Double blind, cluster randomised trial of low dose supplementation with vitamin A or beta carotene on mortality related to pregnancy in Nepal. The NNIPS-2 Study Group.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact on mortality related to pregnancy of supplementing women of reproductive age each week with a recommended dietary allowance of vitamin A, either preformed or as beta carotene. DESIGN: Double blind, cluster randomised, placebo controlled field trial. SETTING: Rural southeast central plains of Nepal (Sarlahi district). SUBJECTS: 44 646 married women, of whom 20 119 became pregnant 22 189 times. INTERVENTION: 270 wards randomised to 3 groups of 90 each for women to receive weekly a single oral supplement of placebo, vitamin A (7000 micrograms retinol equivalents) or beta carotene (42 mg, or 7000 micrograms retinol equivalents) for over 31/2 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: All cause mortality in women during pregnancy up to 12 weeks post partum (pregnancy related mortality) and mortality during pregnancy to 6 weeks postpartum, excluding deaths apparently related to injury (maternal mortality). RESULTS: Mortality related to pregnancy in the placebo, vitamin A, and beta carotene groups was 704, 426, and 361 deaths per 100 000 pregnancies, yielding relative risks (95% confidence intervals) of 0. 60 (0.37 to 0.97) and 0.51 (0.30 to 0.86). This represented reductions of 40% (P<0.04) and 49% (P<0.01) among those who received vitamin A and beta carotene. Combined, vitamin A or beta carotene lowered mortality by 44% (0.56 (0.37 to 0.84), P<0.005) and reduced the maternal mortality ratio from 645 to 385 deaths per 100 000 live births, or by 40% (P<0.02). Differences in cause of death could not be reliably distinguished between supplemented and placebo groups. CONCLUSION: Supplementation of women with either vitamin A or beta carotene at recommended dietary amounts during childbearing years can lower mortality related to pregnancy in rural, undernourished populations of south Asia. (+info)
Primary health care, community participation and community-financing: experiences of two middle hill villages in Nepal.
Although community involvement in health related activities is generally acknowledged by international and national health planners to be the key to the successful organization of primary health care, comparatively little is known about its potential and limitations. Drawing on the experiences of two middle hill villages in Nepal, this paper reports on research undertaken to compare and contrast the scope and extent of community participation in the delivery of primary health care in a community run and financed health post and a state run and financed health post. Unlike many other health posts in Nepal these facilities do provide effective curative services, and neither of them suffer from chronic shortage of drugs. However, community-financing did not appear to widen the scope and the extent of participation. Villagers in both communities relied on the health post for the treatment of less than one-third of symptoms, and despite the planners' intentions, community involvement outside participation in benefits was found to be very limited. (+info)
Effect of a drug supply and cost sharing system on prescribing and utilization: a controlled trial from Nepal.
The effect on prescribing habits of a drug supply and cost sharing system was studied in a hill district in Nepal. In this district the inadequate yearly supply of drugs from the government was supplemented by an extra supply from the project. Drugs were sold at a fixed prescription charge which covered all drugs for one episode of illness. The prescribing pattern in this district was compared to a control district with only the yearly government drug supply and no drug scheme. Drugs prescribed were also compared to theoretical needs based on the recorded diagnoses of the same patients and recommended treatment guidelines. Attendance figures were studied before and after the introduction of the drug scheme in the test district. A 25% sample of prescriptions was taken from all health posts in both districts, over a one year period. This was in total 11,772 prescriptions from 22 health posts. The results show that in the drug scheme district health workers prescribed essential drugs excessively. However, the doses that were prescribed were somewhat better than in the control district. Utilization of health facilities dropped by 18% in the drug scheme district and then increased in the second year. A supply of essential drugs does not necessarily improve the quality of care, or increase attendance levels. The WHO indicators designed to assess the quality of drug use at health facilities can give a misleading picture, as they do not include information on dosages. The effect on quality of care of supply and financing mechanisms needs further study. (+info)
Planning with PRA: HIV and STD in a Nepalese mountain community.
The application of Participatory Rural Appraisal methods (PRA) to the topic of sexual health enabled us to explore key factors concerning local people's perceptions regarding HIV/AIDS and STDs and to plan collectively to address the emerging issues. Conducting the process in a gender sensitive way enabled people to feel safe enough to express their own opinions, and having gained confidence in their peer groups, to share ideas later with the whole community in a joint planning exercise. Nevertheless one group was identified as difficult to reach and whose needs could not be met in a group for reasons of confidentiality. While the methodology itself clearly has great potential in planning around specific health issues, there are, nevertheless, limitations. Although the approach and the tools used are simple and accessible, the skills needed to analyze the information are more complex and demanding. The training given did not manage to equip facilitators adequately with these analytical skills and in the future will be more experience based and geared towards developing analysis and the ability to formulate questions. In addition, since the project is not permanently resident in the area, intensive support within the District is necessary to increase the chances of sustainability. (+info)
The quality of immunization data from routine primary health care reports: a case from Nepal.
Reported high immunization coverage achieved in Nepal over the last ten years is expected to reduce child mortality in the country. The present study, carried out in hill district in mid-west Nepal, aimed to assess the quality of immunization data in Nepal. The number of children who received different vaccines during one year was obtained from three sources: 1) the Immunization REgister of three Primary Health Care Service Outlets (PHCSOs) where each immunized child is recorded; 2) monthly PHC Reports, which are based on the Immunization Register; 3) monthly DHO Reports, which are based on the above PHC Reports (the DHO reports are the source of official statistics). The number of children in the PHC Reports was higher than the number in the Immunization REgisters for all vaccines. The number of immunizations in the DHO Reports was higher than the number in the PHC Reports for BCG, DPT, and measles; the number was lower for poliomyelitis. The overall number of immunizations was higher in the DHO Reports than in the Immunization Registers, by 31% for BCG, 44% for DPT, 155% for polio, and 71% for measles. We conclude that the official report overestimates the immunization coverage in the district. The immunization programme, therefore, might not result in the expected reduction of morbidity and mortality despite the investment in the programme and reported high coverage. (+info)
Factors affecting home delivery in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.
This nested case-control study compares the characteristics of mothers having home or institutional deliveries in Kathmandu, Nepal, and explores the reasons given by mothers for a home delivery. The delivery patterns of mothers were identified in a cross-sectional survey of two communities: an urban area of central Kathmandu (Kalimati) and a peri-urban area (Kirtipur and Panga) five kilometres from the city centre. 357 pregnant women were identified from a survey of 6130 households: 183 from 3663 households in Kirtipur and Panga, 174 from 2467 households in Kalimati. Methods involved a structured baseline household questionnaire and detailed follow-up of identified pregnant women with structured and semi-structured interviews in hospital and the community. The main outcome measures were social and economic household details of pregnant women; pregnancy and obstetric details; place of delivery; delivery attendant; and reasons given for home delivery. The delivery place of 334/357 (94%) of the pregnant women identified at the survey was determined. 272 (81%) had an institutional delivery and 62 (19%) delivered at home. In univariate analysis comparing home and institutional deliverers, maternal education, parity, and poverty indicators (income, size of house, ownership of house) were associated with place of delivery. After multivariate analysis, low maternal educational level (no education, OR 5.04 [95% CI 1.61-15.8], class 1-10, OR 3.36 [1.04-10.8] compared to those with higher education) and multiparity (OR 3.1 [1.63-5.74] compared to primiparity) were significant risk factors for a home delivery. Of home deliverers, only 24% used a traditional birth attendant, and over half were unplanned due to precipitate labour or lack of transport. We conclude that poor education and multiparity rather than poverty per se increase the risk of a home delivery in Kathmandu. Training TBAs in this setting would probably not be cost-effective. Community-based midwife-run delivery units could reduce the incidence of unplanned home deliveries. (+info)
Multi-centre evaluation of repeatability and reproducibility of the direct agglutination test for visceral leishmaniasis.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the repeatability and reproducibility of the serological direct agglutination test (DAT) for visceral leishmaniasis (VL) with aqueous antigen in a multi-centre study in VL-endemic areas in Sudan, Kenya and Nepal. METHODS: Repeatability within each centre and reproducibility between the centres' results and an external reference laboratory (Belgium) was assessed on 1596 triplicate plain blood samples collected on filter paper. RESULTS: High kappa values (range 0.86-0.97) indicated excellent DAT repeatability within the centres. The means of the titre differences between the reference laboratory and the centres in Sudan, Kenya and Nepal (2.3, 2.4 and 1.1, respectively, all significantly different from 0) showed weak reproducibility across centres. 95% of the titre differences between the reference laboratory and the respective centres were accounted for by large intervals: 0.6-9 fold titre variation for Sudan, 0.7-8 fold for Kenya and 0.26-4 fold for Nepal. CONCLUSION: High repeatability of DAT confirms its potential, but reproducibility problems remain an obstacle to its routine use in the field. Reproducibility was hindered by alteration of the antigen through temperature and shaking, especially in Kenya and Sudan, and by nonstandardization of the test reading. DAT handling procedures and antigen quality must be carefully standardized and monitored when introducing this test into routine practice. (+info)