Category Archives: Health Information

Regular data Review Meetings in Mozambique, a Path to Improving Malaria Service Delivery

Health Alliance International (HAI) of the University of Washington, is collaborating with Centro de Investigação Operacional da Beira (CIOB) is based in Beira, Mozambique to improve the quality and use of routine monitoring and evaluation data from the health facility through to the district in Sofala Province. The aim is to strengthen the health system through data for decision making and improve quality and uptake of services. This effort is sponsored by a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

DSCN6314A key feature of the program is a regular data review meeting where representatives from health facilities in a district come together and each presents his/her standard Ministry of Health service indicators in a simple slide format.  After each presentation the speaker received feedback from the group, including members of the district health management team, on successes and challenges and is encouraged to make plans to improve both data quality and service uptake.

The data review meetings started with an overview of all HIV, reproductive, maternal and child health indicators. Separate review meetings for malaria service indicators have been recently introduced.

According to members of the district teams, the individual facility staff presenters have grown more skilled in formatting their data and presenting to an audience. Overall, participants in these meetings appear enthusiastic and interested in the results of their peers. Constructive critiques are the norm, and speakers express appreciation for suggestions on how they can improve their services and the resulting data.

IPTp preA sample chart from a health facility showing a quarterly review of intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) is seen to the right.  After viewing this, meeting participants might ask the presenter what are the reasons for the drop-off in coverage. If for example, the problem of late antenatal care (ANC) attendance is mentioned, the group can ask the presenter to consider how to encourage women to attend earlier.

IPTp postIf the presenter then goes back and implements the suggestions, the second chart might reflect the results of improved service uptake. In this way the overall project hopes that close examination of their own data by service providers can strengthen service delivery and the health system.

We look forward to hearing more about this unique process so that it can be disseminated in other malaria endemic countries.

iPhones for household malaria surveys in Sierra Leone

World Malaria Day 2014 was observed at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on Friday 25 April. 21 posters were presented. Below is the abstract of a poster presented by Suzanne Van Hull of Catholic Relief Services.iForm Builder picture on iPhone

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) of Sierra Leone (SL) are co-implementing nationwide malaria prevention and treatment activities funded by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In order to track progress and impact, CRS and partners led the implementation of a malaria indicator survey (MIS) in early 2013 covering a nationally-representative sample of 6,720 households, inclusive of blood testing to determine prevalence of anemia and malaria. In early 2012, CRS also had the experience of using mobile technology for a Knowledge Attitude and Practices (KAP) study.

Fieldworkers used Apple 3GS iPhones for both surveys to collect data via the iFormBuilder platform, a web-based, software-as-services application with a companion app for the mobile devices allowing for timely data collection, monitoring, and analysis.

This was the first time that iPhones were used for a MIS, and lessons learned include: allowing at least four months to transform paper-based questionnaires into electronic format, giving the program enough time for pre-testing the tool and training data collectors/biomarkers/laboratory technicians, and involving key malaria stakeholders to ensure a nationally-led survey. Global Positioning Systems enabled the MoHS to make in-depth analyses on malaria trends based on geographic locations.

KAP survey on iPhoneOverall the benefits of an electronic versus a paper-based MIS questionnaire outweighed the challenges. The iPhone technology eliminated the need for paper transcribing, allowing for quicker data tabulation, real-time identification of mistakes, faster interviewing through skip patterns, and a close-to-clean dataset by the end of data collection saving time and money.

Survey results will be used to set evidence-based targets for all partners’ future malaria activities, especially the next 3 years of GF-supported malaria grants

Cambodia DHS lacks adequate attention to malaria

cambodia-dhs-2010-cover-sm.jpgThe Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey 2010 report is now available for download.

Surprisingly little information is available about malaria.  The following narrative on ‘fever’ was provided:

“Less than 1 percent of children with fever received antimalarial drugs, whereas 44 percent received antibiotic drugs. Use of antibiotic drugs was more common in urban areas (52 percent) than in rural areas (43 percent) and more common among mothers with at least a secondary education (54 percent) than among mothers with no schooling (39 percent). Mothers in Prey Veng (85 percent) and those in Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Speu (79 percent in both) were most likely to use antibiotic drugs to treat fever.”

We note that Cambodia is a place where artimisinin resistance has been suspected and yet these DHS results do not diagnose malaria with RDTs as is done in other DHS and MIS surveys. Therefore, appropriate treatment cannot be ascertained from the results. This is made more complicated by the following list of appropriate and inappropriate medicines in the survey instrument that were lumped together under the title “antimalarials”: SP/FANSIDAR, CHLOROQUINE, QUININE, MALARINE, A+M, MEFLOQUINE, ARTEMISININ, ARTESUNATE TABLET, ARTESUNATE SUPPOSITORY, ARTEKINE, COTEXIN.

While the report mentions…

“Iron and folic acid supplementation and antimalarial prophylaxis for pregnant women, promotion of the use of insecticide-treated bednets by pregnant women and children under 5, and six-month deworming for children are some important measures used to reduce anemia revalence among vulnerable groups…”

… it does not report on bednet use.

RBM partners are trying to take the problem of malaria in Asia seriously. They would be assisted by better data on the malaria situation in countries like Cambodia.