Primary causes of death for children under five include pneumonia and diarrhea, and nearly half of deaths are attributable to undernutrition. It is estimated that over half of these deaths are preventable with simple, existing, appropriately applied evidence-based interventions, synthesized within pediatric clinical treatment guidelines. Although health workers in low-and-middle-income countries are trained on pediatric treatment guidelines, adherence to guidelines is often low and there is a need to identify strategies to improve quality of care in settings with the highest burden of preventable child deaths.
In a new two-year study funded by the National Institutes of Health, Acting Assistant Professor Dr. Arianna Means (Global Health) is leading an investigation into the factors that influence guideline adherence and will generate evidence to develop strategies to improve pediatric care. The study titled, “Prevalence and correlates of pediatric guideline deviation across 9 health facilities,” is nested within the Childhood Acute Illness and Nutrition (CHAIN) Network, a global research network focused on optimizing the management and care of sick and undernourished children to improve growth and survival. This partnership provides Dr. Means and co-investigators, Professors of Global Health Drs. Judd Walson and Donna Denno, access to valuable data to evaluate the frequency with which health providers deviate from pediatric treatment guidelines and the multi-level factors influencing adherence, including facility workload and resource availability.
By analyzing the cohort data and through additional qualitative data collection with health workers in study sites, findings from this study will provide an opportunity to develop effective implementation strategies to improve guideline adherence and reduce preventable childhood deaths.