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New intervention to improve child mortality rate, researchers says

20 June 2012, 08:24 Trudy Mbaluku

Reduced child mortality rate could soon be realized in Kenya if a new approach suggested by researchers is adopted.

A study by Kenya Medical Research (KEMRI) suggests that an Emergency Triage and Treatment Plus (ETAT +) approach is a cost effective way of treating childhood diseases in Kenyan hospitals.

The study findings published in PloSMedicine journal last year included development and implementation of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines linked to health worker training, follow-up supervision, performance feedback, and facilitation in eight district hospitals in Kenya.

 The new approach, ETAT + is set to improve care for children in district hospitals in Kenya.

It is a multifaceted approach employing guidelines, training, supervision, feedback, and facilitation.

The researchers collected the relevant information on costs by using clinical and accounting record reviews and interviews with those involved in developing and implementing the intervention.

The researchers evaluated the effectiveness of the approach by comparing the implementation of ETAT+ in the intervention hospitals with the partial intervention as delivered in the control hospitals for 18 months.

Finally, the researchers calculated the costs of scaling up the intervention by applying their results to the whole of Kenya—121 hospital facilities with an estimated annual child admission rate of 2,000 per facility.

The research stated that this approach will help to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 4of reducing the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015.

Dr Edwine Barasa lead author of the study said: “As the international community is giving an increasing focus to strengthening health systems, these findings provide a strong case for scaling up this intervention, which improves quality of care and service provision for the major causes of child mortality, in rural hospitals throughout Kenya and other district hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Co- other authors of the study said the approach will be most usefully generalized to low-income countries including Kenya with high child mortality rate.

According to UNICE, 7.6 million children die every year before they reach the age of five. Half of these deaths occur in children in sub-Saharan Africa treatable and preventable diseases, such as pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea.

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