• Operational considerations for the management of non-communicable diseases in humanitarian emergencies.

      Beran, D; Hering, H; Boulle, P; Chappuis, F; Dromer, C; Saaristo, P; Perone, S Aebischer (BMC, 2021-02-25)
      Non-communicable diseases (NCD) represent an increasing global challenge with the majority of mortality occurring in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Concurrently, many humanitarian crises occur in these countries and the number of displaced persons, either refugees or internally displaced, has reached the highest level in history. Until recently NCDs in humanitarian contexts were a neglected issue, but this is changing. Humanitarian actors are now increasingly integrating NCD care in their activities and recognizing the need to harmonize and enhance NCD management in humanitarian crises. However, there is a lack of a standardized response during operations as well as a lack of evidence-based NCD management guidelines in humanitarian settings. An informal working group on NCDs in humanitarian settings, formed by members of the World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of the Red Cross and others, and led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, teamed up with the University of Geneva and Geneva University Hospitals to develop operational considerations for NCDs in humanitarian settings. This paper presents these considerations, aiming at ensuring appropriate planning, management and care for NCD-affected persons during the different stages of humanitarian emergencies. Key components include access to treatment, continuity of care including referral pathways, therapeutic patient education/patient self-management, community engagement and health promotion. In order to implement these components, a standardized approach will support a consistent response, and should be based on an ethical foundation to ensure that the "do no harm" principle is upheld. Advocacy supported by evidence is important to generate visibility and resource allocation for NCDs. Only a collaborative approach of all actors involved in NCD management will allow the spectrum of needs and continuum of care for persons affected by NCDs to be properly addressed in humanitarian programmes.
    • Setting up a nurse-led model of care for management of hypertension and diabetes mellitus in a high HIV prevalence context in rural Zimbabwe: a descriptive study

      Frieden, M; Zamba, B; Mukumbi, N; Mafaune, PT; Makumbe, B; Irungu, E; Moneti, V; Isaakidis, P; Garone, D; Prasai, M (BMC, 2020-06-01)
      Background In the light of the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on health systems in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, context-adapted, cost-effective service delivery models are now required as a matter of urgency. We describe the experience of setting up and organising a nurse-led Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and Hypertension (HTN) model of care in rural Zimbabwe, a low-income country with unique socio-economic challenges and a dual disease burden of HIV and NCDs. Methods Mirroring the HIV experience, we designed a conceptual framework with 9 key enablers: decentralization of services, integration of care, simplification of management guidelines, mentoring and task-sharing, provision of affordable medicines, quality assured laboratory support, patient empowerment, a dedicated monitoring and evaluation system, and a robust referral system. We selected 9 primary health care clinics (PHC) and two hospitals in Chipinge district and integrated DM and HTN either into the general out-patient department, pre-existing HIV clinics, or an integrated chronic care clinic (ICCC). We provided structured intensive mentoring for staff, using simplified protocols, and disease-specific education for patients. Free medication with differentiated periodic refills and regular monitoring with point of care (POC) glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) were provided. Results Nurses in 7 PHC facilities and one hospital developed sufficient knowledge and skills to diagnose, initiate treatment and monitor DM and HTN patients, and 3094 patients were registered in the programme (188 with DM only, 2473 with HTN only, 433 with both DM and HTN). Major lessons learned from our experience include: the value of POC devices in the management of diabetes; the pressure on services of the added caseload, exacerbated by the availability of free medications in supported health facilities; and the importance of leadership in the successful implementation of care in health facilities. Conclusion Our experience demonstrates a model for nurse-led decentralized integrated DM and HTN care in a high HIV prevalence rural, low-income context. Developing a context-adapted efficient model of care is a dynamic process. We present our lessons learned with the intention of sharing experience which may be of value to other public health programme managers.