• A Retrospective Cross Sectional Study of the Effectiveness of a Project in Improving Infant Health in Bwindi, South Western Uganda.

      Kamugisha, S. Robert; Dobson, Andrew E.; Stewart, Alex G.; Haven, Nahabwe; Mutahunga, Birungi; Wilkinson, Ewan (2018-10-12)
      Introduction: Low-cost community-based interventions to improve infant health potentially offer an exciting means of progressing toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, the feasibility of such interventions in low-income settings remains unclear. Bwindi Community Hospital (BCH), Uganda implemented a 3-year nurse-led community project to address child-health issues. Nurses supported Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) and visited mothers pre- and/or postnatally to assess and educate mothers and infants. CHVs gathered data and gave basic advice on health and hygiene to mothers. We hypothesized that increased interventions by nurses and CHVs and increased contact with households, would improve health and reduce infant mortality. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study analyzing routine data of all children born between January 2015 and December 2016. There were three interventions: antenatal nurse visit, postnatal nurse visit and CHV participation. Children received different numbers of interventions. We defined four diverse outcomes: facility-based delivery, immunization completeness, nutritional status, and infant mortality. Odds ratios, adjusted odds ratios, and multivariate logistic regression were used to assess associations between interventions and outcomes. Results: Of the 4,442 children born in 2015 and 2016, 91% were visited by a nurse (81% antenatally and 10% postnatally); 7% lived in villages with a high participating CHV. Households receiving a postnatal visit were more likely to complete immunization (aOR: 1.55, p = 0.016) and have the infant survive (aOR: 1.90, p = 0.05). Children from a hard-to-reach village (no road access) were less likely to be delivered in a health facility (aOR: 0.55, p < 0.001) and less likely to survive in their first year (aOR: 0.69, p = 0.03). Having two or more interventions was associated with a child having all four positive outcomes (aOR 0.78, p = 0.03). Lack of baseline data, a control area, or integrated assessment data limited more detailed evaluation. Conclusion: Visits to mothers after birth, by a nurse to educate and identify child illness, were associated with lower infant mortality and improved infant health as measured by completion of immunizations. Community health interventions could potentially have a greater impact if focused on hard-to-reach areas. Building evaluation into all project designs, whether local or internationally funded, would enable greater learning, and hence better use of resources.
    • A Whole Systems Approach to Hospital Waste Management in Rural Uganda

      Kwikiriza, Stuart; Stewart, Alex G.; Mutahunga, Birungi; Dobson, Andrew E.; Wilkinson, Ewan (Frontiers Media S.A., 2019-06-06)
      Introduction: Safe waste management protects hospital staff, the public, and the local environment. The handling of hospital waste in Bwindi Community Hospital did not appear to conform to the hospital waste management plan, exhibiting poor waste segregation, transportation, storage, and disposal which could lead to environmental and occupational risks. Methods: We undertook a mixed-methods study. We used semi-structured interviews to assess the awareness of clinical and non-clinical staff of waste types, risks, good practice, and concerns about hospital waste management. We quantified waste production by five departments for 1 month. We assessed the standard of practice in segregation, onsite transportation, use of personal protective equipment, onsite storage of solid waste, and disposal of compostable waste and chemicals. Results: Clinical staff had good awareness of waste (types, risk) overall, but the knowledge of non-clinical staff was much poorer. There was a general lack of insight into correct personal or departmental practice, resulting in incorrect segregation of clinical and compostable waste at source (>93% of time), and incorrect onsite transportation (94% of time). In 1 month the five departments produced 5,398 kg of hazardous and non-hazardous waste (12; 88%, respectively). Good practice included the correct use of sharps and vial boxes and keeping the clinical area clear of litter (90% of the time); placentae buried immediately (>80% of the time); gloves were worn everyday by waste handlers, but correct heavy-duty gloves <33% of the time, reflecting the variable use of other personal protective equipment. Chemical waste drained to underground soakaways, but tracking further disposal was not possible. Correct segregation of clinical and compostable waste at source, and correct onsite transportation, only occurred 6% of the time. Conclusion: Waste management was generally below the required WHO standards. This exposes people and the wider environment, including the nearby world heritage site, home to the endangered mountain gorilla, to unnecessary risks. It is likely that the same is true in similar situations elsewhere. Precautions, protection, and dynamic policy making should be prioritized in these hospital settings and developing countries.
    • Community-Based Health Insurance Increased Health Care Utilization and Reduced Mortality in Children Under-5, Around Bwindi Community Hospital, Uganda Between 2015 and 2017.

      Haven, Nahabwe; Dobson, Andrew E.; Yusuf, Kuule; Kellermann, Scott; Mutahunga, Birungi; Stewart, Alex G.; Wilkinson, Ewan (2018-10-09)
      Introduction: Out-of-pocket fees to pay for health care prevent poor people from accessing health care and drives millions into poverty every year. This obstructs progress toward the World Health Organization goal of universal health care. Community-based health insurance (CBHI) improves access to health care primarily by reducing the financial risk. The association of CBHI with reduced under-5 mortality was apparent in some voluntary schemes. This study evaluated the impact of eQuality Health Bwindi CBHI scheme on health care utilization and under-5 mortality in rural south-western Uganda. Methods: This was a retrospective cross-sectional study using routine electronic data on health insurance status, health care utilization, place of birth, and deaths for children aged under-5 in the catchment area of Bwindi Community Hospital, Uganda between January 2015 and June 2017. Data was extracted from four electronic databases and cross matched. To assess the association with health insurance, we measured the difference between those with and without insurance; in terms of being born in a health facility, outpatient attendance, inpatient admissions, length of stay and mortality. Associations were assessed by Chi-Square tests with p-values < 0.05 and 95% confidence intervals. For variables found to be significant at this level, multivariable logistic regression was done to control for possible confounders. Results: Of the 16,464 children aged under-5 evaluated between January 2015 and June 2017, 10% were insured all of the time 19% were insured for part of the period, and 71% were never insured. Ever having had health insurance reduced the risk of death by 36% [aOR; 0.64, p = 0.009]. While children were insured, they visited outpatients ten times more, and were four times more likely to be admitted. If admitted, they had a significantly shorter length of stay. If mother was uninsured, children were less likely to be born in a health facility [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.82, p < 0.001]. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that voluntary CBHI increased health care utilization and reduced mortality for children under-5. But the scheme required appreciable outside subsidy, which limits its wider application and replicability. While CBHIs can contribute to progress toward Universal Health Care they cannot always be afforded.
    • Screening, Diagnosis, and Management of Patients With Alcohol Use Disorders at Bwindi Community Hospital, Uganda.

      Kuule, Yusufu; Dobson, Andrew E.; Harries, Anthony D.; Mutahunga, Birungi; Stewart, Alex G.; Wilkinson, Ewan (2018-05-24)
      Introduction: The harmful use of alcohol is a growing global public health concern, with Sub-Saharan Africa at particular risk. A large proportion of adults in Uganda consume alcohol and the country has a high prevalence of alcohol use disorders (AUD), almost double that for the African region as a whole. Bwindi Community Hospital, in rural western Uganda, recently introduced a program of screening, diagnosis and management of AUD and we assessed how this worked. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study in three departments (out-patients, adult in-patients and sexual & reproductive health) of Bwindi Community Hospital assessing numbers of patients screened, diagnosed and treated with AUD between January 2014 and June 2017. Data sources included the hospital electronic data base and departmental case files. Frequencies and proportions are reported and odds ratios used to compare specific factors associated with medical interventions. Results: Altogether, 82,819 patients attended or were admitted to hospital, of whom 8,627 (10.4%) were screened and 273 (3.2%) diagnosed with AUD. The adult in-patient department recorded the largest number with AUD (n = 206) as well as a consistent increase in numbers in the last 18 months of the study. Of those with AUD, there were 230 (84%) males, 130 (48%) aged 36-60 years, and 131 (48%) with medical non-alcohol related diagnostic categories. Medical/supportive interventions included guidance and counselling to 168 (62%), community social support to 90 (33%), mental health service referrals for 75 (27%), detoxification for 60 (22%) and referral to Alcoholics Anonymous for 41 (15%). There were 36 (15%) patients who received no medical/supportive interventions, with significantly higher proportions in patients with surgical alcohol-related disease and pregnancy-related conditions (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Bwindi Community Hospital has implemented a program for AUD in three departments, with most individuals screened and managed in the adult in-patient department. While a variety of interventions were given to those with AUD, 15% received no intervention and this deficiency must be addressed. Program performance could improve through better screening processes, ensuring that 100% of those with AUD receive a medical/supportive intervention and raising public awareness.