Background: Pneumonia is the leading infectious cause of death among children, with approximately half of deaths attributable to pneumonia occurring in limited health resource settings of sub-Saharan Africa. Clinical guidance tools and checklists have been used to improve health outcomes and standardize care. This study was conducted to evaluate the impact of a clinical guidance tool designed to improve outcomes for children hospitalized with severe pneumonia in Zambia. Methods: This study was conducted at University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia from October 10, 2011 to March 21, 2014 among children 1 month to 5 years of age with severe pneumonia. In March 2013, a clinical guidance tool was implemented to standardize and improve care. In-hospital mortality pre-and post-implementation was compared. Results: Four hundred forty-three children were enrolled in the pre-intervention period and 250 in the post-intervention period. Overall, 18.2 % of children died during hospitalization, with 44 % of deaths occurring within the first 24 h after admission. Mortality was associated with HIV infection status, pneumonia severity, and weight-for-height z-score. Despite improving and standardizing the care received, the clinical guidance tool did not significantly reduce mortality (relative risk: 0.89; 95 % CI: 0.65, 1.23). The tool appeared to be more effective among HIV-exposed but uninfected children and children younger than 6 months of age. Conclusions: Simple tools are needed to ensure that children hospitalized with pneumonia receive the best possible care in accordance with recommended guidelines. The clinical guidance tool was well-accepted and easy to use and succeeded in standardizing and improving care. Further research is needed to determine if similar interventions can improve treatment outcomes and should be implemented on a larger scale.
- Global health
- Sub-Saharan Africa
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health