Effect of Supportive Supervision on Competency of Febrile Clinical Case Management in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Since 2010, the WHO has recommended that clinical decision-making for malaria case management be performed based on the results of a parasitological test result. Between 2015 and 2017, the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative-funded MalariaCare project supported the implementation of this practice in eight sub-Saharan African countries through 5,382 outreach training and supportive supervision visits to 3,563 health facilities. During these visits, trained government supervisors used a 25-point checklist to observe clinicians' performance in outpatient departments, and then provided structured mentoring and action planning. At baseline, more than 90% of facilities demonstrated a good understanding of WHO recommendations-when tests should be ordered, using test results to develop an accurate final diagnosis, severity assessment, and providing the correct prescription. However, significant deficits were found in history taking, conducting a physical examination, and communicating with patients and their caregivers. After three visits, worker performance demonstrated steady improvement-in particular, with checking for factors associated with increased morbidity and mortality: one sign of severe malaria (72.9-85.5%), pregnancy (81.1-87.4%), and anemia (77.2-86.4%). A regression analysis predicted an overall improvement in clinical performance of 6.3% ( < 0.001) by the third visit. These findings indicate that in most health facilities, there is good baseline knowledge on the processes of quality clinical management, but further training and on-site mentoring are needed to improve the clinical interaction that focuses on second-order decision-making, such as severity of illness, management of non-malarial fever, and completing the patient-provider communication loop.