A continuous quality improvement intervention to improve the effectiveness of community health workers providing care to mothers and children: a cluster randomised controlled trial in South Africaby Horwood et al
Community health workers (CHWs) play key roles in delivering health programmes in many countries worldwide. CHW programmes can improve coverage of maternal and child health services for the most disadvantaged and remote communities, leading to substantial benefits for mothers and children. This is a cluster randomised controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness of a continuous quality improvement (CQI) intervention amongst CHWs providing home-based education and support to pregnant women and mothers. Findings suggest that improved training and CQI-based mentoring of CHWs can improve quantity and quality of CHW-mother interactions at household level, leading to improvements in mothers’ knowledge and infant feeding practices.
Summarizes evidence on the impact of community-based programs for improving reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) by (1) describing contextual factors affecting implementation; (2) considering issues of cost-effectiveness; and (3) highlighting research gaps, the challenges of scaling up, and the way forward.
Effectiveness of community health workers delivering preventive interventions for maternal and child health in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic reviewby Gilmore et al
This review reports findings on a systematic review analysing effectiveness of preventive interventions delivered by Community Health Workers for Maternal and Child Health in low- and middle-income countries. Community Health Workers were shown to provide a range of preventive interventions for Maternal and Child Health in low- and middle-income countries with some evidence of effective strategies, though insufficient evidence is available to draw conclusions for most interventions and further research is needed.
Sarah Drew shares her research diary about conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Malawi as part of a Clubfoot study.
This short film shows the impact of the CHAPAS trial on patient health and future possibilities of a small boy from Malawi.
Countdown to 2015 country case studies: what have we learned about processes and progress towards MDGs 4 and 5?by Moucheraud et al
This paper aims to identify cross-cutting themes on how and why these countries achieved or did not achieve MDG progress.
After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Afghanistan experienced a tumultuous period of democracy overshadowed by conflict, widespread insurgency, and an inflow of development assistance. Although there have been several cross-sectional assessments of health gains over the last decade, there has been no systematic analysis of progress and factors influencing maternal and child health in Afghanistan. Despite conflict and poverty, Afghanistan has made reasonable progress in its reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health indicators over the last decade based on contributions of factors within and outside the health sector. However, equitable access to health care remains a challenge and present delivery models have high transactional costs, affecting sustainability.
Reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health: key messages from Disease Control Priorities 3rd Editionby Black et al
As part of Disease Control Priorities 3rd Edition, the World Bank will publish a volume on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health that identifies essential cost-effective health interventions that can be scaled up to reduce maternal, newborn, and child deaths, and stillbirths. This Review summarises the volume's key findings and estimates the effect and cost of expanded implementation of these interventions. Recognising that a continuum of care from the adolescent girl, woman, or mother to child is needed, the volume includes details of preventive and therapeutic health interventions in integrated packages: Maternal and Newborn Health and Child Health (along with folic acid supplementation, a key reproductive health intervention).
Video of Manson Christmas Lecture 2015 by Professor Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Advisor, DfID and founder of the Gender, Violence and Health Centre, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK.
A cluster-randomised controlled trial integrating a community-based water, sanitation and hygiene programme, with mass distribution of albendazole to reduce intestinal parasites in Timor-Leste: the WAby Vaz Nery et al 2016
There is limited evidence demonstrating the benefits of community-based water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes on infections with soil-transmitted helminths (STH) and intestinal protozoa. Our study aims to contribute to that evidence base by investigating the effectiveness of combining two complementary approaches for control of STH: periodic mass administration of albendazole, and delivery of a community-based WASH programme.
A seminar presented by Dr Jalemba Aluvaala in the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, University of Oxford
Damalie Nakanjako (MBChB, MMED, PhD) is an internist whose work focuses on optimizing HIV treatment outcomes and reducing HIV-associated morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa.
Difficulties in behaviour and communication are core problems in children with neurodevelopmental disorders, and often cause the most stress to parents and families living in resource poor areas of Africa.
The articles in this collection examine the evidence and the thinking that form the basis of the new global strategy.
Efficacy of Handwashing with Soap and Nail Clipping on Intestinal Parasitic Infections in School-Aged Children: A Factorial Cluster Randomized Controlled Trialby Mahmud et al
Intestinal parasitic infections are highly endemic among school-aged children in resource-limited settings. To lower their impact, preventive measures should be implemented that are sustainable with available resources. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of handwashing with soap and nail clipping on the prevention of intestinal parasite reinfections.
The progress in key maternal health indicators in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region (ESAR) over the past two decades has been slow. This paper analyzed available information on nutrition programs and nutrition-specific interventions targeting maternal nutrition in the ESAR and proposes steps to improve maternal nutrition in this region. Findings from the review suggest that multiple nutrition programs are in place in the ESAR; including programs that directly address nutrition indicators and those that integrate corresponding sectors like agriculture, health, education, and water and sanitation. However, their scale and depth differ considerably. These programs have been implemented by a diverse range of players including respective government ministries, international agencies, non government organisations and the private sector in the region. Most of these programs are clustered in a few countries like Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia while others e.g. Comoros, Somalia and Swaziland have only had a limited number of initiatives.
In this seminar from January 2014, Dr Jane Crawley talks about clinical standardisation in PERCH (Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health), a large case-control study of the causes of and risk factors for severe pneumonia.
Despite the close interrelation between these infections and nutrition conditions, key nutrition interventions for prevention of childhood diarrhea and pneumonia have not received deserved attention, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Several interventions and strategies can effectively address these issues but are not available to those in need. This article discusses in detail the burden and trends of global under-5 mortality, infections, and nutrition conditions; etiology and associated risk factors; biological plausibility and the interrelation between infections, nutrition, and growth; and existing interventions and strategies to reduce major childhood infections and improve nutrition and growth and implications.
Associations between parental BMI, socioeconomic factors, family structure and overweight in Finnish children: a path model approachby Parikka et al
The aim of this study was to assess the less studied interrelationships and pathways between parental BMI, socioeconomic factors, family structure and childhood overweight. The observed pathways between parental BMI and education and childhood overweight emphasize a need for evidence-based health promotion interventions tailored for families identified with parental overweight and low level of education.
Motor development following in utero exposure to organochlorines: a follow-up study of children aged 5–9 years in Greenland, Ukraine and Polandby Hoyer et al
Study findings suggest that In utero exposure to CB-153 and p,p′-DDE was not associated with parentally retrospectively assessed developmental milestones in infancy or parentally assessed motor skills at young school age. The use of a more sensitive outcome measure may be warranted if subtle effects should be identified.
Incidence and severity of childhood pneumonia in the first year of life in a South African birth cohort: the Drakenstein Child Health Studyby Dr David M le Roux, Landon Myer, Mark Nicol, Heather Zar
Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality in 2000–13, with projections to inform post-2015 priorities: an updated systematic analysisby Liu et al 2015
Trend data for causes of child death are crucial to inform priorities for improving child survival by and beyond 2015. We report child mortality by cause estimates in 2000–13, and cause-specific mortality scenarios to 2030 and 2035. The authors in this study estimated the distributions of causes of child mortality separately for neonates and children aged 1–59 months
Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are an important cause of death in children, and often contribute to the terminal decline in children with chronic conditions. RTIs are often underrecorded as the underlying cause of death; therefore the overall contribution of RTIs to child deaths and the potential preventability of RTI-related deaths have not been adequately quantified. The authors in this study conclude that RTI-related deaths have not declined in the last decade among children in England, except in infants. Targeted strategies to prevent the winter excess of RTIs and to treat RTIs in children, particularly children with chronic conditions, may reduce RTI-related deaths.
Treatment of Infections in Young Infants in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Frontline Health Worker Diagnosis and Antibiotic Accessby Lee ACC et al
Inadequate illness recognition and access to antibiotics contribute to high case fatality from infections in young infants (<2 months) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This study aimed to address three questions regarding access to treatment for young infant infections in LMICs: (1) Can frontline health workers accurately diagnose possible bacterial infection (pBI)?; (2) How available and affordable are antibiotics?; (3) How often are antibiotics procured without a prescription?
This series of five papers assesses and summarizes information from relevant systematic reviews on the impact of various approaches to improve the quality of care for women and newborns.
Hand Sanitiser Provision for Reducing Illness Absences in Primary School Children: A Cluster Randomised Trialby Priest P et al
The potential for transmission of infectious diseases offered by the school environment are likely to be an important contributor to the rates of infectious disease experienced by children. This study aimed to test whether the addition of hand sanitiser in primary school classrooms compared with usual hand hygiene would reduce illness absences in primary school children in New Zealand. The authors found that the provision of hand sanitiser in addition to usual hand hygiene in primary schools in New Zealand did not prevent disease of severity sufficient to cause school absence.
Worldwide, 250,000–280,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth every year and an estimated 6.55 million children die under the age of five. The majority of maternal deaths occur during or immediately after childbirth, while 43% of child death occurs during the first 28 days of life. However, the progress in limiting these has been slow and sporadic. In this supplement of five papers, teh authors aim to systematically assess and summarize essential interventions for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health from relevant systematic reviews.
Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is responsible for the higher rates of fetal, perinatal, and neonatal morbidity and mortality. This review details the IUGR risk factors, its short and long-term sequel, themechanism underlying the long-term consequences, and the strategies to tackle IUGR burden.
Food fortification is safe and cost-effective in the prevention of micronutrient deficiencies and has been widely practiced in developed countries for well over a century. The findings in this report clearly support the utilization of food fortification strategies at scale, which could build on the recent success of the iodized salt programme. Given the widespread prevalence in Pakistan of deficiencies in iron and in vitamins A and D, food fortification strategies offer a tangible option for delivering these micronutrients on a large scale.
Factors associated with non-utilization of child immunization in Pakistan: evidence from the Demographic and Health Survey 2006-07by Jai K Das
The proportion of incompletely immunized children in Pakistan varies from 37-58%, and this has recently resulted in outbreaks of measles and polio. The aim of this paper is to determine the factors associated with incomplete immunization among children aged 12-23 months in Pakistan.
Can food vouchers improve nutrition and reduce health inequalities in low-income mothers and young children: a multi-method evaluationby Jai K Das
Good nutrition is important during pregnancy, breastfeeding and early life to optimise the health of women and children. It is difficult for low-income families to prioritise spending on healthy food. Healthy Start is a targeted United Kingdom (UK) food subsidy programme that gives vouchers for fruit, vegetables, milk, and vitamins to low-income families. This paper reports an evaluation of Healthy Start from the perspectives of women and health practitioners.
The latest report by 'Save the Children' highlights that the world has made remarkable progress in the fight to end child mortality in recent years. Since 1990, we have almost halved the number of children who die every year before the age of five – from 12.6 million to 6.6 million. And yet, in spite of this progress, child mortality remains one of the great shames of our modern world. Every day, 18,000 children under five die, and most from preventable causes. See the attach report to discover how 2 million newborn babies who could be saved each year if we end preventable newborn mortality.
Accumulating evidence implicates early life factors in the aetiology of non-communicable diseases, including asthma/wheezing disorders. We undertook a systematic review investigating risks of asthma/wheezing disorders in children born preterm, including the increasing numbers who, as a result of advances in neonatal care, now survive very preterm birth.
Perceived family support regarding condom use and condom use among secondary school female students in Limbe urban city of Cameroonby Jai K Das
In this cross sectional survey it is hypothesized that adolescents' perceptions of family support for condom use, would encourage condom use among female students in Limbe urban city of Cameroon.
The recent BMC Public Health supplement “The Lives Saved Tool in 2013: new capabilities and applications” has been published. The series comprise of 30 papers focusing on various domains of maternal child health with a special focus on the interventions reviewed for the prevention and management of childhood diarrhea and penumonia.
This systematic review of the current evidence assessed the effectiveness of food fortification with single micronutrients (iron, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin D, iodine, zinc) as well as MMN when compared with no fortification on the health and nutrition of women and children.
Effect of Household-Based Drinking Water Chlorination on Diarrhoea among Children under Five in Orissa, India: A Double-Blind Randomised Placebo-Controlled Trialby Jai K Das
Boiling, disinfecting, and filtering water within the home can improve the microbiological quality of drinking water among the hundreds of millions of people who rely on unsafe water supplies. However, the impact of these interventions on diarrhoea is unclear. The aim of this study was to measure the effect of in-home water disinfection on diarrhoea among children under five.
In 2010 Pakistan experienced the worst floods recorded in its history; millions of people were affected and thousands lost their lives. Nutrition assessment surveys led by UNICEF were conducted in flood-affected areas of Punjab and Sindh provinces to assess the nutrition status of children between 6–59 months while Aga Khan University (AKU) undertook a parallel assessment including micronutrient status in their project areas within Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab.
Malnutrition still remains one of the major public health challenges, particularly in developing countries. Major risk factors for undernutrition such as suboptimal breastfeeding and micronutrient deficiencies (vitamin A and zinc) are responsible for more than one-third of all under five child deaths and 11% of the global total disease burden. Several strategies have been employed to supplement micronutrients. These include education, dietary modification, food provision, supplementation and fortification either alone or in combination.
Maternal and child undernutrition Series was launched in The Lancet in 2008. Five years after the initial series, the issue was re-evaluated including the growing problems of overweight and obesity for women and children, and their consequences in low-income and middle-income countries. Many of these countries are said to have the double burden of malnutrition: continued stunting of growth and deficiencies of essential nutrients along with the emerging issue of obesity. The national progress in nutrition programmes and international efforts toward previous recommendations were also evaluated
Measuring Coverage in MNCH: Challenges in Monitoring the Proportion of Young Children with Pneumonia Who Receive Antibiotic Treatmentby Jai K Das
Pneumonia remains a major cause of child death globally, and improving antibiotic treatment rates is a key control strategy. The third paper in the PLOS series of 'Measuring Coverage in MNCH', the authors show that the performance of survey tools could be improved by increasing the survey recall period or by improving either overall discriminative power or specificity.
The PLOS Medicine “Measuring Coverage in MNCH” Collection of research studies and reviews presents systematic assessments of the validity of health intervention coverage measurement based on household surveys, the primary method for estimating population-level intervention coverage in low- and middle-income countries. This is the first paper of the collection
Over the last decade, a number of influential organisations have called for the integration of mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders into large scale public health programmes. Although progress at the implementation level has been slow, the development of a number of evidence-based, potentially scalable interventions in the MNS field provides new impetus to develop strategies for integration with broader programmes. Integrating maternal mental health care will help advance maternal and child health (MCH) status.
Decline in Diarrhea Mortality and Admissions after Routine Childhood Rotavirus Immunization in Brazil: A Time-Series Analysisby Jai K Das
In 2006, Brazil began routine immunization of infants <15 wk of age with a single-strain rotavirus vaccine. The authors in this paper evaluated whether the rotavirus vaccination program was associated with declines in childhood diarrhea deaths and hospital admissions by monitoring disease trends before and after vaccine introduction in all five regions of Brazil with varying disease burden and distinct socioeconomic and health indicators.
The Lancet Series on Childhood Pneumonia and Diarrhoea, led by Aga Khan University, Pakistan, provides evidence for integrated control efforts for childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea.The series of four papers assesses the global burden of these two illnesses and identifies a set of highly cost-effective interventions that can prevent most diarrhoea deaths and nearly two thirds of pneumonia deaths by 2025, if delivered at scale. It also highlights the findings from consultations with several hundred frontline workers in high-burden countries and explores the barriers and enablers they face in dealing with these two diseases and potential ways forward. The final paper represents a call to action and discusses the global and country-level remedies needed to eliminate preventable deaths from these illnesses by 2025.
Young Children's Probability of Dying Before and After Their Mother's Death: A Rural South African Population-Based Surveillance Studyby Jai K Das
There is evidence that a young child's risk of dying increases following the mother's death, but little is known about the risk when the mother becomes very ill prior to her death. We hypothesized that children would be more likely to die during the period several months before their mother's death, as well as for several months after her death. Therefore the authors in this paper investigated the relationship between young children's likelihood of dying and the timing of their mother's death and, in particular, the existence of a critical period of increased risk.
There have been significant improvements in the performance of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in Africa since its inception in 1974. However, there exist wide inter- and intra-country differences.
Helminth infections impose a great burden on poor populations in the developing world – yet robust, low-cost and effective public health interventions are available to relieve that burden and provide a better quality of life for people in poor settings. We share the WHO Guidleines for the Preventive chemotherapy in human helminthiasis.
The universal coverage with the full package of these proven interventions at observed levels of program effectiveness could prevent about one quarter of child deaths under 36 months of age and reduce the prevalence of stunting at 36 months by about one third. I attach my recent review on the possible strategies to combat malnutrition include promotion of breastfeeding, dietary supplementation of micronutrients, prevention of protein-energy malnutrition, and hygiene of available weaning foods and how best topackage these intevrentions for universal scale-up.
Translating Coverage Gains into Health Gains for All Women and Children: The Quality Care Opportunityby Jai K Das
The health outcomes of women and children have not matched expectations from the gains in the coverage of care. Robust evidence exists for one explanatory factor: the poor–rich gaps in coverage found along the continuum of care for women and children, and particularly for the crucial period around childbirth. The more-neglected explanation for the mismatch between coverage and health outcomes is the quality of the care provided to women and children. The following paper is structured around a key cause and a consequence of the neglect of quality—weak measurement and poor evidence for action—and concludes with priorities for seizing the quality care opportunity.
These guidelines help address the urgent need to develop tests that can work in children, ideally using non-sputum based samples. It is vital that these reference standards are endorsed and implemented by the major donors, researchers and diagnostic developers.
Maternal, newborn, and child health indices in Nigeria vary widely across geopolitical zones and between urban and rural areas, mostly due to variations in the availability of skilled attendance at birth. To improve these indices, the Midwives Service Scheme (MSS) in Nigeria engaged newly graduated, unemployed, and retired midwives to work temporarily in rural areas. This paper describes the structure, processes, challanges and the outcomes acheived through MSS.
Severe acute malnutrition remains a major killer of children under five years of age. Until recently, treatment has been restricted to facility-based approaches, greatly limiting its coverage and impact. New evidence suggests, however, that large numbers of children with severe acute malnutrition can be treated in their communities without being admitted to a health facility or a therapeutic feeding centre. We share the guidleines of for the management of children with SAM
Use of multiple micronutrient powders for home fortification of foods consumed by infants and children 6–23 months of age-The Guidelinesby Jai K Das
We share the WHO 2009 guideline that provides a framework for integrating nutrition support into the routine care of HIV-infected children (6 months-14 years). HIV-infected children deserve special attention because of their additional needs to ensure growth and development and their dependency on adults for adequate care including nutrition care and support for treatment. Vertical implementation of HIV programmes, such as PMTCT and ART, have resulted in missed opportunities to gain synergy with other existing services.
Repository on maternal child health: Health portal to improve access to information on maternal child health in Indiaby Jai K Das
This article describes a health portal developed in India aimed at providing one-stop access to efficiently search, organize and share maternal child health information relevant from public health perspective in the country.
Half the developing world population lack access to flush toilets and other forms of improved sanitation; 1.1 billion people defecate in the open. An estimated 750 million people still live without improved water sources. There are serious adverse health consequences of poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), particularly in children, including diarrhoea, respiratory illness, trachoma, and death. Access to safe drinking-water is essential to health, a basic human right and a component of effective policy for health protection. We share the guidelines for Drinking water quality and water safety manual.
About one third of deaths in children under 5 years of age are due to underlying undernutrition, which includes stunting, severe wasting, deficiencies of vitamin A and zinc, and suboptimum breastfeeding. Childhood malnutrition is prevalent in low and middle income countries (LMICs). According to an estimate, 19.4% of children <5 years of age in these countries are underweight (weight-for-age Z score <-2) and about 29.9% are stunted in the year 2011 (height-for-age Z score <-2). The prevalence of both underweight and stunting was highest in Africa and South-Central Asia and stunting and wasting along with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) are responsible for about 2.1 million deaths worldwide in children <5 years of age. It is well recognized that the period of 6-24 months of age is one of the most critical time periods in the growth of the infant. The incidence of stunting is the highest in this period as children have high demand for nutrients and there are limitations in the quality and quantity of available foods, especially after exclusive breastfeeding.