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Use of Service Provision Assessments and Service Availability and Readiness Assessments for monitoring quality of maternal and newborn health services in low-income and middl-income countries.
BMJ Global Health. 2018 Dec 1; 3(6):e001011.Improving the quality of maternal and newborn health (MNH) services is key to reducing adverse MNH outcomes in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). The Service Provision Assessment (SPA) and Service Availability and Readiness Assessment (SARA) are the most widely employed, standardised tools that generate health service delivery data in LMICs. We ascertained the use of SPA/SARA surveys for assessing the quality of MNH services using a two-step approach: a SPA/SARA questionnaire mapping exercise in line with WHO’s Quality of Care (QoC) Framework for pregnant women and newborns and the WHO quality standards for care around the time of childbirth; and a scoping literature review, searching for articles that report SPA/SARA data. SPA/SARA surveys are well suited to assess the WHO Framework’s cross-cutting dimensions (physical and human resources); SPA also captures elements in the provision and experience of care domains for antenatal care and family planning. Only 4 of 31 proposed WHO quality indicators around the time of childbirth can be fully generated using SPA and SARA surveys, while 19 and 23 quality indicators can be partially obtained from SARA and SPA surveys, respectively; most of these are input indicators. Use of SPA/SARA data is growing, but there is considerable variation in methods employed to measure MNH QoC. With SPA/SARA data available in 30 countries, MNH QoC assessments could benefit from guidance for creating standard metrics. Adding questions in SPA/SARA surveys to assess the WHO QoC Framework’s provision and experience of care dimensions would fill significant data gaps in LMICs.
Effect of mHealth in improving antenatal care utilization and skilled birth attendance in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review protocol.
JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports. 2017 Jul; 15(7):1778-1782.REVIEW QUESTION/OBJECTIVE: The objective of this review is to identify and synthesize the best available evidence on the effect of mobile health (mHealth) interventions in antenatal care utilization and skilled birth attendance in low- and middle-income countries.More specifically, the review questions are as follows.
[Washington, D.C.], MCSP, 2018 Mar. 6 p.In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) published Recommendations on Antenatal Care for a Positive Pregnancy Experience (WHO 2016), which outlines a new set of evidence-based global guidelines on recommended content and scheduling for antenatal care (ANC). These recommendations are the first set of ANC guidelines created under WHO’s current approved process for development of clinical guidelines. This FAQ addresses commonly asked questions about the implementation of IPTp programs in the context of the 2016 ANC recommendations, as well as reminders about technical considerations for intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy programs.
Uptake and predictors of early postnatal follow-up care amongst mother-baby pairs in South Africa: Results from three population-based surveys, 2010-2013.
Journal of Global Health. 2017 Dec; 7(2):021001.Background: Achieving World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for postnatal care (PNC) within the first few weeks of life is vital to eliminating early mother-to-child transmission of HIV (MTCT) and improving infant health. Almost half of the annual global deaths among children under five occur during the first six weeks of life. This study aims to identify uptake of three PNC visits within the first six weeks of life as recommended by WHO among South African mother-infant pairs, and factors associated with uptake. Methods: We analyzed data from three facility-based, nationally representative surveys (2010, 2011/12 and 2012/13) primarily designed to determine the effectiveness of the South African program to prevent MTCT. This analysis describes the proportion of infants achieving the WHO recommendation of at least 3 PNC visits. Interviews from 27 699 HIV-negative and HIV-positive mothers of infants aged 4-8 weeks receiving their six week immunization were included in analysis. Data were analyzed using STATA 13.0 and weighted for sample ascertainment and South African live births. We fitted a multivariable logistic regression model to estimate factors associated with early PNC uptake. Results: Over half (59.6%, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 59.0-60.3) of mother-infant pairs received the recommended three PNC visits during the first 6 weeks; uptake was 63.1% (95% CI = 61.9-64.3) amongst HIV exposed infants and 58.1% (95% CI = 57.3-58.9) amongst HIV unexposed infants. Uptake of early PNC improved significantly with each survey, but varied significantly by province. Multivariable analysis of the pooled data, controlling for survey year, demonstrated that number of antenatal visits (4+ vs <4 Adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.13, 95% CI = 1.04-1.23), timing of initial antenatal visits (=12 weeks vs >12 weeks, aOR = 1.13, 95% CI = 1.04-1.23), place of delivery (clinic vs hospital aOR = 1.5, 1.3-1.6), and infant HIV exposure (exposed vs unexposed aOR = 1.2, 95% CI = 1.1-1.2) were the key factors associated with receiving recommended PNC visits. Conclusions: Approximately 40% of neonates did not receive three or more postnatal care visits in the first 6 weeks of life from 2010-2013. To improve uptake of early PNC, early antenatal booking, more frequent antenatal care attendance, and attention to HIV negative women is needed.
Baltimore, Maryland, Jhpiego, 2018. 92 p. (USAID Award No. HRN-A-00-98-00043-00; USAID Leader with Associates Cooperative Agreement No.GHS-A-00-04-00002-00)The Malaria in Pregnancy reference manual and clinical learning materials are intended for skilled providers who provide antenatal care, including midwives, nurses, clinical officers, and medical assistants. The clinical learning materials can be used to conduct a 2-day workshop designed to provide learners with the knowledge and skills needed to prevent, recognize, and treat malaria in pregnancy as they provide focused antenatal care services.
Measuring postnatal care contacts for mothers and newborns: An analysis of data from the MICS and DHS surveys.
Journal of Global Health. 2017 Dec; 7(2):020502.Background: The postnatal period represents a vulnerable phase for mothers and newborns where both face increased risk of morbidity and death. WHO recommends postnatal care (PNC) for mothers and newborns to include a first contact within 24 hours following the birth of the child. However, measuring coverage of PNC in household surveys has been variable over time. The two largest household survey programs in low and middle-income countries, the UNICEF-supported Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and USAID-funded Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), now include modules that capture these measures. However, the measurement approach is slightly different between the two programs. We attempt to assess the possible measurement differences that might affect comparability of coverage measures. Methods: We first review the standard questionnaires of the two survey programs to compare approaches to collecting data on postnatal contacts for mothers and newborns. We then illustrate how the approaches used can affect PNC coverage estimates by analysing data from four countries; Bangladesh, Ghana, Kygyz Republic, and Nepal, with both MICS and DHS between 2010-2015. Results: We found that tools implemented todate by MICS and DHS (up to MICS round 5 and up to DHS phase 6) have collected PNC information in different ways. While MICS dedicated a full module to PNC and distinguishes immediate vs later PNC, DHS implemented a more blended module of pregnancy and postnatal and did not systematically distinguish those phases. The two survey programs differred in the way questions on postnatal care for mothers and newbors were framed. Subsequently, MICS and DHS surveys followed different methodological approach to compute the global indicator of postnatal contacts for mothers and newborns within two days following delivery. Regardless of the place of delivery, MICS estimates for postnatal contacts for mothers and newbors appeared consistently higher than those reported in DHS. The difference was however, far more pronounced in case of newborns. Conclusions: Difference in questionnaires and the methodology adopted to measure PNC have created comparability issues in the coverage levels. Harmonization of survey instruments on postnatal contacts will allow comparable and better assessment of coverage levels and trends.
Does postnatal care have a role in improving newborn feeding? A study in 15 sub-Saharan African countries.
Journal of Global Health. 2017 Dec; 7(2):020506.Background: Breastfeeding is known as a key intervention to improve newborn health and survival while prelacteal feeds (liquids other than breastmilk within 3 days of birth) represents a departure from optimal feeding practices. Recent programmatic guidelines from the WHO and UNICEF outline the need to improve newborn feeding and points to postnatal care (PNC) as a potential mechanism to do so. This study examines if PNC and type of PNC provider are associated with key newborn feeding practices: breastfeeding within 1 day and prelacteal feeds. Methods: We use data from the Demographic and Health Surveys for 15 sub-Saharan African countries to estimate 4 separate pooled, multilevel, logistic regression models to predict the newborn feeding outcomes. Findings: PNC is significantly associated with increased breastfeeding within 1day (OR = 1.35, P < 0.001) but is not associated with PLFs (OR = 1.04, P = 0.195). PNC provided by nurses, midwives and untrained health workers is also associated with higher odds of breastfeeding within 1 day of birth (OR = 1.39, P < 0.001, (OR = 1.95, P < 0.001) while PNC provided by untrained health workers is associated with increased odds of PLFs (OR = 1.20, P = 0.017). Conclusions: PNC delivered through customary care may be an effective strategy to improve the breastfeeding within 1 day but not to discourage PLFs. Further analysis should be done to examine how these variables operate at the country level to produce finer programmatic insight.
WHO recommendations on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience: Ultrasound examination. Highlights and key messages from the World Health Organization’s 2016 Global Recommendations.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2018 Jan. 4 p. (WHO/RHR/18.01; USAID Cooperative Agreement No. AID-OAA-A-14-00028)This brief highlights the WHO recommendation on routine antenatal ultrasound examination and the policy and program implications for translating this recommendation into action at the country level.
WHO recommendations on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience: Summary. Highlights and key messages from the World Health Organization’s 2016 Global Recommendations for Routine Antenatal Care.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2018 Jan. 10 p. (WHO/RHR/18.02; USAID Cooperative Agreement No. AID-OAA-A-14-00028)This brief highlights the WHO’s 2016 ANC recommendations and offers countries policy and program considerations for adopting and implementing the recommendations. The recommendations include universal and context-specific interventions. The recommended interventions span five categories: routine antenatal nutrition, maternal and fetal assessment, preventive measures, interventions for the management of common physiologic symptoms in pregnancy, and health system-level interventions to improve the utilization and quality of ANC.
Maternal and Child Nutrition. 2017 Dec 22; 1-9.The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends iron-folic acid (IFA) supplementation during pregnancy to improve maternal and infant health outcomes. Multiple micronutrient (MMN) supplementation in pregnancy has been implemented in select countries and emerging evidence suggests that MMN supplementation in pregnancy may provide additional benefits compared to IFA alone. In 2015, WHO, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the Micronutrient Initiative held a “Technical Consultation on MMN supplements in pregnancy: implementation considerations for successful incorporation into existing programmemes,” which included a call for indicators needed for monitoring, evaluation, and surveillance of MMN supplementation programs. Currently, global surveillance and monitoring data show that overall IFA supplementation programs suffer from low coverage and intake adherence, despite inclusion in national policies. Common barriers that limit the effectiveness of IFA-which also apply to MMN programs-include weak supply chains, low access to antenatal care services, low-quality behavior change interventions to support and motivate women, and weak or non-existent monitoring systems used for programme improvement. The causes of these barriers in a given country need careful review to resolve them. As countries heighten their focus on supplementation during pregnancy, or if they decide to initiate or transition into MMN supplementation, a priority is to identify key monitoring indicators to address these issues and support effective programs. National and global monitoring and surveillance data on IFA supplementation during pregnancy are primarily derived from cross-sectional surveys and, on a more routine basis, through health and logistics management information systems. Indicators for IFA supplementation exist; however, the new indicators for MMN supplementation need to be incorporated. We reviewed practice-based evidence, guided by the WHO/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logic model for vitamin and mineral interventions in public health programs, and used existing manuals, published literature, country reports, and the opinion of experts, to identify monitoring, evaluation, and surveillance indicators for MMN supplementation programs. We also considered cross-cutting indicators that could be used across programme settings, as well as those specific to common delivery models, such as antenatal care services. We then described mechanisms for collecting these data, including integration within existing government monitoring systems, as well as other existing or proposed systems. Monitoring data needs at all stages of the programme lifecycle were considered, as well as the feasibility and cost of data collection. We also propose revisions to global-, national-, and subnational-surveillance indicators based on these reviews.
Implementing malaria in pregnancy programs in the context of World Health Organization recommendations on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience.
[Washington, D.C.], MCSP, 2017 Apr. 6 p.This technical brief highlights recommendations for the prevention and treatment of malaria in pregnancy (MiP) in the context of the World Health Organization (WHO) Recommendations on Antenatal Care for a Positive Pregnancy Experience, published in 2016. Also available in French and Portuguese.
The relative roles of ANC and EPI in the continuous distribution of LLINs: a qualitative study in four countries.
Health Policy and Planning. 2017 May 1; 32(4):467-475.Background: The continuous distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) for malaria prevention, through the antenatal care (ANC) and the Expanded Programme on Immunizations (EPI), is recommended by the WHO to improve and maintain LLIN coverage. Despite these recommendations, little is known about the relative strengths and weaknesses of the ANC and EPI-based LLIN distribution. This study aimed to explore and compare the roles of the ANC and EPI for LLIN distribution in four African countries. Methods: In a qualitative evaluation of continuous distribution through the ANC and EPI, semi-structured, individual and group interviews were conducted in Kenya, Malawi, Mali, and Rwanda. Respondents included national, sub-national, and facility-level health staff, and were selected to capture a range of roles related to malaria, ANC and EPI programmes. Policies, guidelines, and data collection tools were reviewed as a means of triangulation to assess the structure of LLIN distribution, and the methods of data collection and reporting for malaria, ANC and EPI programmes. Results: In the four countries visited, distribution of LLINs was more effectively integrated through ANC than through EPI because of a) stronger linkages and involvement between malaria and reproductive health programmes, as compared to malaria and EPI, and b) more complete programme monitoring for ANC-based distribution, compared to EPI-based distribution. Conclusions: Opportunities for improving the distribution of LLINs through these channels exist, especially in the case of EPI. For both ANC and EPI, integrated distribution of LLINs has the potential to act as an incentive, improving the already strong coverage of both these essential services. The collection and reporting of data on LLINs distributed through the ANC and EPI can provide insight into the performance of LLIN distribution within these programmes. Greater attention to data collection and use, by both the global malaria community, and the integrated programmes, can improve this distribution channel strength and effectiveness.
Geneva Switzerland, World Health Organization [WHO], 2017. 8 p. (Information Note; WHO/RHR/17.01)This information note provides interim advice for countries using or planning to introduce dual HIV/syphilis rapid diagnostic test (RDT) in antenatal services and other testing sites pending forthcoming WHO programmatic guidance, including a WHO recommended testing strategy. This note also emphasizes the need to ensure the quality of HIV and syphilis testing using RDTs, as well as laboratory-based testing, to avoid false positive and false negative HIV and syphilis results
Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization [WHO], 2017. 56 p.Since the publication of the WHO Guidelines for the management of sexually transmitted infections in 2003, changes in the epidemiology of STIs and advancements in prevention, diagnosis and treatment necessitate changes in STI management. This guideline provides updated recommendations for syphilis screening and treatment for pregnant women based on the most recent evidence and available serologic tests for syphilis. The objectives of this guideline are: 1) to provide evidence-based guidance on syphilis screening and treatment for pregnant women; and 2) to support countries to update their national guidelines for syphilis screening and treatment for pregnant women.
A Simplified Regimen Compared with WHO Guidelines Decreases Antenatal Calcium Supplement Intake for Prevention of Preeclampsia in a Cluster-Randomized Noninferiority Trial in Rural Kenya.
Journal of Nutrition. 2017 Oct; 147(10):1986-1991.Background: To prevent preeclampsia, the WHO recommends antenatal calcium supplementation in populations with inadequate habitual intake. The WHO recommends 1500-2000 mg Ca/d with iron-folic acid (IFA) taken separately, a complex pill-taking regimen. Objective: The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that simpler regimens with lower daily dosages would lead to higher adherence and similar supplement intake.Methods: In the Micronutrient Initiative Calcium Supplementation study, we compared the mean daily supplement intake associated with 2 dosing regimens with the use of a parallel, cluster-randomized noninferiority trial implemented in 16 primary health care facilities in rural Kenya. The standard regimen was 3 x 500 mg Ca/d in 3 pill-taking events, and the low-dose regimen was 2 x 500 mg Ca/d in 2 pill-taking events; both regimens included a 200 IU cholecalciferol and calcium pill and a separate IFA pill. We enrolled 990 pregnant women between 16 and 30 wk of gestation. The primary outcome was supplemental calcium intake measured by pill counts 4 and 8 wk after recruitment. We carried out intention-to-treat analyses with the use of mixed-effect models, with regimen as the fixed effect and health care facilities as a random effect, by using a noninferiority margin of 125 mg Ca/d.Results: Women in facilities assigned to the standard regimen consumed a mean of 1198 mg Ca/d, whereas those assigned to the low-dose regimen consumed 810 mg Ca/d. The difference in intake was 388 mg Ca/d (95% CI = 341, 434 mg Ca/d), exceeding the prespecified margin of 125 mg Ca/d. The overall adherence rate was 80% and did not differ between study arms.Conclusions: Contrary to our expectation, a simpler, lower-dose regimen led to significantly lower supplement intake than the regimen recommended by the WHO. Further studies are needed to precisely characterize the dose-response relation of calcium supplementation and preeclampsia risk and to examine cost effectiveness of lower and simpler regimens in program settings. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02238704. (c) 2017 American Society for Nutrition.
Implementation effectiveness of revised (post-2010) World Health Organization guidelines on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV using routinely collected data in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic literature review.
Medicine. 2017 Oct; 96(40):e8055.BACKGROUND: To synthesize and evaluate the impact of implementing post-2010 World Health Organization (WHO) prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) guidelines on attainment of PMTCT targets. METHODS: Retrospective and prospective cohort study designs that utilized routinely collected data with a focus on provision and utilization of the cascade of PMTCT services were included. The outcomes included the proportion of pregnant women who were tested during their antenatal clinic (ANC) visits; mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) rate; adherence; retention rate; and loss to follow-up (LTFU). RESULTS: Of the 1210 references screened, 45 met the inclusion criteria. The studies originated from 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The highest number of studies originated from Malawi (10) followed by Nigeria and South Africa with 7 studies each. More than half of the studies were on option A while the majority of option B+ studies were conducted in Malawi. These studies indicated a high uptake of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing ranging from 75% in Nigeria to over 96% in Zimbabwe and South Africa. High proportions of CD4 count testing were reported in studies only from South Africa despite that in most of the countries CD4 testing was a prerequisite to access treatment. MTCT rate ranged from 1.1% to 15.1% and it was higher in studies where data were collected in the early days of the WHO 2010 PMTCT guidelines. During the postpartum period, adherence and retention rate decreased, and LTFU increased for both HIV-positive mothers and exposed infants. CONCLUSION: Irrespective of which option was followed, uptake of antenatal HIV testing was high but there was a large drop off along later points in the PMTCT cascade. More research is needed on how to improve later components of the PMTCT cascade, especially of option B+ which is now the norm throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Integrated person-centered health care for all women during pregnancy: implementing World Health Organization recommendations on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience.
Global Health: Science and Practice. 2017 Jun 27; 5(2):197-201.Add to my documents.
Assessing the availability of LLINs for continuous distribution through routine antenatal care and the Expanded Programme on Immunizations in sub-Saharan Africa.
Malaria Journal. 2016 May 04; 15(1):255.BACKGROUND: In addition to mass distribution campaigns, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the continuous distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) to all pregnant women attending antenatal care (ANC) and all infants attending the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) services in countries implementing mosquito nets for malaria control. Countries report LLIN distribution data to the WHO annually. For this analysis, these data were used to assess policy and practice in implementing these recommendations and to compare the numbers of LLINs available through ANC and EPI services with the numbers of women and children attending these services. METHODS: For each reporting country in sub-Saharan Africa, the presence of a reported policy for LLIN distribution through ANC and EPI was reviewed. Prior to inclusion in the analysis the completeness of data was assessed in terms of the numbers of LLINs distributed through all channels (campaigns, EPI, ANC, other). For each country with adequate data, the numbers of LLINs reportedly distributed by national programmes to ANC was compared to the number of women reportedly attending ANC at least once; the ratio between these two numbers was used as an indicator of LLIN availability at ANC services. The same calculations were repeated for LLINs distributed through EPI to produce the corresponding LLIN availability through this distribution channel. RESULTS: Among 48 malaria-endemic countries in Africa, 33 malaria programmes reported adopting policies of ANC-based continuous distribution of LLINs, and 25 reported adopting policies of EPI-based distribution. Over a 3-year period through 2012, distribution through ANC accounted for 9 % of LLINs distributed, and LLINs distributed through EPI accounted for 4 %. The LLIN availability ratios achieved were 55 % through ANC and 34 % through EPI. For 38 country programmes reporting on LLIN distribution, data to calculate LLIN availability through ANC and EPI was available for 17 and 16, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: These continuous LLIN distribution channels appear to be under-utilized, especially EPI-based distribution. However, quality data from more countries are needed for consistent and reliable programme performance monitoring. A greater focus on routine data collection, monitoring and reporting on LLINs distributed through both ANC and EPI can provide insight into both strengths and weaknesses of continuous distribution, and improve the effectiveness of these delivery channels.
Uptake and performance of prevention of mother-to-child transmission and early infant diagnosis in pregnant HIV infected women and their exposed infants at seven health centres in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Tropical Medicine and International Health. 2017 Jun; 22(6):765-775.Objective To assess the uptake of WHO-recommended PMTCT procedures in Ethiopia's health services. Methods Prospective observational study of HIV-positive pregnant mothers and their newborns attending PMTCT services at seven health centers in Addis Ababa. Women were recruited during antenatal care and followed-up with their newborns at delivery, day 6 and week 6 postpartum. Retention to PMCTC procedures, self-reported ART adherence, and HIV infant outcome were assessed. Turnaround times of HIV early infant diagnosis (EID) procedures were extracted from health registers. Results Of 494 women enrolled 4.9% did not complete PMTCT procedures due to active denial or loss to follow-up. HIV was first diagnosed in 223 (45.1%) and ART initiated in 321 (65.0%) women during pregnancy. ART was initiated in a median of 1.3 weeks (IQR 0-4.3) after HIV diagnosis. Poor self-reported treatment adherence was higher post-partum than during pregnancy (12.5% versus 7.0%, p=0.002), and significantly associated with divorced/separated marital status (RR 2.2, 95% CI 1.3-3.8), low family income (RR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1-4.1), low CD4-count (RR 1.7, 95% CI 1.0-3.0), and ART initiation during delivery (RR 2.5, 95% CI 1.1-5.6). Of 435 infants born alive 98.6% received nevirapine prophylaxis. The mother-to-child HIV transmission rate was 0.7% after a median of 6.7 weeks (IQR 6.4-10.4), but EID results were received for only 46.6% within 3 months of birth. Conclusion High retention in PMTCT services, triple maternal ART and high infant nevirapine prophylaxis coverage were associated with low mother-to-child HIV transmission. Declining post-partum ART adherence and challenges of EID linkage require attention.
Addressing the Child and Maternal Mortality Crisis in Haiti through a Central Referral Hospital Providing Countrywide Care.
Permanente Journal. 2016 spring; 20(2):59-70.The neonatal, infant, child, and maternal mortality rates in Haiti are the highest in the Western Hemisphere, with rates similar to those found in Afghanistan and several African countries. We identify several factors that have perpetuated this health care crisis and summarize the literature highlighting the most cost-effective, evidence-based interventions proved to decrease these mortality rates in low- and middle-income countries.To create a major change in Haiti's health care infrastructure, we are implementing two strategies that are unique for low-income countries: development of a countrywide network of geographic "community care grids" to facilitate implementation of frontline interventions, and the construction of a centrally located referral and teaching hospital to provide specialty care for communities throughout the country. This hospital strategy will leverage the proximity of Haiti to North America by mobilizing large numbers of North American medical volunteers to provide one-on-one mentoring for the Haitian medical staff. The first phase of this strategy will address the child and maternal health crisis.We have begun implementation of these evidence-based strategies that we believe will fast-track improvement in the child and maternal mortality rates throughout the country. We anticipate that, as we partner with private and public groups already working in Haiti, one day Haiti's health care system will be among the leaders in that region.
Pre-conception counselling for key cardiovascular conditions in Africa: optimising pregnancy outcomes.
Cardiovascular Journal of Africa. 2016 Mar-Apr; 27(2):79-83.The World Health Organisation (WHO) supports pre-conception care (PCC) towards improving health and pregnancy outcomes. PPC entails a continuum of promotive, preventative and curative health and social interventions. PPC identifies current and potential medical problems of women of childbearing age towards strategising optimal pregnancy outcomes, whereas antenatal care constitutes the care provided during pregnancy. Optimised PPC and antenatal care would improve civil society and maternal, child and public health. Multiple factors bar most African women from receiving antenatal care. Additionally, PPC is rarely available as a standard of care in many African settings, despite the high maternal mortality rate throughout Africa. African women and healthcare facilitators must cooperate to strategise cost-effective and cost-efficient PPC. This should streamline their limited resources within their socio-cultural preferences, towards short- and long-term improvement of pregnancy outcomes. This review discusses the relevance of and need for PPC in resource-challenged African settings, and emphasises preventative and curative health interventions for congenital and acquired heart disease. We also consider two additional conditions, HIV/AIDS and hypertension, as these are two of the most important co-morbidities encountered in Africa, with significant burden of disease. Finally we advocate strongly for PPC to be considered as a key intervention for reducing maternal mortality rates on the African continent.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2016. 172 p.The World Health Organization has released a new set of antenatal care (ANC) recommendations to improve maternal and perinatal health worldwide. The guidelines seek to reduce the global burden of stillbirths, reduce pregnancy complications and provide all women and adolescents with a positive pregnancy experience. High quality health care during pregnancy and childbirth can prevent deaths from pregnancy complications, perinatal deaths and stillbirths, yet globally, less than two-thirds of women receive antenatal care at least four times throughout their pregnancy. The new ANC model raises the recommended number of ANC visits from four to eight, thereby increasing the number of opportunities providers have to detect and address preventable complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. The guidelines provide 49 recommendations for routine and context-specific ANC visits, including nutritional interventions, maternal / fetal assessments, preventive measures, interventions for common physiological symptoms and health system interventions. Given that women around the world experience maternal care in a wide range of settings, the recommendations also outline several context-specific service delivery options, including midwife-led care, group care and community-based interventions.
Influences on participant reporting in the World Health Organisation drugs exposure pregnancy registry; a qualitative study.
BMC Health Services Research. 2014; 14:525.BACKGROUND: The World Health Organisation has designed a pregnancy registry to investigate the effect of maternal drug use on pregnancy outcomes in resource-limited settings. In this sentinel surveillance system, detailed health and drug use data are prospectively collected from the first antenatal clinic visit until delivery. Over and above other clinical records, the registry relies on accurate participant reports about the drugs they use. Qualitative methods were incorporated into a pilot registry study during 2010 and 2011 to examine barriers to women reporting these drugs and other exposures at antenatal clinics, and how they might be overcome. METHODS: Twenty-seven focus group discussions were conducted in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda with a total of 208 women either enrolled in the registry or from its source communities. A question guide was designed to uncover the types of exposure data under- or inaccurately reported at antenatal clinics, the underlying reasons, and how women prefer to be asked questions. Transcripts were analysed thematically. RESULTS: Women said it was important for them to report everything they had used during pregnancy. However, they expressed reservations about revealing their consumption of traditional, over-the-counter medicines and alcohol to antenatal staff because of anticipated negative reactions. Some enrolled participants' improved relationship with registry staff facilitated information sharing and the registry tools helped overcome problems with recall and naming of medicines. Decisions about where women sought care, which influenced medicines used and antenatal clinic attendance, were influenced by pressure within and outside of the formal healthcare system to conform to conflicting behaviours. Conversations also reflected women's responsibilities for producing a healthy baby. CONCLUSIONS: Women in this study commonly take traditional medicines in pregnancy, and to a lesser extent over-the-counter medicines and alcohol. The World Health Organisation pregnancy registry shows potential to enhance their reporting of these substances at the antenatal clinic. However, more work is needed to find optimal techniques for eliciting accurate reports, especially where the detail of constituents may never be known. It will also be important to find ways of sustaining such drug exposure surveillance systems in busy antenatal clinics.
Global Call to Action: Maximize the public health impact of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy in sub-Saharan Africa.
Malaria Journal. 2015; 14:207.Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy is a highly cost-effective intervention which significantly improves maternal and birth outcomes among mothers and their newborns who live in areas of moderate to high malaria transmission. However, coverage in sub-Saharan Africa remains unacceptably low, calling for urgent action to increase uptake dramatically and maximize its public health impact. The ‘Global Call to Action’ outlines priority actions that will pave the way to success in achieving national and international coverage targets. Immediate action is needed from national health institutions in malaria-endemic countries, the donor community, the research community, members of the pharmaceutical industry and private sector, along with technical partners at the global and local levels, to protect pregnant women and their babies from the preventable, adverse effects of malaria in pregnancy © 2015 Chico et al. Open Access.
[Geneva, Switzerland], WHO, 2016 Mar 2.  p. (WHO/ZIKV/MOC/16.2)The mosquito vector that carries the Zika virus thrives in warm climates and particularly in areas of poor living conditions. Pregnant women living in or travelling to such areas are at equal risk as the rest of the population of being infected by viruses borne by this vector. Maternal infection with Zika virus may go unnoticed as some people will not develop symptoms. Although Zika virus infection in pregnancy is typically a mild disease, an unusual increase in cases of congenital microcephaly, Guillain-Barré syndrome and other neurological complications in areas where outbreaks have occurred, has significantly raised concern for pregnant women and their families, as well as health providers and policy-makers. The aim of this document is to provide interim guidance for interventions to reduce the risk of maternal Zika virus infection and to manage potential complications during pregnancy. This guidance is based on the best available research evidence and covers areas prioritized by an international, multidisciplinary group of health care professionals and other stakeholders. Specifically, it presents guidance for preventing Zika virus infection; antenatal care and management of women with infection; and care during pregnancy for all pregnant women living in affected areas, with the aim of optimizing health outcomes for mothers and newborns. The guidance is intended to inform the development of national and local clinical protocols and health policies that relate to pregnancy care in the context of Zika virus transmission. It is not intended to provide a comprehensive practical guide for the prevention and management of Zika virus infections.