Performance of Community Health Workers in Providing Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) Services in Eight Districts of Rwanda

During the first poster session at the 2018 Annual Meeting fo the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Noella Umulisa, Aline Uwimana, Cathy Mugeni, Beata Mukarugwiro, Stephen Mutwiwa, and Aimable Mbituyumuremyi of the Maternal and Child Survival Project (USAID)/Jhpiego and the Ministry of Health, Rwanda, presented findings from a review of community health workers in malaria case management. Their findings follow:

Rwanda has achieved near universal coverage of long-lasting insecticide nets, artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) and diagnosis, and targeted indoor residual spraying. Even so, there was an unprecedented increase in malaria cases from 2012-2017 despite optimal coverage of preventive and curative key interventions. The increase was caused by higher temperature, more rainfall, and increased resistance to insecticides.

With more cases, the need for community case management (CCM) is crucial. Rwanda therefore trains, equips and supports community health providers to deliver high- impact treatment interventions and aims to supplement facility-based case management. Rwanda introduced integrated CCM 2008. Trained community health workers (CHWs) provide iCCM based on empirical diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. They also conduct malnutrition surveillance, comprehensive reporting and referral services.

Given the changing status of malaria in the country, it was necessary to evaluate the performance of the CHWs. The evaluation aimed 1) to evaluate CHW performance in managing malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea in 8 districts of Rwanda based on national guidelines, and 2) to identify areas to reinforce and empower community health interventions. Using proximity (near/far) to hospitals and health centers, CHWs who had a minimum of 3 months experience using malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) were selected for interview. Slightly over half of CHWs were Males (56.2%). Most were over 40 years of age and nearly one-third were 50 years and older. Only 2% were between 25-29 years old.

Based on National Guidelines, CHWs were judged to have provided “adequate” treatment more frequently than “correct” treatment. Overall, 90% of cases were adequately treated; only 70% correctly treated. Among the three main conditions, malaria was most often adequately and correctly treated. Incorrect treatment was due to lack of adherence to guidelines. For malaria incorrect treatment often meant using the wrong does for age packet for treatment when the correct packet was not in stock.

In conclusion, CHWs correctly treat 70% of children for all IMCI pathologies according to national guidelines. Malaria was the most seen/treated pathology; cases increased during study period. Overall, cases more often treated adequately than correctly. CHWs use complex tools thus lack adequate time to follow all steps correctly when providing services.

The study team recommends the need to strengthen iCCM commodities supply chain, especially at community level through supervision and mentorship conducted at health centers, district hospitals and central level. Also it is necessary to revise and simplify iCCM tools used by CHWs to decrease burden and improve quality of services.

This poster was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under the terms of the Cooperative Agreement AID-OAA-A-14-00028. The contents are the responsibility of the Maternal and Child Survival Program and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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