The management of microbial keratitis within Uganda's primary health system: a situational analysis.
ABSTRACT: Background: Microbial keratitis (MK) frequently leads to sight-loss, especially when the infection is severe and/or appropriate treatment is delayed. The primary health system as an entry point plays a central role in facilitating and directing patient access to appropriate care. The purpose of this study was to describe the capacity of primary health centres in Uganda in managing MK. Methods: We carried out a rigorous assessment of primary health centres and mid-cadre training schools in South Western Uganda. Through interviews, checklists and a picture quiz, we assessed capacity and knowledge of MK management. In addition, we interviewed the heads of all the mid-cadre training schools to determine the level of eye health training provided in their curricula. Results: In total, 163 health facilities and 16 training schools were enrolled. Of the health facilities, only 6% had an Ophthalmic Clinical Officer. Only 12% of the health workers could make a diagnosis of MK based on the clinical signs in the picture quiz. Although 35% of the facilities had a microscope, none reported doing corneal scraping. None of the facilities had a stock of the recommended first line treatment options for MK (ciprofloxacin and natamycin eye drops). Among the training schools, 15/16 had an eye health component in the curriculum. However, the majority (56%) of tutors had no formal expertise in eye health. In 14/16 schools, students spent an average of two weeks in an eye unit. Conclusions: Knowledge among health workers and capacity of health facilities in diagnosis and management of MK was low. Training for eye health within mid-cadre training schools was inadequate. More is needed to close these gaps in training and capacity.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4> Training of mid-level providers is a task-sharing strategy that has gained popularity in the recent past for addressing the critical shortage of the health workforce. In Tanzania, training of mid-level providers has existed for over five decades; however, concerns exist regarding the quality of mid-level cadres amidst the growing number of medical universities. This study sought to explore the challenges facing the Assistant Medical Officers training for the performance of Caesarean section delivery in Tanzania. <h4>Methods</h4> An exploratory qualitative case study was carried out in four regions to include one rural district in each of the selected regions and two AMO training colleges in Tanzania. A semi-structured interview guide was used to interview 29 key informants from the district hospitals, district management, regional management, AMO training college, and one retired AMO. Also, four focus group discussions were conducted with 35 AMO trainees. <h4>Results</h4> Training of AMOs in Tanzania faces many challenges. The challenges include: use of outdated and static curriculum, inadequate tutors (lack of teaching skills and experience of teaching adults), inadequate teaching infrastructure in the existence of many other trainees, including interns, and limited or lack of scholarships and sponsorship for the AMO trainees. <h4>Conclusions</h4> The findings of this study underscore that the challenges facing AMO training for the performance of Caesarean section delivery have the potential to negatively impact the quality of Caesarean sections performed by this cadre. A holistic approach is needed in addressing these challenges. The solutions should focus on reviewing the curriculum, deploying qualified tutors, and improving the competencies of the available tutors through continuing medical education programmes. Furthermore, the government in collaboration with other stakeholders should work together to address the challenges in teaching infrastructure and providing financial support to this cadre that has continued to be the backbone of primary healthcare in Tanzania. Long-term solutions should consider deploying medical officers at the primary facilities and phasing out the performance of Caesarean section by AMOs. <h4>Supplementary Information</h4> The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12909-020-02480-z.
Project description:This study assessed whether a current medical school curriculum is adequately preparing medical students to diagnose and treat common dermatologic conditions. A 15-item anonymous multiple choice quiz covering fifteen diseases was developed to test students' ability to diagnose and treat common dermatologic conditions. The quiz also contained five items that assessed students' confidence in their ability to diagnose common dermatologic conditions, their perception of whether they were receiving adequate training in dermatology, and their preferences for additional training in dermatology. The survey was performed in 2014, and was completed by 85 students (79.4%). Many students (87.6%) felt that they received inadequate training in dermatology during medical school. On average, students scored 46.6% on the 15-item quiz. Proficiency at the medical school where the study was performed is considered an overall score of greater than or equal to 70.0%. Students received an average score of 49.9% on the diagnostic items and an average score of 43.2% on the treatment items. The findings of this study suggest that United States medical schools should consider testing their students and assessing whether they are being adequately trained in dermatology. Then schools can decide if they need to re-evaluate the timing and delivery of their current dermatology curriculum, or whether additional curriculum hours or clinical rotations should be assigned for dermatologic training.
Project description:African medical schools are expanding, straining resources at tertiary health facilities. Decentralizing clinical training can alleviate this tension. This study assessed the impact of decentralized training and contribution of undergraduate medical students at health facilities.Participants were from 11 Medical Education Partnership Initiative-funded medical schools in 10 African countries. Each school identified two clinical training sites-one rural and the other either peri-urban or urban. Qualitative and quantitative data collection tools were used to gather information about the sites, student activities, and staff perspectives between March 2015 and February 2016. Interviews with site staff were analyzed using a collaborative directed approach to content analysis, and frequencies were generated to describe site characteristics and student experiences.The clinical sites varied in level of care but were similar in scope of clinical services and types of clinical and nonclinical student activities. Staff indicated that students have a positive effect on job satisfaction and workload. Respondents reported that students improved the work environment, institutional reputation, and introduced evidence-based approaches. Students also contributed to perceived improvements in quality of care, patient experience, and community outreach. Staff highlighted the need for resources to support students.Students were seen as valuable resources for health facilities. They strengthened health care quality by supporting overburdened staff and by bringing rigor and accountability into the work environment. As medical schools expand, especially in low-resource settings, mobilizing new and existing resources for decentralized clinical training could transform health facilities into vibrant service and learning environments.
Project description:Early identification and management of child and adolescent mental health (CAMH) disorders helps to avert mental illness in adulthood but a CAMH treatment gap exists in Uganda. CAMH integration into primary health care (PHC) through in-service training of non-specialist health workers (NSHW) using the World Health Organisation (WHO) Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) Intervention Guide (IG) is a strategy to address this gap. However, results of such training are not supported by information on training development or delivery; and are undifferentiated by NSHW cadre. We aim to describe an in-service CAMH training for NSHW in Uganda and assess cadre-differentiated learning outcomes.Thirty-six clinical officers, nurses and midwives from 18 randomly selected PHC clinics in eastern Uganda were trained for 5 days on CAMH screening and referral using a curriculum based on the mhGAP-IG version 1.0 and PowerPoint slides from the International Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP). The residential training was evaluated through pre- and post- training tests of CAMH knowledge and attitudes using the participants' post-test scores; and the difference between pre-test and post-test scores. Two-tailed t-tests assessed differences in mean pre-test and post-test scores between the cadres; hierarchical linear regression tested the association between cadre and post test scores; and logistic regression evaluated the relationship between cadre and knowledge gain at three pre-determined cut off points.Thirty-three participants completed both pre-and post-tests. Improved mean scores from pre- to post-test were observed for both clinical officers (20% change) and nurse/midwives (18% change). Clinical officers had significantly higher mean test scores than nurses and midwives (p < 0.05) but cadre was not significantly associated with improvement in CAMH knowledge at the 10% (AOR 0.08; 95 CI [0.01, 1.19]; p = 0.066), 15% (AOR 0.16; 95% CI [0.01, 2.21]; p = 0.170), or 25% (AOR 0.13; 95% CI [0.01, 1.74]; p = 0.122) levels.We aimed to examine CAMH learning outcomes by NSHW cadre. NSHW cadre does not influence knowledge gain from in-service CAMH training. Thus, an option for integrating CAMH into PHC in Uganda using the mhGAP-IG and IACAPAP PowerPoint slides is to proceed without cadre differentiation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Uganda, a low resource country, implemented the skilled attendance at birth strategy, to meet a key target of the 5th Millenium Development Goal (MDG), 75% reduction in maternal mortality ratio. Maternal mortality rates remained high, despite the improvement in facility delivery rates. In this paper, we analyse the strategies implemented and bottlenecks experienced as Uganda's skilled birth attendance policy was rolled out. These experiences provide important lessons for decision makers as they implement policies to further improve maternity care. METHODS:This is a case study of the implementation process, involving a document review and in-depth interviews among key informants selected from the Ministry of Health, Professional Organisations, Ugandan Parliament, the Health Service Commission, the private not-for-profit sector, non-government organisations, and District Health Officers. The Walt and Gilson health policy triangle guided data collection and analysis. RESULTS:The skilled birth attendance policy was an important priority on Uganda's maternal health agenda and received strong political commitment, and support from development partners and national stakeholders. Considerable effort was devoted to implementation of this policy through strategies to increase the availability of skilled health workers for instance through expanded midwifery training, and creation of the comprehensive nurse midwife cadre. In addition, access to emergency obstetric care improved to some extent as the physical infrastructure expanded, and distribution of medicines and supplies improved. However, health worker recruitment was slow in part due to the restrictive staff norms that were remnants of previous policies. Despite considerable resources allocated to creating the comprehensive nurse midwife cadre, this resulted in nurses that lacked midwifery skills, while the training of specialised midwives reduced. The rate of expansion of the physical infrastructure outpaced the available human resources, equipment, blood infrastructure, and several health facilities were not fully functional. CONCLUSION:Uganda's skilled birth attendance policy aimed to increase access to obstetric care, but recruitment of human resources, and infrastructural capacity to provide good quality care remain a challenge. This study highlights the complex issues and unexpected consequences of policy implementation. Further evaluation of this policy is needed as decision-makers develop strategies to improve access to skilled care at birth.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Targeted clinical interventions have been associated with a decreased risk of neonatal morbidity and mortality. In conflict-affected countries such as South Sudan, however, implementation of lifesaving interventions face barriers and facilitators that are not well understood. We aimed to describe the factors that influence implementation of a package of facility- and community-based neonatal interventions in four displaced person camps in South Sudan using a health systems framework. METHODS:We used a mixed method case study design to document the implementation of neonatal interventions from June to November 2016 in one hospital, four primary health facilities, and four community health programs operated by International Medical Corps. We collected primary data using focus group discussions among health workers, in-depth interviews among program managers, and observations of health facility readiness. Secondary data were gathered from documents that were associated with the implementation of the intervention during our study period. RESULTS:Key bottlenecks for implementing interventions in our study sites were leadership and governance for comprehensive neonatal services, health workforce for skilled care, and service delivery for small and sick newborns. Program managers felt national policies failed to promote integration of key newborn interventions in donor funding and clinical training institutions, resulting in deprioritizing newborn health during humanitarian response. Participants confirmed that severe shortage of skilled care at birth was the main bottleneck for implementing quality newborn care. Solutions to this included authorizing the task-shifting of emergency newborn care to mid-level cadre, transitioning facility-based traditional birth attendants to community health workers, and scaling up institutions to upgrade community midwives into professional midwives. Additionally, ongoing supportive supervision, educational materials, and community acceptance of practices enabled community health workers to identify and refer small and sick newborns. CONCLUSIONS:Improving integration of newborn interventions into national policies, training institutions, health referral systems, and humanitarian supply chain can expand emergency care provided to women and their newborns in these contexts.
Project description:Introduction:Advocacy and service-learning increasingly are being incorporated into medical education and residency training. The Jefferson Service Training in Advocacy for Residents and Students (JeffSTARS) curriculum is an educational program for Thomas Jefferson University and Nemours trainees. The JeffSTARS Advocacy and Community Partnership Elective is one of two core components of the larger curriculum. Methods:The elective is a monthlong rotation that provides trainees in their senior year of medical school or residency training the opportunity to learn about health advocacy in depth. Trainees develop a basic understanding of social determinants of health, learn about health policy, participate in legislative office visits, and work directly with community agencies on a mutually agreeable project. The elective provides advocacy training to self-selected trainees from area medical schools and residency programs to develop a cadre of physicians empowered to advocate for child health. Results:JeffSTARS has advanced the field of child health advocacy locally by forging new partnerships and building a network of experts, agencies, and academic institutions. After this experience, trainees realize that their health expertise is very valuable to health advocacy and policy development. JeffSTARS is recognized nationally as one of a growing number of advocacy training programs for students and residents, with trainees presenting selected projects at national meetings. Discussion:Teaching advocacy has raised awareness about social determinants of health, community resources, and the medical home. One of the many benefits of the elective has been to strengthen the skills and expertise of trainees and faculty members alike.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>There is growing interest in school-based interventions which deliver opportunities for additional physical activity time outside of physical education (PE). A practical and cost-effective approach may be school running programmes. Consequently, many school-based running initiatives are currently being implemented in a grass-roots style movement across the UK. However, research on the implementation of physical activity programmes in schools is notably underdeveloped. Therefore, this qualitative study aimed to better understand the barriers and facilitators to the implementation of a running programme, Marathon Kids (MK), within primary schools in England.<h4>Methods</h4>Two sets of semi-structured interviews were conducted, the first with each of the three core members of staff responsible for MK, and the second with each of the MK school staff Champions from 20 primary schools. Also, nine focus groups were conducted with 55 pupils (6-10 years) from five of the schools; all were analysed using thematic analysis.<h4>Results</h4>Three themes were identified surrounding the barriers and facilitators to implementation: features of the programme (e.g. ethos and resources), school climate (e.g. culture; whole school engagement; PE and physical activity policies and goals; and physical environment) and programme implementation decisions (e.g. aspirations and planning and sustainability).<h4>Conclusion</h4>Findings suggest that the barriers and facilitators to implementation are wide-ranging and include programme, organisational and system-level factors. Collectively pointing towards the need for a preparation period before implementation to understand schools' readiness to implement and context-specific factors, both regarding organisational capacity and programme specific capacity.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Primary schools are valuable settings to implement healthy lifestyle (healthy eating and physical activity) interventions, aimed at targeting childhood obesity. This study explored school staff perceptions of factors that hinder and enable successful implementation and sustainability of healthy lifestyle interventions in primary schools. Qualitative data was pooled and analysed from two evaluations carried out in primary schools in North England: a feasibility study of a nutrition and physical activity educational programme (PhunkyFoods Feasibility Study), and an evaluation of a healthy eating programme (The Food Dudes Evaluation). METHODS:Sixty-five qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with head teachers, teachers, catering managers, designated school-based programme coordinators and programme staff supporting schools with programme delivery, at 14 schools involved in both evaluations. Thematic analysis was undertaken and emergent themes categorised using a framework for successful implementation by Durlak and Dupre (2008). RESULTS:Overall, all schools were delivering a range of healthy lifestyle programmes, often with overlapping content. Perceived challenges to implementation of individual programmes included: limited time, timing of implementation, limited training and support, insufficient resources, capacity and facilities, staff perceptions of intervention and perceived skill-proficiency (for cooking and physical activities). Short-term funding, lack of external and internal support were perceived to hinder sustainability. Staff recommendations for successful implementation of future programmes included: extended training and planning time, sufficient capacity, external support for delivery, good resources (interactive, practical and adaptable), and facilities for cooking, healthy eating, gardening and physical activities. Head teachers need to prioritise delivery of a few key healthy lifestyle programmes, in an overcrowded curriculum. Schools need to employ strategies to engage participation of staff, pupils and parents long term. CONCLUSIONS:Effective implementation of school-based healthy lifestyle programmes was thought to be aided by flexible and adaptable programmes, enabling good contextual fit, well-resourced programmes and effective leadership at multiple levels, pupil (pupils support delivery) and parent involvement. To facilitate sustainability, it was perceived that programmes need to be integrated within the curriculum and school policies long term, with sustained support from head teachers and staff. These findings are relevant to programme developers, policy makers and those involved in delivering interventions.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Health facilities require teams of health workers with complementary skills and responsibilities to efficiently provide quality care. In low-income countries, failure to attract and retain health workers in rural areas reduces population access to health services and undermines facility performance, resulting in poor health outcomes. It is important that governments consider health worker preferences in crafting policies to address attraction and retention in underserved areas. METHODS: We investigated preferences for job characteristics among final year medical, nursing, pharmacy, and laboratory students at select universities in Uganda. Participants were administered a cadre-specific discrete choice experiment that elicited preferences for attributes of potential job postings they were likely to pursue after graduation. Job attributes included salary, facility quality, housing, length of commitment, manager support, training tuition, and dual practice opportunities. Mixed logit models were used to estimate stated preferences for these attributes. RESULTS: Data were collected from 246 medical students, 132 nursing students, 50 pharmacy students and 57 laboratory students. For all student-groups, choice of job posting was strongly influenced by salary, facility quality and manager support, relative to other attributes. For medical and laboratory students, tuition support for future training was also important, while pharmacy students valued opportunities for dual practice. CONCLUSIONS: In Uganda, financial and non-financial incentives may be effective in attracting health workers to underserved areas. Our findings contribute to mounting evidence that salary is not the only important factor health workers consider when deciding where to work. Better quality facilities and supportive managers were important to all students. Similarities in preferences for these factors suggest that team-based, facility-level strategies for attracting health workers may be appropriate. Improving facility quality and training managers to be more supportive of facility staff may be particularly cost-effective, as investments are borne once while benefits accrue to a range of health workers at the facility.