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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2007 Feb;101(2):188-202. Epub 2006 Oct 24.

Effect of multiple interventions on community health workers' adherence to clinical guidelines in Siaya district, Kenya.

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Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road NE, 4th Floor, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Evaluation of a community health worker (CHW) programme in Siaya district, Kenya, showed CHWs commonly made errors in managing childhood illness. We assessed the effect of multiple interventions on CHW healthcare practices. A sample of 192 ill-child consultations performed by 114 CHWs in a hospital outpatient department between February and March 2001 were analysed. The mean percentage of assessment, classification and treatment procedures performed correctly for each child was 79.8% (range 13.3-100%). Of the 187 children who required at least one treatment or referral to a health facility, only 38.8% were prescribed all treatments (including referral) recommended by the guidelines. Multivariate analyses found no evidence that the intervention-related factors studied (refresher training, supervision, involvement of community women in the CHW selection process, adequacy of medicine supplies, and use of a guideline flipchart during consultations) were significantly associated with overall or treatment-specific guideline adherence. A multivariate linear regression analysis revealed that several non-intervention-related factors, such as patient characteristics, were significantly associated with overall guideline adherence. Given that our study was cross-sectional and our measurement of exposure to several interventions was based on CHW recall, the estimated effects of the interventions should be interpreted with caution. Despite these limitations, however, our results raise questions about the effectiveness, in the setting of Siaya district, of several interventions commonly used to improve the quality of care given by CHWs.

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