3 research outputs found

    HIV retesting in pregnant women in South Africa: Outcomes of a quality improvement project targeting health systems’ weaknesses

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    Introduction: South Africa is moving towards achieving elimination of mother-to-child transmission (eMTCT) but gaps remain in eMTCT programmes. Documenting successful outcomes of health systems interventions to address these gaps could encourage similar initiatives in the future.Methods: We describe the effectiveness of a Quality Improvement Project (QIP) to improve HIV retesting rates during pregnancy among women who had previously tested negative by redesigning the clinic process. Eight poorly-performing clinics were selected and compared with eight better-performing control clinics in a subdistrict in North West Province. Over nine months, root cause analysis and testing of change ideas using Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles were used to identify and refine interventions. Analysis of patient flow showed that women were referred for retesting following their nurse-driven antenatal visits, and many left without retesting as this would have further prolonged their visit. Processes were redesigned and standardised, where a counsellor was charged with retesting patients before antenatal consults. Staff were mentored on data collection and interpretation process. Quality improvement nurse advisors monitored indicators bi-weekly and adjusted interventions accordingly.Results: Retesting in intervention clinics rose from 36% in the three months pre-intervention to full coverage at month nine. At the end of the study, retesting in intervention clinics was 20% higher than in controls. Retesting also increased in the subdistrict overall.Conclusion: Service coverage and overall impact of HIV programmes can be raised through care-process analysis that optimises patient flow, supported by targeted QI interventions. These QI methodologies may be effective elsewhere for identifying new HIV infections in pregnant/breastfeeding women, and possibly in other services

    Protocol of an individual participant data meta-analysis to quantify the impact of high ambient temperatures on maternal and child health in Africa (HE 2 AT IPD)

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    Introduction: Globally, recognition is growing of the harmful impacts of high ambient temperatures (heat) on health in pregnant women and children. There remain, however, major evidence gaps on the extent to which heat increases the risks for adverse health outcomes, and how this varies between settings. Evidence gaps are especially large in Africa. We will conduct an individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis to quantify the impacts of heat on maternal and child health in sub-Saharan Africa. A detailed understanding and quantification of linkages between heat, and maternal and child health is essential for developing solutions to this critical research and policy area. Methods and analysis: We will use IPD from existing, large, longitudinal trial and cohort studies, on pregnant women and children from sub-Saharan Africa. We will systematically identify eligible studies through a mapping review, searching data repositories, and suggestions from experts. IPD will be acquired from data repositories, or through collaboration with data providers. Existing satellite imagery, climate reanalysis data, and station-based weather observations will be used to quantify weather and environmental exposures. IPD will be recoded and harmonised before being linked with climate, environmental, and socioeconomic data by location and time. Adopting a one-stage and two-stage meta-analysis method, analytical models such as time-to-event analysis, generalised additive models, and machine learning approaches will be employed to quantify associations between exposure to heat and adverse maternal and child health outcomes. Ethics and dissemination: The study has been approved by ethics committees. There is minimal risk to study participants. Participant privacy is protected through the anonymisation of data for analysis, secure data transfer and restricted access. Findings will be disseminated through conferences, journal publications, related policy and research fora, and data may be shared in accordance with data sharing policies of the National Institutes of Health. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42022346068

    Hosting ICASA 2021 in South Africa amidst the global Omicron scare.

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    The 21 International Conference on HIV/AIDS and STI's in Africa (ICASA) was successfully held from the 6 to 11 December 2021 in Durban, South Africa. Little did we know at the time of planning that COVID-19 could become such a formidable force in eroding the progress made to bring lifesaving therapies among vulnerable communities in Africa. The conference also highlighted Africa's openness to the world, also shown in the way South Africa shared data on its discovery of the Omicron variant. Arguably the most important of lessons is that integrated HIV/TB services have become a platform on which to provide other services. We also saw how HIV and TB services were used as leverage for COVID-19 services. Much was also discussed about the need to adopt more self-care approaches, as was demonstrated with the increased use of self-testing technologies for HIV, and potentially other health needs. It's clear that Africa needs to increase its capacity to support and enable innovation, particularly in the design and manufacturing of new technologies including diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics
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