Pulse oximeter with integrated management of childhood illness for diagnosis of severe childhood pneumonia at rural health institutions in Southern Ethiopia: results from a cluster-randomised controlled trial.
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE:To assess whether pulse oximetry improves health workers' performance in diagnosing severe childhood pneumonia at health centres in Southern Ethiopia. DESIGN:Parallel cluster-randomised trial. SETTING:Government primary health centres. PARTICIPANTS:Twenty-four health centres that treat at least one pneumonia case per day in Southern Ethiopia. Children aged between 2 months and 59 months who present at health facilities with cough or difficulty breathing were recruited in the study from September 2018 to April 2019. INTERVENTION ARM:Use of the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) algorithm and pulse oximeter. CONTROL ARM:Use of the IMCI algorithm only. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES:The primary outcome was the proportion of children diagnosed with severe pneumonia. Secondary outcomes included referred cases of severe pneumonia and treatment failure on day 14 after enrolment. RESULT:Twenty-four health centres were randomised into intervention (928 children) and control arms (876 children). The proportion of children with severe pneumonia was 15.9% (148 of 928 children) in the intervention arm and 3.9% (34 of 876 children) in the control arm. After adjusting for differences in baseline variables children in the intervention arm were more likely to be diagnosed as severe pneumonia cases as compared with those in the control arm (adjusted OR: 5.4, 95% CI 2.0 to 14.3, p=0.001). CONCLUSION:The combined use of IMCI and pulse oximetry in health centres increased the number of diagnosed severe childhood pneumonia. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:PACTR201807164196402.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:This secondary analysis of data of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) retrospectively investigated the performance of pulse oximetry in identifying children with severe illnesses, with and without respiratory signs/symptoms, in a cohort of children followed for morbid episodes in an intervention trial assessing the efficacy of Intermittent Preventive Treatment for malaria in infants (IPTi) in Papua New Guinea (PNG) from June 2006 to May 2010. SETTING:The IPTi study was conducted in a paediatric population visiting two health centres on the north coast of PNG in the Mugil area of the Sumkar District. PARTICIPANTS:A total of 669 children visited the clinic and a total of 1921 illness episodes were recorded. Inclusion criteria were: age between 3 and 27 months, full clinical record (signs/symptoms) and pulse oximetry used systematically to assess sick children at all visits. Children were excluded if they visited the clinic in the previous 14 days. OUTCOMES:The outcome measures were severe illness, severe pneumonia, pneumonia, defined by the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) definitions, and hospitalization. RESULTS:Out of 1921 illness episodes, 1663 fulfilled the inclusion criteria. A total of 139 severe illnesses were identified, of which 93 were severe pneumonia. The ROC curves of pulse oximetry (continuous variable) showed an AUC of 0.63, 0.68 and 0.65 for prediction of severe illness, severe pneumonia and hospitalization, respectively. Pulse oximetry allowed better discrimination between severe and non-severe illness, severe and non-severe pneumonia, admitted and non-admitted patients, in children ?12-months of age relative to older patients. For the threshold of peripheral arterial oxygen saturation ? 94% measured by pulse oximetry (SpO2), unadjusted odds ratios for severe illness, severe pneumonia and hospitalization were 6.1 (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 3.9-9.8), 8.5 (4.9-14.6) and 5.9 (3.4-10.3), respectively. CONCLUSION:Pulse oximetry was helpful in identifying children with severe illness in outpatient facilities in PNG. A SpO2 of 94% seems the most discriminative threshold. Considering its affordability and ease of use, pulse oximetry could be a valuable additional tool assisting the decision to admit for treatment.
Project description:Research shows inadequate Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI)-pneumonia care in various low-income settings but evidence is largely from small-scale studies with limited evidence of patient-, provider- and facility-levels determinants of IMCI non-severe pneumonia classification and its management.The Malawi Service Provision Assessment 2013-2014 included 3149 outpatients aged 2-59 months with completed observations, interviews and re-examinations. Mixed-effects logistic regression models quantified the influence of patient-, provider and facility-level determinants on having IMCI non-severe pneumonia and its management in observed consultations.Among 3149 eligible outpatients, 590 (18.7%) had IMCI non-severe pneumonia classification in re-examination. 228 (38.7%) classified cases received first-line antibiotics and 159 (26.9%) received no antibiotics. 18.6% with cough or difficult breathing had 60-second respiratory rates counted during consultations, and conducting this assessment was significantly associated with IMCI training ever received (odds ratio (OR)?=?2.37, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.29-4.31) and negative rapid diagnostic test results (OR?=?3.21, 95% CI: 1.45-7.13). Older children had lower odds of assessments than infants (OR?=?48-59 months: 0.35, 95% CI: 0.16-0.75). Children presenting with any of the following complaints also had reduced odds of assessment: fever, diarrhea, skin problem or any danger sign. First-line antibiotic treatment for classified cases was significantly associated with high temperatures (OR?=?3.26, 95% CI: 1.24-8.55) while older children had reduced odds of first-line treatment compared to infants (OR?=?48-59 months: 0.29, 95% CI: 0.10-0.83). RDT-confirmed malaria was a significant predictor of no antibiotic receipt for IMCI non-severe pneumonia (OR?=?10.65, 95% CI: 2.39-47.36).IMCI non-severe pneumonia care was sub-optimal in Malawi health facilities in 2013-2014 with inadequate assessments and prescribing practices that must be addressed to reduce this leading cause of mortality. Child's symptoms and age, malaria diagnosis and provider training were primary influences on assessment and treatment practices. Current evidence could be used to better target IMCI training and support to improve pneumonia care for sick children in Malawi facilities.
Project description:Although pneumonia is the leading cause of child mortality worldwide, little is known about the quality of routine pneumonia care in high burden settings like Malawi that utilize World Health Organization's Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) guidelines. Due to severe human resource constraints, the majority of clinical care in Malawi is delivered by non-physician clinicians called Clinical Officers (COs).To assess the quality of child pneumonia care delivered by Malawian COs in routine care conditions.At an outpatient district-level clinic in Lilongwe, Malawi, 10 COs caring for 695 children who presented with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing were compared to IMCI pneumonia diagnostic and treatment guidelines.Fewer than 1% of patients received an evaluation by COs that included all 16 elements of the history and physical examination. The respiratory rate was only determined in 16.1% of patients presenting with cough or difficulty breathing. Of the 274 children with IMCI-defined pneumonia, COs correctly diagnosed 30%, and administered correct pneumonia care in less than 25%. COs failed to hospitalize 40.8% of children with severe or very severe pneumonia.IMCI pneumonia care quality at this Malawian government clinic is alarmingly low. Along with reassessing current pneumonia training and supervision approaches, novel quality improvement interventions are necessary to improve care.
Project description:<b>Background: </b>The mortality impact of pulse oximetry use during infant and childhood pneumonia management at the primary healthcare level in low-income countries is unknown. We sought to determine mortality outcomes of infants and children diagnosed and referred using clinical guidelines with or without pulse oximetry in Malawi.<br><br><b>Methods and findings: </b>We conducted a data linkage study of prospective health facility and community case and mortality data. We matched prospectively collected community health worker (CHW) and health centre (HC) outpatient data to prospectively collected hospital and community-based mortality surveillance outcome data, including episodes followed up to and deaths within 30 days of pneumonia diagnosis amongst children 0-59 months old. All data were collected in Lilongwe and Mchinji districts, Malawi, from January 2012 to June 2014. We determined differences in mortality rates using <90% and <93% oxygen saturation (SpO2) thresholds and World Health Organization (WHO) and Malawi clinical guidelines for referral. We used unadjusted and adjusted (for age, sex, respiratory rate, and, in analyses of HC data only, Weight for Age Z-score [WAZ]) regression to account for interaction between SpO2 threshold (pulse oximetry) and clinical guidelines, clustering by child, and CHW or HC catchment area. We matched CHW and HC outpatient data to hospital inpatient records to explore roles of pulse oximetry and clinical guidelines on hospital attendance after referral. From 7,358 CHW and 6,546 HC pneumonia episodes, we linked 417 CHW and 695 HC pneumonia episodes to 30-day mortality outcomes: 16 (3.8%) CHW and 13 (1.9%) HC patients died. SpO2 thresholds of <90% and <93% identified 1 (6%) of the 16 CHW deaths that were unidentified by integrated community case management (iCCM) WHO referral protocol and 3 (23%) and 4 (31%) of the 13 HC deaths, respectively, that were unidentified by the integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI) WHO protocol. Malawi IMCI referral protocol, which differs from WHO protocol at the HC level and includes chest indrawing, identified all but one of these deaths. SpO2 < 90% predicted death independently of WHO danger signs compared with SpO2 ? 90%: HC Risk Ratio (RR), 9.37 (95% CI: 2.17-40.4, p = 0.003); CHW RR, 6.85 (1.15-40.9, p = 0.035). SpO2 < 93% was also predictive versus SpO2 ? 93% at HC level: RR, 6.68 (1.52-29.4, p = 0.012). Hospital referrals and outpatient episodes with referral decision indications were associated with mortality. A substantial proportion of those referred were not found admitted in the inpatients within 7 days of referral advice. All 12 deaths in 73 hospitalised children occurred within 24 hours of arrival in the hospital, which highlights delay in appropriate care seeking. The main limitation of our study was our ability to only match 6% of CHW episodes and 11% of HC episodes to mortality outcome data.<br><br><b>Conclusions: </b>Pulse oximetry identified fatal pneumonia episodes at HCs in Malawi that would otherwise have been missed by WHO referral guidelines alone. Our findings suggest that pulse oximetry could be beneficial in supplementing clinical signs to identify children with pneumonia at high risk of mortality in the outpatient setting in health centres for referral to a hospital for appropriate management.
Project description:Pneumonia is the leading infectious cause of death in children worldwide. Each year, pneumonia kills an estimated 935,000 children under five years of age, with most of these deaths occurring in developing countries. The current approach for pneumonia diagnosis in low-resource settings--using the World Health Organization Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) paper-based protocols and relying on a health care provider's ability to manually count respiratory rate--has proven inadequate. Furthermore, hypoxemia--a diagnostic indicator of the presence and severity of pneumonia often associated with an increased risk of death--is not assessed because pulse oximetry is frequently not available in low-resource settings. In an effort to address childhood pneumonia mortality and improve frontline health care providers' ability to diagnose, classify, and manage pneumonia and other childhood illnesses, PATH collaborated with the University of Washington to develop "mPneumonia," an innovative mobile health application using an Android tablet. mPneumonia integrates a digital version of the IMCI algorithm with a software-based breath counter and a pediatric pulse oximeter. We conducted a design-stage usability field test of mPneumonia in Ghana, with the goal of creating a user-friendly diagnostic and management tool for childhood pneumonia and other childhood illnesses that would improve diagnostic accuracy and facilitate adherence by health care providers to established guidelines in low-resource settings. The results of the field test provided valuable information for understanding the usability and acceptability of mPneumonia among health care providers, and identifying approaches to iterate and improve. This critical feedback helped ascertain the common failure modes related to the user interface design, navigation, and accessibility of mPneumonia and the modifications required to improve user experience and create a tool aimed at decreasing mortality from pneumonia and other childhood illnesses in low-resource settings.
Project description:Pneumonia is the leading cause of infectious disease mortality in children. Currently, health care providers (HCPs) are trained to use World Health Organization Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) paper-based protocols and manually assess respiratory rate to diagnose pneumonia in low-resource settings (LRS). However, this approach of relying on clinical signs alone has proven problematic. Hypoxemia, a diagnostic indicator of pneumonia severity associated with an increased risk of death, is not assessed because pulse oximetry is often not available in LRS. To improve HCPs' ability to diagnose, classify, and manage pneumonia and other childhood illnesses, "mPneumonia" was developed. mPneumonia is a mobile health application that integrates a digital version of the IMCI algorithm with a software-based breath counter and a pulse oximeter. A design-stage qualitative pilot study was conducted to assess feasibility, usability, and acceptability of mPneumonia in six health centers and five community-based health planning and services centers in Ghana. Nine health administrators, 30 HCPs, and 30 caregivers were interviewed. Transcribed interview audio recordings were coded and analyzed for common themes. Health administrators reported mPneumonia would be feasible to implement with approval and buy-in from national and regional decision makers. HCPs felt using the mPneumonia application would be feasible to integrate into their work with the potential to improve accurate patient care. They reported it was "easy to use" and provided confidence in diagnosis and treatment recommendations. HCPs and caregivers viewed the pulse oximeter and breath counter favorably. Challenges included electricity requirements for charging and the time needed to complete the application. Some caregivers saw mPneumonia as a sign of modernity, increasing their trust in the care received. Other caregivers were hesitant or confused about the new technology. Overall, this technology was valued by users and is a promising innovation for improving quality of care in frontline health facilities.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Despite the almost universal adoption of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of sick children under the age of five in low- and middle-income countries, child mortality remains high in many settings. One possible explanation of the continued high mortality burden is lack of compliance with diagnostic and treatment protocols. We test this hypothesis in a sample of children with severe illness in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). METHODS:One thousand one hundred eighty under-five clinical visits were observed across a regionally representative sample of 321 facilities in the DRC. Based on a detailed list of disease symptoms observed, patients with severe febrile disease (including malaria), severe pneumonia, and severe dehydration were identified. For all three disease categories, treatments were then compared to recommended case management following IMCI guidelines. RESULTS:Out of 1180 under-five consultations observed, 332 patients (28%) had signs of severe febrile disease, 189 patients (16%) had signs of severe pneumonia, and 19 patients (2%) had signs of severe dehydration. Overall, providers gave the IMCI-recommended treatment in 42% of cases of these three severe diseases. Less than 15% of children with severe disease were recommended to receive in-patient care either in the facility they visited or in a higher-level facility. CONCLUSIONS:These results suggest that adherence to IMCI protocols for severe disease remains remarkably low in the DRC. There is a critical need to identify and implement effective approaches for improving the quality of care for severely ill children in settings with high child mortality.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Community health worker (CHW) interventions to manage childhood illness is a strategy promoted by the global health community which involves training and supporting CHW to assess, classify and treat sick children at home, using an algorithm adapted from the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI). To inform CHW policy, the Government of Tanzania launched a program in 2011 to determine if community case management (CCM) of malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea could be implemented by CHW in that country. METHODS:This paper reports the results of an observational study on the CCM service delivery quality of a trial cohort of CHW in Tanzania, called WAJA. In 2014, teams of data collectors, employees of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare trained in IMCI, assessed the IMCI skills rendered by a sample of WAJA on sick children who presented to WAJA with illness signs and symptoms in their communities. The assessment included direct observations of WAJA IMCI episodes and expert re-assessment of the same children seen by WAJA to assess the congruence between the assessment, classification and treatment outcomes of WAJA cases and those from cases conducted by expert re-assessors. RESULTS:In the majority of cases, WAJA correctly assess sick children for CCM-treatable illnesses (malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea) and general danger signs (90% and 89%, respectively), but too few correctly assess for physical danger signs (39%); on classification in the majority of cases (73%) WAJA correctly classified illness, though more for CCM-treatable illnesses (83%). In majority of cases (78%) WAJA treated children correctly (84% of malaria, 74% pneumonia, and 71% diarrhea cases). Errors were often associated with lapses in health systems support, mainly supervision and logistics. CONCLUSION:CCM is a feasible strategy for CHW in Tanzania, who, in the majority of cases, implemented the approach as well as IMCI expert re-assessors. Nevertheless, for CCM to be effective, in Tanzania, a strategy to implement it must be coordinated with efforts to strengthen local health systems.
Project description:The Cooking and Pneumonia Study (CAPS) is a pragmatic cluster-level randomized controlled trial of the effect of an advanced cookstove intervention on pneumonia in children under the age of 5 years (under 5s) in Malawi (www.capstudy.org). The primary outcome of the trial is the incidence of pneumonia during a two-year follow-up period, as diagnosed by healthcare providers who are using the World Health Organization (WHO) integrated management of childhood illnesses (IMCI) pneumonia assessment protocol and who are blinded to the trial arms. We evaluated the quality of pneumonia assessment in under 5s in this setting via a cross-sectional study of provider-patient encounters at nine outpatient clinics located within the catchment area of 150 village-level clusters enrolled in the trial across the two study locations of Chikhwawa and Karonga, Malawi, between May and June 2015 using the IMCI guidelines as a benchmark. Data were collected using a key equipment checklist, an IMCI pneumonia knowledge test, and a clinical evaluation checklist. The median number of key equipment items available was 6 (range 4 to 7) out of a possible 7. The median score on the IMCI pneumonia knowledge test among 23 clinicians was 75% (range 60% to 89%). Among a total of 176 consultations performed by 15 clinicians, a median of 9 (range 3 to 13) out of 13 clinical evaluation tasks were performed. Overall, the clinicians were adequately equipped for the assessment of sick children, had good knowledge of the IMCI guidelines, and conducted largely thorough clinical evaluations. We recommend the simple pragmatic approach to quality assurance described herein for similar studies conducted in challenging research settings.
Project description:Background:The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) strategy was adopted in Burundi in 2003. Our aim was to evaluate to what extent the malnutrition component of the IMCI guidelines is implemented at health facilities level. Methods:We carried out direct observations of curative outpatient consultations for children aged 6-59?months in 90 health centres selected randomly. We considered both the child and the health worker (HW) as units of analysis and used bivariate analysis to explore characteristics of HWs associated with tasks systematically or never performed. Results:A total of 514 consultations carried out by 145 HWs were observed. Among the 250 children under two years, less than 30% were asked questions on breastfeeding. None of them had all seven nutrition-related questions asked to their caregivers and none of the 200 children over the age of two years had all five nutrition-related questions asked to their caregivers. Only 13 cases (3%) had all of the six examinations/tasks (weight, height/length, mid-upper arm circumference, oedema, filling in and discussing the growth curve and calculating the weight for height z-score) performed as part of their care. 393 cases (76%) reported that they had not being given any nutrition advice.With regards to HWs, among 99 of them who had received children under two, only 21 (21.2%)[14.2-30.5%) systematically asked the question regarding 'ongoing breastfeeding'.Only 56 (38.6%)[31-46.9%] weighed or discussed the weight taken prior the consultation for each child they reviewed, only 38 (26.2%)[19.6-34.1%] measured the height/length or discussed it for each child reviewed and 23 (15.9%)[10.7-22.8%] performed (systematically?) the WHZ-score.More than 50% never gave nutrition advices to any child reviewed.HWs who daily manage severe acute malnutrition were the most likely to systematically ask the question regarding 'ongoing breastfeeding' and to perform a 'weight examination'. Those who had not received supervision visit on the topic of malnutrition predominantly never performed a 'weight examination'. The 'height/length' examination' was predominantly performed by female HWs and those who have 'contract with the government. Conclusion:This study has found poor compliance by HWs to IMCI in Burundi. This indicates that a substantial proportion of children do not receive early and appropriate care, especially that pertaining to malnutrition. This alarming situation calls for strong action by actors committed to child health in the country. Trial registration:Clinical Trials.gov Identifier: NCT02721160; March 2016 (retrospectively registered).