Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Protocol-driven primary care and community linkage to reduce all-cause mortality in rural Zambia: a stepped-wedge cluster randomized trial

Mutale, Wilbroad, Ayles, Helen, Lewis, James ORCID:, Bosompraph, Samuel, Chilengi, Roma, Tembo, Margaret M., Sharp, Ab, Chintu, Namwinga and Stringer, Jeffrey 2023. Protocol-driven primary care and community linkage to reduce all-cause mortality in rural Zambia: a stepped-wedge cluster randomized trial. Frontiers in Public Health 11 , 1214066. 10.3389/fpubh.2023.1214066

[thumbnail of fpubh-11-1214066.pdf] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB)


ntroduction: While tremendous progress has been made in recent years to improve the health of people living in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), significant challenges remain. Chief among these are poor health systems, which are often ill-equipped to respond to current challenges. It remains unclear whether intensive intervention at the health system level will result in improved outcomes, as there have been few rigorously designed comparative studies. We present results of a complex health system intervention that was implemented in Zambia using a cluster randomized design. Methods: BHOMA was a complex health system intervention comprising intensive clinical training and quality improvement measures, support for commodities procurement, improved community outreach, and district level management support. The intervention was introduced as a stepped wedge cluster-randomized trial in 42 predominately rural health centers and their surrounding communities in Lusaka Province, Zambia. Baseline survey was conducted between January–May 2011, mid-line survey was conducted February–November, 2013 and Endline survey, February–November 2015.The primary outcome was all-cause mortality among those between 28 days and 60 years of age and assessed through community-based mortality surveys. Secondary outcomes included post-neonatal under-five mortality and service coverage scores. Service coverage scores were calculated across five domains (child preventative services; child treatment services; family planning; maternal health services, and adult health services). We fit Cox proportional hazards model with shared frailty at the cluster level for the primary analysis. Mortality rates were age-standardized using the WHO World Standard Population. Results: Mortality declined substantially from 3.9 per 1,000 person-years in the pre-intervention period, to 1.5 per 1,000 person-years in the post intervention period. When we compared intervention and control periods, there were 174 deaths in 49,230 person years (age-standardized rate = 4.4 per 1,000 person-years) in the control phase and 277 deaths in 74,519 person years (age-standardized rate = 4.6 per 1,000 person-years) in the intervention phase. Overall, there was no evidence for an effect of the intervention in minimally-adjusted [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.18; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.88, 1.56; value of p = 0.265], or adjusted (HR = 1.12; 95% CI: 0.84, 1.49; value of p = 0.443) analyses. Coverage scores that showed some evidence of changing with time since the cluster joined the intervention were: an increasing proportion of children sleeping under insecticide treated bed-net (value of p < 0.001); an increasing proportion of febrile children who received appropriate anti-malarial drugs (value of p = 0.039); and an increasing proportion of ever hypertensive adults with currently controlled hypertension (value of p = 0.047). No adjustments were made for multiple-testing and the overall coverage score showed no statistical evidence for a change over time (value of p = 0.308). Conclusion: We noted an overall reduction in post-neonatal under 60 mortality in the study communities during the period of our study, but this could not be attributed to the BHOMA intervention. Some improvements in service coverage scores were observed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Frontiers Media
ISSN: 2296-2565
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 September 2023
Date of Acceptance: 3 July 2023
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2023 10:12

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics