Nossal Institute for Global Health - Research Publications
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Strengthening Health Systems to Support Children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in Fiji-A Commentary
Supporting children with neurodevelopmental disabilities (NDDs) is recognized as an increasing priority in Fiji, a middle-income Pacific Island country. Our objective was to describe our approach to developing a model of care and strengthening local leadership in developmental paediatrics in Fiji to ensure high-quality identification, assessment and management of children with NDDs. Paediatric staff at Colonial War Memorial (CWM) Hospital in Suva have worked in partnership with Australian paediatricians to develop the model of care. The platform of continuing medical education during biannual 3 to 4 days of clinic-based teaching with visiting developmental paediatricians from Australia has been used. Since 2010, there have been 15 local and regional paediatric trainees trained. Since 2015, our two local lead paediatric trainees have run a weekly local developmental clinic. In total, 370 children aged 0 to 18 with NDDs have been comprehensively assessed with a detailed history and standardised tools. The model is extending to two divisional hospitals. Research engagement with the team is resulting in the development of a local evidence base. Local, regional and international leadership and collaboration has resulted in increased capacity in the Fijian health system to support children with NDDs.
Greater involvement of people living with HIV in health care
(JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD, 2009-01-01)
Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS represents a mobilising and an organising principle for the involvement of people living with HIV in program and policy responses. People with HIV have been at the forefront of designing and implementing effective HIV treatment, care and prevention activities. However, governments and health systems have yet to act to fully harness the potential and resources of people living with HIV in addressing the epidemic.The lives and experiences of people living with HIV highlight the need for a shift in the existing paradigm of disease management. The high prevalence of HIV amongst health care providers in many countries, exacerbated by stigma towards those with HIV in the health care professions, is seriously undermining the capacity of health systems and signals the need to change the current nature of health care delivery. Moreover, the negative experiences of many people with HIV in relation to their health care as well as in their daily social interactions, coupled with the ever-limited current investment in treatment, care and support, demonstrate that the current system is drastically failing the majority of people with HIV. Current health management systems urgently need to be more effectively maximised, to increase the quality of standards of health care systems and services in resource poor countries. An integrated approach to health care based on a human rights framework, grounded in community realities and delivered in partnership and solidarity with people living with HIV, offers the most viable approach to overcoming the crisis of HIV in the health care system.
Fostering disability-inclusive HIV/AIDS programs in northeast India: a participatory study
BACKGROUND: Manipur and Nagaland in northeast India are among the Indian states with the highest prevalence of HIV. Most prevention and care programs focus on identified "high risk" groups, but recent data suggest the epidemic is increasing among the general population, primarily through heterosexual sex. People with disability (PWD) in India are more likely than the general population to be illiterate, unemployed and impoverished, but little is known of their HIV risk. METHODS: This project aimed to enable HIV programs in Manipur and Nagaland to be more disability-inclusive. The objectives were to: explore HIV risk and risk perception in relation to PWD among HIV and disability programmers, and PWD themselves; identify HIV-related education and service needs and preferences of PWD; and utilise findings and stakeholder consultation to draft practical guidelines for inclusion of disability into HIV programming. Data were collected through a survey and several qualitative tools. RESULTS: The findings revealed that participants believe PWD in these states are potentially vulnerable to HIV transmission due to social exclusion and poverty, lack of knowledge, gender norms and obstacles to accessing HIV programs. Neither HIV nor disability organisations currently address the risks, needs and preferences of PWD. CONCLUSION: The Guidelines produced in the project and disseminated to stakeholders emphasise opportunities for taking action with minimal cost and resources, such as using the networks and expertise of both HIV and disability sectors, producing HIV material in a variety of formats, and promoting accessibility to mainstream HIV education and services. The human rights obligations and public health benefits of modifying national and state policies and programs to assist this highly disadvantaged population are also highlighted.
Factors Influencing Disability Inclusion in General Eye Health Services in Bandung, Indonesia: A Qualitative Study
The Inclusive System for Effective Eye-care (I-SEE) is a pilot project for disability inclusion in eye health in Bandung district of Indonesia. The aim of this research was to investigate factors influencing the introduction, i.e., adoption, implementation and continuation of I-SEE. A qualitative exploratory study was conducted by interviewing relevant stakeholders (n = 27) and users with disabilities (n = 12). A theoretical framework on the introduction of innovations in health care was used to guide data collection and thematic analysis. Factors related to the characteristics of the innovation (I-SEE) (e.g., infrastructure, equipment, engagement of people with disabilities, inclusive communication), service provider characteristics (e.g., motivation, attitudes, training), organizational characteristics (e.g., supervision, indicators, data), and the socio-political context of I-SEE (policy, motivation of users, family support, costs, transport) were essential for supporting the introduction process. Additionally, stakeholders proposed strategies for enhancing the introduction of I-SEE (e.g., awareness, collaborations). While there are specific disability related factors, most factors influencing the introduction of disability inclusive eye health were similar to introducing any innovation in general health care. Strategies for disability inclusion should be included from the planning phase of an eye health program and are reasonably simple to adapt.
Reducing Malaria in Solomon Islands: Lessons for Effective Aid
(Development Policy Centre, Australian National University, 2017)
The burden of malaria in Solomon Islands, a small island state of approximately 653,500 people and lower-middle-income status, remains among the highest of all countries outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Nevertheless, significant improvements in malaria control have been made in the last 25 years. From a peak of nearly 450 new cases per 1,000 population in 1993, by 2016 annual national malaria incidence dropped to 81 cases per 1,000. Solomon Islands also remains one of the world’s most aid dependent nations, and assistance from international donors has been particularly visible in the health sector. This paper explores the role that foreign aid has played in the reduction of malaria in Solomon Islands in recent years. Within this, the paper considers the role of the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services with respect to its efforts to coordinate donors and improve aid effectiveness as well as its broader efforts to reform the health system. This study uses a qualitative within-case methodology, including a review of the published and grey literature as well as a series of in-depth, semi-structured qualitative interviews conducted between March and May 2017. 18 interviews were conducted with key stakeholders who have been involved in the design, funding, and implementation of malaria control and elimination activities in Solomon Islands: individuals currently or previously employed by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, bilateral and multilateral donor agencies, advisers, researchers, and members of civil society.
Factors influencing place of delivery for pastoralist women in Kenya: a qualitative study
BACKGROUND: Kenya's high maternal mortality ratio can be partly explained by the low proportion of women delivering in health facilities attended by skilled birth attendants (SBAs). Many women continue to give birth at home attended by family members or traditional birth attendants (TBAs). This is particularly true for pastoralist women in Laikipia and Samburu counties, Kenya. This paper investigates the socio-demographic factors and cultural beliefs and practices that influence place of delivery for these pastoralist women. METHODS: Qualitative data were collected in five group ranches in Laikipia County and three group ranches in Samburu County. Fifteen in-depth interviews were conducted: seven with SBAs and eight with key informants. Nineteen focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted: four with TBAs; three with community health workers (CHWs); ten with women who had delivered in the past two years; and two with husbands of women who had delivered in the past two years. Topics discussed included reasons for homebirths, access and referrals to health facilities, and strengths and challenges of TBAs and SBAs. The data were translated, transcribed and inductively and deductively thematically analysed both manually and using NVivo. RESULTS: Socio-demographic characteristics and cultural practices and beliefs influence pastoralist women's place of delivery in Laikipia and Samburu counties, Kenya. Pastoralist women continue to deliver at home due to a range of factors including: distance, poor roads, and the difficulty of obtaining and paying for transport; the perception that the treatment and care offered at health facilities is disrespectful and unfriendly; lack of education and awareness regarding the risks of delivering at home; and local cultural values related to women and birthing. CONCLUSIONS: Understanding factors influencing the location of delivery helps to explain why many pastoralist women continue to deliver at home despite health services becoming more accessible. This information can be used to inform policy and program development aimed at increasing the proportion of facility-based deliveries in challenging settings.
Walking Together: Towards a Collaborative Model for Maternal Health Care in Pastoralist Communities of Laikipia and Samburu, Kenya
(SPRINGER/PLENUM PUBLISHERS, 2017-10-01)
Purpose In 2009 the Kenyan Government introduced health system reforms to address persistently high maternal and newborn mortality including deployment of skilled birth attendants (SBAs) to health facilities in remote areas, and proscription of births attended by traditional birth attendants (TBAs). Despite these initiatives, uptake of SBA services remains low and inequitably distributed. This paper describes the development of an SBA/TBA collaborative model of maternal health care for pastoralist communities in Laikipia and Samburu. Description A range of approaches were used to generate a comprehensive understanding of the maternal and child health issues affecting these pastoralist communities including community and government consultations, creation of a booklet and film recognising the contributions of both TBAs and SBAs that formed the basis of subsequent discussions, and mixed methods research projects. Based on the knowledge and understanding collectively generated by these approaches we developed an evidence-based, locally acceptable and feasible model for SBA/TBA collaborative care of women during pregnancy and childbirth. Assessment The proposed collaborative care model includes: antenatal and post-natal care delivered by both SBAs and TBAs; TBAs as birth companions who support women and SBAs; training TBAs in recognition of birth complications, nutrition during pregnancy and following birth, referral processes, and family planning; training SBAs in respectful maternity care; and affordable, feasible redesign of health facility infrastructure and services so they better meet the identified needs of pastoralist women and their families. Conclusion The transition from births predominantly attended by TBAs to births attended by SBAs is likely to be a gradual one, and an interim SBA/TBA collaborative model of care has the potential to maximise the safety of pastoralist women and babies during the transition phase, and may even accelerate the transition itself.
A group-based lifestyle intervention for diabetes prevention in low- and middle-income country: implementation evaluation of the Kerala Diabetes Prevention Program
BACKGROUND: While several efficacy trials have demonstrated diabetes risk reduction through targeting key lifestyle behaviours, there is a significant evidence gap in relation to the successful implementation of such interventions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This paper evaluates the implementation of a cluster randomised controlled trial of a group-based lifestyle intervention among individuals at high-risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in the state of Kerala, India. Our aim is to uncover provider-, participant- and community-level factors salient to successful implementation and transferable to other LMICs. METHODS: The 12-month intervention program consisted of (1) a group-based peer-support program consisting of 15 sessions over a period of 12 months for high-risk individuals, (2) peer leader (PL) training and ongoing support for intervention delivery, (3) diabetes education resource materials and (4) strategies to stimulate broader community engagement. The evaluation was informed by the RE-AIM and PIPE frameworks. RESULTS: Provider-level factors: Twenty-nine (29/30, 97%) intervention groups organised all 15 sessions. A 2-day PL training was attended by 51(85%) of 60 PLs. The PL handbook was found to be 'very useful' by 78% of PLs. Participant-level factors: Of 1327 eligible individuals, 1007(76%) participants were enrolled. On average, participants attended eight sessions. Sixty-eight percent rated their interest in group sessions as 'very interested', and 55% found the group sessions 'very useful' in making lifestyle changes. Inconvenient time (43%) and location (21%) were found to be important barriers for participants who did not attend any sessions. Community-level factors: Community-based activities reached to 41% of the participants for walking groups, 40% for kitchen garden training, and 31% for yoga training. PLs were readily available for support outside the sessions, as 75% of participants reported extracurricular contacts with their PLs. The commitment from the local partner institute and political leaders facilitated the high uptake of the program. CONCLUSION: A comprehensive evaluation of program implementation from the provider-, participant- and community-level perspectives demonstrates that the K-DPP program was feasible and acceptable in changing lifestyle behaviours in high-risk individuals. The findings from this evaluation will guide the future delivery of structured lifestyle modification diabetes programs in LMICs. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Trial registration: Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12611000262909 . Registered 10 March 2011.
"Freedom to go where I want": improving access to sexual and reproductive health for women with disabilities in the Philippines
(TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2017-05-01)
Women with disabilities experience a range of violations of their sexual and reproductive rights. The Philippines ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and have laws in place to promote the rights to sexual and reproductive health and protection from violence. However, limited resourcing, and opposition to such laws undermine access to these rights for all women. Inadequate disability inclusion within policy and programming, and limited disability awareness of services, further impedes women with disabilities from attaining these rights. The W-DARE project (Women with Disability taking Action on REproductive and sexual health) was a three-year participatory action research program designed to (1) understand the sexual and reproductive health experiences and needs of women with disabilities; and (2) improve access to quality sexual and reproductive health, including violence response services, for women with disabilities in the Philippines. In response to the highlighted need for more information about sexual and reproductive health and greater access to services, the W-DARE team developed and implemented a pilot intervention focused on peer-facilitated Participatory Action Groups (PAGs) for women with disabilities. This paper focuses on the qualitative findings from the evaluation of this PAG intervention.
Assessing the impact of harm reduction programs on law enforcement in Southeast Asia: a description of a regional research methodology
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2012-07-09)
For over 15 years the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) has been a leading donor for harm reduction projects in Southeast Asia. The recent AusAID-supported harm reduction projects of greatest significance have included the Asia Regional HIV/AIDS Project (AHRP), from 2002 until 2007,1 and the HIV/AIDS Asia Regional Program (HAARP), from 2007 until 2015.2 Both projects included in their design specific strategies for engaging with law enforcement agencies at country level. The main focus of these strategies has been to develop law enforcement harm reduction policy and curriculum, and the design and implementation of specific harm reduction training for law enforcement officers.In July 2008, the Australian Development Research Awards (ADRA) funded the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne to establish a research project created to assess the influence of harm reduction programs on the policy and operational practices of law enforcement agencies in Southeast Asia, known as the LEHRN Project (Law Enforcement, Harm Reduction, Nossal Institute Project). The ADRA is a unique grant research mechanism that specifically funds development research to improve the understanding and informed decision making of the implementation of Australian aid effectiveness.While the need to engage law enforcement when establishing harm reduction programs was well documented, little was known about the impact or influence of harm reduction programs on policy and practices of law enforcement agencies. The LEHRN Project provided the opportunity to assess the impact of harm reduction programs on law enforcement in Southeast Asia, with a focus on Vietnam, Cambodia and Lao PDR.