Pregnant mothers in South African townships face multiple health risks for themselves and their babies. Existing clinic-based services face barriers to access, utilization, and human resource capacities. Home visiting by community health workers (CHW) can mitigate such barriers. The Philani Plus (+) Intervention Program builds upon the original Philani CHW home-visiting intervention program for maternal and child nutrition by integrating content and activities to address HIV, alcohol, and mental health. Pregnant Mothers at Risk (MAR) for HIV, alcohol, and/or nutrition problems in 24 neighborhoods in townships in Cape Town, South Africa (n = 1,239) were randomly assigned by neighborhood to an intervention (Philani Plus (+), N = 12 neighborhoods; n = 645 MAR) or a standard-care control condition of neighborhood clinic-based services (N = 12 neighborhoods; n = 594 MAR). Positive peer deviant "Mentor Mother" CHWs are recruited from the township neighborhoods and trained to deliver four antenatal and four postnatal home visits that address HIV, alcohol, nutrition, depression, health care regimens for the family, caretaking and bonding, and securing government-provided child grants. The MAR and their babies are being monitored during pregnancy, 1 week post-birth, and 6 and 18 months later. Among the 1,239 MAR recruited: 26% were HIV-positive; 27% used alcohol during pregnancy; 17% previously had low-birthweight babies; 23% had at least one chronic condition (10% hypertension, 5% asthma, 2% diabetes); 93% had recent sexual partners with 10% known to be HIV+; and 17% had clinically significant prenatal depression and 42% had borderline depression. This paper presents the intervention protocol and baseline sample characteristics for the "Philani Plus (+)" CHW home-visiting intervention trial.
"Service care providers, researchers, and national governments are excited at the opportunities mobile health has to offer in terms of improving access to health care, engagement and delivery, and health outcome . Numerous functionalities including data collection , patient communication , health care delivery  , and patient and professional education   have been used to support patients or healthcare professionals. Currently, more than 97,000 mHealth applications are present in the classic app stores, and approximately 1,000 new applications are being published every month . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Health-related mobile applications (apps) have been shown to improve the quality of health and patient care. Their use in clinical and health-related environments is becoming more considerable. The number of health-related apps available for download has considerably increased, while the regulatory position of this new industry is not well known. Despite this lack of regulation, measuring the usability score of these apps is not difficult. We compared two samples of twenty health-related applications each. One of the samples contained the apps with top-rated usability scores, and the other contained the apps with lowest-rated usability scores. We found that a good usability score correlates with a better medical reliability of the app's content (p<0.005). In the period in which a valid regulation is still lacking, calculation and attribution of usability scores to mobile applications could be used to identify apps with better medical quality. However, the usability score method ought to be rigorous and should not be rounded off with a simple five stars rating (as is the case in the classic app stores).
Studies in health technology and informatics 08/2015; 216:127-31.
"Mental health problems such as depression and substance use disorders are highly prevalent in low and middle income countries (LMIC) such as South Africa (SA). Studies investigating the prevalence of perinatal depression in SA have yielded results ranging from 17 to 47 % during pregnancy (Rochat et al. 2011; Rotheram-Borus et al. 2011) and between 16 and 35 % in the postnatal period (Cooper et al. 1999; Ramchandani et al. 2009). Other studies have highlighted high levels of alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) use during pregnancy. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is little evidence of the feasibility and acceptability of integrating screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment services that address depression and alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) use into antenatal care in South Africa. Data were extracted from program records on the number of eligible women screened and number meeting criteria for depression and self-reported ATOD use. 70 women completed a questionnaire examining their preliminary responses and five MOU personnel were interviewed to identify potential barriers to implementation. Of the 3407 eligible women, 1468 (43 %) women were screened for depression or ATOD use, of whom 302 (21.4 %) screened at risk for depression, 388 (26.4 %) disclosed smoking tobacco, and 29 (2 %) disclosed alcohol or other drugs (AOD). Seventy participants completed the three month follow-up interview. Depression scores decreased significantly following the intervention (t (69) = 8.51, p < 0.001) as did self-reported tobacco use (t (73) = 3.45, p < 0.001), however self-reported AOD use remained unchanged.
Community Mental Health Journal 03/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10597-015-9853-9 · 1.03 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
South Africa has the highest prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in the world yet many women have no access to clinic care or to physicians in their communities. The shortage of physicians trained in the diagnosis of FASD is even more severe. Thus there is a need to train community workers to assist in the delivery of health care. Objectives This study reports on the effectiveness of training community workers to screen for a possible diagnosis of a FASD. Methods Community workers in Cape Town, South Africa were trained to screen for FASD in 139, 18-month-old toddlers with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE). Children were assessed according to the salient characteristics of individuals with PAE using height, weight, head circumference (OFC), philtrum, and lip measurements according to criteria set forth by the Institute of Medicine. Screen-positive children were referred for diagnostic assessment to a pediatrician reliably trained in the diagnosis of FASD. Results Of the screen-positive children, 93% received an FASD diagnosis suggesting that the screening procedure was highly sensitive. Diagnoses included 15% with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), 23% with Partial FAS, and 62% with Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND, provisional). Conclusion The use of community workers to screen for FASD represents a promising approach to effective diagnosis of children affected by PAE in areas lacking adequate medical resources.
The Canadian journal of clinical pharmacology = Journal canadien de pharmacologie clinique 02/2015; 21(3):e442-e452.
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