Moses Mwanza, Japheth Zulu, Stephanie M. Topp, Patrick Musonda, Wilbroad Mutale, Roma Chilengi.
BMC Health Services Research (2017) 17:279
The Better Health Outcomes through Mentoring and Assessment (BHOMA) project is a cluster randomized controlled trial aimed at reducing age-standardized mortality rates in three districts through involvement of Community Health Workers (CHWs), Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and Neighbourhood Health Committees (NHCs). CHWs conduct quarterly surveys on all households using a questionnaire that captures key health events occurring within their catchment population. In order to validate contact with households, we utilize the Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS) methodology. In this study, we report experiences of applying the LQAS approach to monitor performance of CHWs in Luangwa District.
Between April 2011 and December 2013, seven health facilities in Luangwa district were enrolled into the BHOMA project. The health facility catchment areas were divided into 33 geographic zones. Quality assurance was performed each quarter by randomly selecting zones representing about 90% of enrolled catchment areas from which 19 households per zone were also randomly identified.The surveys were conducted by CHW supervisors who had been trained on using the LQAS questionnaire. Information collected included household identity number (ID), whether the CHW visited the household, duration of the most recent visit, and what health information was discussed during the CHW visit. The threshold for success was set at 75% household outreach buy CHWs in each zone.
There are 4,616 total households in the 33 zones. This yielded a target of 32, 212 household visits by community health workers during the 7 survey rounds. Based on the set cutoff point for passing the surveys (at least 75% households confirmed as visited), only one team of CHWs in Luangwa high school failed to reach the target during round 1 of the surveys; all the teams otherwise registered successful visits in all the surveys.
We have employed the LQAS methodology for assurance that quarterly surveys were successfully done. This methodology proved helpful in identifying poorly performing CHWs and could be useful for evaluating CHW performance in other areas.