A multi-country implementation research initiative to jump-start scale-up of outpatient management of possible serious bacterial infections (PSBI) when a referral is not feasible: Summary findings and implications for programs

  • Authors: Nisar YB Aboubaker S Arifeen SE Ariff S Arora N Awasthi S Ayede AI Baqui AH Bavdekar A Berhane M Chandola TR Leul A Sadruddin S Tshefu A Wammanda R Nigussie A Pyne-Mercier L Pearson L Brandes N Wall S Qazi SA Bahl R.
  • Category: Health Service


Introduction Research on simplified antibiotic regimens for outpatient treatment of ‘Possible Serious Bac- terial Infection’ (PSBI) and the subsequent World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines provide an opportunity to increase treatment coverage. This multi-country implementation research initiative aimed to learn how to implement the WHO guideline in diverse contexts. These experiences have been individually published; this overview paper provides a sum- mary of results and lessons learned across sites. Methods summary A common mixed qualitative and quantitative methods protocol for implementation research was used in eleven sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Equateur province), Ethiopia (Tigray and Oromia regions), India (Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh states), Malawi (Central Region), Nigeria (Kaduna and Oyo states), and Pakistan (Sindh province). Key steps in implementation research were: i) policy dialogue with the national government and key stakeholders, ii) the establishment of a ‘Technical Support Unit’ with the research team and district level managers, and iii) development of an imple- mentation strategy and its refinement using an iterative process of implementation, pro- gramme learning and evaluation. Results summary All sites successfully developed and evaluated an implementation strategy to increase cover- age of PSBI treatment. During the study period, a total of 6677 young infants from the study catchment area were identified and treated at health facilities in the study area as inpatients or outpatients among 88179 live births identified. The estimated coverage of PSBI treatment was 75.7% (95% CI 74.8% to 78.6%), assuming a 10% incidence of PSBI among all live births. The treatment coverage was variable, ranging from 53.3% in Lucknow, India to 97.3% in Ibadan, Nigeria. The coverage of inpatient treatment ranged from 1.9% in Zaria, Nigeria, to 33.9% in Tigray, Ethiopia. The outpatient treatment coverage ranged from 30.6% in Pune, India, to 93.6% in Zaria, Nigeria. Overall, the case fatality rate (CFR) was 14.6% (95% CI 11.5% to 18.2%) for 0-59-day old infants with critical illness, 1.9% (95% CI 1.5% to 2.4%) for 0-59-day old infants with clinical severe infection and 0.1% for fast breathing in 7–59 days old. Among infants treated as outpatients, CFR was 13.7% (95% CI 8.7% to 20.2%) for 0-59- day old infants with critical illness, 0.9% (95% CI 0.6% to 1.2%) for 0-59-day old infants with clinical severe infection, and 0.1% for infants 7–59 days old with fast breathing. Conclusion Important lessons on how to conduct each step of implementation research, and the chal- lenges and facilitators for implementation of PSBI management guideline in routine health systems are summarised and discussed. These lessons will be used to introduce and scale- up implementation in relevant Low- and middle-income countries.