent illness, suggesting decreased vulnerability to their anaemia-producing effects. Stunting remained an independent and unbuffered risk factor. Reducing chronic undernutrition is required in order to further reduce child vulnerability and ensure maximum impact of anaemia control programs. Buffering the impact of child morbidity on haemoglobin levels, including malaria, may be achieved in certain settings. © 2014 Siekmans et al.

Druetz T.,University of Montréal | Druetz T.,Crchum Unite Of Sante Internationale | Siekmans K.,Healthbridge | Goossens S.,Independent Consultant | And 2 more authors.
Health Policy and Planning | Year: 2015

Pneumonia causes around 750 000 child deaths per year in sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. The lack of accessibility to prompt and effective treatment is an important contributor to this burden. Community case management of pneumonia (CCMp) uses trained community health workers (CHWs) to administer antibiotics to suspected child pneumonia cases in villages. This strategy has been gaining momentum in low- and middle-income countries, and the World Health Organization and United Nations children's fund have recently encouraged countries to broaden community case management to other diseases. Recommendations in favour CCMp are based on three meta-analyses showing its efficacy to reduce childhood mortality and morbidity attributable to pneumonia although most of the studies in the meta-analyses were conducted in Asian countries. This is problematic as community case management strategies have been implemented in very different ways in Asian and SSA countries, partly due to differences in malaria prevalence. Therefore, we conducted a narrative synthesis to systematically review the evidence on CCMp in SSA. Results show that there is a lack of evidence concerning its efficacy and effectiveness in SSA, irrespective of whether case management is integrated with other diseases or not. CHWs encounter difficulties in counting the respiratory rate. Their adherence to the guidelines is poorer when they are required to manage several illnesses or children with severe signs. CCMp thus encompasses issues of over-treatment and missed treatment, with potentially negative consequences such as increased lethality in severe cases and antibiotics resistance. The current lack of evidence concerning its efficacy, effectiveness and the factors leading to successful implementation, coupled with CHWs' poor adherence, demand a thorough examination of the legitimacy of implementing CCMp in SSA countries. © The Author 2014; all rights reserved.

The selection of food vehicles and fortification levels in food fortification programs may be made on the assumption of equitable intrahousehold distribution of food. There are concerns that biased intrahousehold distribution of food will make food-based interventions ineffective or unsafe. To review available data documenting intrahousehold energy intake (as a proxy for food distribution) in low- and middle-income countries, and discuss the relevance for food fortification programs. A literature search was done, selecting reports from low- and middle-income countries that included dietary data from adults and children. The references of relevant reports and all citations of relevant reports were scanned. Intrahousehold distribution of dietary energy was compared with individual energy requirements. Twenty-eight studies were identified covering 18 countries with as few as 20 and as many as 3,000 households per study. Intrahousehold distribution of food in most countries is relatively equitable, within a 20% margin. Within the limits of the available data, and in the absence of contrary data, it is reasonable to assume equitable intrahousehold distribution of food when designing food fortification programs; however, for program evaluation, individual assessment of intake is still needed.

Berti P.R.,HealthBridge | Mildon A.,World Vision | Siekmans K.,World Vision | Main B.,World Vision | MacDonald C.,World Vision
International Journal of Epidemiology | Year: 2010

Background: Evaluations of large-scale health and nutrition programmes in developing countries are needed for determining the effectiveness of interventions. This article critically analyses a non-governmental organization (NGO)-led large-scale, multi-country, 10-year micronutrient and health (MICAH) programme with an 'adequacy evaluation', that is, a documentation of time trends in the expected direction. Methods: MICAH was implemented from 1996 to 2005 in selected areas of Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania, reaching>6 million people with numerous health and nutrition interventions. Coverage and impact were monitored through surveys at baseline, midpoint and end of funding. The data were subjected to post-hoc methods of quality determination, and, if of suitable quality, included in the adequacy evaluation. Results: Most collected data were of moderate or high quality and therefore included in the adequacy evaluation. There were moderate to large improvements in vitamin A status in Ethiopian school-age children, children <5 years of age in Tanzania and Ghana and mothers in Ghana. Iodine status improved in Malawi and Tanzania. Anaemia rates and malaria prevalence decreased in women, pregnant women and pre-school children in Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania, but anaemia increased in Ethiopian women. Large increases were reported for rates of exclusive breastfeeding and immunization. Child growth improved to the maximum that would be predicted with the given interventions. Conclusions: Numerous nutrition and health impacts were observed in the intervention areas, often of a magnitude equal to or larger than observed in controlled interventions or trials. These results show the value of integrated long-term interventions. © Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association. The Author 2010; all rights reserved.

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