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In the aftermath of the devastating 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, three non-governmental organizations collaborated to develop a program responding to the immediate mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) needs in three severely affected districts: Dhading, Gorkha, and Sindhuli. The program was implemented between April 2015 and February 2017 and aimed to (i) strengthen health worker capacity to provide integrated MHPSS services; and (ii) increase access to mental health services. This paper describes the program's implementation and the results of a pragmatic evaluation of the program's overall reach, effectiveness, and lessons learned.
The mixed-methods evaluation used routine program data, quantitative data from pre- and post-tests conducted with trainees and service users, and qualitative data from stakeholder interviews and focus group discussions.
A total of 1041 health workers received MHPSS training and supervision. Participants demonstrated significant improvements in skills, knowledge, and self-rated perceived competency. Trainees went on to provide MHPSS services to 3422 people. The most commonly identified presenting problems were epilepsy (29%) and depression (26%). A total of 67% of service users reported being ‘completely satisfied’ with the services received and 83% of those experiencing severe functional impairments on enrollment demonstrated improvement after receiving services.
Despite operational challenges, the program successfully engaged both laypeople and health workers to provide MHPSS in the aftermath of the crisis. Lessons learned can inform the planning and implementation of future training and integration programs to provide large-scale MHPSS efforts in humanitarian settings.
Micronutrient supplementation is recommended in Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). However, there is limited data on its therapeutic impacts. This study evaluated the association between vitamin A supplementation and mortality outcomes in EVD patients.
This retrospective cohort study accrued patients with EVD admitted to five International Medical Corps run Ebola Treatment Units (ETU) in two countries from 2014-2015. Protocolized treatments with antimicrobials and micronutrients were used at all ETUs. However, due to resource limitations and care variations, only a subset of patients received vitamin A. Standardized data on demographics, clinical characteristics, malaria status, and Ebola virus RT-PCR cycle threshold (CT) values were collected. The outcome of interest was mortality compared between cases treated with 200,000 International Units of vitamin A on care days one and two and those not. Propensity scores (PS) based on the first 48-hours of care were derived using the covariates of age, duration of ETU function, malaria status, CT values, symptoms of confusion, hemorrhage, diarrhea, dysphagia, and dyspnea. Treated and non-treated cases were matched 1:1 based on nearest neighbors with replacement. Covariate balance met predefined thresholds. Mortality proportions between cases treated and untreated with vitamin A were compared using generalized estimating equations to calculate relative risks (RR) with associated 95% confidence intervals (CI).
There were 424 cases analyzed, with 330 (77.8%) being vitamin A-treated cases. The mean age was 30.5 years and 57.0% were female. The most common symptoms were diarrhea (86%), anorexia (81%), and vomiting (77%). Mortality proportions among cases untreated and treated with vitamin A were 71.9% and 55.0%, respectively. In a propensity-matched analysis, mortality was significantly lower among cases receiving vitamin A (RR = 0.77 95%; CI:0.59-0.99; p = 0.041).
Early vitamin A supplementation was associated with reduced mortality in EVD patients and should be provided routinely during future epidemics.
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