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      Effectiveness of pregnant women’s active participation in their antenatal care for the control of malaria and anaemia in pregnancy in Ghana: a cluster randomized controlled trial

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          The burden of malaria and anaemia in pregnancy remains high despite the availability of proven efficacious antenatal care interventions. Sub-optimal uptake of the interventions may be due to inadequate active participation of pregnant women in their antenatal care. It was hypothesized that providing opportunities for pregnant women to improve upon active participation in their antenatal care through malaria and anaemia point-of-care testing would improve adherence to ANC recommendations and interventions and lead to better pregnancy outcomes.


          Fourteen antenatal clinics in the Ashanti region of Ghana were randomized into intervention (pregnant women participating in their care plus current routine care) and control (current routine care) arms. Pregnant women attending the clinics for the first time were recruited and followed up until delivery. Haemoglobin levels and malaria parasitaemia were measured at baseline, 4–8 weeks after recruitment and at 36–40 weeks gestation. Birth weight and pregnancy outcomes were also recorded.


          The overall mean age, gestational age and haemoglobin at baseline were 26.4 years, 17.3 weeks and 110 g/l, respectively, with no significant differences between groups; 10.7% had asymptomatic parasitaemia; 74.6% owned an ITN but only 48.8% slept under it the night before enrolment. The adjusted risk ratio by 8 weeks follow up and at 36–40 weeks gestation in the intervention versus the control was 0.97 (95% CI 0.78–1.22) and 0.92 (95% CI 0.63–1.34) for anaemia and 1.17 (95% CI 0.68–2.04) and 0.83 (95% CI 0.27–2.57) for parasitaemia. The adjusted risk ratio for low birth weight was 0.93 (95% CI 0.44–1.97) and for pregnancy complications (abortions, intrauterine fetal deaths and still births) was 0.77 (95% CI 0.17–3.52) in the intervention group versus controls.


          Although its potential was evident, this study found no significant beneficial effect of women participating in their malaria and haemoglobin tests on pregnancy outcomes. Exploring factors influencing health worker compliance to health intervention implementation and patient adherence to health interventions within this context will contribute in future to improving intervention effectiveness.

          Trial registration ISRTCTN88917252

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (10.1186/s12936-018-2387-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Evidence-based, cost-effective interventions: how many newborn babies can we save?

          In this second article of the neonatal survival series, we identify 16 interventions with proven efficacy (implementation under ideal conditions) for neonatal survival and combine them into packages for scaling up in health systems, according to three service delivery modes (outreach, family-community, and facility-based clinical care). All the packages of care are cost effective compared with single interventions. Universal (99%) coverage of these interventions could avert an estimated 41-72% of neonatal deaths worldwide. At 90% coverage, intrapartum and postnatal packages have similar effects on neonatal mortality--two-fold to three-fold greater than that of antenatal care. However, running costs are two-fold higher for intrapartum than for postnatal care. A combination of universal--ie, for all settings--outreach and family-community care at 90% coverage averts 18-37% of neonatal deaths. Most of this benefit is derived from family-community care, and greater effect is seen in settings with very high neonatal mortality. Reductions in neonatal mortality that exceed 50% can be achieved with an integrated, high-coverage programme of universal outreach and family-community care, consisting of 12% and 26%, respectively, of total running costs, plus universal facility-based clinical services, which make up 62% of the total cost. Early success in averting neonatal deaths is possible in settings with high mortality and weak health systems through outreach and family-community care, including health education to improve home-care practices, to create demand for skilled care, and to improve care seeking. Simultaneous expansion of clinical care for babies and mothers is essential to achieve the reduction in neonatal deaths needed to meet the Millennium Development Goal for child survival.
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            Patient participation: current knowledge and applicability to patient safety.

            Patient participation is increasingly recognized as a key component in the redesign of health care processes and is advocated as a means to improve patient safety. The concept has been successfully applied to various areas of patient care, such as decision making and the management of chronic diseases. We review the origins of patient participation, discuss the published evidence on its efficacy, and summarize the factors influencing its implementation. Patient-related factors, such as acceptance of the new patient role, lack of medical knowledge, lack of confidence, comorbidity, and various sociodemographic parameters, all affect willingness to participate in the health care process. Among health care workers, the acceptance and promotion of patient participation are influenced by other issues, including the desire to maintain control, lack of time, personal beliefs, type of illness, and training in patient-caregiver relationships. Social status, specialty, ethnic origin, and the stakes involved also influence patient and health care worker acceptance. The London Declaration, endorsed by the World Health Organization World Alliance for Patient Safety, calls for a greater role for patients to improve the safety of health care worldwide. Patient participation in hand hygiene promotion among staff to prevent health care-associated infection is discussed as an illustrative example. A conceptual model including key factors that influence participation and invite patients to contribute to error prevention is proposed. Further research is essential to establish key determinants for the success of patient participation in reducing medical errors and in improving patient safety.
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              Factors Affecting Antenatal Care Attendance: Results from Qualitative Studies in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi

              Background Antenatal care (ANC) is a key strategy to improve maternal and infant health. However, survey data from sub-Saharan Africa indicate that women often only initiate ANC after the first trimester and do not achieve the recommended number of ANC visits. Drawing on qualitative data, this article comparatively explores the factors that influence ANC attendance across four sub-Saharan African sites in three countries (Ghana, Kenya and Malawi) with varying levels of ANC attendance. Methods Data were collected as part of a programme of qualitative research investigating the social and cultural context of malaria in pregnancy. A range of methods was employed interviews, focus groups with diverse respondents and observations in local communities and health facilities. Results Across the sites, women attended ANC at least once. However, their descriptions of ANC were often vague. General ideas about pregnancy care – checking the foetus’ position or monitoring its progress – motivated women to attend ANC; as did, especially in Kenya, obtaining the ANC card to avoid reprimands from health workers. Women’s timing of ANC initiation was influenced by reproductive concerns and pregnancy uncertainties, particularly during the first trimester, and how ANC services responded to this uncertainty; age, parity and the associated implications for pregnancy disclosure; interactions with healthcare workers, particularly messages about timing of ANC; and the cost of ANC, including charges levied for ANC procedures – in spite of policies of free ANC – combined with ideas about the compulsory nature of follow-up appointments. Conclusion In these socially and culturally diverse sites, the findings suggest that ‘supply’ side factors have an important influence on ANC attendance: the design of ANC and particularly how ANC deals with the needs and concerns of women during the first trimester has implications for timing of initiation.

                Author and article information

                Malar J
                Malar. J
                Malaria Journal
                BioMed Central (London )
                19 June 2018
                19 June 2018
                : 17
                [1 ]GRID grid.449729.5, University of Health and Allied Sciences, ; PMB 31, Ho, Ghana
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9764, GRID grid.48004.38, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, ; Liverpool, UK
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: Wellcome Trust (GB) supported by Malaria Capacity Development Consortium
                Award ID: WT084289MA
                Award Recipient :
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                © The Author(s) 2018


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