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BMJ Open ; 12(7): e052105, 2022 07 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1973839


OBJECTIVES: Chronic respiratory diseases (CRD) are among the top four non-communicable diseases globally. They are associated with poor health and approximately 4 million deaths every year. The rising burden of CRD in low/middle-income countries will strain already weak health systems. This study aimed to explore the perspectives of healthcare workers and other health policy stakeholders on the barriers to effective diagnosis and management of CRD in Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. STUDY DESIGN: Qualitative descriptive study. SETTINGS: Primary, secondary and tertiary health facilities, government agencies and civil society organisations in five sub-Saharan African countries. PARTICIPANTS: We purposively selected 60 national and district-level policy stakeholders, and 49 healthcare workers, based on their roles in policy decision-making or health provision, and conducted key informant interviews and in-depth interviews, respectively, between 2018 and 2019. Data were analysed through framework approach. RESULTS: We identified intersecting vicious cycles of neglect of CRD at strategic policy and healthcare facility levels. Lack of reliable data on burden of disease, due to weak information systems and diagnostic capacity, negatively affected inclusion in policy; this, in turn, was reflected by low budgetary allocations for diagnostic equipment, training and medicines. At the healthcare facility level, inadequate budgetary allocations constrained diagnostic capacity, quality of service delivery and collection of appropriate data, compounding the lack of routine data on burden of disease. CONCLUSION: Health systems in the five countries are ill-equipped to respond to CRD, an issue that has been brought into sharp focus as countries plan for post-COVID-19 lung diseases. CRD are underdiagnosed, under-reported and underfunded, leading to a vicious cycle of invisibility and neglect. Appropriate diagnosis and management require health systems strengthening, particularly at the primary healthcare level.

COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Health Personnel/education , Health Policy , Humans , Kenya , Qualitative Research
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-317558


Background: Chronic lung diseases are among the top four non communicable diseases (NCDs), associated with 80% of premature mortality worldwide, debilitating health, and poor quality of life for survivors. Common risk factors for lung diseases include exposure to biomass fuels, environmental pollution, tobacco smoke, hereditary factors, and lower respiratory tract infections. Low-and-middle-income countries bear the biggest burden of chronic lung diseases, due to increasing exposures to risk factors, and weak health systems.To manage this rising threat, countries need to orient their systems towards chronic disease management, strengthen their primary healthcare systems even as they pursue universal health coverage reforms. This paper draws on the views and experiences of health systems actors to explore the current challenges to improving high quality, accessible care for chronic lung diseases.Methods: We explored the perspectives of policy stakeholders on management of chronic lung diseases in five Sub-Saharan African countries, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Data were collected between May 2018 and March 2019 through key informant interviews and in-depth interviews with government officials, representatives of non-governmental organizations supporting various health system functions, and healthcare workers of 36 healthcare facilities. Data were analysed using the framework approach.Findings: We identified intersecting vicious cycles of neglect of chronic lung health at both the strategic policy level and the healthcare facility level. At strategic policy level, low diagnostic capacity, weak recording and reporting systems limit the availability of reliable data on the burden of disease, which negatively affects inclusion in policy, and in turn budgetary allocations for diagnostic equipment, training, and medicines. At the service level, lack of budgetary allocations for equipment and training of staff, constrains diagnostic capacity, which, along with limited availability of appropriate medicines reduces service delivery quality and collection of appropriate data within healthcare facilities. These vicious cycles leave health systems ill equipped to respond to the rising burden of chronic lung disease, an issue that has been brought into sharp focus as countries plan for dealing with post COVID lung disease. Interpretation: 1. There is increasing recognition among policymakers that NCDs, including CLD are rising in LMICs.2. CLDs are under-diagnosed, under-reported and underfunded leading to a vicious cycle of invisibility and neglect at all levels of the health system.3. Appropriate diagnosis and CLD management require strengthening of the health systems, particularly at the primary healthcare level.Funding Statement: This research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR (IMPALA, grant reference 16/136/35) using UK aid from the UK Government to support global health research.Declaration of Interests: None declared.Ethics Approval Statement: The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine Ethics Committee approved these studies separately (Kenya: protocol 18-054;Uganda: protocol 18-037;Malawi: protocol M1803;Tanzania and Sudan;protocol 18-043). Additionally, each approved was by in-country committees.

BMJ Open ; 12(2): e054163, 2022 Feb 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1673436


INTRODUCTION: Poor adolescent mental health is a barrier to achieving several sustainable development goals in Tanzania, where adolescent mental health infrastructure is weak. This is compounded by a lack of community and policy maker awareness or understanding of its burden, causes and solutions. Research addressing these knowledge gaps is urgently needed. However, capacity for adolescent mental health research in Tanzania remains limited. The existence of a National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), with a nationwide mandate for research conduct and oversight, presents an opportunity to catalyse activity in this neglected area. Rigorous research priority setting, which includes key stakeholders, can promote efficient use of limited resources and improve both quality and uptake of research by ensuring that it meets the needs of target populations and policy makers. We present a protocol for such a research priority setting study and how it informs the design of an interinstitutional adolescent mental health research capacity strengthening strategy in Tanzania. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: From May 2021, this 6 month mixed-methods study will adapt and merge the James Lind Alliance approach and validated capacity strengthening methodologies to identify priorities for research and research capacity strengthening in adolescent mental health in Tanzania. Specifically, it will use online questionnaires, face-to-face interviews, focus groups, scoping reviews and a consensus meeting to consult expert and adolescent stakeholders. Key evidence-informed priorities will be collaboratively ranked and documented and an integrated strategy to address capacity gaps will be designed to align with the nationwide infrastructure and overall strategy of NIMR. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: National and institutional review board approvals were sought and granted from the National Health Research Ethics Committee of the NIMR Medical Research Coordinating Committee (Tanzania) and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (United Kingdom). Results will be disseminated through a national workshop involving all stakeholders, through ongoing collaborations and published commentaries, reviews, policy briefs, webinars and social media.

Biomedical Research , Mental Health , Academies and Institutes , Adolescent , Ethics Committees, Research , Humans , Tanzania