Implementation research on noncommunicable disease prevention and control interventions in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review release_aqxzb2mnircanfcg7d25ff3fla

by Celestin Hategeka, Prince Adu, Allissa Desloge, Robert Marten, Ruitai Shao, Maoyi Tian, Ting Wei, Margaret E. Kruk

Published in PLoS Medicine by Public Library of Science (PLoS).

2022   Volume 19, Issue 7, e1004055

Abstract

<jats:sec id="sec001"> <jats:title>Background</jats:title> While the evidence for the clinical effectiveness of most noncommunicable disease (NCD) prevention and treatment interventions is well established, care delivery models and means of scaling these up in a variety of resource-constrained health systems are not. The objective of this review was to synthesize evidence on the current state of implementation research on priority NCD prevention and control interventions provided by health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). </jats:sec> <jats:sec id="sec002"> <jats:title>Methods and findings</jats:title> On January 20, 2021, we searched MEDLINE and EMBASE databases from 1990 through 2020 to identify implementation research studies that focused on the World Health Organization (WHO) priority NCD prevention and control interventions targeting cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease and provided within health systems in LMICs. Any empirical and peer-reviewed studies that focused on these interventions and reported implementation outcomes were eligible for inclusion. Given the focus on this review and the heterogeneity in aims and methodologies of included studies, risk of bias assessment to understand how effect size may have been compromised by bias is not applicable. We instead commented on the distribution of research designs and discussed about stronger/weaker designs. We synthesized extracted data using descriptive statistics and following the review protocol registered in PROSPERO (CRD42021252969). Of 9,683 potential studies and 7,419 unique records screened for inclusion, 222 eligible studies evaluated 265 priority NCD prevention and control interventions implemented in 62 countries (6% in low-income countries and 90% in middle-income countries). The number of studies published has been increasing over time. Nearly 40% of all the studies were on cervical cancer. With regards to intervention type, screening accounted for 49%, treatment for 39%, while prevention for 12% (with 80% of the latter focusing on prevention of the NCD behavior risk factors). Feasibility (38%) was the most studied implementation outcome followed by adoption (23%); few studies addressed sustainability. The implementation strategies were not specified well enough. Most studies used quantitative methods (86%). The weakest study design, preexperimental, and the strongest study design, experimental, were respectively employed in 25% and 24% of included studies. Approximately 72% of studies reported funding, with international funding being the predominant source. The majority of studies were proof of concept or pilot (88%) and targeted the micro level of health system (79%). Less than 5% of studies report using implementation research framework. </jats:sec> <jats:sec id="sec003"> <jats:title>Conclusions</jats:title> Despite growth in implementation research on NCDs in LMICs, we found major gaps in the science. Future studies should prioritize implementation at scale, target higher levels health systems (meso and macro levels), and test sustainability of NCD programs. They should employ designs with stronger internal validity, be more conceptually driven, and use mixed methods to understand mechanisms. To maximize impact of the research under limited resources, adding implementation science outcomes to effectiveness research and regional collaborations are promising. </jats:sec>
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