Use of Technology to Promote Child Behavioral Health in the Context of Pediatric Care: A Scoping Review and Applications to Low- and Middle-Income Countries.
ABSTRACT: Background: The burden of mental, neurological, and substance (MNS) disorders is greater in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The rapid growth of digital health (i.e., eHealth) approaches offer new solutions for transforming pediatric mental health services and have the potential to address multiple resource and system barriers. However, little work has been done in applying eHealth to promote young children's mental health in LMICs. It is also not clear how eHealth has been and might be applied to translating existing evidence-based practices/strategies (EBPs) to enable broader access to child mental health interventions and services. Methods: A scoping review was conducted to summarize current eHealth applications and evidence in child mental health. The review focuses on 1) providing an overview of existing eHealth applications, research methods, and effectiveness evidence in child mental health promotion (focused on children of 0-12 years of age) across diverse service contexts; and 2) drawing lessons learned from the existing research about eHealth design strategies and usability data in order to inform future eHealth design in LMICs. Results: Thirty-two (32) articles fitting our inclusion criteria were reviewed. The child mental health eHealth studies were grouped into three areas: i) eHealth interventions targeting families that promote child and family wellbeing; ii) eHealth for improving school mental health services (e.g., promote school staff's knowledge and management skills); and iii) eHealth for improving behavioral health care in the pediatric care system (e.g., promote use of integrated patient-portal and electronic decision support systems). Most eHealth studies have reported positive impacts. Although most pediatric eHealth studies were conducted in high-income countries, many eHealth design strategies can be adapted and modified to fit LMIC contexts. Most user-engagement strategies identified from high-income countries are also relevant for populations in LMICs. Conclusions: This review synthesizes patterns of eHealth use across a spectrum of individual/family and system level of eHealth interventions that can be applied to promote child mental health and strengthen mental health service systems. This review also summarizes critical lessons to guide future eHealth design and delivery models in LMICs. However, more research in testing combinations of eHealth strategies in LMICs is needed.
Project description:While great strides have been made in improving childhood mortality, millions of children die each year with significant health-related suffering. More than 98% of these children live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Efforts have been made to increase access to pediatric palliative care (PPC) services to address this suffering in LMICs through policy measures, educational initiatives, and access to essential medicines. However, a core component of high-quality PPC that has been relatively neglected in LMICs is grief and bereavement support for parents after the death of their child. This paper reviews the current literature on parental grief and bereavement in LMICs. This includes describing bereavement research in high-income countries (HICs), including its definition, adverse effect upon parents, and supportive interventions, followed by a review of the literature on health-related grief and bereavement in LMICs, specifically around: perinatal death, infant mortality, infectious disease, interventions used, and perceived need. More research is needed in grief and bereavement of parents in LMICs to provide them with the support they deserve within their specific cultural, social, and religious context. Additionally, these efforts in LMICs will help advance the field of parental grief and bereavement research as a whole.
Project description:Measles supplementary immunisation activities (SIAs) are an integral component of measles elimination in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). Despite their success in increasing vaccination coverage, there are concerns about their negative consequences on routine services. Few studies have conducted quantitative assessments of SIA impact on utilisation of health services.We analysed the impact of SIAs on utilisation of selected maternal and child health services using Demographic and Health Surveys and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys from 28 LMICs, where at least one SIA occurred over 2000-2014. Logistic regressions were conducted to investigate the association between SIAs and utilisation of the following services: facility delivery, postnatal care and outpatient sick child care (for fever, diarrhoea, cough).SIAs do not appear to significantly impact utilisation of maternal and child services. We find a reduction in care-seeking for treatment of child cough (OR 0.67; 95%?CI 0.48 to 0.95); and a few significant effects at the country level, suggesting the need for further investigation of the idiosyncratic effects of SIAs in each country.The paper contributes to the debate on vertical versus horizontal programmes to ensure universal access to vaccination. Measles SIAs do not seem to affect care-seeking for critical conditions.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Integration of services to screen and manage mental health and substance use disorders (MSDs) into HIV care settings has been identified as a promising strategy to improve mental health and HIV treatment outcomes among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Data on the extent to which HIV treatment sites in LMICs screen and manage MSDs are limited. The objective of this study was to assess practices for screening and treatment of MSDs at HIV clinics in LMICs participating in the International epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) consortium. METHODS:We surveyed a stratified random sample of 95 HIV clinics in 29 LMICs in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Asia-Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa. The survey captured information onsite characteristics and screening and treatment practices for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorders (SUDs) and other mental health disorders. RESULTS:Most sites (n = 76, 80%) were in urban areas. Mental health screening varied by disorder: 57% of sites surveyed screened for depression, 19% for PTSD, 55% for SUDs and 29% for other mental health disorders. Depression, PTSD, SUDs and other mental health disorders were reported as managed on site (having services provided at the HIV clinic or same health facility) at 70%, 51%, 41% and 47% of sites respectively. Combined availability of screening and on-site management of depression, PTSD, and SUDs, and other mental health disorders was reported by 42%, 14%, 26% and 19% of sites, respectively. On-site management of depression and PTSD was reported significantly less often in rural as compared to urban settings (depression: 33% and 78% respectively; PTSD: 24% and 58% respectively). Screening for depression and SUDs was least commonly reported by HIV programmes that treated only children as compared to HIV programmes that treated only adults or treated both adults and children. CONCLUSIONS:Significant gaps exist in the management of MSDs in HIV care settings in LMICs, particularly in rural settings. Identification and evaluation of optimal implementation strategies to scale and sustain integrated MSDs and HIV care is needed.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>eHealth-the proficient application of information and communication technology to support healthcare delivery-has been touted as one of the best solutions to address quality and accessibility challenges in healthcare. Although eHealth could be of more value to health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where resources are limited, identification of a competent workforce which can develop and maintain eHealth systems is a key barrier to adoption. Very little is known about the actual or optimal states of the eHealth workforce needs of LMICs. The objective of this study was to develop a framework to characterize and assess the eHealth workforce of hospitals in LMICs.<h4>Methods</h4>To characterize and assess the sufficiency of the workforce, we designed this study in twofold. First, we developed a general framework to categorize the eHealth workforce at any LMIC setting. Second, we combined qualitative data, using semi-structured interviews and the Workload Indicator of Staffing Needs (WISN) to assess the sufficiency of the eHealth workforce in selected hospitals in a LMIC setting like Ghana.<h4>Results</h4>We surveyed 76 (60%) of the eHealth staff from three hospitals in Ghana-La General Hospital, University of Ghana Hospital, and Greater Accra Regional Hospital. We identified two main eHealth cadres, technical support/information technology (IT) and health information management (HIM). While the HIM cadre presented diversity in expertise, the IT group was dominated by training in Science (42%) and Engineering (55%), and the majority (87%) had at least a bachelor's degree. Health information clerk (32%), health information officer (25%), help desk specialist (20%), and network administrator (11%) were the most dominant roles. Based on the WISN assessment, the eHealth workforce at all the surveyed sites was insufficient. La General and University of Ghana were operating at 10% of required IT staff capacity, while Ridge was short by 42%.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We have developed a framework to characterize and assess the eHealth workforce in LMICs. Applying it to a case study in Ghana has given us a better understanding of potential eHealth staffing needs in LMICs, while providing the quantitative basis for building the requisite human capital to drive eHealth initiatives. Educators can also use our results to explore competency gaps and refine curricula for burgeoning training programs. The findings of this study can serve as a springboard for other LMICs to assess the effects of a well-trained eHealth workforce on the return on eHealth investments.
Project description:Three-quarters of the global mental health burden exists in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), yet the lack of mental health services in resource-poor settings is striking. Task-sharing (also, task-shifting), where mental health care is provided by non-specialists, has been proposed to improve access to mental health care in LMICs. This multi-site qualitative study investigates the acceptability and feasibility of task-sharing mental health care in LMICs by examining perceptions of primary care service providers (physicians, nurses, and community health workers), community members, and service users in one district in each of the five countries participating in the PRogramme for Improving Mental health carE (PRIME): Ethiopia, India, Nepal, South Africa, and Uganda. Thirty-six focus group discussions and 164 in-depth interviews were conducted at the pre-implementation stage between February and October 2012 with the objective of developing district level plans to integrate mental health care into primary care. Perceptions of the acceptability and feasibility of task-sharing were evaluated first at the district level in each country through open-coding and then at the cross-country level through a secondary analysis of emergent themes. We found that task-sharing mental health services is perceived to be acceptable and feasible in these LMICs as long as key conditions are met: 1) increased numbers of human resources and better access to medications; 2) ongoing structured supportive supervision at the community and primary care-levels; and 3) adequate training and compensation for health workers involved in task-sharing. Taking into account the socio-cultural context is fundamental for identifying local personnel who can assist in detection of mental illness and facilitate treatment and care as well as training, supervision, and service delivery. By recognizing the systemic challenges and sociocultural nuances that may influence task-sharing mental health care, locally-situated interventions could be more easily planned to provide appropriate and acceptable mental health care in LMICs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Depression and anxiety are two of the leading causes of disease burden in low-to-middle income coutnries. The World Health Organisation has engaged in a programme of scaling-up mental health services, but significant challenges remain. Improving mental health literacy in children and young people, a core part of recent, global health strategies has the potential to address some of these challenges. The study aims to co-develop and feasibility test, a culturally-appropriate toolkit to promote depression and anxiety focused mental health literacy and self-management skills in Indonesia, for children aged 11-15 years. METHODS:A mixed methods study comprising four phases. Through a systematic review of existing evidence, phase 1 will review approaches to improve mental health literacy and self-management in South East Asia and critically review current evidence regarding intervention effect. Phase 2 will explore stakeholders' views on depression, anxiety and mental health more broadly and identify priorities for the intervention through the use of semi-structured interviews and/or focus groups with policy makers, clinicians, teachers, adolescent service users, carers and young people aged 11-15. Phase 3 will comprise iterative workshops with local stakeholders to present our findings and co-produce a testable, culturally appropriate toolkit to promote mental health literacy and depression/anxiety focused self-management in 11-15 year olds in Java, Indonesia. Phase 4 comprises feasibility evaluation of our developed intervention via nine in-depth case studies (Jakarta, Bogor and Magelang). We will examine the impact, acceptability and feasibility of our prototype intervention and produce evidence-based guidelines for wider implementation. DISCUSSION:Tools to support mental health literacy and self-management are a low cost way in which mental health services in LMICs can attempt to address the burden of anxiety and depression amongst children and young people. However, this is an underexplored area in Indonesia. Working closely with local stakeholders, this study will design and undertake feasibility evaluation of co-produced mental health literacy and anxiety and depression focussed interactive self-management tools. This abstract has also been published on the funders website (UK Research and Innovation. Improving Mental Health Literacy Among Young People aged 12-15 years in Indonesia 2019).
Project description:Internet and mobile technologies offer potentially critical ways of delivering mental health support in low-resource settings. Much evidence indicates an enormous negative impact of mental health problems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and many of these problems are caused, or worsened, by exposure to wars, conflicts, natural and human-caused disasters, and other traumatic events. Though specific mental health treatments have been found to be efficacious and cost-effective for low-resource settings, most individuals living in these areas do not have access to them. Low-intensity task-sharing interventions will help, but there is a limit to the scalability and sustainability of human resources in these settings. To address the needs of trauma survivors, it will be important to develop and implement Internet and mobile technology resources to help reduce the scarcity, inequity, and inefficiency of current mental health services in LMICs. Mobile and Internet resources are experiencing a rapid growth in LMICs and can help address time, stigma, and cost barriers and connect those who have been socially isolated by traumatic events. This review discusses current research in technological interventions in low-resource settings and outlines key issues and future challenges and opportunities. Though formidable challenges exist for large-scale deployment of mobile and Internet mental health technologies, work to date indicates that these technologies are indeed feasible to develop, evaluate, and deliver to those in need of mental health services, and that they can be effective.
Project description:Each year, 287,000 women die from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth, and 3.8 million newborns die before reaching 28 days of life. The near totality (99%) of maternal and neonatal deaths occurs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Utilization of essential obstetric care services including postnatal care (PNC) largely contributes to the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity. There is a strong need to evaluate the evidence on the unmet needs in utilization of PNC services to inform health policy planning. Our objective is to assess systematically the socioeconomic, geographic and demographic inequalities in the use of PNC interventions in low- and middle-income countries.The current protocol adopts a strategy informed by the guidelines of The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews. Our systematic review will identify studies in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese - provided inclusion of an English abstract - from 1960 onwards, by searching MEDLINE (PubMed interface), EMBASE (OVID interface), Cochrane Central (OVID interface) and the gray literature. Study selection criteria include research setting, study design, reported outcomes and determinants of interest. Our primary outcome is the utilization of PNC services, and determinants of concern are: 1) socioeconomic status (for example, income, education); 2) geographic determinants (for example, distance to a health center, rural versus urban residence); and 3) demographic determinants (for example, ethnicity, immigration status). Screening, data abstraction, and scientific quality assessment will be conducted independently by two reviewers using standardized forms. Where feasible, study results will be combined through meta-analyses to obtain a pooled measure of association between utilization of PNC services and key determinants. Results will be stratified by countries' income levels (World Bank classification).Our review will inform policy-making with the aim of decreasing inequalities in utilization of PNC services. This research will provide evidence on unmet needs for PNC services in LMICs, knowledge gaps and recommendations to health policy planners. Our research will help promote universal coverage of quality PNC services as an integral part of the continuum of maternal and child health care. This protocol was registered with the Prospero database (registration number: CRD42013004661).
Project description:BACKGROUND:Secondary schools in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) provide health promotion, preventive, and early intervention services. Nevertheless, literature indicates that the modules of these services are either adapted or modified from existing mental health programs in developed countries. The literature also highlights the provision of non-comprehensive services (mental health promotion, prevention, and early intervention), in LMICs. These findings inform the need for undertaking this systematic literature review. The aim of this review was thus to identify the modules of school-based mental health programs (SBMHP) that have been implemented in LMICs to guide the development of a culturally sensitive comprehensive mental health program for adolescents in a LMIC country. METHODS:The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement was used to guide this review. The following databases were searched in September 2018, to identify the relevant literature: PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, Web of Science, PsycINFO, and ERIC. The search was conducted by the first author and reviewed by the authors. RESULTS:Following the screening process, a total of 11 papers were identified and reviewed for quality. The systematic review highlighted that the mental health programs provided in schools included: an introduction module, a communication and relationship module, a psychoeducation module, a cognitive skills module, a behavioral skills module, establishing social networks for recovery and help seeking behavioral activities and a summary/conclusion module. CONCLUSION:This review sheds light on the characteristics of the programs in LMICs. Two programs were found to be universal in nature. Five programs were directed at key risk factors or at-risk groups, and four were early intervention programs. The review also revealed that only one program out of the 11 programs included modules for parents. The synthesis indicated that all the identified programs were adapted or modified from existing programs. The dearth of comprehensive programs in LMICs was also revealed. Lastly, the review revealed seven modules that can be useful for developing a SBMHP.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The prevalence of diabetes and the use of electronic health (eHealth) are increasing. People with diabetes need frequent monitoring and follow-up of health parameters, and eHealth services can be highly valuable. However, little is known about the use of eHealth in different socioeconomic groups among people with diabetes. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study was to investigate the use of 4 different eHealth platforms (apps, search engines, video services, and social media sites) and the association with socioeconomic status (SES) among people diagnosed with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T1D and T2D, respectively). METHODS:We used email survey data from 1250 members of the Norwegian Diabetes Association (aged 18-89 years), collected in 2018. Eligible for analyses were the 1063 respondents having T1D (n=523) and T2D (n=545). 5 respondents reported having both diabetes types and thus entered into both groups. Using descriptive statistics, we estimated the use of the different types of eHealth. By logistic regressions, we studied the associations between the use of these types of eHealth and SES (education and household income), adjusted for gender, age, and self-rated health. RESULTS:We found that 87.0% (447/514) of people with T1D and 77.7% (421/542) of people with T2D had used 1 or more forms of eHealth sometimes or often during the previous year. The proportion of people using search engines was the largest in both diagnostic groups, followed by apps, social media, and video services. We found a strong association between a high level of education and the use of search engines, whereas there were no educational differences for the use of apps, social media, or video services. In both diagnostic groups, high income was associated with the use of apps. In people with T1D, lower income was associated with the use of video services. CONCLUSIONS:This paper indicates a digital divide among people with diabetes in Norway, with consequences that may contribute to sustaining and shaping inequalities in health outcomes. The strong relationship between higher education and the use of search engines, along with the finding that the use of apps, social media, and video services was not associated with education, indicates that adequate communication strategies for audiences with varying education levels should be a focus in future efforts to reduce inequalities in health outcomes.