Contribution of the Improving Malaria Care (IMC) Project to Improving Malaria Case Management in Burkina Faso

Malaria case management including diagnosis and treatment is an essential component of malaria control and elimination. Ousmane Badolo, Mathurin Dodo, and Bonkoungou Moumouni of Jhpiego working on the USAID Improving Malaria Care Project in Burkina Faso explained at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene how they worked to improve case management by Strengthening the capacity of health care providers. There findings follow:

Malaria kills mostly children under five and pregnant women in Burkina Faso, and is the leading reason for medical consultation and hospitalization. Improving case management is a real challenge in reducing morbidity and mortality. The goal of the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) was to reduce the morbidity by 75% by end of 2000 and malaria mortality to close to zero by the end of 2015.

The United States Agency for International Development-supported Improving Malaria Care (IMC) project aims to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality. This includes strengthening the capacity of health providers to deliver high quality management- diagnosis and treatment, of malaria cases.

Between 2014 and 2016 IMC and the NMCP revised malaria guidelines, oriented 163 national trainers, trained 1,819 providers at all levels and organized supportive supervision of these staff. As a result correct diagnostic testing of malaria cases increased from 62% to 82%.

The proportion of people with uncomplicated malaria who received artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) increased from 85% to 94%. Strengthening of the data management system facilitated this information to be collected.

Training these providers based on national guidelines and reinforcing their learning through supervision has enabled the NMCP to have a pool of health providers capable of treating the most vulnerable population and helping to reduce malaria mortality level in Burkina Faso.

This training is accompanied by the implementation of formative supervision. Continued supervision and quality data management positions the NMCP to reach and document its goals.

Funding for this effort was provided by the United States President’s Malaria Initiative. This poster was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of the Improving Malaria Care Project and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Using the Antenatal Care Quality Improvement Tool and targeted training to strengthen ANC Services including MiP in Tanzania

Malaria prevention in pregnancy (MIP) is a major component of antenatal services in endemic countries. Jasmine Chadewa, Dunstan Bishanga, Elaine Roman, Godlisten Martin, Kristen Vibbert, Lauren Borsa, Agrey Mbilinyi, Jeremie Zoungrana, and Hussein Kidanto describe how they applied a quality improvement tool to strengthen ANC and MIP services at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Their findings follow:

Malaria in Pregnancy (MiP) is a major, preventable cause of maternal morbidity and poor birth outcomes. In collaborations with partners, Tanzania’s National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and the Reproductive and Child Health Unit has been working to promote the World Health Organization’s three-pronged approach to address the burden of MiP.

A malaria training for 180 supervisors and 360 ANC providers from 221 health facilities was conducted in the Kagera and Mara regions. Updates included an orientation on MiP as well as malaria case management, screening, data management and ITN promotion.
Prior to the training, facility baseline assessments were conducted using the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOHCDGEC) antenatal care quality improvement (ANC QI) tool to identify gaps in knowledge and skills of health providers to better target trainings to improving the quality of ANC services.

A second assessment took place six months post training. Both assessments included hospital, health facility and dispensary levels and included observation, interviews, record reviews and skills assessments.

Results demonstrated that over 90% of the facilities scored below 30% across all categories in the overall baseline assessment with a high score of 35 %, while the 2nd assessment showed a large improvement with 40% of the facilities scoring below 30% and a high score of 70%.

The ANC QI tool is effective in determining the impact of ANC health provider’s knowledge and skills to target training to improve ANC service quality.

The presentation was made possible through support provided to the USAID Boresha Afya Project, under the terms of the Cooperative Agreement AID-621-A-16-00003 by the President’s Malaria Initiative via the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), an inter-agency agreement with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the President’s Malaria Initiative via the US Agency for International Development.

Strengthening Nursing & Midwifery Training Through Implementation of Continuous Quality Improvement Process in Tanzania

Annamagreth Mukwenda, John George, Mary Rose Giatas, Gustav Moyo, and Justine Ngenda have been promoting Continuous Quality Improvement and mentoring with nurses and midwives in Tanzania. They shared their experiences working with the Maternal and Child Survival Program and Tanzanian Government agencies at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Tanzania is one of the countries with critical shortage of human resource for health. The coverage of skilled birth attendants is about 50%, which connote sub-optimal quality of care contributing to poor neonatal and maternal outcomes.

Training and deploying adequate numbers of competent health workers is one of the objectives of the Tanzania National Health Policy. The government of Tanzania and partners like Jhpiego led Maternal and Child Health Survival Program, are working to improve the training environment hence competent graduates.

In support of quality trainings, Jhpiego in collaboration with the Ministry of Health are implementing the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) process which encourages health training institutions to improve quality teaching and learning by focusing on Classroom and Practical Instructions, Clinical instruction and practice, Institutional Infrastructure, Learning and Teaching Materials and Institutional Governance and Administration.

A baseline assessment was done using the CQI guide in 10 training institutions to assess the quality of training and educational process, output and outcomes for the provision of quality nursing and midwifery care. Results indicated substandard outcomes with scores less than 50% at most schools.

All 10 schools were oriented on CQI process including its implementation. Quarterly assessment by a team comprised of institutions’ quality improvement teams, Ministry of Health and Jhpiego were done and gaps identified addressed through supportive supervision and mentorship.

Training institution are progressively improving their training capabilities. The teaching learning environment has improved substantially with an average score 95% during external verification from 45% baseline score. After eighteen months of program implementation, three schools have been recognized for their outstanding performance and were presented with trophies and certificates as a motivation. This translates into increased number of skilled health care workers from rural nursing schools with required competency to avert maternal and neonatal deaths.

Contribution of the Standards-Based Management and Recognition (SBM-R) approach to fighting malaria in Burkina Faso

Quality improvement tools play an important role in ensuring better malaria services.  Moumouni Bonkoungou, Ousmane Badolo, and Thierry Ouedraogo describe how

Standards Based Management and Recognition Approach to Quality Improvement

Jhpiego’s quality approach, Standards-Based Management and Recognition, was applied to enhancing the provision of malaria services in Burkina Faso at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Their work was supported through the President’s Malaria Initiative and the USAID Improving Malaria Care Project.

In 2015, Burkina Faso recorded 8,286,463 malaria cases, including 450,024 severe cases with 5379 deaths. The main reasons for these death are:  Inadequate application of national malaria diagnosis and treatment guidelines, delays in seeking health care and poor quality of case management.

The Standards-Based Management and Recognition (SBM-R) approach is used to improve quality of care using performance standards based on national guidelines. SBM-R includes the following steps:

  • set performance standards
  • implement the standards
  • monitor progress and
  • recognize as well as celebrate achievements

Areas or domains assessed by the approach are: services organization, case management at both health center and community, Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Pregnancy (IPTp), promotion of Long Lasting Insecticide treated Nets (LLIN) use and infection prevention and control.

Since June 2016, 26 health facilities in three regions have been implementing SBMR. Therefore, 105 health workers have been trained. Performance progress was measured through 5 evaluations including baseline. Baseline has shown the highest score was 47% (Kounda) while the lowest was 9% (Niangoloko).

The main issues observed were: lack of program activities, management tools, handwashing facilities, LLINs and misuse of Rapid Diagnosis Tests. Their cause was determined and an improvement plan was developed by each site. The second, third and final evaluations revealed a change in performance scores for all sites.

The external evaluation showed 17 out of 26 health facilities with a score higher than 60%; among them 10 with a score above 80% (Bougoula, 94%). At the same time, IPTp 3 increased from 34.48% in 2014 to 78.38% in 2016 and no malaria death has been registered since October 2015.

For the site under 80% the key reasons were: staff turnover, commodities stock-out and lack of infrastructure. The process continues with recognition of health facilities and supporting others (those at less than 80%) to reach the desired performance level. The SBM-R approach appears to be a great tool for improving quality and performance of health facilities.

Missed Opportunities for Uptake of Intermittent Preventative Treatment for Malaria in Pregnancy in Tanzania

A major reason that coverage targets for intermittent treatment of malaria in pregnancy fall short are missed opportunities at health service sites. Jasmine Chadewa, Yusuph Kulindwa, Dunstan Bishanga, Mary Drake, Jeremie Zoungrana, Elaine Roman, Hussein Kidanto, Naomi Kaspar, Kristen Vibbert, and Lauren Borsa share what they have learned about this issue at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

About 35 million people in Tanzania are at risk of malaria, with pregnant women and under five children being the most vulnerable. The Tanzania National Malaria Control Program’s (NMCP) Strategic Plan for 2007–2012 reports that malaria accounts for 30% of the national disease burden, with about 1.7 million cases per year among pregnant women.

To prevent the effect of malaria in pregnancy, the Tanzania Government adopted IPTp3+ therapy for pregnant women per the WHO recommendations for IPTp-SP. This study explores missed opportunities to deliver IPT by looking at predictors causing the drop between coverage of IPTp2 (34%) and IPTp3+ (7%).

The study examined Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS) 2015/2016 data on women aged 15-49 with a live birth in the two years preceding the survey and at least 2 doses or more of IPTp during ANC (n=4219) to identify factors associated with differences in IPTp uptake. Variables of interest were identified, recoded and generated as required. Data was analyzed using STATA v14, whereby frequency distributions were calculated and cross-tabs and logistic regressions were done comparing dependent and independent variables.

The analysis shows the factors contributing to the drop of IPTp uptake include wealth (the richest people are 2.5 times more likely to take at least three doses of IPTp) and education (those with no education are less likely to take more doses of IPTp compared to those who are educated). Residency is the largest contributing factor: 50% of pregnant mothers in rural areas are less likely to take three or more doses of SP.

Clients living within 5 km of health facilities have higher uptake of IPTp3+ compared to their counterparts who live further from the health facilities (33% less likely). However, our analysis shows that there is no correlation between IPTp3+ uptake and number of ANC visits, health insurance or number of children.

Based on these results, it is important to strategize to make health services and education more accessible to the population in order to increase IPTp uptake among pregnant women.

Baseline for Coverage of Intermittent Preventive Treatment of Malaria in Pregnancy for Planning Community Interventions in Burkina Faso

Under supervision from health center Community Health Worker provides SP for IPTp to Pregnant Woman

Now that the World Health Organization recommends that pregnant women in high and stable malaria transmission areas receive three or more doses of Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPTp) with Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, it is necessary to learn ways to reach more women with this intervention. William R. Brieger, Mathurin Dodo, Danielle Burke, Ousmane Badolo, Justin Tiendrebeogo, Kristen Vibbert, Susan J Youll, and Julie R Gutman conducted a baseline household survey of recently pregnant women in Burkina Faso to learn about the extent of current IPTp coverage and where improvements are needed. With support from the US President’s Malaria Initiative and the USAID Maternal and Child Survival Program Their findings were made available at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

The World Health Organization recommends intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp) to prevent the adverse effects of malaria in pregnancy in high burden settings; IPTp coverage has lagged behind international targets. In Burkina Faso, the 2014 Malaria Indicator Survey found that 22% of women received 3 or more doses of IPTp (IPTp3). In 2014, Burkina Faso’s IPTp policy was updated from recommending 2 doses to providing at least 3 doses of IPTp. Prior studies have suggested that use of community health workers to deliver IPTp can increase coverage.

To improve IPTp coverage, we will pilot community delivery of IPTp within 3 southern districts: Po, Ouargaye, and Batie. Here we report results from a baseline assessment in the selected districts. Health Management Information System (HMIS) data for 2015 were collected in each district, and IPTp3 coverage was 37%. Four health facilities per district were randomly selected to participate in the pilot. In 2017, a baseline household survey was conducted among recently pregnant women in the catchment areas of these health facilities.

Women were asked to recall the number of antenatal care (ANC) visits and IPTp doses they had received during their most recent pregnancy. The same information was extracted from their ANC cards. A total of 374 women were interviewed during the baseline survey.

ANC attendance was reported to be 98% for any visit, and 84% for four visits; these rates were 90% and 62% as documented on the ANC cards. Over 95% of women recalled receiving the first dose of IPTp, while over 80% of cards verified that the first dose was given.

Receipt of the third IPTp dose was 62% by recall and 52% as recorded on the ANC cards, while receipt of 4 doses was 32% by recall and 19% per the ANC cards. IPTp3 coverage was not associated with parity or educational level.

Following implementation of the revised IPTp policy, there has been a substantial improvement in IPTp coverage, though more work is needed to achieve the national 85% coverage target.

Our pilot will examine the impact that delivery of IPTp by community workers has on IPTp coverage, with endline surveys planned for 2018.

Enhancing Core Competencies & Improving Midwifery Quality of Care in Lake Zone, Tanzania

With support from USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Project in Tanzania Annamagreth Mukwenda, John George George, Mary Rose Giatas, Agrey Mbilinyi, Gustav Moyo, and Justine Ngenda have been addressing the quality of case and services provided by midwives. Their poster at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene is summarized below.

In sub-Saharan Africa, maternal mortality is unacceptably high accounting for 56% of all maternal deaths. Tanzania is not different. It is estimated that five in every 100 children die before their first birthdays and that four women out of 1000 live births die due to pregnancy related causes.

With prompt recognition and timely intervention most maternal and neonatal deaths can be avoided. Access to skilled care at these critical times save lives.

A new initiative is working to improve midwifery care by building capacity of training institutions to prepare highly skilled nurse-midwives to enhance on job live saving skills.
In 2014 A collaboration between the Tanzania Ministry of Health, Jhpiego through Maternal child survival program (MCSP), conducted a baseline assessment to assess the quality of midwifery pre-service education to adequately prepare students with the clinical skills to provide competent nursing and midwifery care.

Four nursing and midwifery schools from two regions of Lake Zone were assessed to identify issues affecting the schools’ ability to produce clinically competent graduates in nursing and midwifery. Among things, the assessment focused on tutors and recent graduates, with findings showing critical deficit on content/skill competencies.

To address these challenges, midwifery tutors from 9 schools (100%) were updated in high impact midwifery interventions through trainings and supportive supervision including coaching and mentorship. Skills labs were also equipped with all mannequins necessary for midwifery training.

The program is in the third year of implementation with tremendous improvement in midwifery training as evidenced by students final examination results as well as tutors’ and students’ testimonies.

Experience of MCSP approach to strengthen competencies of graduates has contributed to improve midwifery quality of care to reduce maternal deaths in Tanzania.

Health provider orientation to national malaria case management guidelines in regional hospitals in Burkina Faso

Good clinical practice in managing malaria requires awareness and understanding of national case management guidelines. Moumouni Bonkoungou, Ousmane Badolo, and Thierry Ouedraogo of Jhpiego in Collaboration with the National Malaria Control Program and sponsorship from the “Improving Malaria Care” project of USAID/PMI explain how health workers in Burkina Faso were oriented to the national guidelines at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. They have found that short orientations are less expensive and reach more health workers that traditional training sessions.

Malaria remains the leading cause of consultations, hospitalization and death in health facilities in Burkina Faso. In 2015, 23,634 cases of severe malaria were recorded in hospitals with 1,634 deaths, a mortality rate of 7% at this level compared to 1% nationally. Since April 2014, 1,819 providers from 49 districts have been trained in malaria case management, specifically at the first level (health center – CSPS). Conversely, at referral centers – medical centers with surgical units (CMA), regional hospitals (CHR) and university hospitals (CHU) – providers are not well educated on the new WHO guidelines for malaria prevention and case management.

Health worker orientation session

This situation led the United States Agency for International Development-supported Improving Malaria Care (IMC) project and the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) to organize orientation sessions for providers in 8 CHR in September 2016. The sessions were conducted by trainers at the national level, supported by clinicians from hospitals including pediatricians and gynecologists.

A total of 298 health workers were oriented, including 24 physicians, 157 nurses, 56 midwives, as well as pharmacists and laboratory technicians. 39% of participants were female and 43% have less than 5 years of service in these hospitals. The sessions have provided participants with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new guidelines for malaria prevention and case management.

The orientations have also made it possible to identify the difficulties encountered by referral structures in malaria case management, which include: insufficient staff, inadequate capacity building, no blood bank in some hospitals, reagent stock-outs, inadequacies in the referral system, and insufficient equipment.

To address these difficulties, staff redeployment, internal supervision, development of tools to monitor reagents stocks have been proposed. To move forward, response plans for the period of high malaria transmission is expected to be developed for these referral facilities.

Improving Quality of Data to Advance Malaria in Pregnancy Indicator Coverage in Ebonyi State, Nigeria

Progress in preventing malaria in pregnancy depends on good data. Bright Orji, Gladys Olisaekee, Onyinye Udenze, Enobong Umoekeyo, Chika Nwankwo, Boniface Onwe, Chibugo Okoli, and Emmanuel Otolorin of Jhpiego discussed ways to improve data quality in Nigeria  at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene with support from the USAID Maternal and Child Health Program. A summary of their points follows:

Reviewing Health Facility Data

Quality data are crucial for informed decision-making to address health challenges and improve malaria service delivery among countries on the pathway to malaria elimination. This emphasis on better data quality was reflected in the World Malaria Day theme of “Counting Malaria Out” in 2009 and 2010.

In Nigeria, improving malaria data quality has been difficult due to critical health system challenges including poor coordination across different departments, institutional complexities, and a shortage of medical record officers and service providers sufficiently trained in data visualization and use of data for decision-making. In response, the Maternal and Child Health Survival Program (MCSP) in Nigeria embarked on the implementation of key activities to improve quality of malaria data in Ebonyi State.

These activities included training on record keeping and use of data for decision-making; post training follow-up; dash boards at the frontline for better data visualization; monthly data collation meetings; improved synergy among service departments; and quarterly data quality assurance visits.  As a result, more than 75% of facilities graphed malaria indicators thereby increasing data visualization and use of data for decision-making.

An example of data improvements leading to service increases was Intermittent Preventive Treatment for malaria in pregnancy (IPTp). IPTp1 service statistics in MCSP-supported facilities improved from 54.1% in Oct-Dec 2015 to 81.3% by Jul-Sept 2016 compared to 54.7% to 67.8% in the same periods for non-MCSP facilities.

Similarly, IPTp2 service statistics in MCSP-supported facilities improved from 52.8% to 70.5%compared to 46.5% to 58.0% in the same period for non-MCSP facilities.

Data quality improvement interventions such as monthly data collation and validation meetings prior uploading data to DHIS can contribute to improved quality of malaria performance indicators, better coordination between antenatal care, outpatient and pharmacy departments and increased IPTp coverage.

Potential Contribution of Community-Based Health Workers to Improving Prevention of Malaria in Pregnancy

Justin Tiendrebeogo, Ousmane Badolo, Mathurin Dodo, Danielle Burke, and Bill Brieger of Jhpiego have designed and are implementing a study to determine the effect of delivering Intermittent Preventive Treatment for Malaria in Pregnancy through community health workers in Burkina Faso with the support of the US President’s Malaria Initiative and the USAID Maternal and Child Survival Project. They have shared the design and start-up activities for the study at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. A summary follows:

CHW Flipchart Page

The Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso with the support of its partners initiated a study on the feasibility of increasing provision of Intermittent Preventive Malaria Treatment in pregnant women (IPTp) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) by involving existing community-based health workers (CBHWs). As Burkina Faso adopted the WHO recommendations for more doses of IPTp during pregnancy, it was proposed that the challenge of achieving coverage of third, fourth and additional doses could be met using CBHWs.

The approved protocol calls for CBHWs to refer pregnant women to antenatal care (ANC) to receive their first IPTp dose. Subsequent doses at one-month intervals would be provided by trained CBHWs, who would report back to supervising midwives at the ANC clinics. Several steps were taken to gain approval and set up the intervention.

CHW Using Flipchart

First, IPTp data from the health information system was gathered. IPTp coverage based on ANC registration in the 6 intervention clinics was 69% IPTp1, 68% IPTp2, 56% IPTP3, and 1% IPTp4. Similar information was obtained from the 6 control clinic catchment areas. Situation analysis found that while CBHW curriculum stresses the importance of ANC, it does not address IPTp at community level.

In response updated training materials have been developed. The study team also collected information on village size and availability of CBHWs, especially females. Among the villages in the catchment of the 6 intervention ANC clinics, 33 were found to lack female CBHWs.

Supervisory Meeting

As a result, the team needed to recruit additional female CBHWs, as revised national recruitment guidance stressed attainment of primary school certificate over gender, meaning mainly men had been hired previously. Two institutional review boards were involved and suggested the need to address the potential rare side effects of SP and concerns that community IPTp would not detract from ANC clinic attendance.

Since district and clinic level health staff will be involved in implementing the program using the national CBHW program, lessons learned from this effort to expand the work of CBHWs in preventing malaria in pregnancy should be applicable and adaptable to the whole country.