Background: Existing literature suggest frequent gaps in the quality of care (QoC) provided to children with malnutrition in low-income and middle-income countries. Beira is the second largest city in Mozambique. This study included two phases: phase 1 was a systematic assessment of the QoC provided to malnourished children in Beira; phase 2 aimed at using findings of the assessment to develop recommendations, with a participatory approach, to improve QoC.
Methods: In phase 1, all facilities offering nutritional care to children in Beira were included, and exit health outcomes were reviewed against international SPHERE standards. A sample of four (66%) facilities was randomly selected for a comprehensive assessment of all areas contributing to QoC using an adapted WHO tool. In phase 2, key stakeholders were identified, and using a participatory approach, a list of actions for improving the QoC for malnourished children was agreed.
Results: In phase 1, outcomes of 1428 children with either severe acute malnutrition or moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) were reviewed. In-hospital recovery rate (70.1%) was almost in line with the SPHERE standard (75%), while at outpatient level, it was significantly lower (48.2%, risk ratio (RR) 0.68, p<0.0001). Recovery rate was significantly lower in HIV seropositive compared with seronegative (39.2% vs 52.8%, RR 1.34, p=0.005). High heterogeneity in MAM recovery rate was detected among facilities (range 32.5%-61.0%). Overall, out of all domains contributing to QoC in the sample, 28/46 (60.8%) indicated suboptimal care with significant health hazards and 13/46 (28.2%) indicated totally inadequate care with severe health hazards. In phase 2, a list of 38 actions to improve QoC for malnourished children was agreed among 33 local and national stakeholders.
Conclusions: Large heterogeneity in QoC for malnourished children in Beria was detected. The study documents a concrete example of using data proactively, for agreeing actions to improve QoC.
- Malnutrition/diet therapy
- Nutritional Support/methods
- Quality Improvement
- Quality of Health Care/standards