Browsing by Author "Atkins, Salla"
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- Item‘Building on shaky ground’—challenges to and solutions for primary care guideline implementation in four provinces in South Africa : a qualitative study(BMJ Publishing, 2020-05) Kredo, Tamara; Cooper, Sara; Abrams, Amber Louise; Muller, Jocelyn; Schmidt, Bey-Marrié; Volmink, Jimmy; Atkins, SallaObjectives Clinical guidelines support evidence-informed quality patient care. Our study explored perspectives of South African subnational health managers regarding barriers to and enablers for implementation for all available primary care guidelines. Design: We used qualitative research methods, including semistructured, individual interviews and an interpretative perspective. Thematic content analysis was used to develop data categories and themes. Setting: We conducted research in four of nine South African provinces with diverse geographic, economic and health system arrangements (Eastern Cape, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo). South Africa is a middle-income country with high levels of inequality. The settings represented public sector rural and peri-urban health facilities. Participants: Twenty-two participants with provincial and district health management roles, that comprised implementation and/or training on primary care guidelines, were included. Results: Participants recommended urgent consideration of health system challenges, particularly financial constraints, impacting on access to the guidelines themselves and to medical equipment and supplies necessary to adhere to guidelines. They suggested that overcoming service delivery gaps requires strengthening of leadership, clarification of roles and enhanced accountability. Participants suggested that inadequate numbers of skilled clinical staff hampered guideline use and, ultimately, patient care. Quality assurance of training programmes for clinicians—particularly nurses—interdisciplinary training, and strengthening post-training mentorship were recommended. Furthermore, fit-for-purpose guideline implementation necessitates considering the unique settings of facilities, including local culture and geography. This requires guideline development to include guideline end users. Conclusions: Guidelines are one of the policy tools to achieve evidence-informed, cost-effective and universal healthcare. But, if not effectively implemented, they have no impact. Subnational health managers in poorly resourced settings suggested that shortcomings in the health system, along with poor consultation with end users, affect implementation. Short-term improvements are possible through increasing access to and training on guidelines. However, health system strengthening and recognition of socio-cultural–geographic diversity are prerequisites for context-appropriate evidence-informed practice.
- ItemMultiple and mixed methods in formative evaluation : is more better? reflections from a South African study(BioMed Central, 2016) Odendaal, Willem; Atkins, Salla; Lewin, SimonENGLISH SUMMARY : Background: Formative programme evaluations assess intervention implementation processes, and are seen widely as a way of unlocking the 'black box' of any programme in order to explore and understand why a programme functions as it does. However, few critical assessments of the methods used in such evaluations are available, and there are especially few that reflect on how well the evaluation achieved its objectives. This paper describes a formative evaluation of a community-based lay health worker programme for TB and HIV/AIDS clients across three low-income communities in South Africa. It assesses each of the methods used in relation to the evaluation objectives, and offers suggestions on ways of optimising the use of multiple, mixed-methods within formative evaluations of complex health system interventions. Methods: The evaluation's qualitative methods comprised interviews, focus groups, observations and diary keeping. Quantitative methods included a time-and-motion study of the lay health workers' scope of practice and a client survey. The authors conceptualised and conducted the evaluation, and through iterative discussions, assessed the methods used and their results. Results: Overall, the evaluation highlighted programme issues and insights beyond the reach of traditional single methods evaluations. The strengths of the multiple, mixed-methods in this evaluation included a detailed description and nuanced understanding of the programme and its implementation, and triangulation of the perspectives and experiences of clients, lay health workers, and programme managers. However, the use of multiple methods needs to be carefully planned and implemented as this approach can overstretch the logistic and analytic resources of an evaluation. Conclusions: For complex interventions, formative evaluation designs including multiple qualitative and quantitative methods hold distinct advantages over single method evaluations. However, their value is not in the number of methods used, but in how each method matches the evaluation questions and the scientific integrity with which the methods are selected and implementented.
- ItemNational stakeholders’ perceptions of the processes that inform the development of national clinical practice guidelines for primary healthcare in South Africa(BioMed Central, 2018-07-31) Kredo, Tamara; Cooper, Sara; Abrams, Amber; Daniels, Karen; Volmink, Jimmy; Atkins, SallaBackground: There is increased international focus on improving the rigour of clinical practice guideline (CPG) development practices. However, few empirical studies on CPG development have been conducted in low- and middle-income countries. This paper explores national stakeholders’ perceptions of processes informing CPG development for primary healthcare in South Africa, focusing on both their aspirations and views of what is actually occurring. Methods: A qualitative study design was employed including individual interviews with 37 South African primary care CPG development role-players. Participants represented various disciplines, sectors and provinces. The data were analysed through thematic analysis and an interpretivist conceptual framework. Results: Strongly reflecting current international standards, participants identified six ‘aspirational’ processes that they thought should inform South African CPG development, as follows: (1) evidence; (2) stakeholder consultation; (3) transparency; (4) management of interests; (5) communication/co-ordination between CPG development groups; and (6) fit-for-context. While perceptions of a transition towards more robust processes was common, CPG development was seen to face ongoing challenges with regards to all six aspirational processes. Many challenges were attributed to inadequate financial and human resources, which were perceived to hinder capacity to undertake the necessary methodological work, respond to stakeholders’ feedback, and document and share decision-making processes. Challenges were also linked to a complex web of politics, power and interests. The CPG development arena was described as saturated with personal and financial interests, groups competing for authority over specific territories and unequal power dynamics which favour those with the time, resources and authority to make contributions. These were all perceived to affect efforts for transparency, collaboration and inclusivity in CPG development. Conclusion: While there is strong commitment amongst national stakeholders to advance CPG development processes, a mix of values, politics, power and capacity constraints pose significant challenges. Contrasting perspectives regarding managing interests and how best to adapt to within-country contexts requires further exploration. Dedicated resources for CPG development, standardised systems for managing conflicting interests, and the development of a political environment that fosters collaboration and more equitable inclusion within and between CPG development groups are needed. These initiatives may enhance CPG quality and acceptability, with associated positive impact on patient care.
- ItemA partial economic evaluation of blended learning in teaching health research methods : a three-university collaboration in South Africa, Sweden, and Uganda(Taylor & Francis Open, 2016) Kumpu, Minna; Atkins, Salla; Zwarenstein, Merrick; Nkonki, LungiswaENGLISH SUMMARY : Background: Novel research training approaches are needed in global health, particularly in sub-Saharan African universities, to support strengthening of health systems and services. Blended learning (BL), combining face-to-face teaching with computer-based technologies, is also an accessible and flexible education method for teaching global health and related topics. When organised as inter-institutional collaboration, BL also has potential for sharing teaching resources. However, there is insufficient data on the costs of BL in higher education. Objective: Our goal was to evaluate the total provider costs of BL in teaching health research methods in a three-university collaboration. Design: A retrospective evaluation was performed on a BL course on randomised controlled trials, which was led by Stellenbosch University (SU) in South Africa and joined by Swedish and Ugandan universities. For all three universities, the costs of the BL course were evaluated using activity-based costing with an ingredients approach. For SU, the costs of the same course delivered with a classroom learning (CL) approach were also estimated. The learning outcomes of both approaches were explored using course grades as an intermediate outcome measure. Results: In this contextually bound pilot evaluation, BL had substantially higher costs than the traditional CL approach in South Africa, even when average per-site or per-student costs were considered. Staff costs were the major cost driver in both approaches, but total staff costs were three times higher for the BL course at SU. This implies that inter-institutional BL can be more time consuming, for example, due to use of new technologies. Explorative findings indicated that there was little difference in students’ learning outcomes. Conclusions: The total provider costs of the inter-institutional BL course were higher than the CL course at SU. Long-term economic evaluations of BL with societal perspective are warranted before conclusions on full costs and consequences of BL in teaching global health topics can be made.
- ItemResearching complex interventions in health : the state of the art(BMC Health Services Research, 2016) Craig, Peter; Rahm-Hallberg, Ingalill; Britten, Nicky; Borglin, Gunilla; Meyer, Gabriele; Kopke, Sascha; Noyes, Jane; Chandler, Jackie; Levati, Sara; Sales, Anne; Thabane, Lehana; Giangregorio, Lora; Feeley, Nancy; Cossette, Sylvie; Taylor, Rod; Hill, Jacqueline; Richards, David A.; Kuyken, Willem; von Essen, Louise; Williams, Andrew; Hemming, Karla; Lilford, Richard; Girling, Alan; Taljaard, Monica; Dimairo, Munyaradzi; Petticrew, Mark; Baird, Janis; Moore, Graham; Odendaal, Willem; Atkins, Salla; Lutge, Elizabeth; Leon, Natalie; Lewin, Simon; Payne, Katherine; Van Achterberg, Theo; Sermeus, Walter; Pitt, Martin; Monks, ThomasENGLISH SUMMARY : Keynote presentations
- ItemTraining for health services and systems research in Sub-Saharan Africa : a case study at four East and Southern African Universities(BioMed Central, 2013-12) Guwatudde, David; Bwanga, Freddie; Dudley, Lilian; Chola, Lumbwe; Leyna, Germana Henry; Mmbaga, Elia John; Kumwenda, Newton; Protsiv, Myroslava; Atkins, Salla; Zwarenstein, Merrick; Obua, Celestino; Tumwine, James K.Abstract Background The need to develop capacity for health services and systems research (HSSR) in low and middle income countries has been highlighted in a number of international forums. However, little is known about the level of HSSR training in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We conducted an assessment at four major East and Southern African universities to describe: a) the numbers of HSSR PhD trainees at these institutions, b) existing HSSR curricula and mode of delivery, and c) motivating and challenging factors for PhD training, from the trainees’ experience. Methods PhD training program managers completed a pre-designed form about trainees enrolled since 2006. A desk review of existing health curricula was also conducted to identify HSSR modules being offered; and PhD trainees completed a self-administered questionnaire on motivating and challenging factors they may have experienced during their PhD training. Results Of the 640 PhD trainees enrolled in the health sciences since 2006, only 24 (3.8%) were in an HSSR field. None of the universities had a PhD training program focusing on HSSR. The 24 HSSR PhD trainees had trained in partnership with a university outside Africa. Top motivating factors for PhD training were: commitment of supervisors (67%), availability of scholarships (63%), and training attached to a research grant (25%). Top challenging factors were: procurement delays (44%), family commitments (38%), and poor Internet connection (35%). Conclusion The number of HSSR PhD trainees is at the moment too small to enable a rapid accumulation of the required critical mass of locally trained HSSR professionals to drive the much needed health systems strengthening and innovations in this region. Curricula for advanced HSSR training are absent, exposing a serious training gap for HSSR in this region.
- ItemUsing the behavior change wheel to identify barriers to and potential solutions for primary care clinical guideline use in four provinces in South Africa(BMC (part of Springer Nature), 2018-12-14) Kredo, Tamara; Cooper, Sara; Abrams, Amber; Muller, Jocelyn; Volmink, Jimmy; Atkins, SallaBackground: Clinical practice guidelines risk having little impact on healthcare if not effectively implemented. Theory informed, targeted implementation may maximise their impact. Our study explored barriers to and facilitators of guideline implementation and use by South African primary care nurses and allied healthcare workers in four provinces in South Africa. We also proposed interventions to address the issues identified. Methods: We used qualitative research methods, comprising focus group discussions using semi-structured topic guides. Seven focus group discussions were conducted (48 providers) in four South African provinces (Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Limpopo). Participants included mostly nurses, dieticians, dentists, and allied health practitioners, from primary care facilities in rural and peri-urban settings. The analysis proceeded in three phases. Firstly, two analysts conducted inductive thematic content analysis to develop themes of data. This was followed by fitting emergent themes to the Theoretical Domains Framework and finally to the associated Behaviour Change Wheel to identify relevant interventions. Results: Participants are knowledgeable about guidelines, generally trust their credibility and are receptive and motivated to use them. Guidelines are seen by nurses to provide confidence and reassurance, as well as professional authority and independence where doctors are scarce. Barriers to guideline use include: inadequate systems for printed book distribution, insufficient and substandard photocopies, linguistic inappropriateness (e.g. complicated language, lack of summaries, unavailable in local languages), unsupportive auditing procedures, limited involvement of end-users in guideline development, and patchy training that may not filter back to all providers. Future aspirations identified include: improving the design features of guidelines, accessible places to find guidelines, making digitally-formatted versions available, more supplementary materials (e.g. posters) to support patient engagement, accessible clinical support following training, and in-facility training for all professional cadres to ensure fair access, similar levels of capability and interdisciplinary consistency. Conclusions: South African primary care nurses and allied health practitioners have high levels of motivation to use guidelines, but face many systemic barriers. We used the Behaviour Change Wheel to suggest relevant, implementable interventions addressing identified barriers. This theory-informed approach may improve clinical guideline implementation and impact healthcare for South Africa.