• The burden of diabetes and use of diabetes care in humanitarian crises in low-income and middle-income countries

      Kehlenbrink, S; Smith, J; Ansbro, E; Fuhr, D; Cheung, A; Ratnayake, R; Boulle, P; Jobanputra, K; Perel, P; Roberts, B (Elsevier, 2019-03-13)
      Human suffering as a result of natural disasters or conflict includes death and disability from non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, which have largely been neglected in humanitarian crises. The objectives of this Series paper were to examine the evidence on the burden of diabetes, use of health services, and access to care for people with diabetes among populations affected by humanitarian crises in low-income and middle-income countries, and to identify research gaps for future studies. We reviewed the scientific literature on this topic published between 1992 and 2018. The results emphasise that the burden of diabetes in humanitarian settings is not being captured, clinical guidance is insufficient, and diabetes is not being adequately addressed. Crisis-affected populations with diabetes face enormous constraints accessing care, mainly because of high medical costs. Further research is needed to characterise the epidemiology of diabetes in humanitarian settings and to develop simplified, cost-effective models of care to improve the delivery of diabetes care during humanitarian crises.
    • Clinical outcomes in a primary-level non-communicable disease programme for Syrian refugees and the host population in Jordan: A cohort analysis using routine data

      Ansbro, E; Homan, T; Prieto Merino, D; Jobanputra, K; Qasem, J; Muhammad, S; Fardous, T; Perel, P (Public Library of Science, 2021-01-11)
      Background Little is known about the content or quality of non-communicable disease (NCD) care in humanitarian settings. Since 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has provided primary-level NCD services in Irbid, Jordan, targeting Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanians who struggle to access NCD care through the overburdened national health system. This retrospective cohort study explored programme and patient-level patterns in achievement of blood pressure and glycaemic control, patterns in treatment interruption, and the factors associated with these patterns. Methods and findings The MSF multidisciplinary, primary-level NCD programme provided facility-based care for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease using context-adapted guidelines and generic medications. Generalist physicians managed patients with the support of family medicine specialists, nurses, health educators, pharmacists, and psychosocial and home care teams. Among the 5,045 patients enrolled between December 2014 and December 2017, 4,044 eligible adult patients were included in our analysis, of whom 72% (2,913) had hypertension and 63% (2,546) had type II diabetes. Using visits as the unit of analysis, we plotted the following on a monthly basis: mean blood pressure among hypertensive patients, mean fasting blood glucose and HbA1c among type II diabetic patients, the proportion of each group achieving control, mean days of delayed appointment attendance, and the proportion of patients experiencing a treatment interruption. Results are presented from programmatic and patient perspectives (using months since programme initiation and months since cohort entry/diagnosis, respectively). General linear mixed models explored factors associated with clinical control and with treatment interruption. Mean age was 58.5 years, and 60.1% (2,432) were women. Within the programme’s first 6 months, mean systolic blood pressure decreased by 12.4 mm Hg from 143.9 mm Hg (95% CI 140.9 to 146.9) to 131.5 mm Hg (95% CI 130.2 to 132.9) among hypertensive patients, while fasting glucose improved by 1.12 mmol/l, from 10.75 mmol/l (95% CI 10.04 to 11.47) to 9.63 mmol/l (95% CI 9.22 to 10.04), among type II diabetic patients. The probability of achieving treatment target in a visit was 63%–75% by end of 2017, improving with programme maturation but with notable seasonable variation. The probability of experiencing a treatment interruption declined as the programme matured and with patients’ length of time in the programme. Routine operational data proved useful in evaluating a humanitarian programme in a real-world setting, but were somewhat limited in terms of data quality and completeness. We used intermediate clinical outcomes proven to be strongly associated with hard clinical outcomes (such as death), since we had neither the data nor statistical power to measure hard outcomes. Conclusions Good treatment outcomes and reasonable rates of treatment interruption were achieved in a multidisciplinary, primary-level NCD programme in Jordan. Our approach to using continuous programmatic data may be a feasible way for humanitarian organisations to account for the complex and dynamic nature of interventions in unstable humanitarian settings when undertaking routine monitoring and evaluation. We suggest that frequency of patient contact could be reduced without negatively impacting patient outcomes and that season should be taken into account in analysing programme performance.
    • Delivering a primary-level non-communicable disease programme for Syrian refugees and the host population in Jordan: a descriptive costing study

      Ansbro, E; Garry, S; Karir, V; Reddy, A; Jobanputra, K; Fardous, T; Sadique, Z (Oxford University Press, 2020-07-04)
      The Syrian conflict has caused enormous displacement of a population with a high non-communicable disease (NCD) burden into surrounding countries, overwhelming health systems’ NCD care capacity. Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) developed a primary-level NCD programme, serving Syrian refugees and the host population in Irbid, Jordan, to assist the response. Cost data, which are currently lacking, may support programme adaptation and system scale up of such NCD services. This descriptive costing study from the provider perspective explored financial costs of the MSF NCD programme. We estimated annual total, per patient and per consultation costs for 2015–17 using a combined ingredients-based and step-down allocation approach. Data were collected via programme budgets, facility records, direct observation and informal interviews. Scenario analyses explored the impact of varying procurement processes, consultation frequency and task sharing. Total annual programme cost ranged from 4 to 6 million International Dollars (INT$), increasing annually from INT$4 206 481 (2015) to INT$6 739 438 (2017), with costs driven mainly by human resources and drugs. Per patient per year cost increased 23% from INT$1424 (2015) to 1751 (2016), and by 9% to 1904 (2017), while cost per consultation increased from INT$209 to 253 (2015–17). Annual cost increases reflected growing patient load and increasing service complexity throughout 2015–17. A scenario importing all medications cut total costs by 31%, while negotiating importation of high-cost items offered 13% savings. Leveraging pooled procurement for local purchasing could save 20%. Staff costs were more sensitive to reducing clinical review frequency than to task sharing review to nurses. Over 1000 extra patients could be enrolled without additional staffing cost if care delivery was restructured. Total costs significantly exceeded costs reported for NCD care in low-income humanitarian contexts. Efficiencies gained by revising procurement and/or restructuring consultation models could confer cost savings or facilitate cohort expansion. Cost effectiveness studies of adapted models are recommended.
    • Diabetes in humanitarian crises: the Boston Declaration.

      Kehlenbrink, S; Jaacks, M; Aebischer Perone, S; Ansbro, E; Ashbourne, E; Atkinson, C; Atkinson, M; Atun, R; Besancon, S; Boulle, P; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-08)