46 research outputs found

    Using a theory of change to develop an integrated intervention for depression, diabetes and hypertension in Zimbabwe: lessons from the Friendship Bench project.

    Get PDF
    Background Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are projected to become the leading cause of disability and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030; a vast treatment gap exists. There is a dearth of knowledge on developing evidence-based interventions that address comorbid NCDs using a task-shifting approach. The Friendship Bench, a brief psychological intervention for common mental disorders delivered by trained community grandmothers, is a promising intervention for comorbid NCDs. Although task-shifting appears to be a rational approach, evidence suggests that it may bring about tension between existing professionals from whom tasks are shifted. A Theory of Change approach is an effective way of managing the unintended tension by bringing together different stakeholders involved to build consensus on how to task shift appropriately to the parties involved. We aimed to use a theory of change approach to formulating a road map on how to successfully integrate diabetes and hypertension care into the existing Friendship Bench in order to come up with an integrated care package for depression, hypertension and diabetes aimed at strengthening NCD care in primary health care systems in Zimbabwe. Method A theory of change workshop with 18 stakeholders from diverse backgrounds was carried out in February 2020. Participants included grandmothers working on the Friendship Bench project (n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ4), policymakers from the ministry of health (n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ2), people with lived experience for the three NCDs (n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ4), health care workers (n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ2), and traditional healers (n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ2). Findings from earlier work (situational analysis, desk review, FGDs and clinic-based surveys) on the three NCDs were shared before starting the ToC. A facilitator with previous experience running ToCs led the workshop and facilitated the co-production of the ToC map. Through an iterative process, consensus between the 18 stakeholders was reached, and a causal pathway leading to developing a framework for an intervention was formulated. Results The ToC singled out the need to use expert clients (people with lived experience) to promote a patient-centred care approach that would leverage the existing Friendship Bench approach. In the face of COVID-19, the stakeholders further endorsed the use of existing digital platforms, notably WhatsApp, as an alternative way to reach out to clients and provide support. Leveraging existing community support groups as an entry point for people in need of NCD care was highlighted as a win-win by all stakeholders. A final framework for an NCD care package supported by Friendship Bench was presented to policymakers and accepted to be piloted in five geographical areas. Conclusions The ToC can be used to build consensus on how best to use using an existing intervention for common mental disorders to integrate care for diabetes and hypertension. There is a need to evaluate this new intervention through an adequately powered study

    Barriers to the provision of non-communicable disease care in Zimbabwe: a qualitative study of primary health care nurses.

    Get PDF
    BACKGROUND: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) contribute significantly to the global disease burden, with low-and middle-income (LMICs) countries disproportionately affected. A significant knowledge gap in NCDs exacerbates the high burden, worsened by perennial health system challenges, including human and financial resources constraints. Primary health care workers play a crucial role in offering health care to most people in LMICs, and their views on the barriers to the provision of quality care for NCDs are critical. This study explored perceived barriers to providing NCDs care in primary health care facilities in Zimbabwe. METHODS: In-depth, individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with general nurses in primary care facilities until data saturation was reached. We focused on diabetes, hypertension, and depression, the three most common conditions in primary care in Zimbabwe. We used thematic content analysis based on an interview guide developed following a situational analysis of NCDs care in Zimbabwe and views from patients with lived experiences. RESULTS: Saturation was reached after interviewing 10 participants from five busy urban clinics. For all three NCDs, we identified four cross-cutting barriers, a) poor access to medication and functional equipment such as blood pressure machines, urinalysis strips; b) high cost of private care; c)poor working conditions; and d) poor awareness from both patients and the community which often resulted in the use of alternative potentially harmful remedies. Participants indicated that empowering communities could be an effective and low-cost approach to positive lifestyle changes and health-seeking behaviours. Participants indicated that the Friendship bench, a task-shifting programme working with trained community grandmothers, could provide a platform to introduce NCDs care at the community level. Also, creating community awareness and initiating screening at a community level through community health workers (CHWs) could reduce the workload on the clinic nursing staff. CONCLUSION: Our findings reflect those from other LMICs, with poor work conditions and resources shortages being salient barriers to optimal NCDs care at the facility level. Zimbabwe's primary health care system faces several challenges that call for exploring ways to alleviate worker fatigue through strengthened community-led care for NCDs. Empowering communities could improve awareness and positive lifestyle changes, thus optimising NCD care. Further, there is a need to optimise NCD care in urban Zimbabwe through a holistic and multisectoral approach to improve working conditions, basic clinical supplies and essential drugs, which are the significant challenges facing the country's health care sector. The Friendship Bench could be an ideal entry point for providing an integrated NCD care package for diabetes, hypertension and depression

    A Digital Mental Health Intervention (Inuka) for Common Mental Health Disorders in Zimbabwean Adults in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Feasibility and Acceptability Pilot Study.

    Get PDF
    BACKGROUND: Common mental health disorders (CMDs) are leading causes of disability globally. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the burden of CMDs. COVID-19 containment measures, including lockdowns, have disrupted access to in-person mental health care. It is therefore imperative to explore the utility of digital mental health interventions to bridge the treatment gap. Mobile health technologies are effective tools for increasing access to treatment at a lower cost. This study explores the utility of Inuka, a chat-based app hinged on the Friendship Bench problem-solving therapy intervention. The Inuka app offers double anonymity, and clients can book or cancel a session at their convenience. Inuka services can be accessed either through a mobile app or the web. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to explore the feasibility of conducting a future clinical trial. Additionally, we evaluated the feasibility, acceptability, appropriateness, scalability, and preliminary effectiveness of Inuka. METHODS: Data were collected using concurrent mixed methods. We used a pragmatic quasiexperimental design to compare the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary clinical effectiveness of Inuka (experimental group) and WhatsApp chat-based counseling (control). Participants received 6 problem-solving therapy sessions delivered by lay counselors. A reduction in CMDs was the primary clinical outcome. The secondary outcomes were health-related quality of life (HRQoL), disability and functioning, and social support. Quantitative outcomes were analyzed using descriptive and bivariate statistics. Finally, we used administrative data and semistructured interviews to gather data on acceptability and feasibility; this was analyzed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Altogether, 258 participants were screened over 6 months, with 202 assessed for eligibility, and 176 participants were included in the study (recruitment ratio of 29 participants/month). The participants' mean age was 24.4 (SD 5.3) years, and most participants were female and had tertiary education. The mean daily smartphone usage was 8 (SD 3.5) hours. Eighty-three users signed up and completed at least one session. The average completion rate was 3 out of 4 sessions. Inuka was deemed feasible and acceptable in the local context, with connectivity challenges, app instability, expensive mobile data, and power outages cited as potential barriers to scale up. Generally, there was a decline in CMDs (F2,73=2.63; P=.08), depression (F2,73=7.67; P<.001), and anxiety (F2,73=2.95; P=.06) and a corresponding increase in HRQoL (F2,73=7.287; P<.001) in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Study outcomes showed that it is feasible to run a future large-scale randomized clinical trial (RCT) and lend support to the feasibility and acceptability of Inuka, including evidence of preliminary effectiveness. The app's double anonymity and structured support were the most salient features. There is a great need for iterative app updates before scaling up. Finally, a large-scale hybrid RCT with a longer follow-up to evaluate the clinical implementation and cost-effectiveness of the app is needed

    Using the RE-AIM framework to evaluate the implementation of scaling-up the Friendship Bench in Zimbabwe - a quantitative observational study

    Get PDF
    Background: This study aimed to evaluate the real-world implementation of the Friendship Bench (FB) - an evidence-based brief psychological intervention delivered by community health workers (CHWs) - three years after its implementation in three city health departments in Zimbabwe. Implementation sites were evaluated according to their current performance using the RE-AIM framework making this one of the first evaluations of a scaled-up evidence-based psychological intervention in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Methods: Using the RE-AIM guide ( www.re-aim.org ), the authors designed quantitative indicators based on existing FB implementation data. Thirty-six primary health care clinics (PHC) in Harare (n=28), Chitungwiza (n=4) and Gweru (n=4) were included. Among these clinics 20 were large comprehensive health care centers, 7 medium (mostly maternal and child healthcare) and 9 small clinics (basic medical care and acting as referral clinic). Existing data from these clinics, added to additionally collected data through interviews and field observations were used to investigate and compare the performance of the FB across clinics. The focus was on the RE-AIM domains of Reach, Adoption, and Implementation. Results: Small clinics achieved 34% reach, compared to large (15%) and medium clinics (9%). Adoption was high in all clinic types, ranging from 59% to 71%. Small clinics led the implementation domain with 53%, followed by medium sized clinics 43% and large clinics 40%. Small clinics performed better in all indicators and differences in performance between small and large clinics were significant. Program activity and data quality depends on ongoing support for delivering agents and buy-in from health authorities. Conclusion: The Friendship Bench program was implemented over three years transitioning from a research-based implementation program to one led locally. The Reach domain showed the largest gap across clinics where larger clinics performed poorly relative to smaller clinics and should be a target for future implementation improvements. Program data needs to be integrated into existing health information systems. Future studies should seek to optimize scale-up and sustainment strategies to maintain effective task-shared psychological interventions in SSA

    Over-expression of a zeatin O-glucosylation gene in maize leads to growth retardation and tasselseed formation

    Get PDF
    To study the effects of cytokinin O-glucosylation in monocots, maize (Zea mays L.) transformants harbouring the ZOG1 gene (encoding a zeatin O-glucosyltransferase from Phaseolus lunatus L.) under the control of the constitutive ubiquitin (Ubi) promoter were generated. The roots and leaves of the transformants had greatly increased levels of zeatin-O-glucoside. The vegetative characteristics of hemizygous and homozygous Ubi:ZOG1 plants resembled those of cytokinin-deficient plants, including shorter stature, thinner stems, narrower leaves, smaller meristems, and increased root mass and branching. Transformant leaves had a higher chlorophyll content and increased levels of active cytokinins compared with those of non-transformed sibs. The Ubi:ZOG1 plants exhibited delayed senescence when grown in the spring/summer. While hemizygous transformants had reduced tassels with fewer spikelets and normal viable pollen, homozygotes had very small tassels and feminized tassel florets, resembling tasselseed phenotypes. Such modifications of the reproductive phase were unexpected and demonstrate a link between cytokinins and sex-specific floral development in monocots

    Finishing the euchromatic sequence of the human genome

    Get PDF
    The sequence of the human genome encodes the genetic instructions for human physiology, as well as rich information about human evolution. In 2001, the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium reported a draft sequence of the euchromatic portion of the human genome. Since then, the international collaboration has worked to convert this draft into a genome sequence with high accuracy and nearly complete coverage. Here, we report the result of this finishing process. The current genome sequence (Build 35) contains 2.85 billion nucleotides interrupted by only 341 gaps. It covers ‚ąľ99% of the euchromatic genome and is accurate to an error rate of ‚ąľ1 event per 100,000 bases. Many of the remaining euchromatic gaps are associated with segmental duplications and will require focused work with new methods. The near-complete sequence, the first for a vertebrate, greatly improves the precision of biological analyses of the human genome including studies of gene number, birth and death. Notably, the human enome seems to encode only 20,000-25,000 protein-coding genes. The genome sequence reported here should serve as a firm foundation for biomedical research in the decades ahead

    Patient Health Questionnaire-9 scores do not accurately estimate depression prevalence: individual participant data meta-analysis.

    Get PDF
    OBJECTIVES: Depression symptom questionnaires are not for diagnostic classification. Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) scores¬†‚Č•10 are nonetheless often used to estimate depression prevalence. We compared PHQ-9 ‚Č•10 prevalence to Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (SCID) major depression prevalence and assessed whether an alternative PHQ-9 cutoff could more accurately estimate prevalence. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: Individual participant data meta-analysis of datasets comparing PHQ-9 scores to SCID major depression status. RESULTS: A total of 9,242 participants (1,389 SCID major depression cases) from 44 primary studies were included. Pooled PHQ-9 ‚Č•10 prevalence was 24.6% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 20.8%, 28.9%); pooled SCID major depression prevalence was 12.1% (95% CI: 9.6%, 15.2%); and pooled difference was 11.9% (95% CI: 9.3%, 14.6%). The mean study-level PHQ-9 ‚Č•10 to SCID-based prevalence ratio was 2.5 times. PHQ-9 ‚Č•14 and the PHQ-9 diagnostic algorithm provided prevalence closest to SCID major depression prevalence, but study-level prevalence differed from SCID-based prevalence by an average absolute difference of 4.8% for PHQ-9 ‚Č•14 (95% prediction interval: -13.6%, 14.5%) and 5.6% for the PHQ-9 diagnostic algorithm (95% prediction interval: -16.4%, 15.0%). CONCLUSION: PHQ-9¬†‚Č•10 substantially overestimates depression prevalence. There is too much heterogeneity to correct statistically in individual studies

    Effectiveness of a national quality improvement programme to improve survival after emergency abdominal surgery (EPOCH): a stepped-wedge cluster-randomised trial

    Get PDF
    BACKGROUND: Emergency abdominal surgery is associated with poor patient outcomes. We studied the effectiveness of a national quality improvement (QI) programme to implement a care pathway to improve survival for these patients. METHODS: We did a stepped-wedge cluster-randomised trial of patients aged 40 years or older undergoing emergency open major abdominal surgery. Eligible UK National Health Service (NHS) hospitals (those that had an emergency general surgical service, a substantial volume of emergency abdominal surgery cases, and contributed data to the National Emergency Laparotomy Audit) were organised into 15 geographical clusters and commenced the QI programme in a random order, based on a computer-generated random sequence, over an 85-week period with one geographical cluster commencing the intervention every 5 weeks from the second to the 16th time period. Patients were masked to the study group, but it was not possible to mask hospital staff or investigators. The primary outcome measure was mortality within 90 days of surgery. Analyses were done on an intention-to-treat basis. This study is registered with the ISRCTN registry, number ISRCTN80682973. FINDINGS: Treatment took place between March 3, 2014, and Oct 19, 2015. 22‚Äą754 patients were assessed for elegibility. Of 15‚Äą873 eligible patients from 93 NHS hospitals, primary outcome data were analysed for 8482 patients in the usual care group and 7374 in the QI group. Eight patients in the usual care group and nine patients in the QI group were not included in the analysis because of missing primary outcome data. The primary outcome of 90-day mortality occurred in 1210 (16%) patients in the QI group compared with 1393 (16%) patients in the usual care group (HR 1¬∑11, 0¬∑96-1¬∑28). INTERPRETATION: No survival benefit was observed from this QI programme to implement a care pathway for patients undergoing emergency abdominal surgery. Future QI programmes should ensure that teams have both the time and resources needed to improve patient care. FUNDING: National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Programme

    Multiorgan MRI findings after hospitalisation with COVID-19 in the UK (C-MORE): a prospective, multicentre, observational cohort study