Publications

2017
Hangoma, P. 2017. “Explaining changes in child health inequality in the run up to the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): The case of Zambia.”. Plos One.Abstract
BACKGROUND:Child health interventions were drastically scaled up in the period leading up to 2015 as countries aimed at meeting the 2015 target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). MDGs were defined in terms of achieving improvements in average health. Significant improvements in average child health are documented, but evidence also points to rising inequality. It is important to investigate factors that drive the increasing disparities in order to inform the post-2015 development agenda of reducing inequality, as captured in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We investigated changes in socioeconomic inequality in stunting and fever in Zambia in 2007 and 2014. Unlike the huge literature that seeks to quantify the contribution of different determinants on the observed inequality at any given time, we quantify determinants of changes in inequality.METHODS:Data from the 2007 and 2014 waves of the Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) were utilized. Our sample consisted of children aged 0-5 years (n = 5,616 in 2007 and n = 12,714 in 2014). We employed multilevel models to assess the determinants of stunting and fever, which are two important child health indicators. The concentration index (CI) was used to measure the magnitude of inequality. Changes in inequality of stunting and fever were investigated using Oaxaca-type decomposition of the CI. In this approach, the change in the CI for stunting/fever is decomposed into changes in CI for each determinant and changes in the effect-measured as an elasticity-of each determinant on stunting/fever. RESULTS:While average rates of stunting reduced in 2014 socioeconomic inequality in stunting increased significantly. Inequality in fever incidence also increased significantly, but average rates of fever did not reduce. The increase in the inequality (CI) of determinants accounted for the largest part (42.5%) of the increase in inequality of stunting, while the increase in the effect of determinants explained 35% of the increase. The determinants with the greatest total contribution (change in CI plus change in effect) to the increase in inequality of stunting were mother's height and weight, wealth, birth order, facility delivery, duration of breastfeeding, and maternal education. For fever, almost all (86%) the increase in inequality was accounted for by the increase in the effect of determinants of fever, while the distribution of determinants mattered less. The determinants with the greatest total contribution to the increase in inequality of fever were wealth, maternal education, birth order and breastfeeding duration. In the multilevel model, we found that the likelihood of a child being stunted or experiencing fever depends on the community in which they live. CONCLUSIONS: To curb the increase in inequality of stunting and fever, policy may focus on improving levels of, and reducing inequality in, access to facility deliveries, maternal nutrition (which may be related to maternal weight and height), complementary feeding (for breastfed children), wealth, maternal education, and child care (related to birth order effects). Improving overall levels of these determinants contribute to the persistence of inequality if these determinants are unequally concentrated on the well off to begin with.
Haugen, J. 2017. “25-Hydroxy-Vitamin D Concentration Is Not Affected by Severe or Non-Severe Pneumonia, or Inflammation, in Young Children”. Nutrients. Article in PubMedAbstract
Poor vitamin D status has been associated with increased risk and severity of respiratory tract infections. Whether or not inflammation and infection affects 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration is controversial and is important in the interpretation of observational studies using plasma-25(OH)D as a biomarker for status. Our objectives were to measure whether 25(OH)D concentration was altered by an episode of acute lower respiratory tract infection and whether markers of inflammation predicted the 25(OH)D concentration. Children aged 2-35 months with severe (n = 43) and non-severe (n = 387) community-acquired, WHO-defined pneumonia were included. 25(OH)D concentration and inflammatory markers (cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors) were measured in plasma during the acute phase and 14, 45, and 90 days later. Predictors for 25(OH)D concentrations were identified in multiple linear regression models. Mean 25(OH)D concentration during the acute phase and after recovery (14, 45, and 90 days) was 84.4 nmol/L ± 33.6, and 80.6 ± 35.4, respectively. None of the inflammatory markers predicted 25(OH)D concentration in the multiple regression models. Age was the most important predictor for 25(OH)D concentration, and there were no differences in 25(OH)D concentrations during illness and after 14, 45, and 90 days when adjusting for age. Infection and inflammation did not alter the 25(OH)D concentration in young children with acute lower respiratory tract infections. KEYWORDS: Nepal; acute lower respiratory tract infection; children; inflammation; vitamin D
Bhandari, N, et al. 2017. “Efficacy of three feeding regimens for home-based management of children with uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition: a randomised trial in India”. BMJ Global Health 1. Article in BMJ Global HealthAbstract
Objective To assess the efficacy of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), centrally produced RUTF (RUTF-C) or locally prepared RUTF (RUTF-L) for home-based management of uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition (SAM) compared with micronutrient-enriched (augmented) energy-dense home-prepared foods (A-HPF, the comparison group). Methods In an individually randomised multicentre trial, we enrolled 906 children aged 6–59 months with uncomplicated SAM. The children enrolled were randomised to receive RUTF-C, RUTF-L or A-HPF. We provided foods, counselling and feeding support until recovery or 16 weeks, whichever was earlier and measured outcomes weekly (treatment phase). We subsequently facilitated access to government nutrition services and measured outcomes once 16 weeks later (sustenance phase). The primary outcome was recovery during treatment phase (weight-for-height ≥−2 SD and absence of oedema of feet). Results Recovery rates with RUTF-L, RUTF-C and A-HPF were 56.9%, 47.5% and 42.8%, respectively. The adjusted OR was 1.71 (95% CI 1.20 to 2.43; p=0.003) for RUTF-L and 1.28 (95% CI 0.90 to 1.82; p=0.164) for RUTF-C compared with A-HPF. Weight gain in the RUTF-L group was higher than in the A-HPF group (adjusted difference 0.90 g/kg/day, 95% CI 0.30 to 1.50; p=0.003). Time to recovery was shorter in both RUTF groups. Morbidity was high and similar across groups. At the end of the study, the proportion of children with weight-for-height Z-score (WHZ) >−2 was similar (adjusted OR 1.12, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.95; p=0.464), higher for moderate malnutrition (WHZ<−2 and ≥−3; adjusted OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.02 to 2.08; p=0.039), and lower for those with SAM (adjusted OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.85; p=0.005) in the RUTF-L when compared with the A-HPF group. Conclusions This first randomised trial comparing options for home management of uncomplicated SAM confirms that RUTF-L is more efficacious than A-HPF at home. Recovery rates were lower than in African studies, despite longer treatment and greater support for feeding
2016
Chimutu, V. 2016. “The inescapable question of fairness in Pay-for-performance bonus distribution: a qualitative study of health workers' experiences in Tanzania.”. Global Health. Article in PubMedAbstract
BACKGROUND: During the last decade there has been a growing concern about the lack of results in the health sectors of many low income countries. Progress has been particularly slow in maternal- and child health. Prompted by the need to accelerate progress towards these health outcomes, pay-for- performance (P4P) schemes have been initiated in a number of countries. This paper explores the perceptions and experiences of health workers with P4P bonus distribution in the health system context of rural Tanzania. METHODS:This qualitative study was based on the P4P pilot in Pwani Region of Tanzania. The study took place in 11 health care facilities in Rufiji District. The study informants and participants were different cadres of health workers assigned to different outpatient and inpatient departments at the health facilities, and local administrators of the P4P bonus distribution. Thirty two in-depth interviews (IDIs) with administrators and health care workers, and six focus group discussions (FGDs with Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) staff, non-RCH staff and non-medical staff were conducted. Collected data was analyzed through qualitative content analysis. RESULTS:The study found that the bonus distribution modality employed in the P4P programme was experienced as fundamentally unjust. The bonuses were calculated according to the centrality of the health worker position in meeting targeted indicators, drawn from the reproductive and child health (RCH) section. Both RCH staff and non-RCH perceived the P4P bonus as unfair. Non-RCH objected to getting less bonus than RCH staff, and RCH staff running the targeted RCH services, objected to not getting more P4P bonus. Non-RCH staff and health administrators suggested a flat-rate across board as the fairest way of distributing P4P bonuses. The perceived unfairness affected work motivation, undermined teamwork across departments and created tensions in the social relations at health facilities. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that the experience of unfairness in the way bonuses are distributed and administered at the health facility level undermines the legitimacy of the P4P scheme. More importantly, long term tensions and conflicts at the workplace may impact negatively on the quality of care which P4P was intended to improve. We argue that fairness is a critical factor to the success of a P4P scheme and that particular attention should be paid to aspects of workplace justice in the design of P4P bonus structures. KEYWORDS: Distributive and procedural justice; Fairness; Health sector; Health worker motivation; Incentives; Pay for Performance (P4P); Results-based financing (RBF); Social relations; Tanzania
Sandøy, I. 2016. “Effectiveness of a girls’ empowerment programme on early childbearing, marriage and school dropout among adolescent girls in rural Zambia: study protocol for a cluster randomized trial”. Trials. Article in BioMed CentralAbstract
Adolescent pregnancies pose a risk to the young mothers and their babies. In Zambia, 35% of young girls in rural areas have given birth by the age of 18 years. Pregnancy rates are particularly high among out-of-school girls. Poverty, low enrolment in secondary school, myths and community norms all contribute to early childbearing. This protocol describes a trial aiming to measure the effect on early childbearing rates in a rural Zambian context of (1) economic support to girls and their families, and (2) combining economic support with a community intervention to enhance knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and supportive community norms.
Baqui, Abdullah H. 2016. “Neonatal mortality within 24 hours of birth in six low- and lower-middle-income countries”. Bull World Health Organ. Article in Bull World Health OrganAbstract
OBJECTIVE To estimate neonatal mortality, particularly within 24 hours of birth, in six low- and lower-middle-income countries. METHODS We analysed epidemiological data on a total of 149 570 live births collected between 2007 and 2013 in six prospective randomized trials and a cohort study from predominantly rural areas of Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Pakistan, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. The neonatal mortality rate and mortality within 24 hours of birth were estimated for all countries and mortality within 6 hours was estimated for four countries with available data. The findings were compared with published model-based estimates of neonatal mortality. FINDINGS Overall, the neonatal mortality rate observed at study sites in the six countries was 30.5 per 1000 live births (range: 13.6 in Zambia to 47.4 in Pakistan). Mortality within 24 hours was 14.1 per 1000 live births overall (range: 5.1 in Zambia to 20.1 in India) and 46.3% of all neonatal deaths occurred within 24 hours (range: 36.2% in Pakistan to 65.5% in the United Republic of Tanzania). Mortality in the first 6 hours was 8.3 per 1000 live births, i.e. 31.9% of neonatal mortality. CONCLUSION Neonatal mortality within 24 hours of birth in predominantly rural areas of six low- and lower-middle-income countries was higher than model-based estimates for these countries. A little under half of all neonatal deaths occurred within 24 hours of birth and around one third occurred within 6 hours. Implementation of high-quality, effective obstetric and early newborn care should be a priority in these settings. 
Flenady, V. 2016. “eRegistries: indicators for the WHO Essential Interventions for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health”. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. Article in PubMedAbstract
BACKGROUND: Electronic health registries - eRegistries - can systematically collect relevant information at the point of care for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH). However, a suite of process and outcome indicators is needed for RMNCH to monitor care and to ensure comparability between settings. Here we report on the assessment of current global indicators and the development of a suite of indicators for the WHO Essential Interventions for use at various levels of health care systems nationally and globally. METHODS: Currently available indicators from both household and facility surveys were collated through publicly available global databases and respective survey instruments. We then developed a suite of potential indicators and associated data points for the 45 WHO Essential Interventions spanning preconception to newborn care. Four types of performance indicators were identified (where applicable): process (i.e. coverage) and outcome (i.e. impact) indicators for both screening and treatment/prevention. Indicators were evaluated by an international expert panel against the eRegistries indicator evaluation criteria and further refined based on feedback by the eRegistries technical team. RESULTS: Of the 45 WHO Essential Interventions, only 16 were addressed in any of the household survey data available. A set of 216 potential indicators was developed. These indicators were generally evaluated favourably by the panel, but difficulties in data ascertainment, including for outcome measures of cause-specific morbidity and mortality, were frequently reported as barriers to the feasibility of indicators. Indicators were refined based on feedback, culminating in the final list of 193 total unique indicators: 93 for preconception and antenatal care; 53 for childbirth and postpartum care; and 47 for newborn and small and ill baby care. CONCLUSIONS: Large gaps exist in the availability of information currently collected to support the implementation of the WHO Essential Interventions. The development of this suite of indicators can be used to support the implementation of eRegistries and other data platforms, to ensure that data are utilised to support evidence-based practice, facilitate measurement and accountability, and improve maternal and child health outcomes. KEYWORDS: Intervention coverage; Maternal health; Newborn health; Outcome indicators; Performance indicators; Perinatal health; Process indicators; Registries; ehealth BACKGROUND: Electronic health registries - eRegistries - can systematically collect relevant information at the point of care for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH). However, a suite of process and outcome indicators is needed for RMNCH to monitor care and to ensure comparability between settings. Here we report on the assessment of current global indicators and the development of a suite of indicators for the WHO Essential Interventions for use at various levels of health care systems nationally and globally. METHODS: Currently available indicators from both household and facility surveys were collated through publicly available global databases and respective survey instruments. We then developed a suite of potential indicators and associated data points for the 45 WHO Essential Interventions spanning preconception to newborn care. Four types of performance indicators were identified (where applicable): process (i.e. coverage) and outcome (i.e. impact) indicators for both screening and treatment/prevention. Indicators were evaluated by an international expert panel against the eRegistries indicator evaluation criteria and further refined based on feedback by the eRegistries technical team. RESULTS: Of the 45 WHO Essential Interventions, only 16 were addressed in any of the household survey data available. A set of 216 potential indicators was developed. These indicators were generally evaluated favourably by the panel, but difficulties in data ascertainment, including for outcome measures of cause-specific morbidity and mortality, were frequently reported as barriers to the feasibility of indicators. Indicators were refined based on feedback, culminating in the final list of 193 total unique indicators: 93 for preconception and antenatal care; 53 for childbirth and postpartum care; and 47 for newborn and small and ill baby care. CONCLUSIONS: Large gaps exist in the availability of information currently collected to support the implementation of the WHO Essential Interventions. The development of this suite of indicators can be used to support the implementation of eRegistries and other data platforms, to ensure that data are utilised to support evidence-based practice, facilitate measurement and accountability, and improve maternal and child health outcomes. KEYWORDS: Intervention coverage; Maternal health; Newborn health; Outcome indicators; Performance indicators; Perinatal health; Process indicators; Registries; ehealth
Leisher, SH. 2016. “Seeking order amidst chaos: a systematic review of classification systems for causes of stillbirth and neonatal death, 2009–2014”. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. Article in PubMedAbstract
BACKGROUND: Each year, about 5.3 million babies die in the perinatal period. Understanding of causes of death is critical for prevention, yet there is no globally acceptable classification system. Instead, many disparate systems have been developed and used. We aimed to identify all systems used or created between 2009 and 2014, with their key features, including extent of alignment with the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and variation in features by region, to inform the World Health Organization's development of a new global approach to classifying perinatal deaths. METHODS: A systematic literature review (CINAHL, EMBASE, Medline, Global Health, and PubMed) identified published and unpublished studies and national reports describing new classification systems or modifications of existing systems for causes of perinatal death, or that used or tested such systems, between 2009 and 2014. Studies reporting ICD use only were excluded. Data were independently double-extracted (except from non-English publications). Subgroup analyses explored variation by extent and region. RESULTS: Eighty-one systems were identified as new, modifications of existing systems, or having been used between 2009 and 2014, with an average of ten systems created/modified each year. Systems had widely varying characteristics: (i) comprehensiveness (40 systems classified both stillbirths and neonatal deaths); (ii) extent of use (systems were created in 28 countries and used in 40; 17 were created for national use; 27 were widely used); (iii) accessibility (three systems available in e-format); (iv) underlying cause of death (64 systems required a single cause of death); (v) reliability (10 systems tested for reliability, with overall Kappa scores ranging from .35-.93); and (vi) ICD alignment (17 systems used ICD codes). Regional databases were not searched, so system numbers may be underestimated. Some non-differential misclassification of systems was possible. CONCLUSIONS: The plethora of systems in use, and continuing system development, hamper international efforts to improve understanding of causes of death. Recognition of the features of currently used systems, combined with a better understanding of the drivers of continued system creation, may help the development of a truly effective global system. KEYWORDS: Cause of death; Classification; Classification system; Neonatal death; Perinatal death; Stillbirth
Melberg, A. 2016. “‘We saw she was in danger, but couldn’t do anything’: Missed opportunities and health worker disempowerment during birth care in rural Burkina Faso”. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. Article in PubMedAbstract
BACKGROUND: Facility-based births have been promoted as the main strategy to reduce maternal and neonatal death risks at global scale. To improve birth outcomes, it is critical that health facilities provide quality care. Using a framework to assess quality of care, this paper examines health workers' perceptions about access to facility birth; the effectiveness of the care provided and obstacles to quality birth care in a rural area of Burkina Faso. METHODS: A qualitative study was conducted in 2011 in the Banfora Region, Burkina Faso. Participant observations were carried out in four different health centres for a period of three months; more than 30 deliveries were observed. In-depth interviews were conducted with 12 frontline health workers providing birth care and with two staff of the local health district management team. Interview transcripts and field notes were analysed thematically. RESULTS:Health workers in this rural area of Burkina Faso provided birth care in a context of limited financial resources, insufficient personnel and poorly equipped facilities; the quality of the birth care provided was severely compromised. Health workers tended to place the responsibility for poor quality of care on infrastructural limitations and patient behaviour, while our observational data also identified missed opportunities that would not demand additional resources throughout the process of care like early initiation of breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact after birth. Health workers felt disempowered, having limited abilities to prevent and treat birth complications, and resorted to alternative and potentially harmful strategies. CONCLUSIONS: We found poor quality of care at birth, missed opportunities, and health worker disempowerment in rural health facilities of Banfora, Burkina Faso. There is an urgent need to provide health workers with the necessary tools to prevent and handle birth complications, and to ensure that existing low cost life-saving interventions in maternal and new-born health are appropriately used and integrated into the daily routines in maternity wards at all levels. KEYWORDS: (Sub-Saharan) Africa; Childbirth; Primary healthcare; Quality of healthcare
Leisher, SH. 2016. “Classification systems for causes of stillbirth and neonatal death, 2009-2014: an assessment of alignment with characteristics for an effective global system”. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. Article in PubMedAbstract
BACKGROUND: To reduce the burden of 5.3 million stillbirths and neonatal deaths annually, an understanding of causes of deaths is critical. A systematic review identified 81 systems for classification of causes of stillbirth (SB) and neonatal death (NND) between 2009 and 2014. The large number of systems hampers efforts to understand and prevent these deaths. This study aimed to assess the alignment of current classification systems with expert-identified characteristics for a globally effective classification system. METHODS:Eighty-one classification systems were assessed for alignment with 17 characteristics previously identified through expert consensus as necessary for an effective global system. Data were extracted independently by two authors. Systems were assessed against each characteristic and weighted and unweighted scores assigned to each. Subgroup analyses were undertaken by system use, setting, type of death included and type of characteristic. RESULTS: None of the 81 systems were aligned with more than 9 of the 17 characteristics; most (82 %) were aligned with four or fewer. On average, systems were aligned with 19 % of characteristics. The most aligned system (Frøen 2009-Codac) still had an unweighted score of only 9/17. Alignment with individual characteristics ranged from 0 to 49 %. Alignment was somewhat higher for widely used as compared to less used systems (22 % v 17 %), systems used only in high income countries as compared to only in low and middle income countries (20 % vs 16 %), and systems including both SB and NND (23 %) as compared to NND-only (15 %) and SB-only systems (13 %). Alignment was higher with characteristics assessing structure (23 %) than function (15 %). CONCLUSIONS: There is an unmet need for a system exhibiting all the characteristics of a globally effective system as defined by experts in the use of systems, as none of the 81 contemporary classification systems assessed was highly aligned with these characteristics. A particular concern in terms of global effectiveness is the lack of alignment with "ease of use" among all systems, including even the most-aligned. A system which meets the needs of users would have the potential to become the first truly globally effective classification system. KEYWORDS: Cause; Classification; Classification system; Neonatal death; Perinatal death; Stillbirth
Myhre, SL. 2016. “eRegistries: governance for electronic maternal and child health registries”. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. Article in PubMedAbstract
BACKGROUND: The limited availability of maternal and child health data has limited progress in reducing mortality and morbidity among pregnant women and children. Global health agencies, leaders, and funders are prioritizing strategies that focus on acquiring high quality health data. Electronic maternal and child health registries (eRegistries) offer a systematic data collection and management approach that can serve as an entry point for preventive, curative and promotive health services. Due to the highly sensitive nature of reproductive health information, careful consideration must be accorded to privacy, access, and data security. In the third paper of the eRegistries Series, we report on the current landscape of ethical and legal governance for maternal and child health registries in developing countries. METHODS:This research utilizes findings from two web-based surveys, completed in 2015 that targeted public health officials and health care providers in 76 countries with high global maternal and child mortality burden. A sample of 298 public health officials from 64 countries and 490 health care providers from 59 countries completed the online survey. Based on formative research in the development of the eRegistries Governance Guidance Toolkit, the surveys were designed to investigate topics related to maternal and child health registries including ethical and legal issues. RESULTS: According to survey respondents, the prevailing legal landscape is characterized by inadequate data security safeguards and weak support for core privacy principles. Respondents from the majority of countries indicated that health information from medical records is typically protected by legislation although legislation dealing specifically or comprehensively with data privacy may not be in place. Health care provider trust in the privacy of health data at their own facilities is associated with the presence of security safeguards. CONCLUSION: Addressing legal requirements and ensuring that privacy and data security of women's and children's health information is protected is an ethical responsibility that must not be ignored or postponed, particularly where the need is greatest. Not only are the potential harm and unintended consequences of inaction serious for individuals, but they could impact public trust in health registries leading to decreased participation and compromised data integrity. KEYWORDS: Data privacy; Ethics; Governance; Law; Maternal and child health; Registry; Security
Allanson, ER. 2016. “Application of ICD-PM to preterm-related neonatal deaths in South Africa and United Kingdom”. BJOG - An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Article in PubMedAbstract
OBJECTIVE: We explore preterm-related neonatal deaths using the WHO application of the International Classification of Disease (ICD-10) to deaths during the perinatal period: ICD-PM as an informative case study, where ICD-PM can improve data use to guide clinical practice and programmatic decision-making. DESIGN: Retrospective application of ICD-PM. SETTING: South Africa, and the UK. POPULATION: Perinatal death databases. METHODS: Descriptive analysis of neonatal deaths and maternal conditions present. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Causes of preterm neonatal mortality and associated maternal conditions. RESULTS: We included 98 term and 173 preterm early neonatal deaths from South Africa, and 956 term and 3248 preterm neonatal deaths from the UK. In the South African data set, the main causes of death were respiratory/cardiovascular disorders (34.7%), low birthweight/prematurity (29.2%), and disorders of cerebral status (25.5%). Amongst preterm deaths, low birthweight/prematurity (43.9%) and respiratory/cardiovascular disorders (32.4%) were the leading causes. In the data set from the UK, the leading causes of death were low birthweight/prematurity (31.6%), congenital abnormalities (27.4%), and deaths of unspecified cause (26.1%). In the preterm deaths, the leading causes were low birthweight/prematurity (40.9%) and deaths of unspecified cause (29.6%). In South Africa, 61% of preterm deaths resulted from the maternal condition of preterm spontaneous labour. Among the preterm deaths in the data set from the UK, no maternal condition was present in 36%, followed by complications of placenta, cord, and membranes (23%), and other complications of labour and delivery (22%). CONCLUSIONS: ICD-PM can be used to appraise the maternal and newborn conditions contributing to preterm deaths, and can inform practice. OBJECTIVE: We explore preterm-related neonatal deaths using the WHO application of the International Classification of Disease (ICD-10) todeaths during the perinatal period: ICD-PM as an informative case study, where ICD-PM can improve data use to guide clinical practice and programmatic decision-making. DESIGN: Retrospective application of ICD-PM. SETTING: South Africa, and the UK. POPULATION: Perinatal death databases. METHODS: Descriptive analysis of neonatal deaths and maternal conditions present. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Causes of preterm neonatal mortality and associated maternal conditions. RESULTS: We included 98 term and 173 preterm early neonatal deaths from South Africa, and 956 term and 3248 preterm neonatal deaths from the UK. In the South African data set, the main causes of death were respiratory/cardiovascular disorders (34.7%), low birthweight/prematurity (29.2%), and disorders of cerebral status (25.5%). Amongst preterm deaths, low birthweight/prematurity (43.9%) and respiratory/cardiovascular disorders (32.4%) were the leading causes. In the data set from the UK, the leading causes of death were low birthweight/prematurity (31.6%), congenital abnormalities (27.4%), and deaths of unspecified cause (26.1%). In the preterm deaths, the leading causes were low birthweight/prematurity (40.9%) and deaths of unspecified cause (29.6%). In South Africa, 61% of preterm deaths resulted from the maternal condition of preterm spontaneous labour. Among the preterm deaths in the data set from the UK, no maternal condition was present in 36%, followed by complications of placenta, cord, and membranes (23%), and other complications of labour and delivery (22%). CONCLUSIONS: ICD-PM can be used to appraise the maternal and newborn conditions contributing to preterm deaths, and can inform practice.
Birungi, N. 2016. “Caretaker's caries experience and its association with early childhood caries and children's oral health-related quality of life: A prospective two-generation study.”. Acta Odontologica Scandinavica. Article in PubMedAbstract
OBJECTIVES:The first objective of this study is to examine the association between caretakers' caries experience and caries experience of their children. Second, to investigate whether children's and caretaker's caries experience is associated with oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) of children and their families.METHODS:This study is based on the prenatal recruitment interviews and the 5-year follow-up of 417 caretaker-children pairs from the Ugandan site of the PROMISE-EBF trial conducted in Mbale, Eastern Uganda. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with caretakers at the household level. Caries experience of caretakers (DMFT >0) and children (dmft >0) were assessed in accordance with the criteria of the World Health Organization. OHRQoL was assessed using an abbreviated version of the Early Childhood Oral Health Impact Scale (ECOHIS).RESULTS:Adjusted negative binomial regression analysis revealed that caretaker's caries experience was positively associated with early childhood caries of their offspring (IRR 2.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-3.0). Children's caries experience (IRR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2-3.0), but not caries experience of caretakers, was associated with worse OHRQoL of children and their families. Caretakers who perceived good child oral health were less likely to report OHRQoL impacts (IRR 0.20, 95% CI 0.12-0.35).CONCLUSION:Improving caretaker's caries experience and her perception of child's oral health status could improve children's caries experience and the OHRQoL of children and family. Such knowledge is important and should inform public oral health programs for young children.KEYWORDS:Dental caries; dental public health; paediatric dentistry; policy; prevention
Fadnes, LT. 2016. “Effects of an exclusive breastfeeding intervention for six months on growth patterns of 4-5 year old children in Uganda: the cluster-randomised PROMISE EBF trial”. BMC Public Health. Article in PubMedAbstract
BACKGROUND: Breastfeeding promotion is regarded as one of the most effective interventions to improve child health, and could reduce under-5-mortality by 8 % globally. Few studies have assessed the health outcomes beyond infancy of interventions promoting exclusive breastfeeding. METHODS: This study assessed growth in under-five children who participated in a cluster-randomised trial in Eastern Uganda (ClinicalTrials.gov.no.NCT00397150). In the intervention arm, peer counsellors promoted exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of infancy. There were no interventions after 6 months of age. Mother-infant pairs were interviewed at visits scheduled at 3, 6, 12 and 24 weeks after birth and follow-up visits at 2 and 5 years, with 765 included in the analyses. RESULTS: The mean length/height-for-age and weight-for-age-z-score (HAZ, WAZ) decreased with increasing age in both the intervention and control arms. At the three weeks visit, HAZ in the intervention was -0.45 (-0.68;-0.21) and -0.32 (-0.56;-0.07) in the control arm. At the 2 year follow-up, the mean HAZ in the intervention was -1.85 (95 % CI -1.97;-1.73) compared to -1.61 (-1.87;-1.34) in the control. Similarly, at the 5 year follow-up, the mean HAZ in the intervention was -1.78 (-2.08;-1.47) compared to -1.53 (-1.79;-1.28) in the control arm. At the 2 year follow-up visit, 139 (45 %) were stunted (HAZ<-2) in the intervention compared to 109 (37 %) in the control arm, odds ratio (OR) 1.7 (1.1;2.4). Underweight (WAZ<-2) was also more common in the intervention arm than in the control at the five years follow-up (OR 1.7 (1.0;2.8)), with a mean WAZ of -1.28 (-1.47;-1.08) and -1.06 (-1.19;-0.92) in the intervention and control arm, respectively. CONCLUSION: While stunting was widespread at 2 and 5 years of age in both arms, it was more common in the intervention arm. It is questionable whether community-based support from lay people with short training and focussing only on exclusive breastfeeding, is an appropriate strategy to improve child health and development. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov.no. NCT00397150 . Registered 7th of November 2006. KEYWORDS:Anthropometry; Exclusive breastfeeding; Growth; Peer-counselling; Uganda
Allanson, ER. 2016. “Giving a voice to millions: developing the WHO application of ICD-10 to deaths during the perinatal period: ICD-PM.”. BJOG - An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Article in PubMedAbstract
  • This article is part of a mini-series on World Health Organization (WHO) application of ICD-10 to deaths during the perinatal period: ICD-PM.
In global health monitoring mechanisms, perinatal deaths have long been largely invisible and poorly counted. Millions of stillbirths occur annually unrecognised by death certification, or vital classifications.In addition to this, neonatal deaths contribute an enormous burden to mortality in the under-5s. The outcomes of both of these groups are linked with care around the time of childbirth, and by extension, condition and care of the mother. Advancing progress on perinatal mortality therefore requires us to embrace a unifying perinatal death classification system that recognises stillbirths and neonatal deaths together with the contributing maternal conditions in these cases. Accurately capturing and classifying the causes of these deaths across the globe will lead to better identification of trends, gaps and efforts for prevention and management of conditions.
Allanson, ER. 2016. “Optimising the International Classification of Diseases to identify the maternal condition in the case of perinatal death.”. BJOG - An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Article in PubMedAbstract
OBJECTIVE: The WHO application of the tenth edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) to deaths during the perinatal period (ICD Perinatal Mortality, ICD-PM) captures the essential characteristics of the mother-baby dyad that contribute to perinatal deaths. We compare the capture of maternal conditions in the existing ICD-PM with the maternal codes from the WHO application of ICD-10 to deaths during pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium (ICD Maternal Mortality, ICD-MM) to explore potential benefits in the quality of data received. DESIGN: Retrospective application of ICD-PM. SETTING: South Africa and the UK. POPULATION: Perinatal death databases. METHODS: The maternal conditions were classified using the ICD-PM groupings for maternal condition in perinatal death, and then mapped to the ICD-MM groupings of maternal conditions. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Main maternal conditions in perinatal deaths. RESULTS: We reviewed 9661 perinatal deaths. The largest group (4766 cases, 49.3%) in both classifications captures deaths where there was no contributing maternal condition. Each of the other ICD-PM groups map to between three and six ICD-MM groups. If the cases in each ICD-PM group are re-coded using ICD-MM, each group becomes multiple, more specific groups. For example, the 712 cases in group M4 in ICD-PM become 14 different and more specific main disease categories when the ICD-MM is applied instead. CONCLUSIONS: As we move towards ICD-11, the use of the more specific, applicable, and relevant codes outlined in ICD-MM for both maternal deaths and the maternal condition at the time of a perinatal death would be preferable, and would provide important additional information about perinatal deaths. TWEETABLE ABSTRACT: Improving the capture of maternal conditions in perinatal deaths provides important actionable information.
Melberg, A. 2016. “Reflections on the Unintended Consequences of the Promotion of Institutional Pregnancy and Birth Care in Burkina Faso”. Plos One. Article in PubMedAbstract
The policy of institutional delivery has been the cornerstone of actions aimed at monitoring and achieving MDG 5. Efforts to increase institutional births have been implemented worldwide within different cultural and health systems settings. This paper explores how communities in rural Burkina Faso perceive the promotion and delivery of facility pregnancy and birth care, and how this promotion influences health-seeking behaviour. A qualitative study was conducted in South-Western Burkina Faso between September 2011 and January 2012. A total of 21 in-depth interviews and 8 focus group discussions with women who had given birth recently and community members were conducted. The data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis and interpreted through Merton's concept of unintended consequences of purposive social action. The study found that community members experienced a strong pressure to give birth in a health facility and perceived health workers to define institutional birth as the only acceptable option. Women and their families experienced verbal, economic and administrative sanctions if they did not attend services and adhered to health worker recommendations, and reported that they felt incapable of questioning health workers' knowledge and practices. Women who for social and economic reasons had limited access to health facilities found that the sanctions came with increased cost for health services, led to social stigma and acted as additional barriers to seek skilled care at birth. The study demonstrates how the global and national policy of skilled pregnancy and birth care can occur in unintentional ways in local settings. The promotion of institutional care during pregnancy and at birth in the study area compromised health system trust and equal access to care. The pressure to use facility care and the sanctions experienced by women not complying may further marginalize women with poor access to facility care and contribute to worsened health outcomes.
Allanson, ER. 2016. “The WHO application of ICD-10 to deaths during the perinatal period (ICD-PM): results from pilot database testing in South Africa and United Kingdom”. BJOG - An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Article in PubMedAbstract
Objective To apply the World Health Organization (WHO) Application of the International Classification of Diseases, tenth revision (ICD-10) to deaths during the perinatal period: ICD-Perinatal Mortality (ICD-PM) to existing perinatal death databases. Design Retrospective application of ICD-PM. Setting South Africa, UK. Population Perinatal death databases. Methods Deaths were grouped according to timing of death and then by the ICD-PM cause of death. The main maternal condition at the time of perinatal death was assigned to each case. Main outcome measures Causes of perinatal mortality, associated maternal conditions. Results In South Africa 344/689 (50%) deaths occurred antepartum, 11% (n = 74) intrapartum and 39% (n = 271) in the early neonatal period. In the UK 4377/9067 (48.3%) deaths occurred antepartum, with 457 (5%) intrapartum and 4233 (46.7%) in the neonatal period. Antepartum deaths were due to unspecified causes (59%), chromosomal abnormalities (21%) or problems related to fetal growth (14%). Intrapartum deaths followed acute intrapartum events (69%); neonatal deaths followed consequences of low birthweight/ prematurity (31%), chromosomal abnormalities (26%), or unspecified causes in healthy mothers (25%). Mothers were often healthy; 53%, 38% and 45% in the antepartum, intrapartum and neonatal death groups, respectively. Where there was a maternal condition, it was most often maternal medical conditions, and complications of placenta, cord and membranes. Conclusions The ICD-PM can be a globally applicable perinatal death classification system that emphasises the need for a focus on the mother—baby dyad as we move beyond 2015.
Hailu, A. 2016. “Equity in long-lasting insecticidal nets and indoor residual spraying for malaria prevention in a rural South Central Ethiopia”. Malaria Journal. Link to Article in PubMedAbstract
BACKGROUND: While recognizing the recent achievement in the global fight against malaria, the disease remains a challenge to health systems in low-income countries. Beyond widespread consensuses about prioritizing malaria prevention, little is known about the prevailing status of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) across different levels of wealth strata. The aim of this study was to evaluate the socioeconomic related dimension of inequalities in malaria prevention interventions. METHODS: This study was conducted in July-August 2014 in Adami Tullu district in the South-central Ethiopia, among 6069 households. A cross-sectional data were collected on household characteristics, LLIN ownership and IRS coverage. Principal component analysis technique was used for ranking households based on socioeconomic position. The inequality was measured using concentration indices and concentration curve. Decomposition method was employed in order to quantify the percentage contribution of each socioeconomic related variable on the overall inequality. RESULTS: The proportion of households with at least one LLIN was 11.6 % and IRS coverage was 72.5 %. The Erreygers normalized concentration index was 0.0627 for LLIN and 0.0383 for IRS. Inequality in LLIN ownership was mainly associated with difference in housing situation, household size and access to mass-media and telecommunication service. CONCLUSION: Coverage of LLIN was low and significant more likely to be owned by the rich households, whereas houses were sprayed equitably. The current mass free distribution of LLINs should be followed by periodic refill based on continuous monitoring data. KEYWORDS: Concentration index; Equity; Ethiopia; IRS; Inequality analysis; LLIN; Malaria prevention
Banda, R. 2016. “Lifetime risk of pregnancy-related death among Zambian women: district-level estimates from the 2010 census”. Jounal of Population Research. Link to ArticleAbstract
The aim of this study was to examine district differentials in the lifetime risk of pregnancy-related death among females aged 15–49 in Zambia. We used data on household deaths collected in the 2010 census to estimate the lifetime risk of pregnancy-related death among females in Zambia. Using all-cause age-specific death rates, we generated female life tables for 74 districts and estimated person-years of exposure to all-cause mortality at each age. We then applied age-specific pregnancy-related mortality rates to the person-years of exposure to obtain estimates of adult lifetime risk that took account of competing causes of death. We used the ArcGIS software to analyse clustering and the spatial distribution of risk. A female aged 15 in Zambia had a 3.7 % chance of dying a pregnancy-related death before the age of 50. At district level, the lifetime risk ranged from 1.7 to 7.7 %. The Global Moran’s I was 0.452 (z-score 5.8, p value <0.01), indicating clustering of districts with similar risk levels of pregnancy-related mortality. Clustering of high-risk districts was found in Western province while clustering of low risk districts was found in Lusaka and Muchinga provinces. The level of adult lifetime risk was more positively associated with pregnancy-related mortality than with fertility. Females in Zambia have a high lifetime risk of pregnancy-related death overall but this risk varies greatly across the different districts of the country. The observed diversity is larger than when merely studying differences between provinces and is only weakly linked to differences in fertility levels. The identification of districts with varying levels of risk should enable evidence-based and focused delivery of maternal health services in districts where risk of death from maternal causes is greatest. KeywordsPregnancy-related death Lifetime risk Census Zambia Maternal mortality

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