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- ItemThe 17th International Congress on Infectious Diseases workshop on developing infection prevention and control resources for low - and middle-income countries(Published by Elsevier on behalf of International Society for Infectious Diseases, 2017) Sastry, Sangeeta; Masroor, Nadia; Bearman, Gonzalo; Hajjeh, Rana; Holmes, Alison; Memish, Ziad; Lassmann, Britta; Pittet, Didier; Macnab, Fiona; Kamau, Rachel; Wesangula, Evelyn; Pokhare, Paras; Brown, Paul; Daily, Frances; Amer, Fatma; Torres, Jaime; O’Ryan, Miguel; Gunturu, Revathi; Bulabula, Andre; Mehtarp, ShaheenHospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are a major concern to healthcare systems around the world. They are associated with significant morbidity and mortality, in addition to increased hospitalization costs. Recent outbreaks, including those caused by the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus and Ebola virus, have highlighted the importance of infection control. Moreover, HAIs, especially those caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative rods, have become a top global priority. Although adequate approaches and guidelines have been in existence for many years and have often proven effective in some countries, the implementation of such approaches in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is often restricted due to limited resources and underdeveloped infrastructure. While evidence-based infection prevention and control (IPC) principles and practices are universal, studies are needed to evaluate simplified approaches that can be better adapted to LMIC needs, in order to guide IPC in practice. A group of experts from around the world attended a workshop held at the 17th International Congress on Infectious Diseases in Hyderabad, India in March 2016, to discuss the existing IPC practices in LMICs, and how best these can be improved within the local context.
- ItemThe acceptability of three vaccine injections given to infants during a single clinic visit in South Africa(BioMed Central, 2016) Tabana, Hanani; Dudley, Lilian; Knight, Stephen; Cameron, Neil; Mahomed, Hassan; Goliath, Charlyn; Eggers, Rudolf; Wiysonge, Charles S.ENGLISH SUMMARY : Background: The Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) has increased the number of antigens and injections administered at one visit. There are concerns that more injections at a single immunisation visit could decrease vaccination coverage. We assessed the acceptability and acceptance of three vaccine injections at a single immunisation visit by caregivers and vaccinators in South Africa. Methods: A mixed methods exploratory study of caregivers and vaccinators at clinics in two provinces of South Africa was conducted. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected using questionnaires as well as observations of the administration of three-injection vaccination sessions. Results: The sample comprised 229 caregivers and 98 vaccinators. Caregivers were satisfied with the vaccinators’ care (97 %) and their infants receiving immunisation injections (93 %). However, many caregivers, (86 %) also felt that three or more injections were excessive at one visit. Caregivers had limited knowledge of actual vaccines provided, and reasons for three injections. Although vaccinators recognised the importance of informing caregivers about vaccination, they only did this sometimes. Overall, acceptance of three injections was high, with 97 % of caregivers expressing willingness to bring their infant for three injections again in future visits despite concerns about the pain and discomfort that the infant experienced. Many (55 %) vaccinators expressed concern about giving three injections in one immunisation visit. However, in 122 (95 %) observed three-injection vaccination sessions, the vaccinators administered all required vaccinations for that visit. The remaining seven vaccinations were not completed because of vaccine stock-outs. Conclusions: We found high acceptance by caregivers and vaccinators of three injections. Caregivers’ poor understanding of reasons for three injections resulted from limited information sharing by vaccinators for caregivers. Acceptability of three injections may be improved through enhanced vaccinator-caregiver communication, and improved management of infants’ pain. Vaccinator training should include evidence-informed ways of communicating with caregivers and reducing injection pain. Strategies to improve acceptance and acceptability of three injections should be rigorously evaluated as part of EPI’s expansion in resource-limited countries.
- ItemAchieving the millennium development goals in sub-Saharan Africa(Health and Medical Publishing Group (HMPG), 2007-09) Wiysonge, Charles S.; Young, T.; Volmink, J.To the Editor: The UN has released a mid-term report on progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), eight pro-poor goals contained in the Millennium Declaration of 2000, to be achieved by 2015. It paints a gloomy picture of health in sub-Saharan Africa. Child mortality rates declined globally, but the improvement was uneven, with sub-Saharan Africa recording the highest rate and the slowest pace of progress. In 1990 and 2005 in sub-Saharan Africa, 185 and 166 children respectively died, mainly from preventable causes, before their 5th birthday for every 1 000 live births, a mere 10% reduction in 16 years.
- ItemAfrican HIV/AIDS trials are more likely to report adequate allocation concealment and random generation than North American trials(Public Library of Science (PLOS), 2008-10) Siegfried, Nandi; Clarke, Michael; Volmink, Jimmy; Van der Merwe, LizeBackground: Adherence to good methodological quality is necessary to minimise bias in randomised conrolled trials (RCTs). Specific trial characteristics are associated with better trial quality, but no studies to date are specific to HIV/AIDS or African trials. We postulated that location may negatively impact on trial quality in regions where resources are scarce. Methods: 1) To compare the methodological quality of all HIV/AIDS RCTs conducted in Africa with a random sample of similar trials conducted in North America; 2) To assess whether location is predictive of trial quality. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL and LILACS. Eligible trials were 1) randomized, 2) evaluations of preventive or treatment interventions for HIV/AIDS, 3) reported before 2004, and 4) conducted wholly or partly (if multi-centred) in Africa or North America. We assessed adequacy of random generation, allocation concealment and masking of assessors. Using univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses we evaluated the association between location (Africa versus North America) and these domains. Findings: The African search yielded 12,815 records, from which 80 trials were identified. The North American search yielded 13,158 records from which 785 trials were identified and a random sample of 114 selected for analysis. African trials were three times more likely than North American trials to report adequate allocation concealment (OR = 3.24; 95%CI: 1.59 to 6.59; p<0.01) and twice as likely to report adequate generation of the sequence (OR = 2.36; 95%CI: 1.20 to 4.67; p = 0.01), after adjusting for other confounding factors. Additional significant factors positively associated with quality were an a priori sample size power calculation, restricted randomization and inclusion of a flow diagram detailing attrition. We did not detect an association between location and outcome assessor masking. Conclusions: The higher quality of reporting of methodology in African trials is noteworthy. Most African trials are externally funded, and it is possible that stricter agency requirements when leading trials in other countries and greater experience and training of principal investigators of an international stature, may account for this difference. © 2008 Siegfried et al.
- ItemAn analysis of DTP-associated reactions by manufacturer, batch, vaccinator, series number and infant weight(Health & Medical Publishing Group, 1996-10) Benade, J. G.Objectives. To determine whether two commonly used DTP batches manufactured by Rhone-Poulenc Rorer were more reactogenic than two commonly used batches manufactured by the South African Institute of Medical Research. Design. Prospective study. Setting. Six community clinics. Patients. Infants routinely scheduled for their first three DTP immunisations. Main outcome measures. Local and systemic adverse reactions following immunisation with DTP. Results. Local reactions were significantly more common with both Rhone-Poulenc Rorer products. Conclusion. All adverse reaction rates compared favourably with those reported by the Centers for Disease Control.
- ItemAntibiotic prescribing practice and adherence to guidelines in primary care in the Cape Town Metro District, South Africa(Health & Medical Publishing Group, 2018) Gasson, J.; Blockman, M.; Willems, B.Background. Knowledge of antibiotic prescribing practice in primary care in South Africa is limited. As 80% of human antibiotic use is in primary care, this knowledge is important in view of the global problem of antibiotic resistance. Objectives. To assess antibiotic prescribing in primary care facilities in the Cape Town Metro District and compare it with current national guidelines, and to assess the reasons why prescriptions were not adherent to guidelines. Methods. A retrospective medical record review was performed in April/May 2016. Records of all patients seen over 2 days in each of eight representative primary care facilities in the Cape Town Metro District were reviewed. The treatment of any patient who raised a new complaint on either of those days was recorded. Prophylactic antibiotic courses, tuberculosis treatment and patients with a non-infection diagnosis were excluded. Treatment was compared with the Standard Treatment Guidelines and Essential Medicines List for South Africa, Primary Healthcare Level, 2014 edition. Results. Of 654 records included, 68.7% indicated that an antibiotic had been prescribed. Overall guideline adherence was 45.1%. Adherence differed significantly between facilities and according to the physiological system being treated, whether the prescription was for an adult or paediatric patient, and the antibiotic prescribed. Healthcare professional type and patient gender had no significant effect on adherence. The main reasons for non-adherence were an undocumented diagnosis (30.5%), antibiotic not required (21.6%), incorrect dose (12.9%), incorrect drug (11.5%), and incorrect duration of therapy (9.5%). Conclusions. This study demonstrates poor adherence to guidelines. Irrational use of antibiotics is associated with increased antibiotic resistance. There is an urgent need to improve antibiotic prescribing practice in primary care in the Cape Town Metro District.
- ItemAre central hospitals ready for national health insurance? ICD coding quality from an electronic patient discharge record for clinicians(Health & Medical Publishing Group, 2016-02) Dyers, Robin E.; Evans, Juliet; Ward, Grant Alex; Du Plooy, Shane; Mahomed, HassanENGLISH SUMMARY : Background. South Africa (SA)’s planned National Health Insurance reforms require the use of International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes for hospitals to purchase services from the proposed National Health Authority. However, compliance with coding at public hospitals in the Western Cape Province has been challenging. A computer application was developed to aid clinicians in integrating ICD coding into the patient hospital discharge process.Objective. To evaluate the quality of ICD codes captured using the application and predictors thereof in a single hospital department.Methods. After 6 months, the quality of ICD codes was determined by comparing ICD code descriptors with medical concepts in a random sample of original patient records selected over a 6-week period. Patient and personnel characteristics influencing quality of coding, derived from a theoretical framework, were collected.Results. Of 223 patient records, 45.3% (95% confidence interval (CI) 38.8 - 51.9) had complete ICD codes. Primary ICD code accuracy was 74.0% (95% CI 67.8 - 79.5). Patient characteristics such as female gender, younger age group and fewer comorbidities, as well as seniority of clinician rank, were significantly associated with ICD coding being complete on adjusted analysis.Conclusion. The results of this study describe ICD coding quality at a central hospital in SA supported by a computer application and the factors influencing this. More interventions are required to achieve reliable coding data, such as additional ICD coding validation tools, training and oversight of junior clinicians.
- ItemAn assessment of a training-of-trainers programme for clinic committees in a South African district : a qualitative exploratory study(BMC (part of Springer Nature), 2020-11-30) Esau, Natasha; English, Rene; Shung-King, MayleneBackground: In South Africa (SA), clinics and community health centres are the predominant primary level health care facilities in the public health sector. As part of legislated health governance requirements, clinic committees (referring to those for clinics and community health centres) were established to provide management oversight and bring to bear the perspectives and participation of communities at Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities. Clinic committees need training in order to better understand their roles. Facilitators in a district of SA were trained through a designated programme, called the ‘PHC Facility Governance Structures Trainer-of-Facilitator (ToF) Learning Programme‘, in preparation for the training of clinic committees. This paper explores how the programme had evolved and was experienced by the trained facilitators, in a district in SA. Methods: We employed a retrospective qualitative case study design, guided by the Illuminative Evaluation Framework, with the training programme in the selected district as the case. The study assessed whether the intended aims of the training programme were clearly conveyed by the trainers, and how participants understood and subsequently conveyed the training programme intentions to the clinic committees. Key informant interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with trainers and managers, complemented by a review of relevant policy and legislative documents, and published literature. Study participants were purposively selected based on their involvement in the development, facilitation or training of the programme. Thirteen individuals participated in the study, and 23 (national, provincial and partner) documents were reviewed. Results: Despite the different perceptions and understandings of the ToF Learning Programme, its overall aims were achieved. Trainers’ capacity was strengthened and clinic committees were trained accordingly. The training programme holds promise for possible national scale-up. The high quality of the interactive posters can be considered equally valuable as a training tool as the training manuals. Conclusions: Trainers’ capacity was strengthened and clinic committees were trained accordingly, despite deviations in implementation of the original training approach and plan.
- ItemAssociation of neighbourhood and individual social capital, neighourhood economic deprivation and self-rated health in South Africa - a multi-level analysis(Public Library of Science, 2013-07-29) Chola, Lumbwe; Alaba, OlufunkeIntroduction: Social capital is said to influence health, mostly in research undertaken in high income countries' settings. Because social capital may differ from one setting to another, it is suggested that its measurement be context specific. We examine the association of individual and neighbourhood level social capital, and neighbourhood deprivation to self-rated health using a multi-level analysis. Methods: Data are taken from the 2008 South Africa National Income Dynamic Survey. Health was self-reported on a scale from 1 (excellent) to 5 (poor). Two measures of social capital were used: individual, measured by two variables denoting trust and civic participation; and neighbourhood social capital, denoting support, association, behaviour and safety in a community. Results: Compared to males, females were less likely to report good health (Odds Ratio 0.82: Confidence Interval 0.73, 0.91). There were variations in association of individual social capital and self-rated health among the provinces. In Western Cape (1.37: 0.98, 1.91) and North West (1.39: 1.13, 1.71), trust was positively associated with reporting good health, while the reverse was true in Limpopo (0.56: 0.38, 0.84) and Free State (0.70: 0.48, 1.02). In Western Cape (0.60: 0.44, 0.82) and Mpumalanga (0.72: 0.55, 0.94), neighbourhood social capital was negatively associated with reporting good health. In North West (1.59: 1.27, 1.99) and Gauteng (1.90: 1.21, 2.97), increased neighbourhood social capital was positively associated with reporting good health. Conclusion: Our study demonstrated the importance of considering contextual factors when analysing the relationship between social capital and health. Analysis by province showed variations in the way in which social capital affected health in different contexts. Further studies should be undertaken to understand the mechanisms through which social capital impacts on health in South Africa.
- ItemThe Cameroon Mobile Phone SMS (CAMPS) trial : a protocol for a randomized controlled trial of mobile phone text messaging versus usual care for improving adherence to highly active anti-retroviral therapy(BioMed Central, 2011-01) Mbuagbaw, Lawrence; Thabane, Lahana; Ongolo-Zogo, Pierre; Lester, Richard T.; Mills, Edward; Volmink, Jimmy; Yondo, David; Essi, Marie Jose; Bonono-Momnougui, Renee-Cecile; Mba, Robert; Ndongo, Jean Serge; Nkoa, Francois C.; Ondoa, Henri AtanganaBackground: This trial aims at testing the efficacy of weekly reminder and motivational text messages, compared to usual care in improving adherence to Highly Active Antiretroviral Treatment in patients attending a clinic in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Methods and Design: This is a single-centered randomized controlled single-blinded trial. A central computer generated randomization list will be generated using random block sizes. Allocation will be determined by sequentially numbered sealed opaque envelopes. 198 participants will either receive the mobile phone text message or usual care. Our hypothesis is that weekly motivational text messages can improve adherence to Highly Active Antiretroviral Treatment and other clinical outcomes in the control group by acting as a reminder, a cue to action and opening communication channels. Data will be collected at baseline, three months and six months. A blinded program secretary will send out text messages and record delivery. Our primary outcomes are adherence measured by the visual analogue scale, self report, and pharmacy refill data. Our secondary outcomes are clinical: weight, body mass index, opportunistic infections, all cause mortality and retention; biological: Cluster Designation 4 count and viral load; and quality of life. Analysis will be by intention-to-treat. Covariates and subgroups will be taken into account. Discussion: This trial investigates the potential of SMS motivational reminders to improve adherence to Highly Active Antiretroviral Treatment in Cameroon. The intervention targets non-adherence due to forgetfulness and other forms of non-adherence. Trial Registration: Pan-African Clinical Trials Registry PACTR201011000261458 http://clinicaltrials.gov/ NCT01247181
- ItemThe candidate TB vaccine, MVA85A, induces highly durable Th1 responses(PLoS, 2014-02) Tameris, Michele; Geldenhuys, Hennie; Luabeya, Angelique KanyKany; Smit, Erica; Hughes, Jane E.; Vermaak, Samantha; Hanekom, Willem A.; Hatherill, Mark; Mahomed, Hassan; McShane, Helen; Scriba, Thomas J.Background: Vaccination against tuberculosis (TB) should provide long-term protective immunity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb). The current TB vaccine, Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG), protects against disseminated childhood TB, but protection against lung TB in adolescents and adults is variable and mostly poor. One potential reason for the limited durability of protection may be waning of immunity through gradual attrition of BCG-induced T cells. We determined if a MVA85A viral-vector boost could enhance the durability of mycobacteria-specific T cell responses above those induced by BCG alone. Methods: We describe a long-term follow-up study of persons previously vaccinated with MVA85A. We performed a medical history and clinical examination, a tuberculin skin test and measured vaccine-specific T cell responses in persons previously enrolled as adults, adolescents, children or infants into three different Phase II trials, between 2005 and 2011. Results: Of 252 potential participants, 183 (72.6%) consented and completed the study visit. Vaccine-induced Ag85A-specific CD4+ T cell responses were remarkably persistent in healthy, HIV-uninfected adults, adolescents, children and infants, up to 6 years after MVA85A vaccination. Specific CD4+ T cells expressed surface markers consistent with either CD45RA−CCR7+ central memory or CD45RA−CCR7− effector memory T cells. Similarly durable Ag85A-specific CD4+ T cell responses were detected in HIV-infected persons who were on successful antiretroviral therapy when MVA85A was administered. By contrast, Ag85A-specific CD4+ T cell frequencies in untreated MVA85A-vaccinated HIV-infected persons were mostly undetectable 3–5 years after vaccination. Conclusion: MVA85A induces remarkably durable T cell responses in immunocompetent persons. However, results from a recent phase IIb trial of MVA85A, conducted in infants from the same geographic area and study population, showed no vaccine efficacy, suggesting that these durable T cell responses do not enhance BCG-induced protection against TB in infants.
- ItemCapacity-building needs assessment of rural health managers : the what and the how ...(Health and Medical Publishing Group, 2015-07) Goliath, C.; Mukinda, Fidele K.; Dudley, LilianENGLISH SUMMARY : Background: There has been a renewed focus on leadership and governance within the South African health workforce as a key to strengthening the health system. Several studies have highlighted that managers feel poorly prepared for their role and responsibilities and argue for support and development for healthcare managers. This study describes a ‘training’ need assessment conducted for health managers in a rural district which has informed Stellenbosch University Rural Medical Education Partnership Initiative (SURMEPI) continuing professional development activities. Objective: To determine the capacity-building needs and preferred approaches to capacity building for health managers in a rural district. Methods: The study used a mixed method design. A survey was conducted among healthcare managers followed by structured interviews with randomly selected participants. Results were discussed at a workshop and meetings with the district management, which allowed for triangulation and verification of results. Results: Thirty-two (68%) of the 47 health managers in the district completed the questionnaires. Training needs for competencies related to: leadership; communication and knowledge management; infection prevention and control; community/public health and health systems research and strengthening were slightly higher than other areas. Facility managers were prioritised as a target group for leadership and management capacity development. The preferred learning approach was for more practice-based learning in the workplace, supported by e-learning rather than didactic classroom-based teaching. Conclusion: Innovative approaches to capacity development and work-based support in developing intrinsic management competencies for front-line managers were highlighted in this needs assessment.
- ItemCentella asiatica modulates cancer cachexia associated inflammatory cytokines and cell death in leukaemic THP-1 cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC’s)(BioMed Central, 2017-08-01) Naidoo, Dhaneshree Bestinee; Chuturgoon, Anil Amichund; Phulukdaree, Alisa; Guruprasad, Kanive Parashiva; Satyamoorthy, Kapaettu; Sewram, VikashBackground: Cancer cachexia is associated with increased pro-inflammatory cytokine levels. Centella asiatica (C. asiatica) possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour potential. We investigated the modulation of antioxidants, cytokines and cell death by C. asiatica ethanolic leaf extract (CLE) in leukaemic THP-1 cells and normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC’s). Methods: Cytotoxcity of CLE was determined at 24 and 72 h (h). Oxidant scavenging activity of CLE was evaluated using the 2, 2-diphenyl-1 picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assay. Glutathione (GSH) levels, caspase (−8, −9, −3/7) activities and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels (Luminometry) were then assayed. The levels of tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β and IL-10 were also assessed using enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay. Results: CLE decreased PBMC viability between 33.25–74.55% (24 h: 0.2–0.8 mg/ml CLE and 72 h: 0.4–0.8 mg/ml CLE) and THP-1 viability by 28.404% (72 h: 0.8 mg/ml CLE) (p < 0.0001). Oxidant scavenging activity was increased by CLE (0.05–0.8 mg/ml) (p < 0.0001). PBMC TNF-α and IL-10 levels were decreased by CLE (0.05–0.8 mg/ml) (p < 0.0001). However, PBMC IL-6 and IL-1β concentrations were increased at 0.05–0.2 mg/ml CLE but decreased at 0.4 mg/ml CLE (p < 0.0001). In THP-1 cells, CLE (0.2–0.8 mg/ml) decreased IL-1β and IL-6 whereas increased IL-10 levels (p < 0.0001). In both cell lines, CLE (0.05–0.2 mg/ml, 24 and 72 h) increased GSH concentrations (p < 0.0001). At 24 h, caspase (−9, −3/7) activities was increased by CLE (0.05–0.8 mg/ml) in PBMC’s whereas decreased by CLE (0.2–0.4 mg/ml) in THP-1 cells (p < 0.0001). At 72 h, CLE (0.05–0.8 mg/ml) decreased caspase (−9, −3/7) activities and ATP levels in both cell lines (p < 0.0001). Conclusion: In PBMC’s and THP-1 cells, CLE proved to effectively modulate antioxidant activity, inflammatory cytokines and cell death. In THP-1 cells, CLE decreased pro-inflammatory cytokine levels whereas it increased anti-inflammatory cytokine levels which may alleviate cancer cachexia.
- ItemThe challenges of reshaping disease specific and care oriented community based services towards comprehensive goals : a situation appraisal in the Western Cape Province, South Africa(BioMed Central, 2015-09-30) Schneider, Helen; Schaay, Nikki; Dudley, Lilian; Goliath, Charlyn; Qukula, TobekaENGLISH SUMMARY : Background: Similar to other countries in the region, South Africa is currently reorienting a loosely structured and highly diverse community care system that evolved around HIV and TB, into a formalized, comprehensive and integrated primary health care outreach programme, based on community health workers (CHWs). While the difficulties of establishing national CHW programmes are well described, the reshaping of disease specific and care oriented community services, based outside the formal health system, poses particular challenges. This paper is an in-depth case study of the challenges of implementing reforms to community based services (CBS) in one province of South Africa. Methods: A multi-method situation appraisal of CBS in the Western Cape Province was conducted over eight months in close collaboration with provincial stakeholders. The appraisal mapped the roles and service delivery, human resource, financing and governance arrangements of an extensive non-governmental organisation (NGO) contracted and CHW based service delivery infrastructure that emerged over 15–20 years in this province. It also gathered the perspectives of a wide range of actors – including communities, users, NGOs, PHC providers and managers - on the current state and future visions of CBS. Results: While there was wide support for new approaches to CBS, there are a number of challenges to achieving this. Although largely government funded, the community based delivery platform remains marginal to the formal public primary health care (PHC) and district health systems. CHW roles evolved from a system of home based care and are limited in scope. There is a high turnover of cadres, and support systems (supervision, monitoring, financing, training), coordination between CHWs, NGOs and PHC facilities, and sub-district capacity for planning and management of CBS are all poorly developed. Conclusions: Reorienting community based services that have their origins in care responses to HIV and TB presents an inter-related set of resource mobilisation, system design and governance challenges. These include not only formalising community based teams themselves, but also the forging of new roles, relationships and mind-sets within the primary health care system, and creating greater capacity for contracting and engaging a plural set of actors - government, NGO and community - at district and sub-district level.
- ItemChanges in surgical practice in 85 South African hospitals during COVID-19 hard lockdown(Health & Medical Publishing Group, 2020) Chu, K. M.; Smith, M.; Steyn, E.; Goldberg, P.; Bougard, H.; Buccimazza, I.Background. In preparation for the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa (SA) began a national lockdown on 27 March 2020, and many hospitals implemented measures to prepare for a potential COVID-19 surge. Objectives. To report changes in SA hospital surgical practices in response to COVID-19 preparedness. Methods. In this cross-sectional study, surgeons working in SA hospitals were recruited through surgical professional associations via an online survey. The main outcome measures were changes in hospital practice around surgical decision-making, operating theatres, surgical services and surgical trainees, and the potential long-term effect of these changes. Results. A total of 133 surgeons from 85 hospitals representing public and private hospitals nationwide responded. In 59 hospitals (69.4%), surgeons were involved in the decision to de-escalate surgical care. Access was cancelled or reduced for non-cancer elective (n=84; 99.0%), cancer (n=24; 28.1%) and emergency operations (n=46; 54.1%), and 26 hospitals (30.6%) repurposed at least one operating room as a ventilated critical care bed. Routine postoperative visits were cancelled in 33 hospitals (36.5%) and conducted by telephone or video in 15 (16.6%), 74 hospitals (87.1%) cancelled or reduced new outpatient visits, 64 (75.3%) reallocated some surgical inpatient beds to COVID-19 cases, and 29 (34.1%) deployed some surgical staff (including trainees) to other hospital services such as COVID-19 testing, medical/COVID-19 wards, the emergency department and the intensive care unit. Conclusions. Hospital surgical de-escalation in response to COVID-19 has greatly reduced access to surgical care in SA, which could result in a backlog of surgical needs and an excess of morbidity and mortality.
- ItemCombining the theory of change and realist evaluation approaches to elicit an initial program theory of the MomConnect program in South Africa(BMC (part of Springer Nature), 2020-11-26) Kabongo, Eveline M.; Mukumbang, Ferdinand C.; Delobelle, Peter; Nicol, EdwardBackground: One of the Sustainable Development Goals is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030. In South Africa, the flagship National Department of Health MomConnect program was launched in 2014 to strengthen the quality of maternal and child health (MCH) services and improve mortality outcomes. MomConnect was rapidly rolled out with a limited understanding of how and why the program was expected to work even though studies had shown the effectiveness of the MomConnect program in improving the uptake of MCH services. This study aimed to unearth the initial program theory of the MomConnect program based on explicit and implicit assumptions of how the program was organized and expected to work. Methods: We conducted a document analysis using design- and implementation-related documents of the MomConnect program guided by the principles of Theory of Change (ToC) and Realist Evaluation (RE). Content and thematic analysis approaches were deductively applied to analyze the documents toward constructing ToC and REinformed models. Abductive thinking and retroduction were further applied to the realist-informed approach to link program context, mechanisms, and outcomes to construct the initial program theory. Results: ToC and RE-informed models illustrated how the MomConnect program was organized and expected to work. The process of constructing the ToC provided the platform for the development of the initial program theory, which identified three critical elements: (1) the central modalities of the MomConnect program; (2) the intended outcomes; and (3) the tentative causal links indicating, in a stepwise manner of, how the outcomes were intended to be achieved. The RE approach ‘enhanced’ the causal links by identifying relevant programmatic contexts and linking the postulated mechanisms of action (empowerment, encouragement, motivation, and knowledge acquisition) to program outcomes. Conclusion: The application of ToC and RE provided an explicitly cumulative approach to knowledge generation in unveiling the initial program theory of MomConnect rather than delivering answers to questions of program effectiveness.
- ItemComparison of non-invasive methods of assessing liver fibrosis in combination ART-experienced Zimbabweans(AOSIS, 2019-04-11) Nherera, Brenda; Mhandire, Kudakwashe; Nyazika, Tinashe K.; Makura, Alfred; Musarurwa, Cuthbert; Mapondera, Prichard T.; Stray-Pedersen, Babill; Matarira, Hilda T.Background: The prevalence of morbidity and mortality associated with liver disease among HIV-infected individuals on combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) is high. Early screening of liver disease is essential, as it provides an opportunity for successful treatment. Hence, there is a need for reliable, inexpensive and non-invasive early markers of hepatic damage. Objectives: Non-invasive algorithms are available for assessing the extent of liver fibrosis as markers of ongoing inflammatory damage. This study compared the use of the FibroTest, Fibrosis-4 (FIB-4) index, APRI test and AST:ALT ratio in assessing liver fibrosis in combination ART-experienced individuals. Methods: In a comparative cross-sectional study, 79 participants between the ages of 8 and 62 years were recruited. The performance of each fibrosis algorithm was determined using established cut-off scores for clinically significant liver fibrosis. Results: The prevalence of liver fibrosis as determined by the FibroTest, FIB-4 index, APRI test and AST: ALT ratio were 19.0%, 21.5%, 12.7% and 79.7%, respectively. For individual biomarkers, A-2M concentration ( p < 0.001) and AST activity ( p = 0.003) remained significantly elevated in participants with fibrosis than those without as defined by FibroTest and APRI test, respectively, after adjustments for multiple comparisons. Conclusion: Our data demonstrate a high prevalence of asymptomatic liver fibrosis among combination ART-experienced individuals in Zimbabwe, and this warrants adequate monitoring of liver fibrosis in individuals on ART. Discordance of fibrosis results among the algorithms and individual biomarkers and calls for further work in identifying optimal biomarkers for detection of asymptomatic fibrosis.
- ItemConsultation outcomes for musculoskeletal conditions at two Community Health Centres in Cape Town, South Africa(Medpharm Publications, 2013) Namane, Mosedi Keanetse; Kalla, Asgar A.; Young, Taryn N.Objectives: To compare the proportion of patients with documented diagnoses and management plans when they presented with musculoskeletal complaints at two community health centres (CHCs) using two models of care: one with a rheumatology outreach service and the other with none. Secondly, to describe the profile of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who attended the CHC with the outreach service. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Heidelberg Community Health Centre and Vanguard Community Health Centre, Cape Town. Subjects: A group of 59 patients at each CHC were compared regarding engagement of their musculoskeletal complaints by doctors and clinical nurse practitioners (CNPs). Secondly, 24 RA patients who attended Heideveld CHC were profiled. Results: A comparison of the “overall engagement” between the two CHCs [risk difference (RD) -0.06, 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.17-0.05, odds ratio (OR) 0.79, 95% CI: 0.51-1.24, chi-square 0.82, p-value 0.36] was not significantly different. Comparison between doctors (RD -0.05, 95% CI: -0.05-0.08, OR 0.80, 95% CI: 0.46-1.40, chi-square 0.41, p-value 0.52) was also not significantly different. The comparison between the CNPs at the two CHCs was statistically significant (RD 0.30, 95% CI: 0.14-0.45, OR 8.37, 95% CI: 1.05-66.60, Fisher’s exact test 0.01), but the CI around OR was large. Patients with RA had a mean age of 60 years, an average of two co-morbidities and an average of three annual clinic visits. Eighty-three per cent resided in the drainage area of the clinic. Conclusion: There was no significant difference in engagement between the CHCs. The potential that CNPs seemed to show of being positively influenced by the outreach service should be further researched. Patients with RA had comorbidities that required management at primary healthcare level.
- ItemContinuity of care for TB patients at a South African hospital : a qualitative participatory study of the experiences of hospital staff(Public Library of Science, 2019-09-18) Marais, Frederick; Kallon, Idriss Ibrahim; Dudley, Lilian DianaBackground: Ensuring effective clinical management and continuity of TB care across hospital and primary health-care services remains challenging in South Africa. The high burden of TB, coupled with numerous health system problems, influence the TB care delivered by hospital staff. Objective: To understand factors from the perspectives of hospital staff that influence the clinical management and discharge of TB patients, and to elicit recommendations to improve continuity of care for TB patients. Design: Participatory action research was used to engage hospital staff working with TB patients admitted to a central public hospital in the Western Cape province, South Africa. Data were collected through eight focus group discussions with nurses, junior doctors and ward administrators. Data analysis was done using Miles and Huberman’s framework to identify emerging patterns and to develop categories with themes and sub-themes. The participants influenced all phases of the research process to inform better practices in TB clinical management and discharge planning at the hospital. Results: The emerging themes and sub-themes were categorized into two overall sections: The clinical care management process and the discharge and referral process. Nurses expressed a fear of exposure to TB and MDR-TB due to challenges in clinical and infection-prevention control. Clinical hierarchies, poor interdisciplinary teamwork, limited task shifting and poor communication interfered with effective clinical and discharge processes. A high workload, staff shortages and inadequate skills resulted in insufficient information and health education for TB patients and their caregivers. Despite awareness of the patients’ socio-economic challenges, some aspects of care were not patient-centered, and caregivers were not included in discharge planning. Communication between the hospital and referral points was inefficient and poorly supported by information systems. Hospital staff recommended improved infection prevention and control practices and interdisciplinary teamwork in the hospital, that TB education for patients be integrated with hospital staff functions, with more patient-centered discharge planning, and improved communication across hospitals and primary health care levels. Conclusions: Interdisciplinary teamwork, more patient-centered care, and better communication within the hospital and with primary health-care services are needed for improved continuity of care for TB patients. Further studies on factors contributing to, and interventions to improve, continuity of TB care in similar hospital settings are needed.