Epidemiology and Biostatistics
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- ItemFocus on 14 sewage treatment plants in the Mpumalanga Province, South Africa in order to gauge the efficiency of wastewater treatment(2009-07) Samie, A; Obi, C L; Ingumbor, J A; et alIn order to identify the treatment methods used in different sewage treatment plants (STPs) in the Mpumalanga Province and to determine the efficiency of wastewater treatment by these plants, municipal STPs were surveyed, and raw and treated wastewater samples collected. A total of 14 STPs were visited and the collected samples were analysed for physicochemical and microbiological parameters using standard methods. The treatment methods identified included ponds, activated sludge and trickling filters. The reduction of turbidity by the plants varied between 6.2 and 99.6% while conductivity, pH and temperature varied slightly between the influent and the effluent wastewater. Thirteen (92.8%) of the plants used chlorine for disinfection of the final effluent, however only 2 (14.2%) of the plants managed to produce effluent with 0 (zero) faecal conforms per 100 m€. Common pathogenic bacteria isolated from the final effluent included Salmonella, Shigella, Escherichia coli, Vibrio spp. and Enterococcus spp. The final effluent was used for irrigation and recycling purposes in 4 plants, all the other treatment plants discharged the effluent into the river or to the environment. The present study indicated that there is a move toward the renovation of wastewater treatment by the municipalities in the Mpumalanga Province with the adoption of biological treatment. All the STPs reduced the turbidity of wastewater as well as the different microbial indicators counts; however, several pathogenic bacterial organisms could still be detected in the final effluent. Further studies are needed to confirm the role of the treatment procedures on nutrient reduction and elimination of other viral and parasitic pathogens by the sewage treatment plants.
- ItemImpact of AIDS care and level of burnout among nurses in selected hospitals in Limpopo Province, South Africa(2013) Ingumbor, J O; Davhana-Maselesele, MSouth Africa has one of the worst AIDS epidemics in the world and nurses bear the brunt of caring for people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA). This situation exacerbates the existing challenge of nursing staff shortage in South Africa as a whole and more profound in rural areas. Despite this, there is limited information on the nature and magnitude of the impact of caring for PLWHA on nurses in rural South Africa. This study therefore investigated the impact of AIDS care and the level of burnout and symptoms of depression among nurses in rural areas. One hundred and seventy four nurses involved in the care of people living with AIDS participated in the study. A structured interview guide was used as the instrument for data collection. The instrument incorporated the AIDS Impact Scale (AIS), Maslach Bumoql Inventory (MBI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the participants’ demographic and professional profiles. The study participants were conveniently drawn from five randomly selected hospitals in Limpopo Province. We found that the participants’ level of physical and emotional exhaustion were positively associated with age and years of experience respectively. Personal accomplishment was also associated with level of training and qualification. AIS items contributed more to the prediction of physical and emotional exhaustion when compared to their contribution to the prediction of depersonalization and personal accomplishment. The AIS items contributed over 40% to the prediction of emotional exhaustion. The stigma related AIS items were the contributors to the variation in depersonalization. This study therefore re-emphasizes the need to address social stigma, develop psycho-social support programmes and promote social incentives and recognition of the role of nurses in AIDS care.
- ItemComparison of the health related quality of life, CD4 count and viral load of AIDS patients with HIV who have been on treatment for 12 months in rural South Africa(2013-03) Ingumbor J; Steward A; Holzemer W; et alThis study compared the level of CD4 count, viral load and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) between treatment-naive AIDS patients and a cohort of people living with HIV who have been on treatment for 12 months. This study is based on a secondary data analysis of the records of 642 people with HIV consisting of 311 treatment-naive AIDS patients and 331 people with HIV who have been on treatment for 12 months. The study findings are mostly presented in tables and analysed using the f-test to compare HRQOL scores, CD4 count and viral load in the two groups. The study generally noted poor financial capacity and low activity tolerance among the participants. Significant changes were noted in all the domains of HRQOL compared between the treatment-naive patients and the 12 months treatment cohort. In the same manner, the median CD4 cell count and viral load differed significantly between both groups. The treatment-naive and the 12 months treatment cohorts consistently reported much lower quality of life scores in the level of dependence domain which includes the measures of mobility, activity of daily living, dependence on medication and work capacity. There were little or no associations between the biomedical markers (CD4 count and viral load) and HRQOL indicators. However, the quality of life tended to increase with increase in the CD4 cell count. The poor to no association between the biomedical markers and HRQOL indicators show that these cannot be direct proxies of each other and that the CD4 cell count and viral load alone may be inadequate eligibility criteria for social support.
- ItemPerspectives on healthcare, chronic non-communicable disease, and healthworlds in an urban and rural setting(2014) Ibanez-Gonzalez, Daniel LopesBACKGROUND: Amidst diverging discourses describing chronic non-communicable disease (NCD) and healthcare access, the hermeneutical tradition within sociology, particularly as exemplified in the work of Jurgen Habermas, provides a starting point for exploring and interpreting the experiences of chronic illness and healthcare access. In this study, we aimed to understand how women living with NCDs experience their illness and access healthcare in an urban and rural context. METHODS: This study was a mixed-methods comparative case study of the healthcare access experiences of women with NCDs in an urban and rural area in South Africa. The core of the study methodology was a comparative qualitative case study, with quantitative methods serving to contextualise the findings. RESULTS: The cross-sectional survey describes a low resource population with a high prevalence of NCDs. Slightly over half the respondents in urban Soweto (50.7%) reported having at least one NCD. Only around a third (33.3%) of these participants reported accessing formal healthcare services in the past 6 months. Similar trends were found in the review of research carried out in rural Agincourt. The qualitative case study in Soweto is characterised by a preoccupation with how medicine from the clinic interacts with the body. The Agincourt qualitative case study highlights the importance of church membership, particularly of African Christian Churches, as the strongest factor motivating against the open use of traditional medicine. DISCUSSION: A consideration of the findings suggests five broad themes for further research: 1) processes of constructing body narratives; 2) encounters with purposive-rational systems; 3) encounters with traditional medicine; 4) encounters with contemporary informal medicine; and 5) religion and healthcare. These five themes constitute the beginning of a comprehensive schema of the lifeworld/healthworld.
- ItemMigration and the epidemiological transition: insights from the Agincourt sub-district of northeast South Africa(2014) Collinson, M.A; White, M.J; Bocquier, PBACKGROUND: Migration and urbanization are central to sustainable development and health, but data on temporal trends in defined populations are scarce. Healthy men and women migrate because opportunities for employment and betterment are not equally distributed geographically. The disruption can result in unhealthy exposures and environments and income returns for the origin household. OBJECTIVES: The objectives of the paper are to describe the patterns, levels, and trends of temporary migration in rural northeast South Africa; the mortality trends by cause category over the period 2000-2011; and the associations between temporary migration and mortality by broad cause of death categories. METHOD: Longitudinal, Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System data are used in a continuous, survival time, competing-risk model. FINDINGS: In rural, northeast South Africa, temporary migration, which involves migrants relocating mainly for work purposes and remaining linked to the rural household, is more important than age and sex in explaining variations in mortality, whatever the cause. In this setting, the changing relationship between temporary migration and communicable disease mortality is primarily affected by reduced exposure of the migrant to unhealthy conditions. The study suggests that the changing relationship between temporary migration and non-communicable disease mortality is mainly affected by increased livelihood benefits of longer duration migration. CONCLUSION: Since temporary migration is not associated with communicable diseases only, public health policies should account for population mobility whatever the targeted health risk. There is a need to strengthen the rural health care system, because migrants tend to return to the rural households when they need health care.
- ItemRisk factors for unplanned and unwanted teenage pregnancies occurring over two years of follow-up among a cohort of young South African women(2014) Christofides, N.J; Jewkes, R.K; Dunkle, K.L; et alBACKGROUND: Although teenage pregnancies in South Africa have declined, the short and longer term health and social consequences are a potential public health concern. This longitudinal study aimed to describe the range of risk and protective factors for incident unwanted and unplanned pregnancies occurring over 2 years of follow-up among a cohort of adolescent women in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. It also investigated the relationship between gender inequality and gender-based violence and subsequent unplanned and unwanted pregnancies among the cohort. OBJECTIVE: Teenage girls, aged 15-18 years (n=19), who were volunteer participants in a cluster randomized controlled trial and who had data from at least one follow-up were included in this analysis. To assess risk and protective factors for incident unwanted or unplanned pregnancies, we constructed multivariate polytomous regression models adjusting for sampling clusters as latent variables. Covariates included age, having a pregnancy prior to baseline, education, time between interviews, study intervention arm, contraceptive use, experience of intimate partner violence, belief that the teenage girl and her boyfriend are mutual main partners, and socioeconomic status. RESULTS: Overall, 174 pregnancies occurred over the 2-year follow-up period. Beliefs about relationship control were not associated with unwanted and unplanned pregnancies, nor were experiences of forced first sex or coerced sex under the age of 15. Hormonal contraception was protective against unplanned pregnancies (OR 0.40; 95% CI 0.21-0.79); however, using condoms was not protective. Physical abuse (OR 1.69; 95% CI 1.05-2.72) was a risk factor for, and having a pregnancy prior to baseline was protective against an unwanted pregnancy (OR 0.25; 95% CI 0.07-0.80). Higher socioeconomic status was protective for both unplanned and unwanted pregnancies (OR 0.69; 95% CI 0.58-0.83 and OR 0.78; 95% CI 0.64-0.96). Believing that the teenage girl and her boyfriend were mutual main partners doubled the odds of reporting both an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy (OR 2.58 95% CI 1.07-6.25, and OR 2.21 95% CI 1.13-4.29). CONCLUSION: Although some of the measures of gender inequity were not associated with unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, there is evidence of the role of both gender power and socioeconomic status. This was evident in teenage girls who experienced physical violence being more likely to have an unwanted pregnancy. Interventions to prevent teenage pregnancies need to be tailored by socioeconomic status because some teenagers may see having a pregnancy as a way to have a more secure future. Interventions that engage with relationship dynamics of teenagers are essential if unwanted and unplanned pregnancies are to be prevented.
- ItemPredictors of health care use by adults 50 years and over in a rural South African setting(2014) Ameh, S; Kahn, K; Tollman, S.M; et alBACKGROUND: South Africa's epidemiological transition is characterised by an increasing burden of chronic communicable and non-communicable diseases. However, little is known about predictors of health care use (HCU) for the prevention and control of chronic diseases among older adults. OBJECTIVE: To describe reported health problems and determine predictors of HCU by adults aged 50+ living in a rural sub-district of South Africa. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study to measure HCU was conducted in 2010 in the Agincourt sub-district of Mpumalanga Province, an area underpinned by a robust health and demographic surveillance system. HCU, socio-demographic variables, reception of social grants, and type of medical aid were measured, and compared between responders who used health care services with those who did not. Predictors of HCU were determined by binary logistic regression adjusted for socio-demographic variables. RESULTS: Seventy-five percent of the eligible adults aged 50+ responded to the survey. Average age of the targeted 7,870 older adults was 66 years (95% CI: 65.3, 65.8), and there were more women than men (70% vs. 30%, p<0.001). All 5,795 responders reported health problems, of which 96% used health care, predominantly at public health facilities (82%). Reported health problems were: chronic non-communicable diseases (41% - e.g. hypertension), acute conditions (27% - e.g. flu and fever), other conditions (26% - e.g. musculoskeletal pain), chronic communicable diseases (3% - e.g. HIV and TB), and injuries (3%). In multivariate logistic regression, responders with chronic communicable disease (OR=5.91, 95% CI: 1.44, 24.32) and non-communicable disease (OR=2.85, 95% CI: 1.96, 4.14) had significantly higher odds of using health care compared with those with acute conditions. Responders with six or more years of education had a two-fold increased odds of using health care (OR=2.49, 95% CI: 1.27, 4.86) compared with those with no formal education. CONCLUSION: Chronic communicable and non-communicable diseases were the most prevalent and main predictors of HCU in this population, suggesting prioritisation of public health care services for chronic diseases among older people in this rural setting.
- ItemBarriers to accessing health care in Nigeria: implications for child survival(2014) Adedini, S A; Odimegwu, C; Bamiwuye, S A; et alBackground: Existing studies indicate that about one in every six children dies before age five in Nigeria. While evidence suggests that improved access to adequate health care holds great potential for improved child survival, previous studies indicate that there are substantial barriers to accessing health care in Nigeria. There has not been a systematic attempt to examine the effects of barriers to health care on under-five mortality in Nigeria. This study is designed to address this knowledge gap. Data and method: Data came from a nationally representative sample of 18,028 women (aged 15 49) who had a total of 28,647 live births within the 5 years preceding the 2008 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey. The risk of death in children below age five was estimated using Cox proportional hazard models and results are presented as hazards ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results: Results indicate higher under-five mortality risks for children whose mothers had cultural barriers and children whose mothers had resource-related barriers to health care (HR: 1.44, CI: 1.32 1.57, pB0.001), and those whose mothers had physical barriers (HR: 1.13, CI: 1.04 1.24, pB0.001), relative to children whose mothers reported no barriers. Barriers to health care remained an important predictor of child survival even after adjusting for the effects of possible confounders. Conclusion: Findings of this study stressed the need for improved access to adequate health care in Nigeria through the elimination of barriers to access. This would enable the country to achieve a significant reduction in childhood mortality.
- ItemCause-specific mortality at INDEPTH Health and Demographic Surveillance System Sites in Africa and Asia: concluding synthesis.(2014) Sankoh, O; Byass, PThis synthesis brings together findings on cause-specific mortality documented by means of verbal autopsies applied to over 110,000 deaths across Africa and Asia, within INDEPTH Network sites. Methods: Developments in computerised methods to assign causes of death on the basis of data from verbal autopsy (VA) interviews have made possible these standardised analyses of over 110,000 deaths from 22 African and Asian Health and Demographic Surveillance System sites in the INDEPTH Network. In addition to previous validations of the InterVA-4 probabilistic model, these wide-ranging analyses provide further evidence of the applicability of this approach to assigning the cause of death. Plausible comparisons with existing knowledge of disease patterns, as well as substantial correlations with out-of-model parameters such as time period, country, and other independent data sources were observed. Findings: Substantial variations in mortality between sites, and in some cases within countries, were observed. A number of the mortality burdens revealed clearly constitute grounds for public health actions. At an overall level, these included high maternal and neonatal mortality rates. More specific examples were childhood drowning in Bangladesh and homicide among adult males in eastern and southern Africa. Mortality from non-communicable diseases, particularly in younger adulthood, is an emerging cause for concern. INDEPTH’s approach of documenting all deaths in particular populations, and successfully assigning causes to the majority, is important for formulating health policies. Future directions: The pooled dataset underlying these analyses is available at the INDEPTH Data Repository for further analysis. INDEPTH will continue to fill cause-specific mortality knowledge gaps across Africa and Asia, which will also serve as a baseline for post-2015 development goals. The more widespread use of similar VA methods within routine civil registration systems is likely to become an important medium-term strategy in many countries.
- ItemEssential evidence for guiding health system priorities and policies: anticipating epidemiological transition in Africa(2014) Byass, P; De Savigny, D; Lopez, A.D; et alBACKGROUND: Despite indications that infection-related mortality in sub-Saharan Africa may be decreasing and the burden of non-communicable diseases increasing, the overwhelming reality is that health information systems across most of sub-Saharan Africa remain too weak to track epidemiological transition in a meaningful and effective way. PROPOSALS: We propose a minimum dataset as the basis of a functional health information system in countries where health information is lacking. This would involve continuous monitoring of cause-specific mortality through routine civil registration, regular documentation of exposure to leading risk factors, and monitoring effective coverage of key preventive and curative interventions in the health sector. Consideration must be given as to how these minimum data requirements can be effectively integrated within national health information systems, what methods and tools are needed, and ensuring that ethical and political issues are addressed. A more strategic approach to health information systems in sub-Saharan African countries, along these lines, is essential if epidemiological changes are to be tracked effectively for the benefit of local health planners and policy makers. CONCLUSION: African countries have a unique opportunity to capitalize on modern information and communications technology in order to achieve this. Methodological standards need to be established and political momentum fostered so that the African continent's health status can be reliably tracked. This will greatly strengthen the evidence base for health policies and facilitate the effective delivery of services.
- ItemTwo decades of mortality change in rural northeast South Africa(2014) Kabudula, C.W; Tollman, S; Mee, PBackground: The MRC/Wits University Agincourt research centre, part of the INDEPTH Network, has documented mortality in a defined population in the rural northeast of South Africa for 20 years (1992 2011) using long-term health and socio-demographic surveillance. Detail on the unfolding, at times unpredicted, mortality pattern has been published. This experience is reviewed here and updated using more recent data. Objective: To present a review and summary of mortality patterns across all age-sex groups in the Agincourt sub-district population for the period 1992 2011 as a comprehensive basis for public health action. Design: Vital events in the Agincourt population have been updated in annual surveys undertaken since 1992. All deaths have been rigorously recorded and followed by verbal autopsy interviews. Responses to questions from these interviews have been processed retrospectively using the WHO 2012 verbal autopsy standard and the InterVA-4 model for assigning causes of death in a standardised manner. Results: Between 1992 and 2011, a total of 12,209 deaths were registered over 1,436,195 person-years of follow-up, giving a crude mortality rate of 8.5 per 1,000 person-years. During the 20-year period, the population experienced a major HIV epidemic, which resulted in more than doubling of overall mortality for an extended period. Recent years show signs of declining mortality, but levels remain above the 1992 baseline recorded using the surveillance system. Conclusions: The Agincourt population has experienced a major mortality shock over the past two decades from which it will take time to recover. The basic epidemic patterns are consistent with generalised mortality patterns observed in South Africa as a whole, but the detailed individual surveillance behind these analyses allows finer-grained analyses of specific causes, age-related risks, and trends over time. These demonstrate the complex, somewhat unpredicted course of mortality transition over the years since the dawn of South Africa’s democratic era in 1994.
- ItemContestations and complexities of nurses' participation in policy-making in South Africa(2014) Ditlopo, P; Blaauw, D; Penn-Kekana, L; et al.Background: There has been increased emphasis globally on nurses’ involvement in health policy and systems development. However, there has been limited scholarly attention on nurses’ participation in policy-making in South Africa. Objective: This paper analyses the dynamics, strengths, and weaknesses of nurses’ participation in four national health workforce policies: the 2008 Nursing Strategy, revision of the Scope of Practice for nurses, the new Framework for Nursing Qualifications, and the Occupation-Specific Dispensation (OSD) remuneration policy. Design: Using a policy analysis framework, we conducted in-depth interviews with 28 key informants and 73 frontline nurses in four South African provinces. Thematic content analysis was done using the Atlas.ti software. Results: The study found that nurses’ participation in policy-making is both contested and complex. The contestation relates to the extent and nature of nurses’ participation in nursing policies. There was a disjuncture between nursing leadership and frontline nurses in their levels of awareness of the four policies. The latter group was generally unaware of these policies with the exception of the OSD remuneration policy as it affected them directly. There was also limited consensus on which nursing group legitimately represented nursing issues in the policy arena. Shifting power relationships influenced who participated, how the participation happened, and the degree to which nurses’ views and inputs were considered and incorporated. Conclusions: The South African health system presents major opportunities for nurses to influence and direct policies that affect them. This will require a combination of proactive leadership, health policy capacity and skills development among nurses, and strong support from the national nursing association
- ItemClosing the mental health treatment gap in South Africa: a review of costs and cost-effectiveness(2014) Jack, H; Wagner, R G.; Petersen I; et al.Background: Nearly one in three South Africans will suffer from a mental disorder in his or her lifetime, a higher prevalence than many low- and middle-income countries. Understanding the economic costs and consequences of prevention and packages of care is essential, particularly as South Africa considers scalingup mental health services and works towards universal health coverage. Economic evaluations can inform how priorities are set in system or spending changes. Objective: To identify and review research from South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa on the direct and indirect costs of mental, neurological, and substance use (MNS) disorders and the cost-effectiveness of treatment interventions. Design: Narrative overview methodology. Results and conclusions: Reviewed studies indicate that integrating mental health care into existing health systems may be the most effective and cost-efficient approach to increase access to mental health services in South Africa. Integration would also direct treatment, prevention, and screening to people with HIV and other chronic health conditions who are at high risk for mental disorders. We identify four major knowledge gaps: 1) accurate and thorough assessment of the health burdens of MNS disorders, 2) design and assessment of interventions that integrate mental health screening and treatment into existing health systems, 3) information on the use and costs of traditional medicines, and 4) cost-effectiveness evaluation of a range of specific interventions or packages of interventions that are tailored to the national context.
- ItemUtilisation and costs of nursing in the South African public health sector, 2005-2010(2014) Rispel, L C; Angelides, GBackground: Globally, insufficient information exists on the costs of nursing agencies, which are temporary employment service providers that supply nurses to health establishments and/or private individuals. Objective: The aim of the study was to determine the utilisation and direct costs of nursing agencies in the South African public health sector. Design: A survey of all nine provincial health departments was conducted to determine utilisation and management of nursing agencies. The costs of nursing agencies were assumed to be equivalent to expenditure. Provincial health expenditure was obtained for five financial years (2005/6-2009/10) from the national Basic Accounting System database, and analysed using Microsoft Excel. Each of the 166,466 expenditure line items was coded. The total personnel and nursing agency expenditure was calculated for each financial year and for each province. Nursing agency expenditure as a percentage of the total personnel expenditure was then calculated. The nursing agency expenditure for South Africa is the total of all provincial expenditure. The 2009/10 annual government salary scales for different categories of nurses were used to calculate the number of permanent nurses who could have been employed in lieu of agency expenditure. All expenditure is expressed in South African rands (R; US$1 ~ R7, 2010 prices). Results: Only five provinces reported utilisation of nursing agencies, but all provinces showed agency expenditure. In the 2009/10 financial year, R1.49 billion (US$212.64 million) was spent on nursing agencies in the public health sector. In the same year, agency expenditure ranged from a low of R36.45 million (US$5.20 million) in Mpumalanga Province (mixed urban-rural) to a high of R356.43 million (US$50.92 million) in the Eastern Cape Province (mixed urban-rural). Agency expenditure as a percentage of personnel expenditure ranged from 0.96% in KwaZulu-Natal Province (mixed urban-rural) to 11.96% in the Northern Cape Province (rural). In that financial year, a total of 5369 registered nurses could have been employed in lieu of nursing agency expenditure. Conclusions: The study findings should inform workforce planning in South Africa. There is a need for uniform policies and improved management of commercial nursing agencies in the public health sector.
- ItemDeterminants of the risk of dying of HIV/AIDS in a rural South African community over the period of the decentralised roll-out of antiretroviral therapy: a longitudinal study(2014) Mee, P; Collinson, M.A; Madhavan, SBACKGROUND: Antiretroviral treatment (ART) has significantly reduced HIV mortality in South Africa. The benefits have not been experienced by all groups. Here we investigate the factors associated with these inequities. DESIGN: This study was located in a rural South African setting and used data collected from 2007 to 2010, the period when decentralised ART became available. Approximately one-third of the population were of Mozambican origin. There was a pattern of repeated circular migration between urban areas and this community. Survival analysis models were developed to identify demographic, socioeconomic, and spatial risk factors for HIV mortality. RESULTS: Among the study population of 105,149 individuals, there were 2,890 deaths. The HIV/TB mortality rate decreased by 27% between 2007-2008 and 2009-2010. For other causes of death, the reduction was 10%. Bivariate analysis found that the HIV/TB mortality risk was lower for: those living within 5 km of the Bhubezi Community Health Centre; women; young adults; in-migrants with a longer period of residence; permanent residents; and members of households owning motorised transport, holding higher socioeconomic positions, and with higher levels of education. Multivariate modelling showed, in addition, that those with South Africa as their country of origin had an increased risk of HIV/TB mortality compared to those with Mozambican origins. For males, those of South African origin, and recent in-migrants, the risk of death associated with HIV/TB was significantly greater than that due to other causes.
- ItemAssessing the impact of mHealth interventions in low- and middle-income countries – what has been shown to work?(2014) Hall C S; Fottrell E; Wilkilson S; et alBackground: Low-cost mobile devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, and personal digital assistants, which can access voice and data services, have revolutionised access to information and communication technology worldwide. These devices have a major impact on many aspects of people’s lives, from business and education to health. This paper reviews the current evidence on the specific impacts of mobile technologies on tangible health outcomes (mHealth) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), from the perspectives of various stakeholders. Design: Comprehensive literature searches were undertaken using key medical subject heading search terms on PubMed, Google Scholar, and grey literature sources. Analysis of 676 publications retrieved from the search was undertaken based on key inclusion criteria, resulting in a set of 76 papers for detailed review. The impacts of mHealth interventions reported in these papers were categorised into common mHealth applications. Results: There is a growing evidence base for the efficacy of mHealth interventions in LMICs, particularly in improving treatment adherence, appointment compliance, data gathering, and developing support networks for health workers. However, the quantity and quality of the evidence is still limited in many respects. Conclusions: Over all application areas, there remains a need to take small pilot studies to full scale, enabling more rigorous experimental and quasi-experimental studies to be undertaken in order to strengthen the evidence base.
- ItemUsing diaries to explore the work experiences of primary health care nursing managers in two South African provinces(2014) Munyewende, P O; Rispel, L CBackground: South Africa is on the brink of another wave of major health system reforms that underscore the centrality of primary health care (PHC). Nursing managers will play a critical role in these reforms. Objective: The aim of the study was to explore the work experiences of PHC clinic nursing managers through the use of reflective diaries, a method hitherto under-utilised in health systems research in low- and middle- income countries. Design: During 2012, a sub-set of 22 PHC nursing managers was selected randomly from a larger nurses’ survey in two South African provinces. After informed consent, participants were requested to keep individual diaries for a period of 6 weeks, using a clear set of diary entry guidelines. Reminders consisted of weekly short message service reminders and telephone calls. Diary entries were analysed using thematic content analysis. A diary feedback meeting was held with all the participants to validate the findings. Results: Fifteen diaries were received, representing a 68% response rate. The majority of respondents (14/15) were female, each with between 5 and 15 years of nursing experience. Most participants made their diary entries at home. Diaries proved to be cathartic for individual nursing managers. Although inter-related and not mutually exclusive, the main themes that emerged from the diary analysis were health system deficiencies; human resource challenges; unsupportive management environment; leadership and governance; and the emotional impact of clinic management. Conclusions: Diaries are an innovative method of capturing the work experiences of managers at the PHC level, as they allow for confidentiality and anonymity, often not possible with other qualitative research methods. The expressed concerns of nursing managers must be addressed to ensure the success of South Africa’s health sector reforms, particularly at the PHC level.
- ItemFactors influencing agency nursing and moonlighting among nurses in South Africa(2014) Rispel, L.C; Blaauw, D; Chirwa, T; et alBACKGROUND: In South Africa, nurses are the largest category of the health care providers. Their optimal performance is critical for the successful implementation of impending health sector reforms. OBJECTIVE: This paper examines the occurrence of agency nursing, moonlighting, and overtime among nurses in South Africa, and the factors influencing moonlighting. DESIGN: This cross-sectional survey was a one-stage cluster random sample of 80 hospitals in four South African provinces, selected with stratification from the public and private health sectors. On the survey day, all nurses working in critical care, theatre, emergency, maternity, and general medical and surgical wards completed a self-administered questionnaire after giving informed consent. In addition to demographic information, the questionnaire elicited information on the frequency of agency nursing, moonlighting, and overtime, and the nurses' reasons for doing moonlighting. Survey data were weighted and analysed using STATA version 12. RESULTS: The majority of survey participants (n = 3,784) were South African (98.0%), female (92.7%), and employed in government (52.8%). Their mean age was 41.5 years (SD 10.4). The occurrence of moonlighting among nurses in the 12 months preceding the survey was 28.0% [95% CI: 24.2-32.1], the frequency of agency nursing was 37.8% [95% CI: 32.4-43.6], while 56.0% of nurses did overtime [95% CI: 51.4-60.4]. In the multiple logistic regression analysis, predictors of moonlighting were province, sector of primary employment, unit of work, category of nurse, and having children. The odds of moonlighting was 1.51 [95% CI: 1.03-2.21] times higher for private sector nurses than for public nurses, while the odds ratio for auxiliary nurses was 0.61 [95% CI: 0.47-0.79] compared to professional nurses. The odds of moonlighting was 1.49 [95% CI: 1.18-1.89] for nurses with children, compared to those without. CONCLUSIONS: Agency nursing, moonlighting, and overtime are common among South African nurses, but have received insufficient policy attention. These issues need to be addressed as part of the implementation of comprehensive health workforce strategies.
- ItemPredictors of adherence to screening guidelines for chronic diseases of lifestyle, cancers, and HIV in a health-insured population in South Africa(2014) Adonis, L; Basu, D; Luiz, J; et alBACKGROUND: Adherence to screening guidelines has been widely accepted to reduce morbidity, mortality, and cost outcomes. The aim of this study was to identify predictors of adherence to screening guidelines for chronic diseases of lifestyle (CDL), cancers, and HIV in a health-insured population in South Africa, some of whom voluntarily opt into a wellness program that incentivizes screening. METHOD: A cross-sectional study for the period 2007-2011 was conducted using a random sample of 170,471 health insurance members from a single insurer. Adherence to screening guidelines was calculated from medical claims data. RESULTS: Adherence to screening guidelines ranged from 1.1% for colorectal cancer to 40.9% for cholesterol screening. Members of the wellness program were up to three times more likely to screen for diseases (odds ratio [OR] = 3.2 for HIV screening, confidence interval [CI] = 2.75-3.73). Plan type (full comprehensive plan) was most strongly associated with cholesterol screening (OR = 3.53, CI = 3.27-3.80), and most negatively associated (hospital-only core plan) with cervical cancer screening (OR = 0.44, CI = 0.28-0.70). Gender was a negative predictor for glucose screening (OR = 0.88, CI = 0.82-0.96). Provincial residence was most strongly associated with cervical cancer screening (OR = 1.89, CI = 0.65-5.54). CONCLUSION: Adherence to screening recommendations was <50%. Plan type, gender, provincial residence, and belonging to an incentivized wellness program were associated with disproportionate utilization of screening services, even with equal payment access.
- ItemUndertaking cause-specific mortality measurement in an unregistered population: an example from Tigray Region, Ethiopia(2014) Godefay, H; Abrha, A; Kinsman, J; et alBackground: The lack of adequate documentation of deaths, and particularly their cause, is often noted in African and Asian settings, but practical solutions for addressing the problem are not always clear. Verbal autopsy methods (interviewing witnesses after a death) have developed rapidly, but there remains a lack of clarity as to how these methods can be effectively applied to large unregistered populations. This paper sets out practical details for undertaking a representative survey of cause-specific mortality in a population of several million, taking Tigray Region in Ethiopia as a prototype. Sampling: Sampling was designed around an expected level of maternal mortality ratio of 400 per 100,000 live births, which needed measuring within a 95% confidence interval of approximately 9100. Taking a stratified cluster sample within the region at the district level for logistic reasons, and allowing for a design effect of 2, this required a population of around 900,000 people, equating to six typical districts. Since the region is administered in six geographic zones, one district per zone was randomly selected. Implementation: The survey was implemented as a two-stage process: first, to trace deaths that occurred in the sampled districts within the preceding year, and second to follow them up with verbal autopsy interviews. The field work for both stages was undertaken by health extension workers, working in their normally assigned areas. Most of the work was associated with tracing the deaths, rather than undertaking the verbal autopsy interviews. Discussion: This approach to measuring cause-specific mortality in an unregistered Ethiopian population proved to be feasible and effective. Although it falls short of the ideal situation of continuous civil registration and vital statistics, a survey-based strategy of this kind may prove to be a useful intermediate step on the road towards full civil registration and vital statistics implementation.
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