Project Lead(s): Askar Umarbekov
In Mali, a country with remote populations and threats to stability, access to accurate diagnosis, treatment and appropriate referral determines a child's survival. In 2007, the Mali Ministry of Health introduced Integrated Community Case Management, authorizing community health workers to diagnose and treat pneumonia, malaria, diarrhea and malnutrition in children under five. However, in 2013, Mali reported 231,500 cases of pneumonia, and only 20 percent were treated by community health workers. In the project target area, 2016 baseline findings showed an even lower rate of treatment with only 13 percent (6-23 CI) in Koulikoro and 1 percent (0.1-6 CI) in Sikasso of pneumonia cases being treated by community health workers.
Increasing the quality of community health workers’ diagnostic skills is challenged by inadequate funding. Poor competency to correctly count respiratory breaths, a key indicator for pneumonia detection, puts community health workers at risk to frequently misdiagnose pneumonia and overprescribe antibiotics.
This project will use Philips’ Children’s Automated Respiratory Monitor (ChARM) to minimize the risk of pneumonia misdiagnosis and as a teaching tool so community health workers can evaluate their breath counting skills against ChARM’s automated readings. A randomized cluster trial to evaluate ChARM’s potential to improve the quality of diagnosis and use as a teaching tool, will be particularly valuable in fragile settings. The project is embedded in a 2016-2020 health program with the Mali Ministry of Health, the Malian and Canadian Red Cross Societies, and the Hospital for Sick Children. The embedded nature reduces project costs.