• 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.
    • Cost and affordability of non-communicable disease screening, diagnosis and treatment in Kenya: Patient payments in the private and public sectors

      Subramanian, S; Gakunga, R; Kibachio, J; Gathecha, G; Edwards, P; Ogola, E; Yonga, G; Busakhala, N; Munyoro, E; Chakaya, J; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2018-01-05)
      The prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is rising in low- and middle-income countries, including Kenya, disproportionately to the rest of the world. Our objective was to quantify patient payments to obtain NCD screening, diagnosis, and treatment services in the public and private sector in Kenya and evaluate patients' ability to pay for the services.
    • Evaluating smartphone strategies for reliability, reproducibility, and quality of VIA for cervical cancer screening in the Shiselweni region of Eswatini: A cohort study

      Asgary, R; Staderini, N; Mthethwa-Hleta, S; Lopez Saavedra, PA; Garca Abrego, L; Rusch, B; Marie Luce, T; Rusike Pasipamire, L; Ndlangamandla, M; Beideck, E; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2020-11-19)
      Background Cervical cancer is among the most common preventable cancers with the highest morbidity and mortality. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid (VIA) as cervical cancer screening strategy in resource-poor settings. However, there are barriers to the sustainability of VIA programs including declining providers’ VIA competence without mentorship and quality assurances and challenges of integration into primary healthcare. This study seeks to evaluate the impact of smartphone-based strategies in improving reliability, reproducibility, and quality of VIA in humanitarian settings. Methods and findings We implemented smartphone-based VIA that included standard VIA training, adapted refresher, and 6-month mHealth mentorship, sequentially, in the rural Shiselweni region of Eswatini. A remote expert reviewer provided diagnostic and management feedback on patients’ cervical images, which were reviewed weekly by nurses. Program’s outcomes, VIA image agreement rates, and Kappa statistic were compared before, during, and after training. From September 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018, 4,247 patients underwent screening; 247 were reviewed weekly by a VIA diagnostic expert. Of the 247, 128 (49%) were HIV–positive; mean age was 30.80 years (standard deviation [SD]: 7.74 years). Initial VIA positivity of 16% (436/2,637) after standard training gradually increased to 25.1% (293/1,168), dropped to an average of 9.7% (143/1,469) with a lowest of 7% (20/284) after refresher in 2017 (p = 0.001), increased again to an average of 9.6% (240/2,488) with a highest of 17% (17/100) before the start of mentorship, and dropped to an average of 8.3% (134/1,610) in 2018 with an average of 6.3% (37/591) after the start of mentorship (p = 0.019). Overall, 88% were eligible for and 68% received cryotherapy the same day: 10 cases were clinically suspicious for cancer; however, only 5 of those cases were confirmed using punch biopsy. Agreement rates with the expert reviewer for positive and negative cases were 100% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 79.4% to 100%) and 95.7% (95% CI: 92.2% to 97.9%), respectively, with negative predictive value (NPV) (100%), positive predictive value (PPV) (63.5%), and area under the curve of receiver operating characteristics (AUC ROC) (0.978). Kappa statistic was 0.74 (95% CI; 0.58 to 0.89); 0.64 and 0.79 at 3 and 6 months, respectively. In logistic regression, HIV and age were associated with VIA positivity (adjusted Odds Ratio [aOR]: 3.53, 95% CI: 1.10 to 11.29; p = 0.033 and aOR: 1.06, 95% CI: 1.0004 to 1.13; p = 0.048, respectively). We were unable to incorporate a control arm due to logistical constraints in routine humanitarian settings. Conclusions Our findings suggest that smartphone mentorship provided experiential learning to improve nurses’ competencies and VIA reliability and reproducibility, reduced false positive, and introduced peer-to-peer education and quality control services. Local collaboration; extending services to remote populations; decreasing unnecessary burden to screened women, providers, and tertiary centers; and capacity building through low-tech high-yield screening are promising strategies for scale-up of VIA programs.
    • Task Shifting the Management of Non-Communicable Diseases to Nurses in Kibera, Kenya: Does It Work?

      Some, D; Edwards, J K; Reid, T; Van den Bergh, R; Kosgei, R J; Wilkinson, E; Baruani, B; Kizito, W; Khabala, K; Shah, S; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2016-01-26)
      In sub-Saharan Africa there is an increasing need to leverage available health care workers to provide care for non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This study was conducted to evaluate adherence to Médecins Sans Frontières clinical protocols when the care of five stable NCDs (hypertension, diabetes mellitus type 2, epilepsy, asthma, and sickle cell) was shifted from clinical officers to nurses.
    • Three Steps to Improve Management of Noncommunicable Diseases in Humanitarian Crises

      Jobanputra, K; Boulle, P; Roberts, B; Perel, P (Public Library of Science, 2016-11-08)
      Kiran Jobanputra and colleagues argue that better evidence, guidance, and tools are needed to improve the effectiveness and feasibility of noncommunicable disease care in humanitarian settings.