Nurse staffing and patient care outcomes: protocol for an umbrella review to identify evidence gaps for low and middle-income countries

Background: Adequate staffing is key to the delivery of nursing care and thus to improved inpatient and health service outcomes. Several systematic reviews have addressed the relationship between nurse staffing and these outcomes. Most primary studies within each systematic review are likely to be from high-income countries which have different practice contexts to low and middle-income countries (LMICs), although this has not been formally examined. We propose conducting an umbrella review to characterise the existing evidence linking nurse staffing to key outcomes and explicitly aim to identify evidence gaps in nurse staffing research in LMICs.
Methods and analysis: This protocol was developed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P). Literature searching will be conducted across Ovid Medline, Embase and EBSCO Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) databases. Two independent reviewers will conduct searching and data abstraction and discordance will be handled by discussion between both parties. The risk of bias of the individual studies will be performed using the AMSTAR-2.
Ethics and dissemination: Ethical permission is not required for this review as we will make use of already published data. We aim to publish the findings of our review in peer-reviewed journals

Effects of free maternal policies on quality and cost of care and outcomes: an integrative review

We conducted an integrative review of the global-free maternity (FM) policies and evaluated the quality of care (QoC) and cost and cost implications to provide lessons for universal health coverage (UHC).

Using integrative review methods proposed by Whittemore and Knafl (2005), we searched through EBSCO Host, ArticleFirst, Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials, Emerald Insight, JSTOR, PubMed, Springer Link, Electronic collections online, and Google Scholar databases guided by the preferred reporting item for systematic review and meta-analysis protocol (PRISMA) guideline. Only empirical studies that described FM policies with components of quality and cost were included. There were 43 papers included, and the data were analysed thematically.

Forty-three studies that met the criteria were all from developing countries and had implemented different approaches of FM policy. Review findings demonstrated that some of the quality issues hindering the policies were poor management of complications, worsened referral systems, overburdening of staff because of increased utilisation, lack of transport, and low supply of stock. There were some quality improvements on monitoring vital signs by nurses and some procedures met the recommended standards. Equally, mothers still bear the burden of some costs such as the purchase of drugs, transport, informal payments despite policies being ‘free’.

FM policies can reduce the financial burden on the households if well implemented and sustainably funded. Besides, they may also contribute to a decline in inequity between the rich and poor though not independently. In order to achieve the SDG goal of UHC by 2030, there is a need to promote awareness of the policy to the poor and disadvantaged women in rural areas to help narrow the inequality gap on utilisation and provide a sustainable form of transport through collaboration with partners to help reduce impoverishment of households. Also, there is a need to address elements such as cultural barriers and the role of traditional birth attendants which hinder women from seeking skilled care even when they are freely availab

Exploring women’s childbirth experiences and perceptions of delivery care in peri-urban settings in Nairobi, Kenya

Kenya continues to have a high maternal mortality rate that is showing slow progress in improving. Peri-urban settings in Kenya have been reported to exhibit higher rates of maternal death during labor and childbirth as compared to the general Kenyan population. Although research indicates that women in Kenya have increased access to facility-based birth in recent years, a small percentage still give birth outside of the health facility due to access challenges and poor maternal health service quality. Most studies assessing facility-based births have focused on the sociodemographic determinants of birthing location. Few studies have assessed women’s user experiences and perceptions of quality of care during childbirth. Understanding women’s experiences can provide different stakeholders with strategies to structure the provision of maternity care to be person-centered and to contribute to improvements in women’s satisfaction with health services and maternal health outcomes.

A qualitative study was conducted, whereby 70 women from the peri-urban area of Embakasi in the East side of Nairobi City in Kenya were interviewed. Respondents were aged 18 to 49 years and had delivered in a health facility in the preceding six weeks. We conducted in-depth interviews with women who gave birth at both public and private health facilities. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and translated for analysis. Braune and Clarke’s guidelines for thematic analysis were used to generate themes from the interview data.

Four main themes emerged from the analysis. Women had positive experiences when care was person-centered—i.e. responsive, dignified, supportive, and with respectful communication. They had negative experiences when they were mistreated, which was manifested as non-responsive care (including poor reception and long wait times), non-dignified care (including verbal and physical abuse lack of privacy and confidentiality), lack of respectful communication, and lack of supportive care (including being denied companions, neglect and abandonment, and poor facility environment).

To sustain the gains in increased access to facility-based births, there is a need to improve person-centered care to ensure women have positive facility-based childbirth experiences.

Implementing an intrapartum package of interventions to improve quality of care to reduce the burden of preterm birth in Kenya and Uganda

Quality of care during the intrapartum and immediate postnatal period for maternal and newborn health remains a major challenge due to the multiple health system bottlenecks in low-income countries. Reports of complex interventions that have been effective in reducing maternal and newborn mortality in these settings are usually limited in description, which inhibits learning and replication. We present a detailed account of the Preterm Birth Initiative (PTBi) implementation process, experiences and lessons learnt to inform scale-up and replication.

Using the TiDieR framework, we detail how the PTBi implemented an integrated package of interventions through a pair-matched cluster randomized control trial in 20 health facilities in Migori County, Kenya, and the Busoga region in east central Uganda from 2016 to 2019. The package aimed to improve quality of care during the intrapartum and immediate postnatal period with a focus on preterm birth. The package included data strengthening (DS) and introduction of a modified WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist (mSCC), simulation-based training and mentoring (PRONTO), and a Quality Improvement (QI) Collaborative.

In 2016, DS and mSCC were introduced to improve existing data processes and increase the quality of data for measures needed to evaluate study impact. PRONTO and QI interventions were then rolled out sequentially. While package components were implemented with fidelity, some implementation processes required contextual adaptation to allow alignment with national priorities and guidelines, and flexibility to optimize uptake.

Lessons learned included the importance of synergy between interventions, the need for local leadership engagement, and the value of strengthening local systems and resources. Adaptations of individual elements of the package to suit the local context were important for effective implementation, and the TIDieR framework provides the guidance needed in detailed description to replicate such a complex intervention in other settings. Detailed documentation of the implementation process of a complex intervention with mutually synergistic components can help contextualize trial results and potential for scale-up. The trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.govNCT03112018, registered December 2016, posted April 2017.

How do Supply- and Demand-side Interventions Influence Equity in Healthcare Utilisation? Evidence from Maternal Healthcare in Senegal

The launch of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000, followed by the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, and the increasing focus on achieving universal health coverage has led to numerous interventions on both supply- and demand-sides of health systems in low- and middle-income countries. While tremendous progress has been achieved, inequities in access to healthcare persist, leading to calls for a closer examination of the equity implications of these interventions. This paper examines the equity implications of two such interventions in the context of maternal healthcare in Senegal. The first intervention on the supply-side focuses on improving the availability of maternal health services while the second intervention, on the demand-side, abolished user fees for facility deliveries. Using three rounds of Demographic Health Surveys
covering the period 1992 to 2010 and employing three measures of socioeconomic status (SES) based on household wealth, mothers’ education and rural/urban residence – we find that although both interventions increase utilisation of maternal health services, the rich benefit more from the supply-side intervention, thereby increasing inequity, while the poor benefit more from the demand-side intervention i.e. reducing inequity. Both interventions positively influence facility deliveries in rural areas although the increase in facility deliveries after the demand-side intervention is more than the increase after the supply-side intervention. There is no significant difference in utilisation based on mothers’ education. Since people from different SES categories are likely to respond differently to interventions on the supply- and demand-side of the health system, policymakers involved in the design of health programmes should pay closer attention to concerns of inequity and elite capture that may unintentionally result from these interventions

Implementation and evaluation of nonclinical interventions for appropriate use of cesarean section in low- and middle-income countries: protocol for a multisite hybrid effectiveness-implementation type III trial

Background: While cesarean sections (CSs) are a life-saving intervention, an increasing number are performed without medical reasons in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Unnecessary CS diverts scarce resources and thereby reduces access to healthcare for women in need. Argentina, Burkina Faso, Thailand, and Vietnam are committed to reducing unnecessary CS, but many individual and organizational factors in healthcare facilities obstruct this aim. Nonclinical interventions can overcome these barriers by helping providers improve their practices and supporting women’s decision-making regarding childbirth. Existing evidence has shown only a modest effect of single interventions on reducing CS rates, arguably because of the failure to design multifaceted interventions effectively tailored to the context. The aim of this study is to design, adapt, and test a multifaceted intervention for the appropriate use of CS in Argentina, Burkina Faso, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Methods: We designed an intervention (QUALIty DECision-making-QUALI-DEC) with four components: (1) opinion leaders at heathcare facilities to improve adherence to best practices among clinicians, (2) CS audits and feedback to help providers identify potentially avoidable CS, (3) a decision analysis tool to help women make an informed decision on the mode of birth, and (4) companionship to support women during labor. QUALI-DEC will be implemented and evaluated in 32 hospitals (8 sites per country) using a pragmatic hybrid effectiveness-implementation design to test our implementation strategy, and information regarding its impact on relevant maternal and perinatal outcomes will be gathered. The implementation strategy will involve the participation of women, healthcare professionals, and organizations and account for the local environment, needs, resources, and social factors in each country.

Discussion: There is urgent need for interventions and implementation strategies to optimize the use of CS while improving health outcomes and satisfaction in LMICs. This can only be achieved by engaging all stakeholders involved in the decision-making process surrounding birth and addressing their needs and concerns. The study will generate robust evidence about the effectiveness and the impact of this multifaceted intervention. It will also assess the acceptability and scalability of the intervention and the capacity for empowerment among women and providers alike.

Trauma burden, patient demographics and care-process in major hospitals in Tanzania: A needs assessment for improving healthcare resource management

Appropriate referrals of injured patients could improve clinical outcomes and management of healthcare resources. To gain insights for system development, we interrogated the current situation by assessing burden, patient demography, causes of injury, trauma mortality and the care-process.

We used an observational, cross-sectional study design and convenience sampling to review patient charts from 3 major hospitals and the death registry in Tanzania.

Injury constitutes 9–13% of the Emergency Centre census. Inpatient trauma-deaths were 8%; however, the trauma death registry figures exceeded the ‘inpatient deaths’ and recorded up to 16%. Most patients arrive through a hospital referral system (82%) and use a hospital transport network (76%). Only 8% of the trauma admissions possessed National Health Insurance. Road traffic collision (RTC) (69%), assault (20%) and falls (9%) were the leading causes of injury. The care process revealed a normal primary-survey rate of 73–90%. Deficiencies in recording were in the assessment of: Airway and breathing (67%), circulation (40%) and disability (80%). Most patients had non-operative management (42–57%) or surgery for wound care or skeletal injuries (43%). Laparotomies were performed in 26%, while craniotomy and chest drain-insertion were each performed in 10%.

The burden of trauma is high, and the leading causes are: RTC, assault, and falls. Deaths recorded in the death registries outweigh in-hospital deaths for up to twofold. There are challenges in the care process, funding and recording. We found a functional hospital referral-network, transport system, and death registry.

Perioperative Management of Gastrointestinal Surgery in a Resource-Limited Hospital in Niger: Cross-sectional Study

Perioperative management in digestive surgery is a challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. Objective: To describe the process and outcomes of perioperative management in gastrointestinal surgery.
Materials and methods
This was a single center cross-sectional study over a 4-month period from June 1 to September 30, 2017, in a Nigerien hospital (West Africa). This study included caregivers and patients operated on gastrointestinal surgery.
We collected data for 56 caregivers and 253 patients underwent gastrointestinal surgery. The average age of caregivers was 38.6 ± 8.7. The median length of professional practice was 9 years. Almost 52% of caregivers (n = 29) did not know the standards of perioperative care. The median age of patients was 24 years, and male gender constituted 70% of cases (n = 177) with a sex ratio of 2.32. Patients came from rural areas in 78.2% (n = 198). Emergency surgery accounted for 60% (n = 152). The most surgical procedure was digestive ostomies performed in 28.9% (n = 73), followed by hernia repair and appendectomy in 24.5% (n = 62) and 13.9% (n = 35) respectively. The postoperative course was complicated in 28.1% (n = 71) among which 13 deaths. In the group of caregivers, the poor practice of perioperative management was associated with poor professional qualification, insufficient equipment, insufficient motivation (p < 0.05). The ASA3&ASA4 score, undernutrition, emergency surgery, poor postoperative monitoring, and poor psychological preparation were associated with complicated postoperative outcomes (p < 0.05).
The inadequacy of the technical platform and the lack of continuous training for healthcare staff represented the main dysfunctions of our hospital. The risk factors for complications found in this study need appropriate perioperative management to improve prognosis in gastrointestinal surgery.