Recent Submissions

  • Human resource capacity for information management in selected public healthcare facilities in Meru County, Kenya.

    Kiilu, Elizabeth M.; Okero, D.C.; Muiruri, L.; Owuondo, P.A. (2015)
    Reliable health information is essential for decision making in the healthcare system. Information management in Kenya was considered the weakest area under the Health Information System pillar mainly due to inadequate health workers capacity. The study therefore aimed at assessing health workers skills and current training needs for information management in the selected healthcare facilities. Cross-section research design was adopted and both purposive sampling technique and censuses were used to establish the study participants. Analysis was done using SPSS version 20 and results were presented in tables, charts and graphs. It was established that capacity building was usually undertaken through on-job trainings i.e. 85.1% (103) health workers had on-job training on filling of data collection tools and only 10% (13) had received formal classroom training on the same. Further, only 9.1% (11) health workers had received information management training while 90.9% (110) had not received such training. Health workers demonstrated below average skills on information management i.e. only 17.4% (21) could check for data accuracy, only 16.5% (20) could compute trends from bar charts and only 16.5% (20) could transform the data they collected into meaningful information for use. The researcher recommended that healthcare facilities management teams develop a competency based framework for defining the desired skill mix for information management and have a yearly Training Needs Assessment for assessing training needs for information management among the health workers.
  • Prognostic factors influencing HIV-free survival among infants enrolled for HIV early infant diagnosis services in selected hospitals in Nairobi County, Kenya

    Kiilu, Elizabeth M.; Karanja, S.; Kikuvi, G.; Wanzala, P. (2023-10-04)
    Despite being a preventable disease, pediatric HIV infection continues to be a public health concern due to the morbidity and mortality associated with the disease. Vertical transmission of HIV occurs when a mother living with HIV passes the virus to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. Globally, the vertical transmission rate of HIV is 9% with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 90% of these infections. In Kenya, the national vertical transmission rates of HIV stood at 11.5% by the end of 2018, with a target to reduce vertical transmission rates to below 5% and 2% in breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding infants respectively, by the end of 2021. To determine the prognostic factors influencing HIV-free survival among infants enrolled for HIV early infant diagnosis (EID) services in selected hospitals in Nairobi County, Kenya. A prospective cohort study design was adopted. HIV exposed infants were recruited at six weeks to determine HIV-free survival over 12 months follow up. Simple random sampling was used to select 166 infants and data were collected from the mothers using semi-structured interviewer-administered questionnaires. Log-rank tests were used to test for associations at the bi-variable level while Cox-proportional regression was used to analyze data at the multi-variable level, with the aid of STATA 14 software. Ethical approval was obtained from Kenya Medical Research Institute, Scientific Ethics Review Unit. The overall infant HIV incidence rate over one-year follow-up was 9 cases per 100 person-years (95% CI: 5.465-16.290). The failure event was defined as an infant with a positive PCR test during the study period with total failures being 13 (9.41%) over 12 months. Prognostic factors associated with poor infant HIV-free survival were young maternal age (18-24 years) and mothers with a recent HIV diagnosis of ≤ 2 years since a positive HIV diagnosis (HR 5.97 CI: 1.20, 29.58) and (HR 6.97 CI: 1.96, 24.76), respectively. Maternal prognostic factors associated with poor infant HIV-free survival were young maternal age (18-24 years) and recent maternal HIV diagnosis of ≤ 2 years since positive HIV diagnosis. The study recommended the development of an intervention package with more rigorous adherence counseling and close monitoring for young mothers, and mothers with recent HIV diagnoses.
  • Use of ‘wearables’ to assess the Up-on-the-toes test

    Zahid, Sarah A.; Celik, Y.; Godfrey, A.; Buckley, John (Elsevier, 2022-10)
    The mechanical output at the ankle provides key contribution to everyday activities, particularly step/stair ascent and descent. Age-related decline in ankle functioning can lead to an increased risk of falls on steps and stairs. The rising up-on-the-toes (UTT) 30-second test (UTT-30) is used in the clinical assessment of ankle muscle strength/function and endurance; the main outcome being how many repetitive UTT movements are completed. This preliminary study describes how inertial measurement units (IMUs) can be used to assess the UTT-30. Twenty adults (26.2 ± 7.7 years) performed a UTT-30 at a comfortable speed, with IMUs attached to the dorsal aspect of each foot. Use of IMUs’ angular velocity signal to detect the peak plantarflexion angular velocity (p-fAngVelpeak) associated with each repeated UTT movement indicated the number of UTT movements attempted by each participant. Any UTT movements that were performed with a p-fAngVelpeak 2SD below the mean were deemed to have not been completed over a sufficiently ‘full’ range. Findings highlight that use of IMUs can provide valid assessment of the UTT 30-second test. Their use detected the same number of attempted UTT movements as that observed by a researcher (average difference, -0.1 CI, -0.2 – 0.1), and on average 97.6 ± 3.1% of these movements were deemed to have been completed ‘fully’. We discuss the limitations of our approach for identifying the movements not completed fully, and how assessing the consistency in the magnitude of the repeated p-fAngVelpeak could be undertaken and what this would indicate about UTT-30 performance.
  • A tablet for healthy ageing: the effect of a tablet computer training intervention on cognitive abilities in older adults

    Vaportzis, Ria; Martin, M.; Gow, A.J. (2017-08)
    Objective: To test the efficacy of a tablet computer training intervention to improve cognitive abilities of older adults. Design: Prospective randomized controlled trial. Setting: Community-based aging intervention study, Edinburgh, UK. Participants: Forty-eight healthy older adults aged 65 to 76 years were recruited at baseline with no or minimal tablet experience;43 completed follow-up testing. Intervention: Twentytwo participants attended a weekly 2-hour class for 10 weeks during which they learned how to use a tablet and various applications on it. Measurements: A battery of cognitive tests from theWAIS-IV measuring the domains ofVerbal Comprehension, Perceptual Processing,Working Memory, and Processing Speed, as well as health, psychological, and well-being measures. Results: A 2× 2 mixed model ANOVA suggested that the tablet intervention group (N = 22) showed greater improvements in Processing Speed (η2 = 0.10) compared with controls (N = 21), but did not differ in Verbal Comprehension, Perceptual Processing, or Working Memory (η2 ranged from −0.03 to 0.04). Conclusions: Engagement in a new mentally challenging activity (tablet training) was associated with improved processing speed.Acquiring skills in later life, including those related to adopting new technologies, may therefore have the potential to reduce or delay cognitive changes associated with ageing.It is important to understand how the development of these skills might further facilitate everyday activities, and also improve older adults’ quality of life.
  • Older adults perceptions of technology and barriers to interacting with tablet computers: a focus group study

    Vaportzis, Ria; Clausen, M.G.; Gow, A.J. (2017-10-04)
    Background: New technologies provide opportunities for the delivery of broad, flexible interventions with older adults. Focus groups were conducted to: (1) understand older adults’ familiarity with, and barriers to, interacting with new technologies and tablets; and (2) utilize user-engagement in refining an intervention protocol. Methods: Eighteen older adults (65–76 years old; 83.3%female) who were novice tablet users participated in discussions about their perceptions of and barriers to interacting with tablets. We conducted three separate focus groups and used a generic qualitative design applying thematic analysis to analyse the data. The focus groups explored attitudes toward tablets and technology in general. We also explored the perceived advantages and disadvantages of using tablets, familiarity with, and barriers to interacting with tablets. In two of the focus groups, participants had previous computing experience (e.g., desktop), while in the other, participants had no previous computing experience. None of the participants had any previous experience with tablet computers. Results: The themes that emerged were related to barriers (i.e., lack of instructions and guidance, lack of knowledge and confidence, health-related barriers, cost); disadvantages and concerns (i.e., too much and too complex technology, feelings of inadequacy, and comparison with younger generations, lack of social interaction and communication, negative features of tablets); advantages (i.e., positive features of tablets, accessing information, willingness to adopt technology); and skepticism about using tablets and technology in general. After brief exposure to tablets, participants emphasized the likelihood of using a tablet in the future. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that most of our participants were eager to adopt new technology and willing to learn using a tablet. However, they voiced apprehension about lack of, or lack of clarity in, instructions and support. Understanding older adults’ perceptions of technology is important to assist with introducing it to this population and maximize the potential of technology to facilitate independent living.
  • Older adults experiences of learning to use tablet computers: a mixed methods study

    Vaportzis, Ria; Clausen, M.G.; Gow, A.J. (2018-09)
    Background: We wanted to understand older adults’ experiences of learning how to use a tablet computer in the context of an intervention trial, including what they found helpful or unhelpful about the tablet training, to guide future intervention studies. Methods: Mixed methods study using questionnaire and focus group approaches. Forty-three participants aged between 65 and 76 years old from the “Tablet for Healthy Ageing” study (comprising 22 in the intervention group and 21 controls) completed a post-intervention tablet experience questionnaire. Those who completed the tablet training intervention were invited to share their experiences of engaging with new technology in post-intervention focus groups. We conducted three separate focus groups with 14 healthy older adults (10 females). Results: Questionnaire data suggested that the overall experience of the 22 participants who participated in the tablet training intervention was positive. The majority of participants said that it was likely or very likely they would use a tablet in the future. The focus group themes that emerged were related to the perception of tablet training, the experience of using tablets, and suggestions for future studies. Participants mentioned that their confidence was increased, that they enjoyed being part of a social group and downloading applications, but they also felt challenged at times. Advantages of using tablets included the ability to keep in touch with family and friends, a motivation to contribute to the community, and the potential for tablets to improve mental abilities and overall health and wellbeing. Participants made suggestions that would enable tablet usage, including improvement of features, and suggestions that would improve future tablet training studies, including smaller classes. Conclusion: Our findings have implications for the development of interventions utilizing new technologies that might promote the health and wellbeing of older adults.