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URC Researchers Co-author Article on Preventing Childhood Pneumonia in The International Journal of Pediatrics
Staff members Dr. Edward Broughton and Dr. Sergio Lopez recently co-authored a research article that analyzes whether it is cost-effective to implement a public health strategy that prevents pneumonia infections acquired by children in hospitals. Dr. Broughton is the Director of Research and Evaluation for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Health Care Improvement Project (HCI), managed by University Research Co., LLC. Dr. Lopez is a Quality Improvement Advisor for Infection Control and Prevention with HCI in Nicaragua. Their co-authors included clinicians from the Manual Jesus Rivera and Bertha Calderon Hospitals in Managua, Nicaragua.
Devices used to assist a patient’s breathing in hospitals in many cases can also lead to an infection called ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), causing critical illness and even death. Nicaragua has a high rate of VAP among children. In partnership with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health, HCI introduced quality improvement strategies to prevent VAP in two hospitals in Nicaragua beginning in 2009.
Such strategies led to changes in clinical staff behaviors, including correct use of antiseptics and disinfectants, proper hand hygiene before handling the patient and ventilator equipment, and correct positioning of the patients’ head. This article compares the costs of planning, implementing, and evaluating those strategies against the savings from preventing VAP—reduced hospital stays and treatment costs.
Dr. Broughton and colleagues conclude that the strategies are nearly cost-neutral, with the “potential to generate substantial cost savings.” Using this evidence, they argue for implementing VAP prevention strategies on a broader scale in Nicaragua and other low-income countries.
“Economic analysis of a pediatric ventilator-associated pneumonia prevention initiative in Nicaragua” was published in the International Journal of Pediatrics; the full text is available online.