Tanya Doherty

University of the Western Cape, Kaapstad, Western Cape, South Africa

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Publications (52)269.29 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Objective To report on risk factors for severe events (hospitalisation or infant death) within the first half of infancy amongst HIV-unexposed infants in South Africa.Methods South African data from the multisite community-based cluster-randomised trial PROMISE EBF promoting exclusive breastfeeding in three sub-Saharan countries from 2006 to 2008 were used. The South African sites were Paarl in the Western Cape Province, and Umlazi and Rietvlei in KwaZulu-Natal. This analysis included 964 HIV-negative mother–infant pairs. Data on severe events and infant feeding practices were collected at 3, 6, 12 and 24 weeks post-partum. We used a stratified extended Cox model to examine the association between the time to the severe event and covariates including birthweight, with breastfeeding status as a time-dependent covariate.ResultsSeventy infants (7%) experienced a severe event. The median age at first hospitalisation was 8 weeks, and the two main reasons for hospitalisation were cough and difficult breathing followed by diarrhoea. Stopping breastfeeding before 6 months (HR 2.4; 95% CI 1.2–5.1) and low birthweight (HR 2.4; 95% CI 1.3–4.3) were found to increase the risk of a severe event, whilst maternal completion of high school education was protective (HR 0.3; 95% CI 0.1–0.7).ConclusionsA strengthened primary healthcare system incorporating promotion of breastfeeding and appropriate caring practices for low birthweight infants (such as kangaroo mother care) are critical. Given the leading reasons for hospitalisation, early administration of oral rehydration therapy and treatment of suspected pneumonia are key interventions needed to prevent hospitalisation in young infants.
    Tropical Medicine & International Health 07/2014; · 2.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this multi-country cluster-randomized behavioural intervention trial promoting exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) in Africa, we compared growth of infants up to 6 months of age living in communities where peer counsellors promoted EBF with growth in those infants living in control communities.
    BMC Public Health 06/2014; 14(1):633. · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Progress towards MDG4 for child survival in South Africa requires effective prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV including increasing exclusive breastfeeding, as well as a new focus on reducing neonatal deaths. This necessitates increased focus on the pregnancy and early post-natal periods, developing and scaling up appropriate models of community-based care, especially to reach the peri-urban poor. We used a randomised controlled trial with 30 clusters (15 in each arm) to evaluate an integrated, scalable package providing two pregnancy visits and five post-natal home visits delivered by community health workers in Umlazi, Durban, South Africa. Primary outcomes were exclusive and appropriate infant feeding at 12 weeks post-natally and HIV-free infant survival. At 12 weeks of infant age, the intervention was effective in almost doubling the rate of exclusive breastfeeding (risk ratio 1.92; 95% CI: 1.59-2.33) and increasing infant weight and length-for-age z-scores (weight difference 0.09; 95% CI: 0.00-0.18, length difference 0.11; 95% CI: 0.03-0.19). No difference was seen between study arms in HIV-free survival. Women in the intervention arm were also more likely to take their infant to the clinic within the first week of life (risk ratio 1.10; 95% CI: 1.04-1.18). The trial coincided with national scale up of ARVs for PMTCT, and this could have diluted the effect of the intervention on HIV-free survival. We have demonstrated that implementation of a pro-poor integrated PMTCT and maternal, neonatal and child health home visiting model is feasible and effective. This trial could inform national primary healthcare reengineering strategies in favour of home visits. The dose effect on exclusive breastfeeding is notable as improving exclusive breastfeeding has been resistant to change in other studies targeting urban poor families.
    Tropical Medicine & International Health 01/2014; · 2.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Community-based peer support has been shown to be effective in improving exclusive breastfeeding rates in a variety of settings.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1). · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • The Lancet Global Health. 01/2014; 2(4):e199.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Cash transfers (CTs) are increasingly used as a strategy to alleviate poverty and improve child health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. The Child Support Grant (CSG) is the largest CT programme in South Africa, and on the continent, targeting poor children from birth until the age of 18 with a monthly sum of R300 (USD30). Evidence on the CSG shows that early receipt of the grant is associated with improved child health outcomes. Since its implementation, one of the major concerns about the grant has been take-up rates, particularly for younger children. This paper reports results on take-up rates for 12-week-old infants residing in an urban township in South Africa. Methods: This is a descriptive study utilising data from a community-based, cluster-randomised trial which evaluated a programme providing pregnancy and post-natal home visits by community health workers to 3,494 mothers in Umlazi township, South Africa. Results: At the 12-week visit, half (52%) of the mothers who had enrolled in the study had applied for the CSG on behalf of their children, while 85% of the mothers who had not applied were still planning to apply. Only 38% (1,327) of all children had received the CSG. Conclusions: In this study, many mothers had not applied for the CSG in the first few months after delivery, and only a third of children had accessed the grant. Further research is needed to understand what the current barriers are that prevent mothers from applying for this important form of social protection in the early months after delivery.
    Global Health Action 01/2014; 7:25310. · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Data from a prospective multisite cohort study were used to examine the effect of HIV exposure, untreated HIV infection, and single-dose nevirapine on infant growth velocity. The 2009 WHO growth velocity standards constitute a new tool for this type of investigation and are in need of functional validation. In period 1 (3-24 wk), 65 HIV-infected, 502 HIV-exposed uninfected (HEU), and 216 HIV-unexposed infants were included. In period 2 (25-36 wk), 31 infants moved from the HEU group to the HIV-infected group. We compared weight velocity Z-scores (WVZ) and length velocity Z-scores (LVZ) by HIV group and assessed their independent influences. In period 1, mean WVZ (95% CI) was significantly (P < 0.001) lower in infected [-0.87 (-1.77, 0.04)] than HEU [0.81 (0.67, 0.94)] and unexposed [0.55 (0.33, 0.78)] infants. LVZ showed similar associations. In both periods, sick infants and those exposed to higher maternal viral loads had lower WVZ. Higher mean LVZ was associated with low birth weight. Infants that had received nevirapine had higher LVZ. In conclusion, HIV infection and not exposure was associated with low WVZ and LVZ in period 1. Eliminating infant HIV infection is a critical component in averting HIV-related poor growth patterns in infants in the first 6 mo of life.
    Journal of Nutrition 11/2013; · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sohni Dean and colleagues report their CHNRI exercise that developed health research priorities for effective pre-conception care in low- and middle-income countries. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
    PLoS Medicine 09/2013; 10(9):e1001508. · 15.25 Impact Factor
  • The Lancet 07/2013; 382(9889):307-8. · 39.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Globally, 40% of the 7.6 million deaths of children under five every year occur in the neonatal period (first 28 days after birth). Increased and earlier recognition of illness facilitated by community health workers (CHWs), coupled with effective referral systems can result in better child health outcomes. This model has not been tested in a peri-urban poor setting in Africa, or in a high HIV context. METHODS: The Good Start Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) study (ISRCTN41046462) conducted in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, was a community randomized trial to assess the effect of an integrated home visit package delivered to mothers by CHWs during pregnancy and post-delivery on uptake of PMTCT interventions and appropriate newborn care practices. CHWs were trained to refer babies with illnesses or identified danger signs. The aim of this sub-study was to assess the effectiveness of this referral system by describing CHW referral completion rates as well as mothers' health-care seeking practices. Interviews were conducted using a structured questionnaire with all mothers whose babies had been referred by a CHW since the start of the SNL trial. Descriptive analysis was conducted to describe referral completion and health seeking behaviour of mothers. RESULTS: Of the 2423 women enrolled in the SNL study, 148 sick infants were referred between June 2008 and June 2010. 62% of referrals occurred during the first 4 weeks of life and 22% between birth and 2 weeks of age. Almost all mothers (95%) completed the referral as advised by CHWs. Difficulty breathing, rash and redness/discharge around the cord accounted for the highest number of referrals (26%, 19% and 17% respectively). Only16% of health workers gave written feedback on the outcome of the referral to the referring CHW. CONCLUSIONS: We found high compliance with CHW referral of sick babies in an urban South African township. This suggests that CHWs can play a significant role, within community outreach teams, to improve newborn health and reduce child mortality. This supports the current primary health care re-engineering process being undertaken by the South African National Department of Health which involves the establishment of family health worker teams including CHWs.Trial registration number: ISRCTN41046462.
    BMC Health Services Research 02/2013; 13(1):47. · 1.77 Impact Factor
  • The Lancet 01/2013; 381(9860):24-5. · 39.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Lack of universal, annual testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in health facilities suggests that expansion of HIV testing and counselling (HTC) to non-clinical settings is critical to the achievement of national goals for prevention, care and treatment. Consideration should be given to the ability of lay counsellors to perform home-based HTC in community settings. Methods: We implemented a community cluster randomized controlled trial of home-based HTC in Sisonke District, South Africa. Trained lay counsellors conducted door-to-door HIV testing using the same rapid tests used by the local health department at the time of the study (SD Bioline and Sensa). To monitor testing quality and counsellor skill, additional dry blood spots were taken and sent for laboratory-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) testing. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated using the laboratory result as the gold standard. Results and discussion: From 3986 samples, the counsellor and laboratory results matched in all but 23 cases. In 18 cases, the counsellor judged the result as indeterminate, whereas the laboratory judged 10 positive, eight negative and three indeterminate, indicating that the counsellor may have erred on the side of caution. Sensitivity was 98.0% (95% CI: 96.3-98.9%), and specificity 99.6% (95% CI: 99.4-99.7%), for the lay counsellor field-based rapid tests. Both measures are high, and the lower confidence bound for specificity meets the international standard for assessing HIV rapid tests. Conclusions: These findings indicate that adequately trained lay counsellors are capable of safely conducting high-quality rapid HIV tests and interpreting the results as per the kit guidelines. These findings are important given the likely expansion of community and home-based testing models and the shortage of clinically trained professional staff.
    Journal of the International AIDS Society 01/2013; 16(1):18744. · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To assess the effect of home based HIV counselling and testing on the prevalence of HIV testing and reported behavioural changes in a rural subdistrict of South Africa. Cluster randomised controlled trial. 16 communities (clusters) in uMzimkhulu subdistrict, KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. 4154 people aged 14 years or more who participated in a community survey. Lay counsellors conducted door to door outreach and offered home based HIV counselling and testing to all consenting adults and adolescents aged 14-17 years with guardian consent. Control clusters received standard care, which consisted of HIV counselling and testing services at local clinics. Primary outcome measure was prevalence of testing for HIV. Other outcomes were HIV awareness, stigma, sexual behaviour, vulnerability to violence, and access to care. Overall, 69% of participants in the home based HIV counselling and testing arm versus 47% in the control arm were tested for HIV during the study period (prevalence ratio 1.54, 95% confidence interval 1.32 to 1.81). More couples in the intervention arm had counselling and testing together than in the control arm (2.24, 1.49 to 3.03). The intervention had broader effects beyond HIV testing, with a 55% reduction in multiple partners (0.45, 0.33 to 0.62) and a stronger effect among those who had an HIV test (0.37, 0.24 to 0.58) and a 45% reduction in casual sexual partners (0.55, 0.42 to 0.73). Home based HIV counselling and testing increased the prevalence of HIV testing in a rural setting with high levels of stigma. Benefits also included higher uptake of couple counselling and testing and reduced sexual risk behaviour. Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN31271935.
    BMJ (online) 01/2013; 346:f3481. · 17.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The World Health Organization has produced clear guidelines for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). However, ensuring that all PMTCT programme components are implemented to a high quality in all facilities presents challenges. Although South Africa initiated its PMTCT programme in 2002, later than most other countries, political support has increased since 2008. Operational research has received more attention and objective data have been used more effectively. In 2010, around 30% of all pregnant women in South Africa were HIV-positive and half of all deaths in children younger than 5 years were associated with the virus. Between 2008 and 2011, the estimated proportion of HIV-exposed infants younger than 2 months who underwent routine polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to detect early HIV transmission increased from 36.6% to 70.4%. The estimated HIV transmission rate decreased from 9.6% to 2.8%. Population-based surveys in 2010 and 2011 reported transmission rates of 3.5% and 2.7%, respectively. CRITICAL ACTIONS FOR IMPROVING PROGRAMME OUTCOMES INCLUDED: ensuring rapid implementation of changes in PMTCT policy at the field level through training and guideline dissemination; ensuring good coordination with technical partners, such as international health agencies and international and local nongovernmental organizations; and making use of data and indicators on all aspects of the PMTCT programme. Enabling health-care staff at primary care facilities to initiate antiretroviral therapy and expanding laboratory services for measuring CD4+ T-cell counts and for PCR testing were also helpful.
    Bulletin of the World Health Organisation 01/2013; 91(1):70-4. · 5.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We conducted qualitative individual and combined interviews with couples to explore their experiences since the time of taking an HIV test and receiving the test result together, as part of a home-based HIV counselling and testing intervention. This study was conducted in October 2011 in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, about 2 years after couples tested and received results together. Fourteen couples were purposively sampled: discordant, concordant negative and concordant positive couples. Learning about each other's status together challenged relationships of the couples in different ways depending on HIV status and gender. The mutual information confirmed suspected infidelity that had not been discussed before. Negative women in discordant partnerships remained with their positive partner due to social pressure and struggled to maintain their HIV negative status. Most of the couple relationships were characterized by silence and mistrust. Knowledge of sero-status also led to loss of sexual intimacy in some couples especially the discordant. For most men in concordant negative couples, knowledge of status was an awakening of the importance of fidelity and an opportunity for behaviour change, while for concordant positive and discordant couples, it was seen as proof of infidelity. Although positive HIV status was perceived as confirmation of infidelity, couples continued their relationship and offered some support for each other, living and managing life together. Sexual life in these couples was characterized by conflict and sometimes violence. In the concordant negative couples, trust was enhanced and behaviour change was promised. Findings suggest that testing together as couples challenged relationships in both negative and positive ways. Further, knowledge of HIV status indicated potential to influence behaviour change especially among concordant negatives. In the discordant and concordant positive couples, traditional gender roles exposed women's vulnerability and their lack of decision-making power.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(6):e66390. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We will be unable to achieve sustained impact on health outcomes with community health worker (CHW)-based interventions unless we bridge the gap between small scale efficacy studies and large scale interventions. Effective strategies to support the management of CHWs are central to bridging the gap. Mobile phones are broadly available, particularly in low and middle income countries (LAMIC's), where the penetration rate approaches 100%. In this article we describe how mobile phones may be combined with mobile web-based technology to assist in the management of CHWs in two projects in South Africa.
    South African journal of information management. 01/2013; 15(1).
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    ABSTRACT: Breastfeeding is widely endorsed as the optimal strategy for feeding newborns and young infants, as well as improving child survival and achieving Millennium Development Goal 4. Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) for the first 6 months of life is rarely practised in South Africa. Following the 2010 World Health Organization (WHO) infant feeding recommendations (EBF for HIV-positive mothers with maternal or infant antiretroviral treatment), South Africa adopted breastfeeding promotion as a National Infant Feeding Strategy and removed free formula milk from the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV programme. This study aimed to explore the perceptions of mothers and household members at community level regarding the value they placed on formula feeding and circumstances that drive the practice in a peri-urban community. We conducted in-depth interviews with HIV-positive and HIV-negative mothers in a community-randomised trial (Good Start III). Focus group discussions were held with grandmothers, fathers and teenage mothers. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. The following themes were identified; inadequate involvement of teenage mothers; grandmothers who become replacement mothers; fear of failing to practise EBF for 6 months; partners as formula providers and costly formula milk leading to risky feeding practices. The new South African Infant Feeding Strategy needs to address the gaps in key health messages and develop community-orientated programmes with a focus on teenage mothers. These should encourage the involvement of grandmothers and fathers in decision-making about infant feeding so that they can support EBF for optimal child survival.
    Maternal and Child Nutrition 12/2012; · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: In 2001, South Africa began implementing the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programme. This programme included distribution of free formula milk for infants up to 6 months of age at all public health facilities. Effective from 1 January 2011, KwaZulu-Natal became the first province to phase out free formula milk from its PMTCT programme. On 23 August 2011, the South African National Department of Health adopted promotion of exclusive breastfeeding as the national infant feeding strategy and made a decision to withdraw free formula milk from the PMTCT programme. OBJECTIVE: To explore the perceptions and understanding of households at community level on the policy decision to phase out free formula milk from the PMTCT programme in South Africa. METHODS: An exploratory qualitative study was conducted amongst women enrolled in a community randomized trial known as Good Start III. Focus group discussions were held with grandmothers, fathers and teenage mothers; and in-depth interviews were performed with HIV-positive and HIV-negative mothers. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Identified themes included: (1) variations in awareness and lack of understanding of the basis for the policy change, (2) abuse of and dysfunctional policy as perceived reasons for policy change and (3) proposed strategies for communicating the policy change. CONCLUSION: There is an urgent need to develop a multifaceted communication strategy clearly articulating the reasons for the infant feeding policy change and promoting the new breastfeeding strategy. The communication strategy should take into account inputs from the community. With a supportive environment and one national infant feeding strategy, South Africa has an opportunity to reverse years of poor infant feeding practices and to improve the health of all children in the country.
    Health Policy and Planning 11/2012; · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Child cash transfers are increasingly recognised for their potential to reduce poverty and improve health outcomes. South Africa's child support grant (CSG) constitutes the largest cash transfer in the continent. No studies have been conducted to look at factors associated with successful receipt of the CSG. This paper reports findings on factors associated with CSG receipt in three settings in South Africa (Paarl in the Western Cape Province, and Umlazi and Rietvlei in KwaZulu-Natal). METHODS: This study used longitudinal data from a community-based cluster-randomized trial (PROMISE EBF) promoting exclusive breastfeeding by peer-counsellors in South Africa (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00397150). 1148 mother-infant pairs were enrolled in the study and data on the CSG were collected at infant age 6, 12, 24 weeks and 18--24 months. A stratified cox proportional hazards regression model was fitted to the data to investigate factors associated with CSG receipt. RESULTS: Uptake of the CSG amongst eligible children at a median age of 22 months was 62% in Paarl, 64% in Rietvlei and 60% in Umlazi. Possessing a birth certificate was found to be the strongest predictor of CSG receipt (HR 3.1, 95% CI: 2.4 -4.1). Other factors also found to be independently associated with CSG receipt were an HIV-positive mother (HR 1.2, 95% CI: 1.0-1.4) and a household income below R1100(HR1.7, 95% CI: 1.1 -2.6). CONCLUSION: Receipt of the CSG was sub optimal amongst eligible children showing administrative requirements such as possessing a birth certificate to be a serious barrier to access. In the spirit of promoting and protecting children's rights, more efforts are needed to improve and ease access to this cash transfer program.
    BMC International Health and Human Rights 10/2012; 12(1):24. · 1.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: HIV counselling and testing (HCT) is a critical gateway for addressing HIV prevention, and linking people to treatment, care, and support. Since national testing rates are often less than optimal, there is growing interest in expanding testing coverage through the implementation of innovative models such as home-based HIV counselling and testing (HBHCT). With the aim of informing scale up, this paper discusses client characteristics and acceptability of an HBHCT intervention implemented in rural South Africa. METHODS: Trained lay counsellors offered door-to-door rapid HIV testing in a rural sub-district of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Household and client data were captured on cellular phones and transmitted to a web-based data management system. Descriptive analysis was undertaken to examine client characteristics, testing history, HBHCT uptake, and reasons for refusal. Chi-square tests were performed to assess the association between client characteristics and uptake. RESULTS: Lay counsellors visited 3,328 households and tested 75% (5,086) of the 6,757 people met. The majority of testers (73.7%) were female, and 57% had never previously tested. With regard to marital status, 1,916 (37.7%), 2,123 (41.7%), and 818 (16.1%) were single, married, and widowed, respectively. Testers ranged in age from 14 to 98 years, with a median of 37 years. Two hundred and twenty-nine couples received couples counselling and testing; 87.8%, 4.8%, and 7.4% were concordant negative, concordant positive, and discordant, respectively. There were significant differences in characteristics between testers and non-testers as well as between male and female testers. The most common reasons for not testing were: not being ready/feeling scared/needing to think about it (34.1%); knowing his/her status (22.6%), being HIV-positive (18.5%), and not feeling at risk of having or acquiring HIV (10.1%). The distribution of reasons for refusal differed significantly by gender and age. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that HBHCT is acceptable in rural South Africa. However, future HBHCT programmes should carefully consider community context, develop strategies to reach a broad range of clients, and tailor intervention messages and services to meet the unique needs of different sub-groups. It will also be important to understand and address factors related to refusal of testing.
    BMC Public Health 09/2012; 12(1):824. · 2.08 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

638 Citations
269.29 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2014
    • University of the Western Cape
      • School of Public Health
      Kaapstad, Western Cape, South Africa
  • 2009–2011
    • Stellenbosch University
      • Department of Psychology
      Stellenbosch, Province of the Western Cape, South Africa
  • 2008–2011
    • South African Medical Research Council
      • Health Systems Research Unit (HSRU)
      Kaapstad, Western Cape, South Africa
  • 2005–2007
    • Health Systems Trust
      Port Natal, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  • 2006
    • Uppsala University
      • Department of Women's and Children's Health
      Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden